Abhayagiri Vihara monastery that sheltered 5000 monks was once the seat of knowledge. It was a thriving centre of Buddhist philosophies that attracted scholars from all over the world. This monastery has a number of monastic buildings and stupas of which Abhayagiri dagoba is one. This dagoba, standing at a height of nearly 75 metres, is the second largest brick-built stupa in the country. It was built by King Valagamba in 2nd century BC and renovated by Parakramabahu in the 12th century AD. Saddarma Ratgnawaliya scripture has it that a statue of bull containing the relics of Buddha was buried in this dagoba. It is also believed that the Stupa is built over the footprints of Lord Buddha. The dagoba has four entrances on four sides and these are decorated with the fine sculptures of animals.