Replete with inscriptions and facets of an ancient monastery to call by, Vessagiriya provides for moving scenes where time can be spent exploring a chapter of Sri Lanka’s heritage.
Built during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa (307 to 267 BC), Vessagiriya is found in Sri Lanka’s north-central province within the city of Anuradhapura. The site which is believed to be where the Issarasamana Vihara once stood, currently contains evidence of three rock clusters that are encircled by ruins of the monastery itself. Thus, history buffs yearning for a tour through Anuradhapura will do well to venture out to Vessagiriya which retains a special place owing to a number of reasons.
Without a doubt, the 23 caves where Buddhist monks once spent time in deep meditation are its major draw. This is largely in part to the detailed inscriptions that beautify these caves which pay tribute to every donor who assisted the monks during times of want.
Paging through the chronicle of the Mahavamsa, one will soon discover an account that portrays Vessagiriya as being the 9th in order of description amongst the numerous temples that were constructed by King Devanampiyatissa. Interestingly, the ancient monastery of Vessagiriya in Anuradhapura which translates to the “rock shelter of the commoners” was thus called after some 500 commoners or ‘Vaisyas’ who sought refuge here in the aftermath of being ordained as monks by Mahinda Thera. Also, consider reading through online sources such as Truly Sri Lanka which sheds light on some of the country’s most hallowed destinations and tourist attractions.