Polonnaruwa Vatadage : The Stupa House (පොලොන්නරුව වටදාගෙය)

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This beautiful Stupa House (Vatadage) was built before the time of Nissanga Malla (1187-1196) but he has carried out major renovations on this building. So what you see today is probably his work.

The uniqueness of such buildings is that the Stupa is protected by a roof. Therefore Stupa’s in such buildings are small. Another beautiful “Vatadage” is situated in Madirigiriya few kilometers away from Polonnaruwa.

A detailed description of the overall “Stupaghara” or “Chethiyaghara” architecture including vatadages of Sri Lanka can be found here.

On the center is a small stupa and on the four sides, there are beautifully carved Buddha statues. These statues are different from what is normally found. The curly hair is not visible on the head. And the robe is also flat which is unusual. The roof has been supported by two rows of stone pillars around the Stupa. None of the pillars are visible today. But the pillars outside the walls are still intact.

Four sets of beautifully carved stone stairs lead the upper level from four sides. On the side of the staircase, some of the most beautiful guard stones and moonstones in this area can be seen. The guard stones on the eastern side of the temple are said to be the best guard stones of the Polonnaruwa era.

The moonstones in the Polonnaruwa era had undergone a major change compared to the Anuradhapura moonstones. The most visible is the disappearance of the bull in the carvings. (See Pancavasa with the moonstones for a brief description of moonstones in the Anuradhapura era.) Where the moonstones originally had four animals – the elephant, the horse, the lion, and the bull, now only three remain. Bull is the vehicle of God Shiva (according to Hindu beliefs) and is considered a holy animal by Hindus. Probably for this reason, it has been taken off the moonstone where everybody who enters the temple tramples. Instead, the bull has been placed on the side of the stairways at a higher elevation in some places.

Also See

Photos before restoration from www.imagesofceylon.com

Map of Polonnaruwa Vatadage

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 Vatadage

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 : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: See on Google map
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time : 2 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map

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