Saturday, December 29, 2018

Lovamahapaya

Lovamahapaya
Lovamahapaya (also known as Loha Pasada or Brazen Palace) is an ancient structure situated in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It can be found standing between Ruwanweliseya and Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya. It is also one of eight sacred places in Anuradhapura.

History
Lovamahapaya is an Uposathaghara (the place where Buddhist monks are gathered for the ceremony of confession and for the performance of various Sangha-Kammas) constructed by King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) in the 2nd century B.C. (Ray, 1959).  It was a wooden construction and said to be had 1000 rooms. According to Mahawamsa, it had nine stories and a roof covered with bronze tiles.

During the reign of King Saddhatissa (137-119 B.C.), the building was burnt down in a fire and was re-erected by the king as a seven storey structure (Fernando, 1965). During the time of King Sirinaga I (196-215 C.E.), the building was in a decayed state and had been re-structured to contain five stories (Wikramagamage, 2004).

After having a conflict with the monks of Maha Viharaya, King Mahasena (277-304 C.E.) had destroyed the Lovamahapaya and the materials of the building were given to the Abhayagiri Viharaya (Wikramagamage, 2004). However, King Sirimevan (304-332 C.E.), the son of King Mahasena re-constructed building again (Wikramagamage, 2004). 

It was again destroyed when South Indian invaders sacked the city in the late 10th century or early 11th century C.E. (Gunawardena, 2003). The stone pillars at present we can see at the site are the remains of the structure erected during the 12th century by King Parakramabahu the Great [(1123-1186 C.E.) Ray, 1959].

Structure
At present, a large number of stone pillars (said to be about 1600 pillars) can be seen at the site. Most of the pillars are rising 12 feet above the ground and have been fixed to the ground in a systematic manner. The small building standing in the center of the site is the modern Uposathagharaya built for the monks of Maha Viharaya (Wijesuriya & Weerasekera, 1997).

References
1) Fernando, W.M., 1965. Ancient city of Anuradhapura. Archaeological Department. p.8.
2) Gunawardena, C.A., 2003. Encyclopedia of Sri Lanka. Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd. ISBN: 81-207-2536-0. pp.40-41.
3) Ray, H.C. (Editor in chief), 1959. History of Ceylon: Vol. I: Part I. Ceylon University Press. Colombo. p.263.
4) Wijesuriya, G.; Weerasekera, H., 1997. Footprints of our heritage. Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO. ISBN: 955-9043-32-3. p.52.
5) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.59-60.

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