Rankoth Vehera is the largest stupa in the city of Polonnaruwa. The vehera was built by Nissanka Malla of Polonnaruwa who ruled the country from 1187 to 1196. The Rankoth Vehera is built in the tradition of the stupas of the Anuradhapura Maha Vihara, which bears a resemblance to the Ruwanvelis, and even a stone inscription near the stupa identifies it as “Ruwanveli”. However, it was later known as the Rankoth Vehera and is still in use today.
The Rankoth Vehera is made entirely of brick and measures 550 feet (170 m) in diameter and 108 feet (33 m) in height. However, the reconstruction work of the later rulers changed the original shape of the stupa, especially its upper part, and the original height of the Rangkoth Vehera was estimated to be 200 feet (61 m). Despite this, it remains the fourth largest stupa in the country. The vehera has four large Valkadas, which are used to offer flowers and to support the weight of a stupa. These are also made of brick. The vehera is located in the middle of a large square terrace surrounded by a brick wall. There are four inclined entrances to the four main points of the terrace, and the sand roads lead to them. An inscription near one of the entrances states that King Nissanka Malla inspected and supervised the construction of the stupa. It is also said that he worshiped the stupa from a small platform on the edge of the terrace. Rankot Vehera is one of the most famous and respected stupas of the Polonnaruwa period.