Abhayagiri Dagoba

sights / Religious

Abhayagiri Dagoba information

Anuradhapura , Sri Lanka
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Dating back to the 1st century BC, this colossal dagoba was once the ceremonial focus of a 5000-strong monastery. Originally over 100m high, it was one of the greatest structures in the ancient world, its scale only matched by the pyramids of Giza (and nearby Jetavanarama). Today, after several reconstructions, Abhayagiri Dagoba soars 75m above the forest floor. Visually, it's stunning, and your first glimpse of this brick monument (which is shielded by surrounding forest) through a gap in the trees is breathtaking.

The name means ‘Hill of Protection’ or ‘Fearless Hill’. The Saddarma Rathnawaliya scripture records that a statue of a golden bull containing relics of the Buddha was buried in the core of the stupa.

Abhayagiri Dagoba has some interesting bas-reliefs, including one near the western stairway of an elephant pulling up a tree. A large slab with a Buddha footprint can be seen on the northern side, and the eastern and western steps have unusual moonstones made from concentric stone slabs.