The Splendid Reclining Buddha Of Polonnawura

Temples of Asia | | August 26, 2009 at 11:38 pm


Buddha statueThe impressive, primeval second capital, Polonnawura of Sri Lanka that flourished during the time periods of 846 AD – 1302 AD, during its zenith was cosseted by a six kilometres long spanning fortifying, sturdy encompassing walls. Tactically, it covered most of the crossing over Mahaweli River that is considered the longest spanning and biggest river of the Sri Lankan island. Polonnaruwa boasts of the most widespread and well-conserved relics that proffer a mesmerizing view of primordial Sri Lanka.

In the time period of several centuries, innumerable monuments have been constructed in reminiscence of the grand scenes of the life depiction of Buddha, but the one located in Polonnawura that was built during the twelfth century under the directions of the King Parakrambahu, is a spectacular piece of art form. It was built as a means of paying respect to Buddha’s last terminal moments when he attained complete Nirvana or peace.

The magnificent reclining Buddha statue also known as the Buddha in parinirvana portrays a fourteen metres long Buddha in the verge of reaching Nirvana. A gigantic yet superlatively poised figurine is whittled in a tranquil stance. It is an epitome of fine Sinhalese rock carving and has been engraved out of a huge chunk of granite that initially constituted a section of the King’s north monastery compound. The monument was initially held in its own enclosed space, which is evident from the hollow hacked into the rock at the rear of the statue.

The face dexterously speckled with variants in the innate hues of the rock is truly breathtaking. The anonymous sculptor has whittled the grand statue with ultimate gentleness that is discernible in the finer details. Even the support like head rest emanates a delicate depression beneath the head region and the sun wheel emblem found on the end of the bolster.

The Buddha’s absolute extinction as it is called instead of demise is partially signified by way of a higher elevated foot that is to some extent drawn within that depicts the pain experienced during the final moments. This Buddha monument exudes such superlative level of splendour that it was a source of inspiration for centuries of Sinhalese art form that failed to replicate its magnificence.

In spite of its horizontal posture, the statue radiates an air of immense stateliness and contentment, appearing to emerge innately from the striped, greyish granite cliff at its rear, giving an illusion that it was a part of the setting. The forty-six feet in length Buddha statue is seen lying sideways with one hand hoisted to his bolster having a sublime smile on his lips.

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  1. Sandy says:

    I think that nirvana is essentially lot more than peace. It’s the inner detachment from world & all of its happiness & sadness. Just kinda thing, we don’t have an accurate English word for.
    Anyways, I feel its nice place to incorporate in list & explore in my trip to South East Asia. That was real unique & interesting place to check out.

  2. Pearl says:

    I think the fact that you have the depictions of Nirvana makes it the most rewarding, spiritually. I mean, all the events from Buddha’s like are rewarding, but Nirvana has to be on position no 1.
    You can’t have more important event, can you?
    I am so gonna go there……. one day.

  3. Ray says:

    Do you know that King Parakrambahu was quite a visionary. He created quite a harmonious & growing period for Sri Lanka. I guess, the work is now unknown, but the reclining Buddha has kept him immortal.
    What an irony?

  4. Wes says:

    I am really taken surprise to see how the few bits & pieces of information make a spectacular statue more than an art work. I loved it. Ricky, you are sure lucky to had a chance to witness it. I guess, so will I. I am gonna incorporate it in my office tour in near future.

  5. vareeja says:

    Countless monuments have been raised, over tens of centuries, in memory of the great scenes of Buddha’s life… but this one at Polonnawura in Sri Lanka honours Buddha’s dying moments, when he achieved perfect peace: Nirvana.

    Inspite of its prone position, the statue carries an air of enormous dignity and satisfaction, and appears to have emerged naturally from the streaked, grey, granite cliff behind it as though it were part of the environment.

    46 feet in length, it lies across the front of a rock-cut temple, and shows the Buddha lying on his side, one hand raised to his pillow, with a placid smile on his lips.

    Indeed very profound and magnificient!

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