Abhayagiri vihāra

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Balou46 - wikipedia.org

Surrounded by four main Buddhist monasteries, the massive Abhayagiri Dagoba stands high in the center from the 1st-century BC. Keeping his own promise “if I regain the throne, I will build a vihara here”, King King Vatta Gamini Abhya (Valagamba) built this enormous Buddhist monument after regaining his throne from the South Indian invaders. The stunning stupa is the second largest in Sri Lanka with a height of 75 meters, and one of the most influential mahayana buddhist monasteries in the world, and has spread its branches to China, Java and Kashmir.

The views of this massive red-brick stupa is astonishing. Abhayagiriya was mentioned in the records made by Faxian, a Chinese Buddhist monk who made various expeditions to research Buddhism. Faxian’s records relveas that the monastic complex has been roofed with burnt clay tiles of different colours and surrounded by great walls. 

Abhayagiriya grew to its top heights during the times of King Mahasena in the 3rd-century. 

The stupa is one of the not to be missed places while travelling in Anuradhapura. Evenings are the best to visit, you can make stunning photographs with pre-sun sets. Wear appropriately when visiting, and you will be expected to walk barefooted.