(The Great Copper Roofed Mansion)
The king Devamnampiyatissa, the first Buddhist king of the country build a chapter house in this location on the instructions Mahinda Thero who brought Buddhism to the country. A century later king Dutugamunu (161-131 BC) built a massive structure of which the remains you see today.
According to Mahavamsa, the great chronicle of the Sinhalese, this was a massive nine storied building with a height of 150 ft (47 metres) and each side with a 150 feet (46 metres) length. The building was supported by 40 rows of stone pillars with 40 pillars which totalled 1600 pillars. In each storey there were 1000 rooms and 100 windows. The building was adorned with corals and precious stones. Its roof was covered with copper-bronze plates. Although this description may be a little exaggerated, this would have been a very impressive building at that time looking at what remains today.
Superstructure of the building probably would have been wood and the height of this building deceased with time. According to Mahavamsa, this building was destroyed by fire during king Saddhatissa (137-119 BC) and it was built to seven storeys. King Sirinaga II (240-242 AC) restored this building again to five storeys. King Jettatissa (266-276 AC) once again raised the size of the building to seven storeys.
King Mahasena (277-303) completely demolished this building and gave the material to the Abayaghiri Viharaya due to a conflict with the monks in the Mahavihara. His son Sirimeghavanna rebuild this mansion again and was destroyed again by the Pandayns from South India who invaded the city in the 9th century and was rebuild again in the same century by king Sena II.
Again the Colas from India invaded the city in 10th century and plundered the city of its all valuables which finally saw the fall of the Anuradhapura as the capital of Sri Lanka after over 1400 years.
The great king Parakramabhu I who reigned from Polonnaruwa (1153-1186 AC) raised again the 1600 pillars and partly restored it. This is what you see today.
More Infomation on the site
Pride of Sri Lanka, and the First Skyscraper in the recorded history of mankind - Lova Maha Paya http://www.nexcorpsl.com/sinhala/P_Lovamahapaya.htm
Photos before restoration from www.imagesofceylon.com
July 22, 2007