Ruwanweli Maha Seya as the locals say is one of the gems of Sri Lankan culture and heritage. This Stupa, which was built by King Dutugemunu, is known to be the biggest stupa of the Sri Lanka History with a height of 350 feet and 300 feet in diameter. This stupa is said to be one of the oldest and most revered sacred sites of the Buddhists next to Sri Mahabodhi.
As stated in the ‘datums,’ Ruwanveliseya, contains eight of the relics of Buddha, making the most sacred place among the Buddhists, next to the Temple of Tooth relics. This Stupa, which was built in the year 137 BC, was given many names such as; Rathnamali Chetiya, MahaThupa and Suwarnamaliseya; which all then translates to ‘sand of gems. The legends say the stupa derived its names due to the content of its invaluable treasures; gold, jewels, and silver.
The Steps is located in the central podium of the site, which is paved with smooth granite and it is said to have had a watadageyato protect the worshipers, but with time it has been destroyed. As stated in Thupawamsa, the land in which the Swarnamalimaha Chethiya was built, was said to have the sacred touch of four Buddhas; Gauthama, Kashyapa, KonagamaandKakusanda. Hence it could be seen that in the shrine, there are four Buddha statues of the several Buddhas.
Furthermore, this stupa is built as a tribute to the Maithree Bodhisathva (the Buddha to come), King Dutugemunu, King Elara and the queen mother, ViharaMaha Devi.
The best time to visit the Maha Seya is during the full moon poya days, as the whole temple compound is filled with flowers and scented air; also the banaandpirith (talismans), will bring tranquility to mind. Even if you are not a Buddhist devotee it is a must visit place to spend more hours to calm your inner spirit of your life.