Rankot Vihara - The largest dagoba in Polonnaruwa
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Author:  Rohan2 [ Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Rankot Vihara - The largest dagoba in Polonnaruwa

Rankot Vihara - The largest dagoba in Polonnaruwa

The Rankot Vihara or the Golden Pinnacle Dagoba in Polonnaruwa is the fourth largest dagoba in Sri Lanka after the three great dagobas (Ruwanveliseya, Jetawanarama and Abhayagiriya) of Anuradhapura.


It is one of the many chetiyas located in the Alahena Pirivena complex.

The 55 metre (180 feet) high dagoba has a base with a circumference of 168 metres (550 feet). It is the original Ruwanveliseya or 'Golden Sand' Dagoba and is a clear imitation of the style of construction during the Anuradhapura era. Small chambers containing Buddha statues had been around the dagoba.

That, one of them had housed a statue in the lying down position is evident from the remains of its brick wall. The entire dagoba has been constructed with bricks and a unique factor about the design is that a limestone foundation had been laid every 10 feet.

Some believe that the limestone was laid from one side of the building to the other to level the surface of the brick structure.

Although the dagoba was completed by King Nissanka Malla, it is believed to have been initiated by Rupavati, one of King Parakramabahu's wives. There is an inscription in the middle of the road at the entrance to the site which states that King Nissanka Malla had stood at the very spot, watching the workmen carry out construction work at the Rankot Vihara.

The dagoba, which was covered in jungle, was exposed through latter day archaeological excavations. Archaeologists recovered surgical instruments from the ruins of a 12th century hospital located near the dagoba.


These instruments were said to be similar in design to the surgical instruments used in the modern day. Ruins of monasteries which had housed Buddhist monks had also been found close to this complex. This has led researchers to believe that monks lived outside the main city during the Polonnaru era.

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