Saturday, 20 October 2018

Satmahal Prasada

Satmahal Prasada
Satmahal Prasada (lit: The seven storied palace) is a square pyramidal-shaped building located in the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. It has been built at outside of the north-eastern corner wall of Dalada Maluwa (the Sacred-quadrangle) and close to the slab inscription, Gal Potha

The chronicle Mahavamsa mentions that King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) built a seven storied mansion (Sathmahal Prasada) in Polonnaruwa but which is not believed to be this building as there are no positive evidences to verify the relation between this building and the fact given in the chronicle. Still, the ancient name and the builder of this monument are not known. Depending on the architectural features it has, this edifice is dated by scholars to the 12th century A.D. (Paranavitana, 1960). 

Wat Kukut in Lumphun in Thailand Satmahal Prasada is considered a special type of Stupa. It has been built in the stepped pyramidal form, rising from a square base about 9 m of each side. Two buildings following a similar architectural layout of Satmahal Prasada have been found in Anuradhapura; the Nakha Vehera and the Prasada Stupa in Abhayagiri Monastery (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004).
A structure of the same design, has been found in northern Thailand which is a Stupa (Cetiya) named Mahabala according to a 12th century inscription (Paranavitana, 1960). The 8th century Stupa at Wat Kukut in Lumphun in northern Thailand (right photograph) also bears closer architectural similarities to that of Satmahal Prasada (Jayasuriya, 2016). 

Satmahal Prasada is also considered as one of architectural examples for South-East Asian influence in Sri Lanka (Reynolds, 1981).

1) Wat-Kukut-Lamphun-1 by Ddalbiez is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 2.5, CC BY-SA 2.0 and CC BY-SA 1.0.

1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.78.
2) Paranavitana, S., Ray, H. C. (Editor in chief), (1960). Civilization of the Polonnaru period (continued): Religion, literature and art. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol. I, Part II). Ceylon University Press. pp. 595-596.
3) Reynolds, C.H.B., 1981. Sri Lanka and South-East Asia: political, religious, and cultural relations from ad c. 1000 to c. 1500. By WM Sirisena. pp. xiv, 186, 8 pl., map. Leiden, EJ Brill, 1978. Guilders 68. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 113(1), pp.104-105.
4) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.212.

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This page was last updated on 16 May 2022
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