Saturday, November 23, 2019

Demalamaha Seya

Demalamaha Seya
Demalamaha Seya (also known as Damila Thupa) is a gigantic brick-built Stupa situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

History
The smaller Stupa with a square-shaped platform
Demalamaha Seya, according to the description in Mahawamsa, was a Stupa with a size of approximately 1300 cubit. It is believed that this Stupa was built by King Parakramabahu I (1153–1186 A.D.) in the 12th century with a workforce of Cola labors who brought from South India as prisoners (Prematileke, 1990).

According to scholars, this Stupa built by King Parakramabahu I was intended to surpass all other monuments of the type in the country (Ray, 1960). However, due to some reason, the king has not completed the dome of Stupa and stopped its construction at a height of about 50 feet from the ground, forming an extensive circular plateau at the top (Ray, 1960). In the middle of that plateau, a smaller Stupa with a square-shaped platform has been built.

Carbon dating
Four charcoal samples discovered from Demalamaha Seya during the conservation process were sent to Beta Analytic Institute in U.S.A. by authorities for dating and the results revealed the carbon date as 1155 A.D.

Stupa
The present Stupa has a perimeter of 600 m and a height of 25.65 m. It is said to have been built enveloping an existing quartzite (Jayasuriya, 2016; Prematileke, 1990).

Conservation
The Stupa which was remained like a small hill covered with vegetation for a long period was started to conserve several times by the authorities, but the attempts had been abandoned due to the massive expenses required for the project. However, in 2014, the excavation and the conservation works of the Stupa was started by the Central Cultural Fund under the supervision of Dr. Nimal Perera.

A protected monument
The Demala Maha Seya located in the Sri Nissankamallapura village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Thamankaduwa is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 4 June 2004.

A massive brick structure Excavation pits
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References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.86.
2) Prematilleke, L., 1990. The architecture of the Polonnaruwa Period B.C. 800 - 1200 A.D. [Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)]. Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume III: Architecture. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). p.47.
3) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1960. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol I, part II). Ceylon University Press. pp.594-595.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1344. 4 June 2004. p.15.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 4 June 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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