Damila Thupa


King Parakramabahu I planned this 12th-century stupa to be the world's largest Buddhist monument, but even with the enforced assistance of Tamil prisoners it was never completed. The 600m circumference base is still undergoing excavation and is slowly emerging from the forested hillside.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Polonnaruwa attractions

1. Gal Vihara

0.24 MILES

Part of Parakramabahu I’s northern monastery, Gal Vihara is a group of beautiful Buddha images that probably marks the high point of Sinhalese rock…

2. Nelum Pokuna

0.39 MILES

A track to the left from the northern stretch of road leads to unusual Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond), nearly 8m in diameter, which has five concentric,…

3. Kiri Vihara

0.45 MILES

Construction of the dagoba Kiri Vihara is credited to Subhadra, King Parakramabahu I’s queen. Originally known as the Rupavati Chetiya, the present name…

4. Lankatilaka

0.53 MILES

One of the most evocative structures in Polonnaruwa, the Lankatilaka temple was built by Parakramabahu I and later restored by Vijayabahu IV. This massive…

5. Exit

0.56 MILES

Most visitors exit the archaeological site here.

6. Buddha Seema Prasada

0.57 MILES

Set on a natural ridge, this was the monastery’s convocation hall, where monks met fortnightly. This building features a fine mandapaya (raised platform…

7. Tivanka Image House

0.64 MILES

Polonnaruwa's northern road ends at Tivanka Image House. Tivanka means ‘thrice bent’, and refers to the fact that the Buddha image within is in a three…

8. Vishnu Devale No 4

0.75 MILES

This minor Hindu site is outside the main archaeological area and can easily be skipped.