Medirigiriya to the north of Polonnaruwa had been an important Buddhist monastery already in the Anuradhapura period, before becoming of historical relevance for the Polonnaruwa kingdom. The archaeological site of Medirigiriya is most famous for an excellent specimen of a Vatadage, an ancient Sinhalese circular temple. A Vatadage was a circular building with a wooden or tiled roof housing a small stupa. The round structure in Medirigiriya is from the late Anuradhapura period. Actually, the Vatadage of Medirigiriya is one of the three best-preserved edifices of this architectural style in Sri Lanka, the others being the older Vatadage of Tiriyaya and the much younger Vatadage of Polonnaruwa. In contrast to the said two other Vatadages, the circular temple of Medirigiriya has not an impressive outer circular wall any more. But is has the best-preserved rings of stone columns. The inner circle has 16 pillars and the outer two rows consist of 16 and 20 pillars respectively. Indeed, no other round temple in Sri Lanka has more pillars than the Medirigiriya Vatadage. On the four sides of the stupa surrounded by the siad three rows of columns are four beautiful seated Buddha still in situ. What contributes much to the charm of the Medirigiriya Vatadage is that this circular temple of Medirigiriya is placed on a small rock. Visitors have to climb 31 stone steps to reach the natural temple platform.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka