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Mirisawatiya Dagaba

The Mirisaweti Stupa is a memorial building a stupa, located in the old city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. King Dutugamunu (161 BC to 137 BC) made this Stupa after defeating King Elara. After placing Lord Buddha’s relic in the wand, he went to Tissa Wewa for a bath, leaving the scepter. After the bath, Placed, he returned to where the rod, and it has said that he could not move it—made in the place where the scepter stood the Stupa. He also remembered that he partook in a chilly curry without offering it to the Sangha. To punish himself, he made the Mirisavetiya Dagaba. The size of this land is about 50 acres (20 ha). The dilapidated temple was restored from time to time by king Kassapa I and Kassapa V.

Over two thousand years ago – during the second and first centenaries B.C. – the first monumental stupas, locally known as dagobas, were built in Sri Lanka. The relics of Buddhas and Buddhist saints have enshrined in such dome-shaped monuments. And like all artificial structures, these Dagabas built of brick needed to be conserved and restored regularly. In times of neglect, overgrown by tropical vegetation, the large dagobas started to crumble. The roots of trees would saturate the layers of brick and cause cracks, thus further increasing damage. Dutthagamani built a large Dagaba despite the warnings recorded in the Mahavamsa: “If our king begins to make so great Stupa, death will come upon him ere the Stupa finished; moreover, so great a Sthupa will be hard to repair.” The pristine reference to restoration works about two hundred fifty years after its initial construction refers to Gajabahu I (c. 114–136 AD), who has credit for making a mantling for the Dagaba. About one hundred years later, the Chattravali has restored by Voharikatissa (c. 209–231 AD). Kassapa V (914–923 AD) restored the Dagaba and the vihara. During the 11th century. Cholas from South India ransacked it. Among numerous other renovation projects for the Mirisavetiya and all other stupas and monasteries, Parakramabahu I (1153–1186 AD) enlarged the Mirisavetiya Dagaba to about 36.5 meters. Restorations were resumed again by Nissankamalla (1187–1196 AD). For the next seven hundred years, Anuradhapura’s Dagaba and Buddhist monasteries mainly lay in remains. It seems reasonable to assert that by the beginning of the 19th centenary, almost all intact ancestral Dagabas and temples had fallen into a state of partial or total disrepair due to various factors, such as lack of maintenance and defective building materials. The Mirisavetiya Dagaba shared the same fate of being overgrown.

As already mentioned above, Dagaba needs restoring at regular intervals. Henry Parker visited Anuradhapura for the first time in 1873. He recorded that the Mirisavetiya was little more than a conical mound covered with big trees and bushes, all the upper part having felt down in a talus around its base. Anuradhapura’s first government agent J.F. Dixon, with the help of James G. Smither, first cleared the area surrounding the Dagaba. Boring of it was resumed in 1883, and discovered the ruins of two image houses were on the northern and southern parts of the Dagaba. In 1888 the first attempt at renovation began using prison labor under the direction of the public works department utilizing a grant from the King of Siam, but could not complete the work. H.C.P. Bell, the Archaeological Commissioner by 1890, had the ground around the Mirisavetiya for a considerable time, and all ruins over the surface were known. Bell added that a curriculum for the Mirisavetiya entourage would not be possible. Sixteen years after, by 1906, the second attempt at restoration of the Mirisavetiya Dagaba was much advanced and had unearthed the paved platform on which the Dagaba stands. The Archaeological Department tried to repair the Stupa by mantling the remaining mound with bricks, but they abandoned this work when the new dome’s height stood at 60 feet. All four Vahalkadas, also known as frontispieces, are described by H. C. P. Bell as Mandapaya, formerly partly hidden under tons of debris, was freed in 1906. The North Mandapaya, excavated in 1903, was expanded as being in perfect condition. The East Mandapaya had hole damage, the South Mandapaya was in a beautiful state of preservation, and the West Mandapaya was as perfect as the North Mandapaya. Today only one Vahalkada survives more or less intact. According to A. M. Hocart, in 1928, built all four cardinal points of the Mirisavetiya Dagaba Vahalkada structure of gneiss. These represent proposed later copies of the damaged dolomite marble originals. after the fourth renewal, the last two times by the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka were subordinate to the inspection of Roland Silva. Only the West Vahalkada remains intact. However, it had being restore after being destroyed when the renovated Dagaba collapsed on 9 June 1987. Of the other three Vahalkadas in perfect condition one hundred years ago, only one of the three survived. During the 20th century, various renovation works of the Mirisavetiya Dagaba, although some were without particular written records. An anonymous photograph documents renewal works in the 1920s. It likely appears to document the second efforted by the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka to encase it with bricks. From 1980 onward, undertaken to renovate the Mirisavetiya Dagaba in the third attempt, Done by the efforts of a Stupa Development Society with the assistance of the Department of Archaeology subordinate to the supervision of Roland Silva (1933–2020), Archaeological Commissioner and Director-General, Cultural Triangle. The renewal attempt ended with the sudden collapse of the newly renovated Mirisavetiya Dagaba on 24 June 1987, the day before Poson Poya Day. The failure, which also destroyed the only surviving Vahalkada, occurred immediately as the chanting started in the all-night Pirith Ceremony, triggering theories of a “curse of the gods.” Large segments of the new brickwork Stupa separated and fell off due to the several vertical cracks already noticed earlier on the dome. It happened in the presence of the assembly of monks presided over by Sirimalwatte Sri Ananda Thero (1973–1989). Among the distinguished guests were President Ranasinghe Premadasa, ministers, ambassadors, the press corps, and countless onlookers. The broad media exposure led to a public outcry and greatly embarrassed the government, the Archaeological Department, and the UNESCO Cultural Triangle project. This calamity balked the planned pinnacle unveiling ceremony and enshrinement of relics on Poson Poya Day. Instead, the collapsed Dagaba had being demolish. Achieved by applicating pneumatic hammers and took almost three years to be accomplished. After removing the low-quality bricks of the third attempted restoration, only the weak inner core of the original Stupa survived. In 1990, the reconstruction of a new Dagaba with bricks and layers of reinforced cement began where the Mirisavetiya Dagaba used to be, again supervised by Roland Silva, the Archaeological Commissioner. The new Dagaba, which represented the fourth attempt at renewal, was unveiled on 4 June 1993, the Poson full moon day. However, the archaeologists had wished not to plaster the newly built Stupa but did it at the Buddhist council’s request, and they did it. Finished in 1996, The covering of the freshly built it with white plaster. The existent monument that encloses the remnants of the original Dagaba has lost all characteristics of the original tower.The present Mirisavetiya Dagaba is 192 feet (59 meters) in height and 141 feet (43 meters) in diameter.


Useful Information

  • It is better if it has sulled because of a religious position.
  • For a comfortable destination, it is advisable to skip the Poya days. However, you can go on any day of your choice.

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