Badda Sema Malakaya at Ancient Capital of Polonnaruwa – බද්ධ සීමා මාලකය

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Badda Sema Malakaya at Ancient Capital of  Polonnaruwa
Badda Sema Malakaya at Ancient Capital of Polonnaruwa

If you have been to Polonnaruwa, you would know what a rush it is. So many ruins cramped together. When you purchase the entrance ticket to see the ruins, typically the temptation is to see all that is to be seen and this in fact is the folly of it all. On many of our previous visits we were guilty of the same crime – for it is indeed a crime not to see, visualize and drink deeply of the splendor of our ancients. In the hot sun we would pant from one ruined building to another only taking time to quench our thirst, and at the end of the day tramp back to our hotel to relax.

However, changing our modus operandi this time when we visited Polonnaruwa we were determined to visit, study and relax over just one of the many groups of ruins. So after a holiday lunch (which means you have license to over eat), and an afternoon siesta (luxury) and a fine cup of tea (wake up call), we made our way to the Alahana Pirivena Monastery site around 5.00 pm.

Alahana Pirivena is the great monastic complex founded by Parakramabahu 1 (1153-1186), said to be built on a cremation ground, hence the name Alahana Pirivena.

This is part of Alahana Privena. According to the chronicle “Chulawansa”, this has been a 12 storied building. This is 106×113 feet in size and originally had 108 stone pillars. Red colour painting can be still seen on some of the walls of this building.

The Badda Sema Malakaya, also known as the Buddha Seema Pasada, was built on the highest platform at the Alahena Pirivena. The chapter house was the building from which the rules of the Sangha or the Order of the Buddhist monks was enforced. After King Parakramabahu united all Buddhist monks under one sect, the Baddhasima Pasada was built to ensure that these regulations were maintained.

The monks met once a fortnight, on the full moon and new moon days, at the chapter house. They all sat together on the ground with the chief monk seated on a raised platform or mandapaya and recited the rules of the Order.

On the top of the terrace, pillars are set around the building. They served the purpose of ‘sima’ or boundary stones which indicated the limits of the sacred area; their exact positions have been noted down in the Chronicles.

The building has vaulted, triangular windows, typical of the architecture of the Polonnaruwa era. The painted plaster could still be seen on some inside walls.

According to the Chronicles, the building was originally 12 stories high and the top floors were used by monks as living quarters. A cave on the eastern side of the chapter house contains small seated Buddha images carved from solid rock.

Also See

Map of Badda Sema Malakaya at Ancient Capital of  Polonnaruwa

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Driving Directions to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

The modern town of Polonnaruwa is also known as New Town, and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Central Highway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :226 km
Travel time : 4.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Matale – Dambulla – Habarana
Distance from Colombo : 145 km
Travel time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance from colombo : 105 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Chenkaladi – Valachchena
Distance from colombo :100 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map


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