Ambasthale Dagoba

sights / Religious

Lonely Planet review

The final steep stairway, lined with frangipani trees, leads to the place where Mahinda and the king met. The Ambasthale Dagoba is built over the spot where Mahinda stood. Nearby stands a statue of the king in the place where he stood. On the opposite side of the dagoba from the statue is a cloister and behind that, a large, white sitting Buddha statue . Stone pillars surround the dagoba and may once have been used to hold offerings (or if you believe the local theory, to support a wooden roof). You must remove your shoes and hat, and umbrellas aren’t allowed.

The name Ambasthale means ‘Mango Tree’ and refers to a riddle that Mahinda used to test the king’s intelligence.

Nearby is the Sela Chetiya , which has a stone rendering of the Buddha’s footprint. It’s surrounded by a railing festooned with prayer flags left by pilgrims, who have also scattered coins here.