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Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa, the ancient glorious kingdom   of Great King Parakramabahu where the glamour and richness of the bygone era is   yet evident… one could almost picture the mighty King proceeding with his   court members comprising of Nilames and servants dressed vibrantly, along the   beautifully decorated paths of the city, visiting people subject to his command.   Among the number of Kings who ruled Thambapanniya with Polonnaruwa as their   Capital, Parakramabahu the Great, Vijayabahu II & Kirthi Nissanka Malle hold   very prominent positions in history. King Parakramabahu II paved way for the   construction of many buildings, for religious upheaval as well as the communal   benefit. The ruins of the palace built by King Parakramabahu are still to be   seen, covering a large area.Siva DevalayaThe remarkable point visible in each   movement is that various influences of that time being very evident, such as the   Cola influence being shown through the formation of the SIVA DEVLAYA by stone in   the 10th Century BC during the Cola occupation. Several devalayas are found in   Polonnaruva, which are said to have been built by the Indian invaders during the   11th or 13th century.

Thuparamaya                     An astonishing structure is the THUPARAMAYA   which was built to give shelter to a number of statues of Lord Buddha. The eyes   of the statues of the Lord Buddha are said to have been done with precious   stones, which reflects the sunlight that comes in through one small window of   one wall , These precious stones have been taken off by unauthorized treasure   hunters, causing much damage to the structure of the statues. These glittering   statues no doubt marvel today’s traveller with the riches, tremendous knowledge   and creativity possessed by the great men of that portion of history.

Stupas and Viharas                     Among other formations within this   huge city, we find several Dagabas built by the initiation of King Parakramabahu   the Great. One such dagaba, being DEMALA MAHA SEYA considered the largest   construction of that time. Today it remains as a mere mound, leaving us to   imagine its former architectural elegance. Other erections that were initiated   by King Parakramabahu the Great which was done in grand scale is the JETAVANA   STUPA, which lies north of Demala Maha Seya and the LANKATHILAKA VIHARAYA. One   feature is the massive structures that were constructed of brick and lime   mortar, emphasizing the architectural technology of the period.

Gal Vihara Complex                     The enormous figures of Lord Buddha   at the GAL VIHARAYA complex, with his unearthly qualities expressed taking into   consideration every minute detail through each stroke of the chisel in the hands   of the patient artist, bring a wonderful sense of peace and calmness to the very   soul of the observer, even today. The effort of the artist to impress each   facial expression that glorifies the qualities of METHTHA, KARUNA, MUDHITHA and   UPEKSHA of Lord Buddha towards all mankind is evident to a great extent, through   the statues that have been carved out of majestic singular rocks. The keen   observer will no doubt be able to identify the expression of the softness of the   embedded pillow under the head of Lord Buddha, capturing the natural weight of   the figure in his stage of PARINIBBANA, the ultimate undefeatable death.

Moon Stone: Conference Hall   One of the most remarkable   items that still remains rather untouched by nature and numerous invasions of   lndian Emperors, is the MOON STONE, found at the feet of the Royal Conference   Hall, where the King is said to have met his subordinates and fellow Adhikarams   to discuss the civil matters related to justice and other business. At this   point, two steeping stones can be seen, through which the entire philosophy of   Buddhism is highly emphasized, each single element describing the most natural   and accepted cycle of life, starling from birth to rebirth. As per the very   descriptive moon stones belonging to the Anuradhapura era, the elephant   signifying the birth, known in the Sanskrit context as “JAATHI”, the horse   symbolizing the ageing, known as “JARAA”, the figure of Lion bringing out the   emerging sicknesses and plagues that affect healthy living, known as “VIADHI”,   the most inevitable death focused through the figure of the bull, known as   “MARANA” and again the figure of the elephant, emphasizing the rebirth process,   remind us that the cycle of life or “SAN SARA CHAKRAYA” never ends. Among these   figures of animals, the Swan, being a very intelligent animal that is said to   have the ability to separate milk from water, is related to human beings who are   capable of separating the good from all evils, and spread the knowledge among   all mankind, while giving priority to “MADAYAMA PRATHIPADA” or else known as the   middle path between the two extremes of greater luxuries and greater sufferings,   which ultimately leads to the end result of NIBBANA, dedicated to the Lotus   flower in the very center of the stone. The differing factor between the   moonstones of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa eras is the Hindu influence that has   had an effect on the traditions and beliefs of the Buddhist culture. This is   very evident by the removal of the figures of the lion and the bull from the   stepping-stones of the Polonnaruwa region. With this Dravidian influence it is   quite accepted that there is an obvious tendency towards over ornamentation and   excessive details, leaving no trace of the simplicity and vitality of the Gupta   style.

Watadageya                     The formation of WATADAGEYA is another part   of the city infrastructure done by King Parakramabahu. One remarkable feature of   this structure is that there are four pillars of Guardians at its entrance, of   which one pillar has been taken off by the Department of archeology for   exhibition purposes at the Museum in Colombo. We find similar structures in   front of massive tanks, the difference being those containing only five heads.   The pillars of the Watadageya that remain today prove to us that there was a   roof to protect the entire formation from natural disasters. One could say that   there was a lot of activity happening at this point related to the uplifting of   Buddhism, with recital of Pirith and religious talks being conducted, with the   Royal intervention in a very grand scale, as the Watadageya is given a prominent   central location of the city infrastructure where the crowd can gather easily   for participation at any occasion. It is also suggested that there was enough   space within the formation for meditating.

Statue Of King Parakrama Bahu The Great                     The particular   figure facing its back to the Parakrama Samudraya is suspected to be the figure   of King Parakramabahu the Great, holding one book of PUSKOLA LEAF. Some argue   that this figure belongs to one religious monk of Hindu Culture, taking in to   judgment his attire.