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.
"Dear Cyril, Sincerest apologies for this delayed email --- reason being that I had been extremely busy with work & travel, since returning from Sri Lanka and just got a breather now, to download our photos and catch up with private matters. Hope this email finds you & family, in the best of health & spirits. Your granddaughter must be keeping you busy and giving you & Mrs. Baddegama immense joy. At this end, we are doing fine. Nikhita is back at school, now in Grade 7 and havi..." Pradeep Kumar Menon - Singapore
"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
"Thank you so much for wonderful Sri Lanka trip.We had a great time. The trip was very relaxing as well as fun. My daughter MAHI who lovingly started calling you "Cyril Dada"(grand farther) Had a memorable trip. She cannot stop talking about elephants. Our trip to Sri Lanka will be full of great memories, its because of you. Thank you for showing us your beautiful country the way we wanted, eating local food, lots of King coconut and Corn stops. We will be surely coming back to see rest o..." Mithil Patel
"(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
" Dear Cyril We spent a wonderful week with you. We were so pleased to have to visited your beautiful country and we will recommend you for all of our relatives and to friends. It has been a pleasure to spend these days with you, we will never forget nice smile on your face all the time. Thank you and if one day you would like to visit Switzerland we will be raedy take you around snowy mountans! All the best, Franz family" Dr. David franz from Swiss
"Dear Cyril, Here are some photos for you as we promised, and also little gift to you. Here is some photos of elephant boy which we were took on elephant ride. Please give to them when you go to Habarana again. We are very grateful to you for your services that you have done to make our holiday in this beautiful country. Still we are thinking over our nice trip with you. It was fantastic, really! Here in Holland, life is normal again. Greeting for your wife and daughter too. George and Cala ..." George and Cala
"Hi Mr.Cyril, Hope you and family and grandchild are doing fine. Hope to come to Sri Lanka again. We really enjoyed our trip especially with your special help and guidance. We will definitely contact you if at all we wish to visit Sri Lanka again. Thanks & Best Regards Mr. & Mrs.Pillai Singapore 29/7/11 " Mr & Mrs.Pillai from Singapore
"We had excellent 8 days tour with CYRIL TOURS. It's all credit goes to Mr. Cyril. From the welcoming at Air port to hotels we stayed,food we had and driver who was provided was excellent. We always introduce CYRIL TOURS to all who wiling to tarvel to Sri Lanka. Swaran Kaur and family Kuantan - Malaysia 2012 May 18 - 25 May" Swaran Kaur and family from Malaysia
"We found Cyril on-line and after checking with lots of other guides we decided he is the one for us, that decision was the best one we did for our trip From the beginning, in our emails, Cyril listen to us and was very helpful, he gave us information and helped us to create the best trip for us.We had 10 days trip, for our honeymoon, to many parts of Sri-Lanka. the country is amazing, green, nice people and good food.Cyril was a great driver and even greater guide, he has so much knowledge and e..." Coral and Oded from Israel
"Thank you Cyril for caring us and giving a very enjoyable tour to all of our family while we are on holiday in Sri Lanka. Definitely we will recommend you to our friends and relatives. Hitendra Molleti and family" Hitendra Molleti