Rankoth Vehera – Polonnaruwa


Rankoth Vehera: Polonnaruwa was constructed by king Nishanka Malla(1187 AD to 1196 AD). According to some historical facts, this was erected long before, and king Nissanka Malla renovated it. This stupa was constructed within the same shape as the Ruwanweli Maha Seya in Anuradhapura. Even according to some historical facts, this was known as the same name in those days.

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Rankoth Vehera holds a significant place among Sri Lanka's historical landmarks. It's construction material and architectural design reflect the ingenuity and creativity of the ancient Sri Lankans. Let us delve into the awe-inspiring dimensions of Rankoth Vehera, explore its structural features, and uncover the historical significance associated with this remarkable stupa.

Dimensions and Engineering Marvel

Rankoth Vehera's dimensions are truly awe-inspiring. Its circular base boasts a diameter of approximately 170 meters (550 feet), showcasing the ancient builders' meticulous planning and engineering prowess. Rising to a height of around 33 meters (108 feet) at the pinnacle of the stupa, it stands tall, captivating the beholder with its grandeur. Historical research even suggests that the original height of Rankoth Vehera may have exceeded 200 feet (61 meters), further emphasizing its monumental presence.

The stature and prominence of Rankoth Vehera make it the largest stupa in Polonnaruwa and the fourth largest in the entire country. Despite undergoing renovations and alterations to its height by subsequent rulers, it remains an unparalleled symbol of architectural excellence and religious significance.

The Role of Vahalkadas

An integral part of Rankoth Vehera's structure is the presence of four Vahalkadas. These Vahalkadas, also constructed using bricks, serve a dual purpose: they provide essential support for the weight of the stupa while adding to its overall visual appeal. Including these architectural elements showcases the meticulous planning and attention to detail invested in Rankoth Vehera's design.

Layout and Design

Rankoth Vehera's grandeur extends beyond its dimensions and structural elements. Situated at the centre of a vast square terrace enclosed by a sturdy brick wall, the stupa's layout and design create a sense of harmony and symmetry. The terrace features four entrances aligned with the four cardinal directions, each adorned with sand paths leading up to the stupa. This well-organized arrangement enhances the accessibility and magnificence of the site, leaving a lasting impression on visitors.

King Nissanka Malla's Involvement

The construction of Rankoth Vehera was under the direct supervision of King Nissanka Malla, who personally oversaw and directed its creation. His unwavering dedication and commitment to this significant project are commemorated by an inscription near one of the entrances. This inscription serves as a testament to the importance placed on the religious and cultural aspects associated with Rankoth Vehera.

The Stone Platform

A fascinating aspect of Rankoth Vehera is the presence of a stone platform. This historic platform holds immense significance as it was the spot where King Nissanka Malla worshipped the stupa. Today's Visitors can still witness this awe-inspiring connection to history, as the stone platform remains at one corner of the terrace. It serves as a poignant reminder of the devotion and reverence bestowed upon Rankoth Vehera throughout the ages.

In conclusion, Rankoth Vehera is a magnificent testament to the architectural prowess of ancient Sri Lanka. Its construction using bricks, impressive dimensions, and significant historical associations make it a must-visit destination in Polonnaruwa. The enduring presence of Rankoth Vehera, along with the stone platform and other architectural elements, allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.


1. Can visitors enter Rankoth Vehera? Yes, visitors are welcome to explore Rankoth Vehera and experience its architectural marvel firsthand.

2. Are there any guided tours available at Rankoth Vehera? Yes, guided tours are available at Rankoth Vehera, providing visitors with in-depth knowledge about the stupa's history and significance.

3. How long did it take to construct Rankoth Vehera? The construction of Rankoth Vehera spanned several years, with King Nissanka Malla overseeing its creation during his reign.

4. Are there any restrictions or dress codes for visitors at Rankoth Vehera? While there are no specific dress codes, it is advisable to dress modestly out of respect for the religious and cultural significance of the site.

5. Can visitors climb Rankoth Vehera? No, climbing Rankoth Vehera is not permitted to ensure the preservation and protection of this historical monument.



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