Siva Devale No. 2 of Polonnaruwa Kingdom (ශිව දේවාලය අංක 2)

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This Siva Kovil (devalaya) is considered to be one of the oldest buildings of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom to survive the ravages of time.  This Siva kovil is believed to have been built by Cola invaders (10th century) who initially established their capital in Polonnaruwa.

The Cola occupation of the country during the period 1017-1070 CE saw the establishment of many shrines dedicated to the worship of godheads of the Hindu Pantheon. Polonnaruwa having been their centre of administration for several decades, most of these shrines were founded within the capital itself.

At least fourteen ruined monuments of this category were discovered by Bell during the first decade of the twentieth century. Recent excavations have exposed one more brick built devales including a one in the Alahana Parivena complex. It is possible that some of these monuments were founded in the thirteenth century when yet another wave of invasion took place under Magha of Kaliga which ultimately saw the fall of the Polonnaruwa kingdom.

This building is completely built out of dressed granite finely laid with perfect precision. This pleasing little stone-ruined kovil is characteristic of Dravidian architecture and is less elaborate and impressive than the better-known Siva Devale No. I but is in far better status of preservation. It still retains its dome intact. Due to this reason, this is one of the well-preserved artefacts of the ancient kingdom.

The building conforms to the general plan of the South Indian style, consisting of the garbhagraha, antarala and ardhamandapa. As in Siva Devale No. 1, it possesses an additional mandapa in front though very small. The dome is octagonal its upapitha is heavily molded and the walls are niched, each capped by a pronounced cornice ornamented with a caitya-window (kudu) motif.

On to wall of this kovil, an inscription has been found and reads “Vanavan – Ma Devi – Eshwaram – Udeyiyar” meaning that this kovil is built in memory of the queen of Mahamaharaja, the king of Soli kingdom (Senevirathne, 1998).

The whole monument rises in stepped pyramidal form in three tiers topped by the octagonal dome. The dome possibly was capped by the ‘kalasa‘ which no longer exists. The full height of the vimana from the ground stands at 31ft 9in. The first roof was ornamented with domed cells (panjaras).

The interior of the garbhagraha is 9ft 4 in square and rises to a height of 11ft 8in in hollow pyramidal form, having 23 courses of stone, which overlap one another at the four sides and are finally united by a single capstone at a height of 17 ft4 in The inner chamber as usual, once contained the linga as the symbol of worship.

Hindu Shrines Discovered in the Ancient Polonnaruwa Kingdom

  1. Siva Kovil No. 1
  2. Siva Kovil No. 2
  3. Siva Kovil No. 3
  4. Siva Kovil No. 4
  5. Siva Kovil No. 5 (Naipena Viharaya)
  6. Siva Kovil No. 7
  7. Vishnu Kovil No. 2
  8. Vishnu Kovil No. 3
  9. Vishnu Kovil No. 4 (Naipena Viharaya)
  10. Ganesh Kovil

References

  1. Silva, R. et al. (2007) History and Archaeology of Sri Lanka Volume II – The Art and Archaeology of Sri Lanka I – . Padukka, Sri Lanka: Central Cultural Fund.
  2. සෙනෙවිරත්න අනුරාධ (1998) පොලොන්නරුව : මද්‍ය කාලීන ලක්දිව අග නගරය . කොළඹ 7, Sri Lanka: පුරාවිද්‍යා දෙපාර්තුමේන්තුව .
  3. “Annual Report : Archaeological Survey” (1909) Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 1908, 21(61), pp. 278–285.
  4. Bell, H.C.P. (1911) Archaeological Survey of Ceylon – North Central, Central and Northern Provinces – Annual Report – 1907. Colombo: H. C. Cottle, Government Printer.

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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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