Sunday, 22 January 2023

Polonnaruwa Priti Danaka Mandapaya and Inscription

Polonnaruwa Priti Danaka Mandapaya & Inscription
Priti Danaka Mandapaya (Sinhala: පොළොන්නරුව ප්‍රීති දානක මණ්ඩපය සහ ‌සෙල්ලිපිය is a ruined pavilion situated on the wayside of the Minneriya-Topawewa road near the Visnu Devale No. 3 in the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. It is a rectangular-shaped pavilion 125 ft. in length and 40 ft. in width and has been laid out along the axis of a long hummock of granite rock which rises to a height of 60 ft. (Wikramasinghe, 1928).

The rock inscription engraved on the slope of the rock to the left or north of the flight of steps that lead up to this building reveals that it was the Priti Danaka Mandapaya (Joy-Conferring Pavilion) built by King Nissankamalla [(1187-1196 A.D.) Ranawella, 2007; Wikramasinghe, 1928]. The inscription further records that Nissankamalla built it and made its premises a sanctuary in order to rest there in bliss and to hear the joyous shouts of Sadhu and the like from the people who had received alms from him (Wikramasinghe, 1928).
Priti Danaka Mandapa Rock Inscription
This inscription was discovered in September 1901 by H.C.P. Bell, the then Archaeological Commissioner (Wikramasinghe, 1928). It has been engraved on the western slope of the rocky outcrop where the ruins of the pavilion stand. The inscription covers an area of 8 ft. by 8ft. 3 in. and consists of forty-five lines of writing (Ranawella, 2007). It records Nissankamalla's birth and parentage, his administrative and charitable acts, the religious edifices and alms-houses he built, his tours in Sri Lanka, his invasion of South India and the erection of Priti Danaka Mandapaya and its consecration as a sanctuary whereby every one entering its premises had the right of asylum (Ranawella, 2007; Wikramasinghe, 1928). 
1) would like to thank Mohan Lakshitha for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

1) Ranawella, S., 2007. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume VI. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-61-2. pp.65-71.
2) Wikramasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon Vol II: London. Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford, pp.165-178.

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This page was last updated on 22 January 2023


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