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Pothgul Viharaya, Polonnaruwa, Polonnaruwa Overview

Pothgul Viharaya is an old library and monastery in the Polonnaruwa district of Sri Lanka. The ruins of this ancient library date back to the twelfth century. The name Pothgul itself means 'Bookstore'.

The library was as a place to store Buddhist books built with bricks, but now it is nothing but a demolished historic site. It was once part of a monastery and provide shelter to resident monks. It was thought to be a Buddhist library complex where Buddhist writings were studied. It is situated next to a beautiful lake where tourists can enjoy boating.

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Pothgul Viharaya, Polonnaruwa

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History of Pothgul Viharaya

King Parakamabahu built Pothgul Viharaya in the twelfth century and was renovated by Queen Chandrawathi, a consort of King Parakarmabahu. The King used to listen to the Jataka stories of the Lord Buddha told by his teacher while sitting in the circular room.

Architecture of Pothgul Viharaya

Pothgul Viharaya is a Gedige type structure, built in the middle of the square shape stage. The main library and the roof, all are made of brick, there are four small stupas at the corners of the floor, and it consists of four terraces. 
The first terrace is the one that covers a larger area. The upper two patios are the ones that hold the buildings and the third level terrace has nine regions which were considered to be for the 'kutis' for the monks. There are three entrances to the monastery, and the main entrance is the one in the Eastern direction. The uppermost terrace has the circular building which earlier had a circular roof which is also thought to be the 'Mandala Mandira' or the Circular House, built by King Parakramabahu the Great.

Tips while Visiting Pothgul Viharaya

The area has a lot of snakes, and tourists are advised to wear comfortable sneakers and full-length pants to prevent any snake bites. The city also has a lot of mosquitos, keep insect repellant or bug spray handy. The place has several monkeys, keep a close eye on your belongings to prevent them from being stolen. The boating in the nearby lake takes place in batches and can get very congested.

How To Reach Pothgul Viharaya, Polonnaruwa

Pothgul Viharaya is around 216 kilometres from Colombo and 66 kilometres east of Dambulla. You can travel to Polonnaruwa via car, bus or train. The most convenient way is to use a privately hired vehicle, but the bus and train are more economical options. By car, it will take about 4.5 - 5 hours to reach the destination from Colombo. The temple is at a height, and you have to walk for about 15-20 minutes to reach the temple.

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