Ancient Origins and Religious Significance
Once considered to be the fifth largest monument in the world, the Ruwanveliseya is another ancient stupa that can narrate endless tales of the ancient Kingdom of Anuradhapura. Built by King Dutugemunu in the 1st century BC to commemorate the unification of the entire country after overthrowing the Cholas, this UNESCO World Heritage Site also acts as a place of pilgrimage too. The reason for the stupa to become a sacred place of pilgrimage to many devout Buddhists is the fact that it serves as a part of Solosmasthana and the Atamasthana (The 16 and 8 sacred places the Lord Buddha visited when he arrived to the island).
One of the unique features of this stupa is its dome, as it is an artistic representation of the values and teachings of Buddhism, which eventually leads to the path to enlightenment. The facets above the dome showcase the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the concentric circles, on the other hand, indicate the Noble Eightfold Middle Path. The large crystal at the pinnacle represents the ultimate goal of enlightenment. As a result, the design of the stupa is considered to be just one of the many stupas that espouse the true and just values of the ancient religion.