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Thanthirimale Temple

  Province North Central
  District Anuradhapura
  Nearest Town Anuradhapura
  Period -
  Ruler -


Thanthirimale is an old village in the Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka. It is located approximately 40km north west of the Anuradhapura city.

In the 3rd century BC Thanthirimale was known as Thiwakka Bamunugama after the local ruler Thiwakka who had the privilege of hosting the royal procession carrying the sacred Bodhi sapling brought to the island by Buddhist nun Sanghamitta. As a token of appreciation a shoot of the Bo sapling was given to Thanthirimale and can still be seen there today.

Thanthirimale is also well known for its Buddha statues. In the northern slope of the rock is carved the reclining Buddha statue that is 45 feet long.

The Samadhi statue carved in a cave is 2.16 metres high. The statue is decorated with the images of two lions and two deities. The stone seat of the Buddha is also ornamented with lion images. Stone pillars in front indicate a structure like a roof, made to cover the statue. There are four roughly marked images on either side of the statue. Experts believe that these unfinished images indicate that the artist had to abandon the task suddenly.


Thanthirimale is known for the ancient Buddhist temple situated in a nearby rock covered area. The temple and the junction appears to be most important centre in the village. This temple has historical value. When the Sri Maha Bodhi was brought from India to Sri Lanka, one night along the way the pot containing the sapling was kept at Thantheremale. It is believed that there was one branch separately grew from the pot, was planted at that village to remember the incident. Hence, some believe that this may be the first Sri Maha Bhodi plant in Sri Lanka. The Bo Tree is placed on top of large stony layer which may protect the tree up to now.

This place was unidentified till the beginning of this 19th century and in 1960s the temple was reestablished by Buddhist monks. The temple and surrounding area are full of ruins, including two stone statues and several stone ponds. There is an archaeological museum at Thanthirimale.

The Reclining Buddha carved on the northern slope of the Thanthirimale rock.