Damila Maha Seya (Demala Maha Seya) දෙමල මහා සෑය

The massive pesa walalu of the stupa

The massive pesa walalu of the stupa

Located on the Pollonanruwa ancient city complex, this gigantic uncompleted Stupa known as Damila Maha Seya (Demala Maha Seya) has been built by king Parakramabahu (1153-1186) using the labor of Tamil (Damila) prisoners brought from India when he attacked the Soli Kingdom in South India.

For some reason he has been unable to complete this and at a later stage a smaller Stupa has been built upon the uncompleted semi-spherical structure. Some believe that since this was built at two levels it was called “Demahal” (two storied) Seya which later became “Damila” Seya.

If he had been able to complete this Stupa, this would be 186 meters (570 feet) tall and would have been the largest Buddhist monument built by man. The circumference of this stupa is massive 650 meters (approx). It is also said that the king Parakramabahu wanted this monument to be seen from India , thus the planed the size accordingly. This area was once cleared, but recently it has been abandoned again by the authorities.

Damila Maha Seya (Demala Maha Seya) is rarely visited by the casual pilgrim mainly due the road leading to the stupa is in a highly dilapidated state and nothing much is left to see of the stupa. Only a 4 wheel drive can go on this road and sometimes even such vehicle may not be able go all the way. But the walk is about 50m and worth every step.

Today this massive stupa is only a large hill overgrown with trees. There is no indication of this hill being a stupa other than a part of 3 outer rings ( Pesa Walalu) of about 10m in length. Passing these rings there is a footpath leading to the top of the stupa. The climb is not that easy but worth the effort.

The flattened top of the Damila Maha Seya (Demala Maha Seya) stupa is also overgrown with huge trees and large enough to build a football ground. In the center is the smaller stupa probably built on a later date. It is possible to climb up to the smaller stupa too and have a breathtaking view of the entire area.

It is said that this statue was painted with pure gold and treasure hunters have burnt logs on the statue and melted the gold.

Third is a standing statue of Buddha. This has been disputed by some and think this is the statue of Ananda thero at the site of lord Buddha’s passing away. This 23 feet tall statue is thought to be done by a later king as the chronicles talk about only two statues in the seating position and one statue on the lying position which was done by King Parakramabahu (1153-1186).

Next and the last is a massive statue of Buddha passing way. This is 80 feet long. The ear lid falling along the body, One foot slightly behind the other (The toes are not positioned equally on the feet) are signs that this is not Lord Buddha resting but at his death.

Also See

Map of Damila Maha Seya (Demala Maha Seya) at Ancient Capital of  Polonnaruwa


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Driving Directions to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Route from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Though : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :220 km
Travel time : 4.5 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 City

Route 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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