Medirigiriya vatadage Polonnaruwa
Medirigirya vatadage is one of the least known tourist attractions in the island and rarely included in a Sri Lanka road trip. But it worth a visit if you have time during your Sri Lanka tour and beach holiday package because it was built after a unique architectural style and showcases the engineering skills and ancient engineers.
The most important and attractive building of Medirigiriya historical temple is identified as the Vatadage or circular image house. Vatadage is located on a natural rock with higher elevation. The main entrance of the temple is located towards the northern direction of the image house. The giant doors are supported with granite door frames that are with the dimension of 9’ 9” * 4’ 9”. Magnificently carved moonstone can be seen before entering the Vatadage. The flight of steps with 25 steps, behind the door, paves the way for the Vatadage. There is a Verandah with the size of 25’ * 25’ adding some imposing look to the construction. The Verandah is situated 13’6” above the surrounding plain. Few steps further up are the outer terrace of the Vatadage. There was a wall between the inner terrace and outer terrace with four doors allowing the people to move between two terraces. Today the wall is in very bad condition and not restore for a long time.
There are two Punkalas or full pots on both sides of the entrance of the Vatadage. This is signifying the prosperity of the temple. A stupa is placed in the middle of the inner terrace, which believed to be constructed before the circular building. The diameter of the dagoba is 26’ and the height is 5’. There had been four Buddha statues in the inner terrace facing the four cardinal points. The statues were constructed in Dyana mudra. At present only 2 Buddha statues are in good condition while the other statues were damaged in the past. There are few platforms in the inner terrace made of bricks. Prof. Paranawithana in the opinion of that they were built to place Bodhistava statues but there are no traces of Bodhistava statues found so far.
The Vatadage is consisting of three rows of stone pillars right around the terrace. The stone pillars are in octagonal shape, top end and the bottom end of the pillars are decorated with flowers decorations. The outermost row of stone pillar consists of 32 pillars and it is 9 feet in height. The distance to the outer most circles of pillars from the centre of the building is 14’5”. There are 20 stone pillars in the middle row of stone pillars and it is 16 feet in height. The stone pillars of the innermost row are 17 feet in height and there are 16 pillars in the row. The stone wall between the second and third rows of stone pillars is damaged but originally existed right around the whole construction. There had been a stone wall in between the stone pillars of centre raw. The wall is named as Galgaradi weta and 3’6” in height. According to the archaeologists, the circular building was constructed in the 8th Century AD to protect a Stupa. The circumference of the terrace is 11.43 meters.
The archaeologists have different opinions on the roof of the circular house. According to the Prof. Paranawithana it had been built with wooden, flat tiles. The tiles were in semi-circle cone shape.
In the direction of North-West from the Vatadage are the 2 image houses of the temple. There are few Buddha statues in good condition in the first image house. On the South-East direction from the first image house is the other construction with reclining Buddha statue but badly damaged.