Thuparama Image House of the Polonnaruwa Ancient Kingdom – ථූපාරාම පිළිම ගෙය

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Thuparama Image House
Thuparama Image House

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 Gedi-ge buildings country. The roof is a semi-cylindrical in shape.

There are 3 Gedige type buildings in the old city of Polonnaruwa. The other 2 are Lankathilaka Image house and the Thivanka PilimaGe. These buildings with vaulted roofs seems 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. Nothings remain of this statue today. It is said that the eyes of this Buddha statue was 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.

A conjectural construction of the Thuparama Image House
A conjectural construction of the Thuparama Image House
Source : Sinhalese Monastic Architecture: The Viháras of Anurádhapura

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 as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Central Highway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :226 km
Travel time : 4.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Matale – Dambulla – Habarana
Distance from Colombo : 145 km
Travel time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance from colombo : 105 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Chenkaladi – Valachchena
Distance from colombo :100 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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