Mahiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya which is located in Badulla District is regarded the first Stupa (Chethiya) constructed in Sri Lanka. This Stupa owns a proud history which dates back to the times of the Gautama Buddha. Holding its proud history, this Stupa shines in the right bank of the Mahaweli River, being a blessing to every citizen of the country. This is one of the prominent religious places among Solosmasthana (sixteen secret religious sites in Sri Lanka).
According to ancient chronicles, this Stupa is constructed at the historic place where Gautama Buddha first visited Sri Lanka and delivered his discourse to Yakka and Naga inhabitants in order to dissolve a struggle erupted between them (sitting cross legged in air) on a Duruthu Poya Day. It was nine months after the Gautama Buddha’s Enlightenment.
The Yakka chieftain Saman who is now considered a deity has attained the first stage of Nibbana which is Sothapanna after the discourse and later has asked a token from Gautama Buddha. As a result he has been given a handful amount of Buddha’s hair and later Chieftain Saman has constructed a Stupa enshrining Gautama Buddha’s hair. In addition after the Demise of Lord Buddha, His clavicle bone which has been collected from the funeral pyre has also been enshrined in the Stupa. With passage of time, many kings have further constructed this Stupa including King Dutugemunu. Reconstruction work of the Stupa has started in 1953 and ended in 1980, under the guidance of then Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake.