Monday, September 17, 2018

Gal Potha

Gal Potha (Stone Book), Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Gal Potha (lit: Stone book) is a giant stone slab inscription in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. It has been established between the eastern outer wall of the Hetadage and Satmahal Prasada

This inscription is a work of King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) of Polonnaruwa and is the longest inscription indite by him. It is about 26 ft. 8 in. in length, 4 ft. 7 in. in breadth and 1 ft. 9 in. (average) in depth making the inscription as the largest stone inscription so far discovered. The writings are on the smoothed upper surface of the slab and has been divided in to three partitions. The total lines it consists are seventy two, containing more than 4300 letters (Wickremasinghe, 1928). Indications show that the inscription had been raised on a brick podium underpinned with short pillars (the weight of the rock slab is approximately 15 ton) and sheltered by a canopy supported by ten stone pillars. It is also believed that the letters may had been gilted with molten iron.

On the both end side face of the stone is decorated with a woman holding flowers to whom a pair of elephants are sprinkling water. This figure has been identified as Gajalakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity. Two lines of Hamsas (goose) decorate the both sides and ends of the slab. The inscription it self says that this large granite block was transported from Segiriya (present Mihintale in Anuradhapura - located about 70 km from Polonnaruwa) by the strong men of King Nissankamalla under the leadership of Adhikara Totadanavu Mand-navan (Wickremasinghe, 1928). However it is suggested by some scholars, such as Muller and also Wickremasinghe, that the original location of this slab may not be the Segiriya but Sigiriya which is about 28 km far from Polonnaruwa (Wickremasinghe, 1928).

The inscription doesn't bear a date, but from the information it has given, scholars have dated it to the ninth year of the reign of King Nissankamalla (Wickremasinghe, 1928). It outlines about the genealogy, some policies, duties, responsibilities and altruistic deeds of the king.

Galpota slab Inscription of Nissankamalla

Reign       : Nissankamalla (1187 - 1196 A.D.)
Period      : 12th century A.D.
Language: Medieval Sinhala mixed with Sanskrit
Script       : Medieval Sinhala
Transcript : Sri Dhrmas soyam sarbba lok-aika-
manyas - sreyo - dayi   sarbba -  da  raksaniyah
bhupalendran yacate kirtti .....>>
Translation : Hail!  This  Dharma,  which  gives
happiness  and  which  alone  deserves  to  be
honored by the whole world......>>
Citation : Wickremasinghe, 1928
Gal Potha (Stone Book), Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
1) Gal Potha 03 by Cherubino is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
2) Gal Potha 05 by Cherubino is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

1) Wickremasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon (Vol, II). Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford. pp.98-123, 134-142.
2) The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

Location Map

1 comment:

  1. The width of Gal Potha is the square root of 21, the length is the square root of 720 and also 12×the square root of 5. Gal Potha is a fascinating mathematical puzzle .