Pabalu Vehera – Polonnaruwa
Pabalu Vehera is an ancient stupa in Polonnaruwa in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is one of the country's most unique and significant architectural structures, attracting many visitors annually. This writing will discuss the history, significance, and how to reach Pabalu Vehera.
History of Pabalu Vehera
The origin of Pabalu Vehera is unclear, but it is believed to have been built by Queen Rupawathi, one of King Parakramabahu's consorts (1153-1186 AD). However, the original name of the stupa is unknown, and it is currently called "Pabalu" (meaning beads) due to the discovery of many tiny glass beads during excavations in the surrounding area.
The stupa has undergone significant damage over the years, with the top part being destroyed by invaders and the centre of the stupa being likely destroyed by treasure hunters in recent times. But Pabalu Vehera is still an important historical and cultural site in Sri Lanka, even though it has been damaged.
Significance of Pabalu Vehera
Pabalu Vehera is an important religious and cultural site in Sri Lanka. It is believed to be one of the oldest stupas in the country and has significant religious and historical value. The stupa is unique in its architecture, with nine image houses surrounding it. In these image houses, there are statues of Buddha sitting or standing. For example, one house has the "Sri Pathla," which is the impression of Buddha's foot, and another has a statue of Buddha lying down.
The unique design of the stupa and the fact that it has image houses show that it was an important place for Buddhists to worship and meditate. The stupa's location also adds to its significance, as it is situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the capital of Sri Lanka, during the 11th and 12th centuries.
How to Reach Pabalu Vehera
Pabalu Vehera is located in the city of Polonnaruwa, which is approximately 216 kilometres from Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. There are several ways to reach Polonnaruwa, including by train, bus, or private vehicle.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Polonnaruwa is in the town of Habarana, which is approximately 47 kilometres away. From Habarana, you can take a taxi or a tuk-tuk to reach Polonnaruwa.
By Bus: Polonnaruwa is well-connected by bus services from major cities in Sri Lanka, including Colombo, Kandy, and Anuradhapura. You can take a bus to Polonnaruwa from any of these cities.
By Private Vehicle: You can also reach Polonnaruwa by renting a car or hiring a taxi. The journey from Colombo to Polonnaruwa takes approximately 4-5 hours by car.
Once you reach Polonnaruwa, Pabalu Vehera is easily accessible by road. The stupa is located in the ancient city and can be reached by foot or by hiring a tuk-tuk or a bicycle.
Pabalu Vehera is an ancient Sri Lankan stupa with significant religious and historical value. The stupa's unique architecture and the presence of image houses make it an important site for Buddhist worship and meditation. If you are visiting Sri Lanka, visiting Pabalu Vehera is highly recommended.