Thuparama Image House of the Polonnaruwa Ancient Kingdom (ථූපාරාම පිළිම ගෙය)

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The Thuparama Image House at the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa is one of the few buildings where you can see a roof completely made out of bricks. These types of buildings are called “Gedige” (vaulted roof) type and almost the whole building including the roof has survived over 900 years miraculously. According to Paranavithana, this is the best-preserved example of a Gedi-Ge structures country. The roof is semi-cylindrical in shape.

There are 3 Gedige-type buildings in the old city of Polonnaruwa. The other 2 are the Lankathilaka Image House and the Thivanka PilimaGe. These buildings with vaulted roofs seem to have been ornamented with mezzo relief of Ganas, facades of buildings (Vimana), pilasters and figures of deities, and interior walls painted with Jataka stories. With the level of preservation at the Thivanka PilimaGe, this architecture is quite clear.

The original name of this image house is not known; therefore the builder of this is also unknown. It is thought that this was built by a minister of King Parakramabahu (1153-1186) called Mahinda to house the tooth relic. Another belief is that this was built by king Vijayabahu I (1070-1110).

The walls of this building are about 7 feet (2 meters) thick thus the interior of the shrine is small in comparison to the outward size of the building. A large seating Buddha statue has been placed inside the building. Nothing remains of this statue today. It is said that the eyes of this Buddha statue were embedded with precious stones and the windows were designed in such a manner the sunlight would reflect on these stones and light the image house.

References

  • Paranavitana, S., 1950. Guide to Polonnaruva. Colombo: Government Press.

Also See

Photos before restoration from www.imagesofceylon.com

Map of Thuparama Image House at Polonnaruwa

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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 : 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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