Deegavapi, also spelt Dighavapi, is one of the Solosmasthana places, also spelt Solomathana. Solosmasthanas are 16 Sri Lankan sites visited by the Buddha. The list of 16 places is known since the 14th century. But seven of these Buddha visited places are already mentioned in Sri Lanka’s ancient Mahavamsa chronicle, Deegavapi being one of them. Deegavapi is the only Solosmasthana place in the Eastern Province. The Buddha is believed to have meditated here.
Deegavapi is unique in another respect, too: It’s the only place outside Anuradhapura with a giant dagoba from the early times of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. There are giant dagobas in Polonnaruwa, Dedigama and Yudaganawa, too, but all of them are from the Polonnaruwa period. It is not quite sure, whether the final full-size Deegavapi Chetiya is from the Polonnaruwa period or earlier. Anyway, it is the only giant stupa in the East of the island. And there can be no doubt that there was a stupa in Deegavapi already in the Anuradhapura period, maybe enlarged later on.
The Deegavapi Stupa (also called Chetiya or Dagoba) is ascribed to King Saddhatissa, who reigned in the second century BC. Saddhatissa was the younger brother and successor of Dutthagamani and seems to have been in charge of the Deegavapi area already before ascending the throne. In fact, Saddhatissa is the king who completed the largest Stupa of the Buddhist world built before Christ. The famous Ruwanweliseya Dagoba in Anuradhapura was initiated by King Dutthagamani, but he died before it was finalized. So it would come to no surprise if Saddhatissa erected a second giant dagoba in his original principality.
Inscriptions on golden sheets in the form of palm leafs, found in the 1980s, mention a king from the 2nd century AD as the builder of the stupa. This is no contradictions, since many stupas were enlarged or restored by later rulers, who then claimed to have built them.
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