The sacred site was visited by Lord Buddha during the last visit to Sir Lanka by Gauthama Buddha 8 years after Enlightenment. The temple originally built in 5th century BC, was rebuilt by Kings Vijayabahu III, (1232-1236) and King Parakrama Bahu II (1236-1270) but destroyed by the Portuguese in 1510. In 1769 the temple was reconstructed during King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe era. The site is decorated with paintings of the Kandyan period and a reclining Buddha image can be seen in the Image house.
The Stupa or Dageba contains a gem studded chair that Lord Buddha used for his sermons.