Considered to be the oldest stupa in the country and, arguably, the oldest in the world, the Thuparama Stupa in Anuradhapura, has origins that go all the way back to the 3rd century BC, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. However, there is also an inscription to claim that the place of worship was built during the reign of King Gajabahu in the 2nd century AD. Located in the Mahamewnava Gardens of Anuradhapura, the walls of the stupa are steeped in many tales and elements that are of great interest to the history buff. The original design of the stupa was one that resembled that of a ‘heap-of-paddy-rice’, however, due to the many invasions from India and Europe, the original temple was looted and destroyed, and was only fully restored in the 19th century, in the form of the typical bell shape that you would normally see in any stupa.
The stupa also houses the right collarbone of the Lord Buddha, making it an important place of worship to any devout Buddhist. Some suggest that the pillars that surround the complex was once the foundation of a wooden structure (watadage) that roofed the entire stupa from the elements, similar to that of what you can witness in the Polonnaruwa Vatadage.