Yatala Dalada Wehera

Yatala Dalada Wehera


Magama in the south is an important city as old as the historical kingdom of Anuradhapura. Like Rajarata, Ruhuna has many shrines of historical value built by ancient kings. The Yatala wehera which is considered to be the first dagoba in Ruhuna is one such ancient shrine.

Route: Yatala wehera can be seen near the road between Debarawewa Junction and Akurugoda Junction on the Hambantota-Kataragama Road. This site of archaeological value was later torn apart during the construction of the highway.

The Yatala wehera, the Tissamaharama Stupa and the Sandagiriya Stupa are just as important and are slightly smaller than the two dagobas. Even so, it is said that this is the first dagoba in Ruhuna.

History explains: That the Yatala wehera was built in the second century BC. According to the inscriptions, this stupa is known as the 'Temple of the Tooth'. The historical story confirms that the beloved pregnant queen of the young King Mahanaga gave birth to a son at this place and named the infant prince 'Yatalatissa' and built a dagoba there in memory of the prince.

'Yatala' is the name of the village. 'Tissa' is the name given to the prince. Accordingly it was called 'Yatala Tissa'. It is possible that the great stupa was named after a prince because of the power of the privileges of the royal family. But the veneration of this stupa as a monument to a sacred Buddhist heritage that transcends that power should be highly appreciated. It is said that the Yatala wehera was able to defend the Tooth Relic due to hostile invasions.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the Yatala wehera was also known as the 'Dalada Dagaba' as the Tooth Relic was brought from Rajarata to Ruhuna at a time when Rajarata was under threat from the enemy.

The present Yatalatissa Stupa is a reconstruction of a stupa which was in ruins the day before. However, ancient ruins that provide data on the existence of a temple complex in this area can still be seen today.


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