Southern Group

One final group of minor ruins, the so-called Southern Group, lies about 1.5km south of the museum and Rest House, a scenic walk along the raised bank of the gignatic resevoir named Parakarama Samudraya. The best-preserved building here is the Potgul Vihara

The principal attraction, however, is just to the north: an imposing 3.5-metre-high statue of a bearded figure, thought to date from the ninth century, which has become one of Polonnaruwa’s most emblematic images. It’s usually claimed that the statue is a likeness of Parakramabahu himself, holding an object which is either – a palm-leaf manuscript, representing the “Book of Law”, or a yoke, representing the burden of royalty (the less reverent claim it’s a slice of papaya). Another theory holds that the statue represents a sage named Pulasti, a hypothesis lent credence by its position near the monastic library

 

Ruins of Potgul Vihara in Polonnaruwa

Potgul Vihara, is a circular image house surrounded by four small dagobas. The central room of the Potgul Vihara is thought to have housed a monastic library where the city’s most sacred texts would have been stored, protected by massive walls which reach a thickness of around two metres at ground level.