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Lovamahapaya (Anuradhapura)

Lovamahapaya is an Uposathaghara situated in the ancient city of Anuradhapura. It stands between the Ruwanweliseya Stupa and the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree.
Lovamahapaya

Lovamahapaya, also known as Loha Pasada or Brazen Palace (Sinhala: ලෝවාමහාපාය, Tamil: லோவமகாபாய), is an Uposathaghara (chapter house) situated in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It stands between the Ruwanweliseya Stupa and the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree. Lovamahapaya is also considered one of the eight sacred places in Anuradhapura.

History

Lovamahapaya is an Uposathaghara, where Buddhist monks gather for the ceremony of confession and for the performance of various Sangha-Kammas. The site was originally the Mahamucala-Malaka and was consecrated by Arhat Mahinda Thera (Nicholas, 1963). Although King Devanampiyatissa (247-207 B.C.) built the first Lohapasada, a great new building was constructed at this site by King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) in the 2nd century B.C. (Nicholas, 1963; Ray, 1959).  It was a wooden construction consisting of 1,000 rooms. According to the chronicle Mahawamsa, it had nine stories and a roof covered with bronze tiles.

Lovamahapaya

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-story structure (Fernando, 1965; Nicholas, 1963). It was repaired and developed by King Bhatikabhaya (22 B.C.-7 A.D.) and Amandagamini Abhaya [(19-29 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963]. During the time of King Sirinaga I (196-215 A.D.), the building was in a decayed state and had been restructured to contain five stories (Wikramagamage, 2004). King Gotabhaya (249-263 A.D.) and Jetthatissa I (263-275 A.D.) made some repairs to the building (Nicholas, 1963).

After having a conflict with the monks of Maha Viharaya, King Mahasena (277-304 A.D.) destroyed the Lovamahapaya and the materials of the building were given to the Abhayagiri Viharaya (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). However, King Sirimevan (304-332 A.D.), the son of King Mahasena re-constructed the building again (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). King Datusena (455-473 A.D.), Agghabodhi I (571-604 A.D.), Aggabodhi IV (667-683 A.D.), and Manavamma (684-718 A.D.) contributed to the development of the Lovamahapaya (Nicholas, 1963).

During the reign of Sena I (833-853 A.D.), South Indian Pandyans partly destroyed the Lovamahapaya building but subsequently rebuilt by King Sena II [(853-887 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963]. Repairs were implemented on it by King Kassapa V (913-923 A.D.) and Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.). However, the Lovamahapaya was again destroyed when South Indian Cola invaders sacked the city in the late 10th century or early 11th century A.D. (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 I [(1123-1186 A.D.) Ray, 1959].

The Structure

At present, a large number of stone pillars (said to be about 1,600 pillars) can be seen at the site. Most of the pillars are rising 12 feet above the ground and have been systematically fixed to the ground. The small building standing in the centre 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) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). pp.133-134.
4) Ray, H.C. (Editor in chief), 1959. History of Ceylon: Vol. I: Part I. Ceylon University Press. Colombo. p.263.
5) Wijesuriya, G.; Weerasekera, H., 1997. Footprints of our heritage. Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO. ISBN: 955-9043-32-3. p.52.
6) 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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This page was last updated on 17 February 2024

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