Atadage

the Atadage is one of the oldest structures in Polonnaruwa, having been constructed by Vijayabahu to house the Tooth Relic; you can still see the building's brick base and the remains of finely carved pillars and door frames; a blackened Buddha statue stands in the centre next to the Atadage are the remains of an image house - the brick base inside would have supported a now vanished reclining Buddha. Continuing anti-clockwise, the next building is the small but exquisite

Background

1) Built. Under ruler Vijayabahu I (1056-1111). Atadage was the first shrine in the Quadrangle built to house the Buddha’s sacred tooth relic.
2) Location. Immediately west of Hatadage in the Quadrangle.

 

Layout and appearance

 

Atadage – Layout

 

The shrine follows the same basic layout as that of Hatadage, only in a slightly smaller form factor ig• 9! )•

Mandapa and sanctum. A rectangular mandapa provides access to a larger square sanctum. The mandapa’s right wall holds a secondary entrance, again to assure that visitors only exposed their right sides to the Buddha in the sanctum.
Stairway to the tooth relic. A stone stairway in the mandapa provides access to a now-lost wooden upper floor that held the sacred tooth relic. As at Hatadage, columns embedded in the brick walls were required to support the weight of the upper floor.
Single Buddha. The sanctum features a single Buddha image, the more traditional Theravada arrangement; it is in relatively good condition.
Circumambulation path. Again as at Hatadage, visitors would circumambulate, leave an offering and then go upstairs to see the relic.

 

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