Points of Interest - Polonnaruwa


Thuparama Image House
Thuparama Image House

Situated at the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa in the Dalada Maluwa premises, the Thuparama Image House is one of the few buildings where the roof completely made of bricks can be seen and is characterized as the “Gedige” type. Despite the fact that it is the smallest gedige, it is the main gedige in Polonnaruwa that is as yet secured by a roof. It has amazingly thick block dividers that were barrel vaulted and finished with concrete figures all around. This structure is a mix of Sri Lankan and South Indian architecture styles and patterns still can be seen on the well preserved semi-cylindrical roof and the remains of large seated Buddha statue even after 900 years after construction.

Since the original name of the image house is not known, the builder of the structure is likewise unknown. It is believed that the image house was built by a priest 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) and although one is yet to discover the creator of this architectural phenomenon.

The walls of this structure are around 7 feet, 2 meters thick and an enormous seating Buddha sculpture has been kept inside. Nothing from this sculpture can be seen today. It is said that the eyes of this Buddha sculpture was inserted with valuable stones and the windows were designed in such a manner that the daylight would reflect on these stones and light the image house.

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