Somawathie Chaitiya Sanctuary
The beautiful gleaming white Somawathie Chaitya stupa lies outside the main ruins of Polonnaruwa, being a revered feature of the wildlife sanctuary named after it nearly 20km north-east of the city.
The stupa is renowned for the precious Pinnacle Gem atop its spire, and there was huge consternation some years ago when it was found to be missing, feared stolen.
But it was later found in the surrounding undergrowth by anxious villagers, and corrosion caused by neglect brought about by the recently ended was blamed for the gem’s temporary displacement.
This ancient stupa was named after Princess Somawathi, wife of regional ruler Prince Abhaya and sister of King Kavantissa, and was built to enshrine the right tooth relic of the Buddha.