Pothgul Viharaya

The Pothgul Vihara is exactly as its name suggests, a library and monastery complex and the oldest one in the whole of Sri Lanka, the term “Pothgul” literally translating as a place to store books. It was constructed under the sponsorship of Parakramabahu I (1153-1185 AD ruling period) and was renovated under the patronage of his consort Queen Chandrawathie. The plan of the complex is set in a square set of foundations, a number of them within the others with a circular structure in the center of the smallest and innermost square. This may have been the main area for storing books, and it was completely composed of bricks, covering a rather large area within its confines.

The roof itself has been made from either the same material, or from tiles but much of the building has fallen apart, destroyed over the centuries. In the four corners around the circular building are four little stupas, also brick structures while there is also a chamber for the monks who resided here. This, the awasa hall is only preserved as a small building with a few stone columns and a rather high stone foundation. The columns must have supported a roof, or else might have had a few more stories to it in real life.  

Written by Vasika Udurawane for TLC.lk

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