Vatadagaya (The Stupa House)

Vatadage is another work of marvelous art located at Polonnaruwa Ancient City. This Polonnaruwa Vatadage is located in the “Dalada Maluwa”, a quadrangular area in the Polonnaruwa. This Dalada Maluwa contains some of the most sacred and oldest monuments in Polonnaruwa. Vatadage is a prominent structure among other sacred and oldest monuments of the city. This is one of the best-preserved examples of a Vatadage in the country.

Various Theories of Vatadage

There are various theories among historians and archaeologists regarding the construction of the Polonnaruwa Vatadage. One theory suggests that it was built by King Parakramabahu 1 in the 12th century to hold the sacred tooth relic of Buddha.  Another source mentions that the Polonnaruwa Vatadage was built by King Nissankamalla to hold the alms bowl used by the Buddha. And also some say that King Nissankamalla only renovated the already existing building and added some extra features like entrance and outer porch. Some archeologists believed that it also had a roof.

Stone Platforms of Vatadage

In the Vatadage, there are two stone platforms, lower and the raised upper platform, decorated with stone carvings. The upper platform contains a diameter of about 80 feet (24m) and the lower one contains a diameter of about 120 feet (37m). The lower platform is about 4 feet 3 inches (1.30 m) from ground level, and the upper platform is about 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m) from the lower platform. The first platform is entered through a single entrance facing the north. The second platform is accessed through four doorways facing four cardinal points.

The upper platform is surrounded by a wall which contains the stupa accompanied by four Buddha status in Dhyana Mudra in seating posture constructed around the wall, each facing one of the entrances. The entire structure is decorated with stone carvings.

At the northern entrance of the structure, there is a moonstone carved in the traditional Polonnaruwa style. At this time Hindu culture was integrated into the Sri Lankan social system. In the moonstones in the Anuradhapura, there are four animals, a bull, a horse, a lion, and an elephant. But the bull is not in the Polonnaruwa moonstone. The bull is considered as a holy animal by Hindus and therefore was removed during the Polonnaruwa times.

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