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Ruins

Vessagiriya

  Province North Central
  District Anuradhapura
  Nearest Town Anuradhapura
  Period 250-210 BC
  Ruler King Devanampiyatissa

Introduction

Vessagiri, or Vesagiriya, is a series of stone rocks and caves that are part of the ruins of Anuradhapura, one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka. They are located about half a mile south of Isurumuniya, in a mountainous region. Above the caves are inscribed the names of donors written in Brahmi script.

It is believed that Vessagiriya in Anuradhapura is place where the first 500 Buddhist Bhikkhus in the country entered in to the Sasana. King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC) constructed and donated the caves in 3 BC to the Bhikkhus who came from all over the country to reside there and practice meditation. The complex comprises 65 caves which carry inscriptions written in Brahmi and are the oldest in Sri Lanka. Later other Kings also added many structures to this monastery which is spread over an area of 40 hectare.