Polonnaruwa is a city of many ruins of the day of Kings and kingdoms and Alahana Pirivena is one of these many ruins. Built by King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186) beneath its foundation is said to be a cremation ground. Alahana Pirivena is a great monastic compound with its attractive borders and its stony projections, brooks, ponds and gardens were once an area that covered over 70 hectares of land.
An archeologist’s haven, Alahana Pirivena is a ruin that depicts the past with its plethora of units, with minute boundary walls that have equally minute entrances. The ruins depict small cells and it is evident that common living facilities were shared by the monks.
A monumental brick building referred to as “Baddha Seema Pasada” was supposed to be a chapter house for resident monks in the bygone era. A significant feature of the Alahana Pirivena, is its diminutive rock columns which stand outside the edifice and demarcates the boundaries of the chapter house.
It was during the rule of King Parakramabahu I that monks gathered together on the uppermost patio of the Alahana Pirivena led by the chief priest, on a full moon days, where the “Vinaya” or rules of discipline was recited among the monks.
The Kuda Gal Vihara is a cave which is found on the lower terrace of the chapter house, where three rock Buddha statues are found. The most eye-catching of all is the Lankatilake Pilimage. Visitors are enthralled by the beauty of sunsets which illuminate this colossal rock building in haunting natural hues, where within this cave can be found a 41’ statue of the Lord Buddha.
The findings at the ancient hospital complex of Alahana Pirivena in Polonnaruwa are exceptional, as it is the only hospital site in the globe in archeological terms that, in addition to medical equipment, a number of surgical instruments have been uncovered. It was a monastic hospital that they discovered in the Alahana Pirivena, one of the largest monastic complexes founded by doctors in 1982.