After defeating the Tamil king Elara, King Dutugemunu of Sri Lanka built this magnificant stupa. The stupa is known as Ruwanwelisaya, Mahathupa, Swarnamali Chaitya and Rathnamali Dagaba. The compound is supported by stone elephants, and the surrounding wall is decorated with 1,900 figures of elephants – 475 on each side. Successive kings added to the palace over the years.
Shining like a beacon in this ancient kingdom the Ruwanwelisaya is by far the most beautiful of the stupas in Anuradhapura. Built by the great Sinhalese king Dutugemunu in 2nd Century BC, he was unable to see the complete works of his mastery craftsmanship due to aging and illness, so he was shown a replica of the stupa in white cloth which was to resemble the Stupa after construction.