Ramakele Stupa (Sigiriya)

Ramakele Stupa
Ramakele Stupa (Photo credit: Artyom Ernst, Google Street View)

Ramakele Stupa of Mahanaga Pabbata Viharaya (Sinhala: රාමකැලේ ස්තූපය, මහානාග පබ්බත විහාරය), is a ruined Stupa situated in Ramakele in Mapagala near the premises of Sigiriya Fortress in Matale District, Sri Lanka.

The brick mound at the site is believed to be the main Stupa of Mahanaga Pabbata Viharaya endowed to the Elder Mahanaga by King Mugalan [(491-508 A.D.) Fernando, 1967]. The chronicle Mahavamsa records that King Aggabodhi I (571-604 A.D.) built an Uposatha House at Maha Naga Pabbata (Fernando, 1967).

Several inscriptions that were unearthed from the Ramakele area in Mapagala are presently on display in the Sigiriya Museum (Ranawella, 2001). Belonging to the reign of King Kassapa IV (898-914 A.D.), these inscriptions register certain immunities granted in respect of some lands attached to the monastery named Mahanapavu Vehera (Pali: Mahanagapabbata Vehera) which is identified as the ruined monastery at the present site (Fernando, 1967; Nicholas, 1963; Ranawella, 2001). The names Mahanapavu and Mahanavuta are found mentioned in the Sigiri graffiti (Nicholas, 1963). 

The Stupa was excavated in 1910 yielding ancient artefacts such as coins, gems, bricks of large size and a stone of the kind called Maha-Meru-Gala (Devendra, 1951). Presently preserved in the Sigiriya Museum, the four surfaces of Maha-Meru-Gala carry reliefs depicting scenes of popular life (Devendra, 1951). This stone is older by several centuries than its better fellow found in the Topa Wewa Stupa at Polonnaruwa (Devendra, 1951).

See also

1) Devendra, D. T., 1951. Guide to Sigiriya. Ceylon Government Press. pp.26-27.
2) Fernando, W. B. M., 1967. Sigiriya. Archaeological Department. pp.18-19.
3) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.110.
4) Ranawella, S., 2001. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part I. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-21-6. pp.154-155,169-179.

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This page was last updated on 22 May 2023

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