Sri Lanka has a population of around 22 million (2020) and is a multinational state, home to diverse cultures, languages, and ethnicities. The Sinhalese are the majority of the nation's population. The Tamils, who are a large minority group, have also played an influential role in the island's history. Other long established groups include the Moors, the Burghers, the Malays, the Chinese, and the indigenous Vedda.
The Ruwanweli Maha Seya, also known as the Mahathupa (the Great Thupa) is a stupa (a hemispherical structure containing relics) in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Two quarts or one Dona of the Buddha's relics are enshrined in the stupa, making it the largest collection of his relics anywhere. It was built by Sinhalese King Dutugemunu in c. 140 B.C., who became king of Sri Lanka after a war in which the Chola King Elāra (Ellalan) was defeated. It is also known as Swarnamali Seya, Svaṇṇamāli Mahaceti (in Pali) and Rathnamali Seya.
This is one of the "Solosmasthana" (the 16 places of veneration) and the "Atamasthana" (the 8 places of veneration). The stupa is one of the world's tallest ancient monuments, standing at 103 m (338 ft) and with a circumference of 290 m (951 ft).
The original stupa had been about 55 m (180 ft) in height and was renovated by many kings. The Kaunghmudaw Pagoda in Sagaing, Myanmar is modelled after this stupa The Mahavamsa contains a detailed account on the construction and the opening ceremony of the stupa. (Full article...)
Image 2Sri Lanka's most widely known export, Ceylon tea, which ISO considers the cleanest tea in the world in terms of pesticide residues. Sri Lanka is also the world's 2nd largest exporter of tea. (from Sri Lanka)
Image 13The Sigiriya ("Lion Rock"), a rock fortress and city, built by King Kashyapa (477–495 CE) as a new more defensible capital. It was also used as a Buddhist monastery after the capital was moved back to Anuradhapura. (from Sri Lanka)
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