Pubbārāma monastery, (in) Anuradhapura, North Central Province, SL

Raw data

A monastery in Ceylon, built by Sena I. and his consort Sangha (Cv.l.69; see also Cv.Trs.i.144, n. 4). Parakkamabahu I. is said to have restored it. SadS. 58.

[in Anuradhapura…]
King Mahasena (275-310 B.C.E.) built the Jetavanaramaya located in between the Maha Vihara and the Abhayagiri Monasteries. In the suburbs of the city Buddhists constructed major monasteries with their gigantic stupas including the Maha Thupa, the Bodhi Tree and Thuparama of the Maha Vihara stood to the south of the city. The Abhayagiri to the north, the Pubbarama to the east [of the ancient city - tmc] , the Tanovana to the north-west and the Jetavanaramaya to the south-east.

"The Pubbarama (27) - Two miles north of the new town, the Jaffna Road cuts across the outside wall of the Pabbarama monastery (27). A secondary road branches to the right and takes you to the northwest corner of the central platform. This platform is a square raised terrace and on it are the four essential features of the ‘outer monasteries’ designed; an image house, a chapter house, a Dagabha and a Bodhi tree shrine. Unlike the rest of the monastery, which is laid out in a perfectly square plane, these buildings are placed in slightly eccentric positions, which have been worked out according to a mystical (tantric) formulary. Around the platform in a mathematically precise plan, are 32 living units, and around these runs a moat, crossed by drawbridges at the four cardinal points. Outside the moat, to the south, lies and excellently preserved hot water bath and the remains of a refectory buildings. The whole complex was surrounded by an outer wall. By the entrance to the image house on the platform are Dragon, with well-executed lions."

"At the Jaffna junction we take the left turn, cross the railway tract and at the clock tower take the right turn entering the Saliyapura road (Jaffna road). This road meets the A 9 at Rambawe. The straight road at the clock tower takes you to the sacred city. The wide, well maintained Saliyapura road gives us the pleasure of a delightful drive. As we pass the railway tract once again close to the turn to the Hatharaswela Maha Vidyalaya, we see the majestic parkland of the Pubbarama Monastery Complex. Pillaged and sacked on numerous occasions this site extending up to the opposite of the Faculty of Agriculture, Rajarata University at Puliyankulama. The site contains extensive ruins of a pabbata vihare with unique features. The main structure, the Bodhigara, is surrounded by thirty two kutis in mathematical precision. Unlike the rest of the monastery which is laid out in a square plan these buildings are in an eccentric position which is thought to be deliberately constructed according to a mystical (Tantric) formula. The complex is surrounded by a moat, crossed by draw bridges at four cardinal points. Outside the moat on the southern side are an excellently preserved hot-water bath and the remains of a refectory." Edirisinghe (2010)
Input by: tmciolek, Feb 24 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 08 Jul 2014

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Pubbarama monastery, Sri Lanka.

General location of the Pubbarama monastery, Sri Lanka.
Lat 8.3554 Long 80.4297
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20SL)&ll=8.3554,80.4297&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Sri Lanka:North Central Province

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 8.3554 Long 80.4297 - based on the visual identification in satellite imagery of the site referred to in (Edirisinghe 2010) and marked on maps as "Archaeological Reserve" - tmciolek, 8 Sep 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Theravada

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • 300 BCE

MBM chrono-tag <=0200 - tmciolek 08 Jul 2014
<=0200 dated-e

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • [missing data]

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data].

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Inscriptional, chronicles, archaeological

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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