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A massive stupa standing tall at 108 feets, Rankoth Vehera is the largest dagoba in Polonnaruwa. The inscription near the dagoba reveals that King Nissanka Malla supervised the construction of these giant monuments, and worshiped the sacred relics enshrined within the Stupa after its construction. The dagoba has four frontispieces on each side made with bricks and limestone mortar.
The dagoba was once named Ruwanweli stupa, it however has similarities to the Ruwanveli Maha Seya in Anuradhapura. The stupa has a diameter of 170 meters and a height of 33 meters. However later the stupa was named as Rankoth Vehera meaning the “stupa with gold gilded pinnacle”.
Located in the center of a large raised square terrace with retaining walls on the sides the stupa was completely made out of clay bricks. The decorated square pavilion “Hatharas Kotuwa” holding the pinnacle of the stupa has engravements of the Sun on each side. Ruins of a stone platform can be seen near the stupa which was believed to be used by King Nissnaka Malla.
The four frontispieces (Vahalkada) were one of the engineering marvels of ancient Sri Lankan, it is believed that they balance off the massive pressure added on the ground by the stupa and help preserve the structure.