Burrows Pavilion (Stone Canopy) – බරෝස් මණ්ඩපය (ගල් වියන)

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– Entrance Pavilion of the Bodhighara with the 3rd Samadhi Statue –

This Stone Pavilion (Burrows Pavilion) is thought to be the entrance to the oldest Bodhighara in the Abayagiri Complex, where the Third Samadhi Statue lies. This canopy was restored by S. M. Burrows, the head of the Archeology Department from 1884–1885, hence the name. (Godakumbura, 1969)

It is said that when Burrows discovered the remains of the pavilion one of the granite columns which held the top granite bars was missing. He reports ;

While carrying out some mild excavations on the Outer Circular road near the “ stone canoe,” in November last, we had the good fortune to dig up a magnificent stone, nearly square, and weighing some four or five tons, with sunk paneled mouldings to a depth of 1 1/4 ft. As the stone had fallen on its face, the delicate lines of moulding proved to be almost as perfect as on the day they were carved. A little further search was rewarded by the discovery of two smaller stones ‘of similar design, which exactly fitted on to either side of the centre piece; and it was then evident that the trio had formed an oblong canopy over some statue, or perhaps over a throne. The pillars were discovered at some little distance from the canopy, at a depth of about four feet below the surface, and by degrees a series of oblong slabs were turned up, each bearing a bold fresco of peculiar design which ran along and were keyed into the upper rim of the canopy. Finally, the site of the building was found about two feet down. The subsidence of the ground had displaced some of its pavement stones, but the general shape and the measurements left no doubt of its identity. Further excavations revealed no less than three large stone “ sannasas,” one quite perfect, the other two more or less mutilated; and also a very perfect specimen of a yoga stone with twenty-five squares. (Ievers, 1899)

Finding this specific column proved to be a challenging task for Mr. Burrows. Nevertheless, he eventually discovered it and faced the issue of how to keep the granite top in place on the two columns. The Sinhalese laborers then informed him of their traditional method of moving heavy objects to high places. They suggested filling the gap between the two columns with earth, allowing the object to be rolled up and positioned on top. After that, all that was required was to remove the earth. Mr. Burrows took this idea on board and utilized this method to successfully restore the canopy.

To reach this site, you need to travel 350 meters to the west on the Watawandana Road from Abhayagiri Stupa and take the footpath towards the trees. It lies 250 meters south of the Ratna Prasada and 200 meters north of Eth Pokuna.


  • Ievers, R.W., 1899. Chapter II. In Manual of the North-Central Province, Ceylon. Colombo: G.J.A. Skeen, Govt. Printer.
  • Godakumbura, C., 1969. History of Archaeology in Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series Volume XIII, p.15.

Also See

Map of Burrows Pavilion (Stone Canopy)

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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 Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and through Kurunegala. Travelling from Puttalam, you will pass the scenic Wilpattu area. From Kurunegala, there are two main routes to Anuradhapura. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is through Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the most commonly used is the Kurunegala-Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo : 210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 223 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Narammala – Wariyapola – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :203 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel Time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map

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