Kiri Vehera at Polonnaruwa (කිරි වෙහෙර)

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This large stupa known as the Kiri Vehera of Polonnaruwa, lying north of Lankathilaka Pilima Ge is said to be built by a queen of King Parakramabahu (1153-1186) called “Subadra”. The original name of this has been “Rupavathi Stupa” and this too is a part of Alahana Privena and stands 80 feet in height today.

This stupa is also the second biggest stupa in Polonnaruwa today, the largest being the Rankoth Vehera also a part of the ancient Alahana Pirivena. Also, it is the only stupa to survive the 900 years of forces of nature and still is in the original condition.

These two massive stupas were well preserved considering their age when they were re-discovered. Therefore these gave a glimpse of the components of a stupa during the latter part of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa era.

According to an article written by Paranavithana, the stupa had a well-preserved cylinder above the Hathras Kotuwa measuring 9 feet 6 inches in diameter and 7 feet 8 inches in height. The bases of these cylinders are moulded and its cylindrical surfaces are equally divided into eight parts with pilasters. Between the pilasters are figures of deities with hands in the attitude of adoration. Therefore this cylindrical component which lies between the Hatharas Kotuwa and the Koth Kerella is called Devatha Kotuwa, meaning ‘Enclosure of Deities’. According to him Kiri Vehera is one of the best preserved Devatha Kotuwa and had 16 reliefs telamons supporting the pseudo-entablature which was badly weathered. Unfortunately, these relief sculptures of the deities are not seen on the Stupa today.

There are many restored smaller stupas around Kiri Vehera. These have been identified as burial chambers of high priests and royals. Many of these including Kiri Vehera stupa have been attacked by treasure hunters and their valuables looted.

The two identical stupas south of the Lankathilaka is thought to be built upon the remains of a king and a queen.

Photos before restoration from www.imagesofceylon.com

References

  • Paranavitana, S., 1947. Memoirs Of The Archaeological Survey of Ceylon – Volume V – The Stupa In Ceylon. Colombo: The Ceylon Government Press.

Also See

Map of Kiri Vehera at Ancient Capital of  Polonnaruwa

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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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 the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Through : Central Highway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :230 km
Travel Time : 4.45 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Matale – Dambulla – Habarana
Distance : 140 km
Travel Time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance : 103 km
Travel Time : 2 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Though : Chenkaladi – Valachchena
Distance : 97 km
Travel Time : 2 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map

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