Satmahal Prasada (Polonnaruwa)

Satmahal Prasada
Satmahal Prasada (lit: The seven-storied palace) is a solid pyramidal structure of seven stages located in the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. It has been built outside of the northeastern 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 it is not believed to be this building as there is no positive evidence 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 ThailandVarious conjectures have been made regarding the purpose of this structure but presently it is established that Satmahal Prasada was a Stupa of an uncommon type (Paranavitana, 1950). It has been built in the stepped pyramidal form, rising from a square base of about 9 m on 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 one of the architectural examples of 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. 1950. Guide to Polonnaruwa. Govt Press, Colombo. p.14.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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 10 August 2022
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