Mirisavetiya was built by the great King Dutugemunu who reigned during the time (161-137 BC) and united Sri Lanka under a single flag. More than 2100 years old, Mirisavetiya is one of the most ancient Dagaba.
It is believed that the great king Dutugemunu made many wishes here that have come true during his lifetime and also it was the first stupa was built by a great king. It is believed that King Dutugemunu had a scepter that contained a scared relic of the Buddha. While going to the tank Tissaweva, for a water festival, the King has planted the scepter in a certain place. When he came back, it is said that his men could not remove the scepter from the place. Witnessing the miracle, the King decided to build a dagaba enclosing the scepter. Thus was the creation of Mirisavetiya. The significance of the scepter is the fact that this was the king's "victory scepter" for his battles with Elara, and by building the Dagaba around it shows the tremendous dedication that the King had for Buddhism and his spirituality
Another theory is this. It is a custom among Buddhists whenever food is partaken some of it is symbolically offered to the holy monks. In Sinhala, Mirisavetiya Comes from Miris-Wetiya? Which means a pod of Chili? It is rumored that the King once forgot to offer a pod of chili to the Monks before eating. As a token of apology, it is said that the King named the Dagaba
King Dutugemunu built it as a Dagoba of the "Maha Vihara" fraternity but as the monks started living there, it sees that Mirisavetiya developed as a separate monastery. However it is believed that it would have functioned as a monastery belonging to the Maha Vihara Fraternity. Several Kings, at different intervals made renovations to the Dagaba. Among them are King Gajabahu 1 (112-134 AC), and King Voharika Tissa (214-236 AC).King Gajabahu 1: Put a new coating on Mirisavetiya King Voharika Tissa: Restored the umbrella of the Dagoba and rebuilt a wall around the Dagaba. The stupa and other buildings needed restoration after the Chola invasion and it is said that King Kassapa V (914-923 AC) did the restoration. King Kassapa V also is said to have built a massive mansion called "The Chandana Prasada", adjoining the Temple to house the scared hair relic (kasha dathu), which was supposed to have been brought to Sri Lanka during the time of King Moggalana (495-513 AC) The Dagaba was again damaged by the recurrent Chola invasions and it is said that King Parakramabahu 1(1153-1186 AC) did a comprehensive restoration and built the stupa to a height of 120 feet. The last recorded renovations around that period were done by King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 AC).
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