Polonnaruwa has two landmarks, one of them being the famous group of rock-carved Buddha Statues known as Gal Vihara. Another perfect symbol of Sri Lanka’s medieval capital is the Vatadage, a circular temple, which belongs to the Quadrangle, Polonnaruwa’s most important group of buildings. The Vatadage of Polonnaruwa is not huge in size, but the design is impressive, both the layout of the entire structure as well as its decorative details.
The Vatadage has been built during the reign of Polonnaruwa’s most famous king, Parakramabahu I (1153-86), who is also called Parakrambahu the Great. The circular temple is believed to have sheltered Sacred Tooth Relic, the Sinhalese national palladium, which had been kept in the nearby rectangular structures previously.
The Vatadage of Polonnaruwa is the best preserved example of a circular temple, round edifices being a characteristic feature of ancient Buddhist architecture in Sri Lanka. Such circular temples contain small stupas and are therefore also called Chetiyagaras, which translates to stupa houses. Four Buddha statues in the gesture of meditation (Samadhi Mudra) are seated around it, facing the cardinal directions. Some archaeologists have suggested that the building once carried a wooden roof. The Vatadagae in Polonnaruwa has two stone platforms, they are decorated with highly elaborate stone carvings such as friezes and guardstones and moonstones.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka,