Galabedda Biso Pokuna | Pit of Girls of Polonnaruwa Era

Galabedda Biso Pokuna
Photo credit: Sagara Sanjeewa, Google Street View

Galabedda Biso Pokuna (Sinhala: ගලබැද්ද බිසෝ පොකුණ) is an ancient pond situated in Galabedda village in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka.

Galabedda: an ancient administrative centre
The history of this pond runs back to the Polonnaruwa Period. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the southern part of Rohana had been divided into two major territorial divisions along the Walave Ganga River (Nicholas, 1963). The area to the east of the river was known as Atthsahassa-rattha (the province of 8,000 villages) and its administrative centre was Uddhanadvara (or Udundora), present Galabedda (Nicholas, 1963). Uddhanadvara was the residence of Queen Sugala and it was attacked by the troops of Parakramabahu (reigned: 1153-1186 A.D.) in order to capture Queen Sugala and the Tooth and Bowl Relics of the Buddha (Nicholas, 1963).

Palace ruins at Galabedda
There is a ruined palace building surrounded by a rampart and a moat. The basic ground plan of this palace is similar to that of the 12th-century palaces at Anuradhapura (Palace of Vijayabahu), Polonnaruwa (Palace of Parakramabahu I, and Nissankamalla), and Panduwasnuwara (Palace of Parakramabahu I), but smaller in size (Prematileke, 1990). The Galabedda Biso Pokuna which is located in close proximity to this site is believed to be a part of this palace complex.

The Pond
The pond is also known among the locals as Kellane-vala (the pit of girls). It is a square-shaped pond bounded by a parapet. The pond has four entrances (at cardinal directions) with steps leading to the square pool below. The floor of the pond is paved with stone slabs and four Makara (dragon) mouths fixed on the four cardinal directions issues water to the pond. Stone slabs with carved figures of damsels are found on both sides of each spout. Stone conduits are available for the water to enter and exit the pond.

A vestibule and a beautifully carved urinal stone have been found near the pond.

Galabedda Biso Pokuna
Photo credit: Sagara Sanjeewa, Google street view
See also

1) 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.52,67.
2) Prematileke, L., 1990. The architecture of the Polonnaruwa period 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.41.

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This page was last updated on 1 July 2022
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