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Lankathilaka Image House

The Lankathilake Image House in Polonnaruwa , Sri Lanka is  a monolithic Buddha image house which was constructed by King Prakramabahu and is to the south of Kiri Vehera.  The building consists of its entirety in bricks with the outer walls adorned with extravagant motifs and artifacts. The statue of Lord Buddha has also been constructed in clay bricks and stands 41 feet in height. The bricks used were specially made for the purpose of constructing the statue, but sadly today the part above the shoulders has been completely destroyed.

The entrance to the Lankathilake image house is flanked by two huge pillars also made of bricks. The tallest pillar now stands 56 feet in heights, but it is believed that these pillars would have been even taller in the past. Chronicles reveal that the building had five stories and is also a part of the Alahana Pirivena.

The stairways of the Stupa upper house are of unique features and motifs. The steps are 4 inches in width and about a foot tall. The stairway commences from the Statue of Lord Buddha and winds its way to the  end of the entrance.  This unique design of the stairway puts the user in a quandary as he or she will find it difficult to climb the stairs in the normal way, but instead one needs to climb it moving sideways, with one’s back to the wall. The main reason that this staircase has been built in this fashion is that the climber will never turn his or her back towards the Buddha, as moving up in the normal way would be considered ill-mannered to the Lord Buddha.

The Stupa house is a demonstration of the Gedi-ge styled construction.  The vault style buildings is a unique feature of the entire set up at Lankathilake, in that the roofs are constructed of bricks in a semi-spherical style depicts an arch.

The unique feature is that the image house is the only location where the image of a Nagini is depicted in a balustrade.