Abhayagiri Tamil Inscription

The Abhayagiri Vihara Tamil Inscription is one of the Tamil Inscriptions in Sri Lanka. It was found engraved on a broken stone slab that had been utilized to pave the terrace of the gigantic Abhayagiri Stupa. The slab is roughly two feet long and one and a half feet wide and has a crescent-shaped cut on the left side of it (Pathmanathan, 2006).

The Content

The inscription consists of ten lines and the script shows features of the Pallava of the 8th century A.D. (Pathmanathan, 2006). The initial portion of the record is missing.

The inscription reveals the construction of the floor or platform of a building occupying an area of 11x11 feet and a token gift of money (Pathmanathan, 2006). It further records a Bodhi tree shrine (Bodhighara Shrine) that existed at the time on the Abhayagiri Vihara premises (Pathmanathan, 2006). The Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hien (5th century A.D.) also refers to a Bodhighara shrine that was at the Abhayagiri Viharaya. Although there is no Bodhighara shrine at the present temple, it is confirmed by this Tamil record that there was a Bodhighara shrine in the past in the Abhayagiri Viharaya (Pathmanathan, 2006).

This record indicates that there were Tamil Buddhists associated with Abhayagiri Viharaya in ancient times (Pathmanathan, 2006). Abhayagiriys was once the seat of Mahayana doctrine and thus had links with Buddhist centres in South India (Pathmanathan, 2006).


1) Pathmanathan, S., 2006. இலங்கைத் தமிழ்ச் சாசனங்கள்: Tamil inscriptions in Sri Lanka (In Tamil). Department of Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs. ISBN: 955-9233-10-6. pp.39-42.

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This page was last updated on 9 November 2023
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