Potgul Vehera

The Potgul Vihara is a well preserved building. A circular image house surrounded by four small dagobas. The central room 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.


. Built. Unknown, but possibly under ruler Parakramabahu I (1153-1186).
. Location. A short walk south from the statue in Potgul Vehera monastery. See in Google Maps.
Unknown function. The structure likely served as either an image hall (shrine) or a library for the safe storage of valuable religious texts, both of which reveal the presence of Mahayana Buddhist influences.


a)  Entrance to sanctum. Visitors originally entered from the east side, moving gradually higher on a series of elevated platforms. Arriving at the primary structure at the center of the arrangement, they first encountered a mandapa that provided access to the round sanctum (red highlights in figure below).
b) Corbelled ceiling. The sanctum originally had a vaulted ceiling made of corbelled bricks, now collapsed.
c) No secondary entrance. The absence of a secondary entrance on the right (north) side of the mandapa — a trademark design feature of Sri Lankan image halls — would seem to rule
out its identification as an image hall in favor of a library (figure below).
d) Stupas. Four stupas sit in the corners of the uppermost square platform, surrounding the structure and marking it as one of great religious significance (green highlights in figure below,).
e) Monastic residences. Monastic residences occupy the platform below, their entrances facing inward in deference (yellow highlights figure below,).


Potgul Vehera Layout


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