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Vatadage - Polonnaruwa

Vatadage - Polonnaruwa

The centerpiece of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the Dalada Maluwa (the hall of the Tooth Relic), was a sacred precinct containing 12 magnificent buildings. Although there are numerous Vatadage across Sri Lanka, the Vatadage at Polonnaruwa is the most famous. As with many other Vatadage, it had a stupa in the centre with four Buddha images facing the cardinal directions.

The Vatadage, one of the oldest & most beautiful monuments in Polonnaruwa, is to our left as we enter the Dalada Maluwa. In spite of its modest proportions, the circular building with concentric terraces is a superbly planned & executed 12th century masterpiece. It was certainly intended to house the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, which is now deposited at The Sacred Temple of Tooth in Kandy. Built by King Parakramabahu the great (1164-1196AD), it was later embellished by King Nissankamalla (1198-1206).
Outer structure, the first terrace
The entire outer structure with a diameter of 18m is a gorgeous riot of artistry, with almost every surface carved in a melee of decoration. The outer wall is decorated with friezes of lions & dwarfs, & topped by an abstract lotus design.


Upper structure, the second terrace
Four entrances to the upper terrace are adorned with magnificent stone carvings: moonstones flanked by Nagaraja (Cobra king) figures with seven hooded cobra head guard stones.


While the Nagaraja figures were believed to prevent evil spirits entering the premises, the moonstones- elaborate semi-circular welcome step stones carved in polished granite- represent the spiritual journey from samsara, the endless cycle of death & rebirth, to Nirvana, the ultimate escape from suffering. These were unique decorative features of Sinhalese architecture. The moonstone at the northern entrance is the finest in Polonnaruwa.

Central dagoba (stupa)
From the upper terrace, steps lead through four entrances, aligned in the cardinal directions & each presided over by a seated Buddha. In the center are the ruins of the small central brick stupa in which the Tooth Relic was enshrined during the glorious days of ancient capital, Polonnaruwa. In sharp contrast to the building, this innermost sanctum, the reason for the very existence of Vatadage itself, is virtually unadorned.


Lost to the Dravidian invaders
The building has lost the conical roof of three concentric circles, most of the dagoba (stupa) and one of its guard stones at the base of the steps among many other features & surrounding buildings to the marauding Dravidian invaders from South India.

 Vatadage

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    "Dear Cyril, Yes that's the one that we were calling all the time. Her name is Celia and by now she has a little sister. My dear Cyril, of course we can't forget your companion and we are always telling about you when we are talking about our trip to Sri Lanka. I wish you good luck with your company and I hope that you will have whatever you want. I want to tell also that I was very happy when I learned that you are a grandfather now. Best regards, Chris Greece 26/07/2011" Cristos Pravitas - Greece

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    "We came for a wedding and then embarked on an amazing holiday. Cyril show us magnificent sights and scenery of Sri Lanka. To do the country just we need to return with more time. Many of the sites we visited just made us want to know more about them, even though Cyril was a fountain of knowledge. We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Cyril and his excellent company, and it was so nice to go home a guardian angel looking after us. He is consistently courteous & good humored and now fe..." Andy Powell UK

    "Dear Cyril, We want to thank you so much for making our trip so unforgetable and delightful. We received your name from our friends lives in Geneva who travelled with you in January 2009 and they gave you such a high recommendation that we decided to conbtact you for our two weeks trip this year. Although we have been to Sri Lanka a few times already. We have never found such an excellent driver and guide. It has been a great pleasure to visit Colombo with you and then to Koggala for two day tr..." Mr.Gabor Kato & Mrs.Ann Kato

    "Dear Cyril, We would like to thank youthat you have arrange ourholiday which we have enjoyed so much, that we can call them the best holiday we have ever had. You are avery helpful guide- because you know about your beautiful country very much. We also appriciate your advices that you gave us during our two weeks long journey and your  perfect trip arrangement we have enjoyed every single day. All the best to you and your family. Hope to see you again. Martha & Jarda   08 No..." Martha & Jaroslav Jirout

    "  Hi Cyril   We have had a fabulous holiday driven and guided by Cyril from CYRIL TOURS. Hotel recommendations were perfect and knowledge supertb. We would happy to introduce CYRIL TOURS to our frieinds and relatives. Thank you for the photos you are taken and send to us, they are a great reminder of our amazing experience in Sri Lanka.   We had a truly memorable time and we are grateful to you for all your knowledge and guidance throughout our trip, it would not have been..." Mr. Richard & Mrs. Bridget Simson and family from

    "We had an excellent and memorable trip and all credits to Cyril. In-depth knowledge about the places, roads and history and culture. From the airport assistance - Food, accommodation provided and the vehicle was excellent. Very matured and patient, We being on safe hands.  Thanks for making it a memorable experience for all of us.  " Aubry De Souza and group from Dubai

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    "Dear Cyril, Thanks for taking care of the Dr.Sethukavalar and his wife very well. They were indeed very happy for all the care you have shown during your tour. They were very impressed of your patience and kindness. I look forward to see you soon and maintain this good relationship we have developed in a short period of time. We will not hesitate a second to recommend you to all our friends who would like to visit Sri Lanka. Taking this opportunity of wishing you all the best. Thanks fo..." HARIDAS KANDASAMY

    "(10 days). Before the trip I did a lot of research here on the site and other sites on the tour options and after checking in we decided to go with a guide attached. Choice in was not easy and I started Travels "correspondence with more than ten guides to staying with the" chosen ". No doubt it was an excellent choice! Before Asbury on our guide, I wanted to note that after the visit, I understand the importance of taking guide (driver) suite. Roads and driving in Sri Lanka ..." Corey

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