Points of Interest - Anuradhapura

Rathna Prasadaya

Rathna Prasadaya was a skyscraper built by King Kanittha Tissa who ruled Ceylon from 167 to 186 AD. Mihindu II and Mihindu IV renovated the building during the 8th and 10th centuries. The bhikkhus of the Tapovana belonging to the Pansakulika sect resided here. Beautiful guard stones of the Abhayagiri Viharaya were found here.The most beautiful and perfect guardstone of the Anuradhapura era which stands today can be seen here.

Most of the 8th-century Ratnaprasada or 'Jewel Palace' lies in ruins today, though it was originally seven storeys high with a graceful, tiered roof. The entrance is marked by a beautifully carved muragala (guardstone), which depicts the Cobra King holding a vase of abundance and a flowering branch, with a dwarf attendant at his feet and his head framed by a cobra hood.

The monks of Ratnaprasada monastery often gave sanctuary to people in trouble with the authorities, and this led to a major conflict with the king. When court officials at odds with the king took sanctuary in the Ratnaprasada, the king sent his supporters to capture and execute them. The monks, disgusted at this invasion of a sacred place, departed en masse. The general populace, equally disgusted, besieged the Ratnaprasada, captured and executed the king’s supporters and forced the king to apologise to the departed monks in order to bring the monks back to the city and restore peace. To the south of the Ratnaprasada is the Lankarama, a 1st-century-BC dagoba.

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