Points of Interest - Polonnaruwa

Kiri Vehera

Kiri Vehera in Polonnaruwa

Lying north of the Lankathilake Pilima Ge, Kiri Vehera of Polonnaruwa is known as the largest stupa said to be built by a queen of king Parakramabahu (1153-1186) called “Subadra”. The original name of it been the “Rupavathi Stupa” was part of the Alahana Pirivena standing 28.5 meters in height today.

Considered to be the second biggest stupa in Polonnaruwa today, this stupa is the only stupa to survive 900 years of forces of nature and still remain in its original condition.

With a diameter of 88 ft. at the base is surrounded by four front pieces at the cardinal points. Small rectangular Buddha shrines with brick roofs are placed on either side of the front pieces. The bubble shaped dome rises upward from a base of three receding terraces and the original lime plaster on the stupa is still visible.

The restored smaller stupas located around the Kiri Vehera is identified as the burial chambers of high priests and royals. Including the Kiri Vehera, many of these stupas have been attacked by treasure hunters and their valuable looted.

The lime mortar of the arch is better preserved compared to majority of the other stupas found in Polonnaruwa. Presumably the current name "Kiri Vehera" likewise inferred due to this protected lime mortar.

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