Arhath Sangamitta Therani brought forth the Southern Branch of the Sacred Sri Maha Bodhi to Lankadeepa from Buddha Gaya, under which the Siddhartha Bodhisathwa Attained Enlightenment. This was ceremoniously planted at the Mahamega Vanoudyana in Anuradhapura on the full moon day of the month of Unduwap (December) in the Buddhist year of 236 [306 year BC]. One of the saplings that sprang from this Bodhi Tree was gifted to King DevanamPiyatissa [Piyatissa the Second] by Arhath Mihindu Thera, and this sapling brought forth thirty-two other bo saplings and so forth.
The King who had embraced Buddhism with the advent of Arhath Mihindu Thera decided to plant these bo trees in various places for veneration in his kingdom. These Buddha trees are to be found in such diverse places as Yatagala, Isurumuniya, Dambulla, Mahiyanganaya, Muthiyanganaya, Kelaniya, Kataragama, Sithulpawwa, Maligavila, Buduruwagala ,Tissamaharamaya and Kalutara. Something very significant is that, who ever carried out the royal edict, chose places of scenic beauty, but none so majestic and splendorous as Yatagala.
The 2300-year-old Bo Tree at Yatagala was worshiped and venerated by generations of people who lived around the village of Yatagama. From time immemorial, this place of great scenic beauty and splendid environment always drew the attention of the monarchs who ruled the country. It is said that, King Parakrama Bahu the Second of the Dambadeniya Kingdom ordered his Minister Devapathiraja to build the 18 riyan reclining Buddha statue in the cave of the gigantic rock outcrop, which in fact has given the name “Yatagala“.
Archaeologists believe that the great granite boulders that stand guard around the Bo tree in elephantine stature, in fact a kind of rocky garden, are the reason why who ever planted this Sacred Bo Tree may have chosen this place for that purpose.