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apply to Yapahu-nuwara, which is neither near the river nor is the boundary of the district.
The road running from the city in the direction of Dambadeniya is said to have crossed the Daeduru-oya by means of a bridge on wooden posts set in sockets cut in the rock in the bed of the river. That capital was 24 miles away in a direct line; and if, as before, one-tenth be added, we get about 27 miles as the probable length of the path to it—or a little over three yōjanas.
In any case, it is difficult to see how the distance given in the history is to be reconciled with the facts; but some of the other measurements supplied by later writers are also widely wrong. For instance, in the Mahāvansa (ii, p. 309) it is stated that Polannaruwa is five yōjanas from Dambadeniya, while the distance in a straight line is about 71 miles, or by the present road, which is very devious, 86 miles. The relics were taken there in a procession like that to Siriwaḍḍhana-nuwara, during the reign of the same king.
Possibly the word yojana was written instead of gawuwa, which commonly means about four miles. If the road was more devious than usual its length would be a little less than eight gawuwas. It is to be noted that in the translation of the Mahāvansa published by Upham in 1833, the distance of Siriwaḍḍhana-nuwara from Dambadeniya is not mentioned; apparently it was not in his manuscript.
The Mahavansa relates (ii, p. 288) how, after causing the road to be levelled 'like the face of a drum' and covered with sand, the king, followed by the sound of the five instruments of music, and forming a procession of great magnificence, carried the relics [the Tooth-relic and the Alms' Bowl of Buddha] by stages along the decorated highway into the city of Siriwaḍdhana, and placed them on the seat that was prepared for Buddha in the spacious ornamented hall that was built in the middle of the wihara.' The chief quality of the music was its loudness; it is described as being like a blast proceeding from the sea of his merits, which sufficed to drown the roar of the ocean and put to shame the thunder of the clouds.'
THE EARLIEST DAGABAS
HEN the ancient Egyptian desired to give the earthen mound or tumulus that was raised over the dead a form that would permanently guard his remains he designed a four-sided pyramid of stone or brick. In the East the structure took the form of a solid dome of stone or brick, called in Ceylon a Waehaera, Sāēya, Dāgaba (relic-chamber), Thupa, or Cetiya, and in India Caitya or Sthūpa (tope). In Ceylon two of the intermediate stages between the plain earthen mound and the solid stone or brick structure have survived, one being in the form of an earthen mound enclosed in a hemispherical shell of brickwork, and the other being a wide cone of brick. Both these forms are comparatively rare.
Whether the people of the East borrowed the idea of the dome-shaped building from the Phoenicians it is impossible to say; there is at least a great probability that they did so, since before such dagabas or sthūpas were constructed in India and Ceylon Phoenician tombs were already in existence of a nearly similar design, consisting of a segment of a hemisphere resting on vertical-sided cylinders of larger diameter. As they borrowed the alphabet from the Semites they might equally adopt this form of durable tomb, seeing that many other 'motives' in the art of the East are derived from those of the Euphrates valley and Phoenicia. In Ceylon, at all events, the majority of the details used in early decorative art can be traced to those countries. That such copying of the shape of the tomb took place is rendered the more probable by the fact that in Ceylon the dome, in all the types of the dāgaba, was
almost invariably raised from the ground on one or more basal cylinders, as in Phoenicia. It was from India, in the third century B.C., that the idea of the dagaba was first directly borrowed in Ceylon, and the earliest ones of which we have any record were constructed during the reign of the famous Indian Emperor Aśōka.
Having once adopted this type of relic-tomb the constructive and artistic genius of the Sinhalese race proceeded in the following century to develop the design to an extent not found elsewhere. The most important examples erected in Ceylon are comparable with the greatest pyramids of Egypt. By some persons this comparison is looked upon as inappropriate, but as a matter of fact the two largest dāgabas at Anurādhapura surpass in contents, and three dagabas exceeded in height, all but the two enormous pyramids of Khufu and Khafrā, at Gizeh.
The minor structures of this class are found throughout the whole country, and must have eventually amounted to thousands. The present account deals only with the earliest works which can be identified, regarding some of which no measurements are yet available.
THE ANURADHAPURA DĀGABAS.
Putting aside the mythical story of the building of a small dāgaba at Mahiyangana, in Eastern Ceylon, during the lifetime of the last Buddha, in order to enshrine a handful of his hair, the first historical notice of the erection of this kind of relic-tomb in Ceylon belongs to the reign of Dēvānampiya Tissa (245 B.C.), who is recorded to have built two, the Thūpārāma Dāgaba and the Pathama Cētiya, at his capital, Anuradhapura, and apparently one at Mihintale, a rocky hill eight miles away, besides other unnamed small ones elsewhere. The first and last of these three are still in existence, but the Pathama Cētiya has not been found, and therefore it cannot have been a large building. Of the two which are known,
the first to be erected was the Thūpārāma dagaba, in about 244 B.C. The others must have been built within the next ten or fifteen years.
The Thūpārāma dagaba was formed in order to enshrine two relics of Buddha, his right collar-bone (dakkhinakkhaka) and the plate off which he was accustomed to eat his food. Its original shape is not recorded; but at the early date at which it was constructed it is unlikely to have differed from that of the dagaba built in the same reign at Mihintale, which is a hemisphere resting upon three very short wider cylinders that form basal ledges round it. Like it, the Thūpārāma dāgaba would have a square block of brickwork, now termed a' tee,' an expression borrowed from the Burmese, on the top of the dome, and a spire rising out of a short cylinder set on this. Unlike other works of the same character, it is not stated to have been provided with a terminal member in
the shape of a 'chatta,' or solid umbrella, on the summit of the spire.
Around its base was formed a circular paved court-yard 164 feet 6 inches in diameter,1 raised II feet 4 inches above the adjoining ground, the ascent to this being made by two sets of stone steps on the east and west sides, each consisting of two flights. This enclosure is supported by a brick retaining wall, which has evidently been reconstructed since its erection, and in which bricks of the earliest type are not found. Extremely graceful slender stone pillars with ornamental capitals, but no bases, were fixed in the court-yard in four concentric circles round the dagaba.
It is recorded that various later kings, by way of showing their piety, caused costly decorated network coverings to be placed on the dome. It is uncertain if a roof was ever built over the dagaba, nor is there any actual record of such a construction, although artists of the eighteenth century, if not earlier ones, have represented one in their wall-paintings in various wihāras. This must remain a doubtful point, as it is mentioned in the histories that two other dagabas at Anuradhapura, of nearly the same size, were sheltered by roofs erected over them, as well as a few dagabas in other parts of the island. A work containing relics of such importance as those deposited in the Thūpārāma dāgaba would be likely to receive the same protection.
The chamber in which the relics of Buddha were placed was formed in the upper part of the dome, and according to the account of it appears to have been a small one. No description of its original internal arrangement or decorations has been preserved.
1 For almost all the dimensions of the Anuradhapura dāgabas I am indebted to Mr. J. G. Smither's valuable work on them entitled Architectural Remains, Anuradhapura. It was prepared by order of the Ceylon Government, Mr. Smither being then the Government Architect.
* The size of the larger bricks appears to belong to a late date in the first century B.C. The wall must have been completely rebuilt by one of the first two Parakrama-Bāhus, as there are 2-inch bricks in the mouldings at its base. It has half octagonal pilasters, 7 inches wide and 8 feet 9 inches apart.