Korawakgala : Stone Balustrades of Ancient Sri Lanka (කොරවක්ගල)

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It is obvious that any elevated terrace requires a flight of steps to reach the surface level above. The steps of ancient buildings were individual stones cut in to shape. A pole or railing is required to hold and provide ease to the climb. Through the passage of time this rail would have developed into an abacus now known Korawakgala (also referred as “Makara Wingstone“) decorated with depictions of artistic stone carvings on it. This also provided the stability to the stone steps and stopped any erosion.

This front of most Buddhist buildings we see 3 common items. They are

  1. Moonstone (Sandakada Pahana)
  2. Guard stones (Mura Gal)
  3. Balustrades (Korawak Gal)

The “Korawakgala” lies on the sides of the steps leading to the door or the entrance of the building. This is sometimes called the “Makara Gala” (Dragon Stone) as this stone represent an imaginary animal. This animal, some times referred to as a dragon is made up of body parts of six animals. Each of this body part is the strongest feature of each animal. In addition to these, this imaginary animal is seen breathing a long flame of fire from the mouth.

  1. Trunk of the Elephant
  2. Jaws of the Crocodile
  3. Ears of the mouse (some call it the ears of the Monkey)
  4. The extruding teeth of the Wild boar
  5. The tail feathers of the Peacock
  6. Feet of a Lion

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