Six-Hundred Metres and One-Hundred and Thirty-Three Years Apart
The 122m tall Jetawanaramaya, with the 92m Ruwanwelisaya in the distance. Built between 301 and 273 BC, the Jetawanaramaya is the largest and tallest stupa in the ancient world and, arguably the tallest non-pyramidal structure. The other contender is the Pharos Lighthouse which once stood in Alexandria and is variously described as between 115m and 150m tall. To get an impression of the Jetawanaramaya’s sheer size, the square structure at its top — the hathares kotuwa — could accommodate twelve Ashok Leyland buses parked end to end around its diameter. The more famous Ruwanwelisaya, situated 600m away is relatively newer, built in 140 BC. Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines. My story, The First Kingdom of Lanka, ran in the February 2017 issue.