Pollonnaruwa is in north-central Sri Lanka. Between 781-1290 CE it was the capital for the indigenous Sinhalese kings, who had to abandon the old capital, Anaradhapura, because of continuing raids by South Indian Tamil dynasties. Pollonnaruwa has various ruins from those days, but is most famous for the Gal Vihara (late 12th century), in which several Buddha were carved from a solid granite outcrop. This image of a sitting Buddha is over 20 feet tall, and absolutely majestic in real life. Note the table in front, which has garlands of marigolds placed on it
|This shows the two other figures at the site--one reclining (almost 50 feet long) and the other standing. Some people see this group as showing the Buddha's parinirvana, with his attendant Ananda grieving by his side. Another interpretation is that the three figures represent mindfulness in the three bodily states always mentioned: standing, sitting, and lying down.|
This image shows the same duo, but from a more straight on perspective (I had to climb a little hill in the background to get far enough away, and I still couldn't get the Buddha's feet in the picture!).
|Buddhist cosmology accepts the existence of a host of
gods and non-human beings, although Theravada Buddhists deny that worshipping
such beings can lead one to genuine spiritual awareness, since these gods
are also subject to birth and death, just like any other created beings.
Although the lives of the gods last an extraordinarily long time, and are
described as filled with pleasure, when their time is up these gods will
fall from heaven and be born in some lower realm. Thus, aside from
Buddhist religious figures, the ruins of the palaces at Pollonnaruwa have
many other different sorts of images, such as this figure shown here.
This is one of two figures flanking the entrance to one of the palaces, and thus this is probably a dvarapala, a minor protective divinity whose function was to guard a gateway, and prevent any evil from entering.
More pictures of Pollonnaruwa
These pages are in progress.
Page maintained by James G. Lochtefeld.
Last modified 27 December 2005