Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Palace of Parakramabahu I

A front caption of the palace
The Palace of Parakramabahu I (also known as Vaijayantha Prasada or Vijayotpaya) is the royal palace built by King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D.) within the citadel of Polonnaruwa (Wickramagamage, 2004). 

Parakramabahu built the palace and named it Vaijayantha Prasada after the abode of the vedic god Indra [(king of gods, Sakra) Seneviratna, 1998]. Adoption of this name indicate that there was a need to secure the concept that the king and god were equal. According to the description given in Culavamsa, this palace was a seven storied edifice furnished with one thousand chambers (Seneviratna, 1998). Also it was adorned with many hundreds of pillars painted in different colors. 

Remaining lime plaster on the wall
At present, remains of three stories of supposed seven stories are identified. Inside the palace on the right is a stone stairway showing the evidence of past access to the upper floors. On the ground floor, a hall, a lavatory, rooms and ruins of the flight of the stairs are identified. Surrounding the center palace building are minor buildings which may have been used for the places for rituals, entertainment, and as rooms for the palace aids and storage.

The palace building is 45 m in length and breadth (Wickramagamage, 2004). The basic ground plan shows similarity to that of 12th century Vijayabahu Palace at Anuradhapura and the palaces at Panduwasnuwara and Yapahuwa. The Panduwasnuwara Palace of ancient Parakramapura was also built by Parakramabahu I when he was a sub-king of the Southern Principality. The remaining brick walls of the palace show the crevices and sockets of the vertical timber columns and the beginning of the third floor, suggesting the upper floors could have been made out of timber (Gunaratne, 2000). The thickness of the walls varies from center to outer. The center walls are 160 cm thick and 9 m tall while the walls of the surrounding rooms are 80 cm thick (Wickramagamage, 2004). The old plaster on the walls of some parts of the palace is still in a good state of preservation. The remnants of melted bricks found on the palace ground testify that this palace may have been destroyed by fire.

Remaining lime plaster on the wall Back side of the palace

1) Seneviratna, A, 1998. Polonnaruwa, medieval capital of Sri Lanka: An illustrated survey of ancient monuments: Archaeological Survey Dept, p. 116.
2) Gunaratne, R., 2000. Sri Lanka: Florence. Casa Editrice Bonechi. ISBN: 978-88-8029-239-5, p. 47.
3) Wickramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major Natural, Cultural and Historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka, p. 206.

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This page was last updated on 20 January 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map


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