Thursday, March 29, 2018

Menik Vehera

Menik Vehera, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Menik Vehera (lit: The Gem temple) is a Buddhist monastic complex located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. It is situated outside the Northern gate of the city and has been built on a terraced layout. The top-most terrace includes the Stupa, the Bodhi-tree shrine (Bodhighara), the image house, and the Uposathagharaya. The remains are located in the lower terrace. The structures indicate at least two stages of development belonging to the 8-9 century A.C. and the 12-13 century A.C.

The history of this complex is not known. But according to the architectural features it has, the complex is dated back to the 8-9 centuries A.D.

Built on a high terrace surrounded by a high wall, the Stupa of this complex is considered as a rare piece of work. The terraced design of this Stupa shows similarities to the design of Indikatuseya Stupa at Mihintale. The carved stone door-frame at the entrance and the terracotta tablets of squatting lions at the plinth are also considered as special features. 

Near to the Stupa is a Gandhakuti type image shrine. It has a square shaped chamber with a porch in front. The three standing Buddha statues in the image shrine perhaps represent the Buddhas of the past, present and future. This shrine possibly have been built following the design of Medirigiriya image house.

1) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major Natural, Cultural and Historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka, p. 213.

Location Map


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