Thivanka Pilimage

Thivanka Pilimage - an extra-ordinary image house

Thivanka (which literally means bent thrice) depicts the statue of the Buddha at the far corner of the image has which is bent in three places namely the shoulder, waist and knee. This is a vaulted type image house (gedige) and it is most famous for its paintings depicted on the inner walls. This structure was built by King Parakramabahu (1153-1186) as part of the Jethavanarama Complex. Although it is a stand olne and slightly out of the way attraction, it is important and a must-see for visitors before departing the main compound of the Polonnaruwa ruined city.

The Buddha statue at the Thivanka Pilimage is about 8 meters in height but today the part of the statue above the head has been destroyed. The statue as at today is 6.6 metres tall. The building is 133 feet long and 67.6” feet wide. The walls are 7-12 feet thick making the internal size of the building much smaller.

Interestingly the walls and the roof of this image house was built entirely out of brick and is known as the Gedige type of image houses similar to the previously visited image houses of Thuparama and Lankatilaka image houses in Polonnaruwa. However, similar to the Lankatilaka the original roof brick vaulted roof has defragmented and only a small section of the roof remains on the southern side of the structure.

The inside walls of the buildings has been decorated with frescoes showing the Jataka Stories (prior births of Buddha before enlightenment) although most of the masonry has been destroyed, the colorful drawings can be still seen on the areas where masonry is intact. The entrance to the building consists of two guard stones and two “Korawak Gala”

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