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Tivanka Image House

  Province North Central
  District Polonnaruva
  Nearest Town Polonnaruva
  Period 1153 – 1186 A.D.
  Ruler King Parakramabahu the Great


This is identified as the image house of Jetavanarama (monastery) built by king Parakramabahu the Great (1153 – 1186 A.D.) . It is called Tivanka (meaning three bends) because the giant Buddha image inside is bent at three places, namely the shoulder, hip and the knee. The Image house is famous for its 12th century paintings on the interior walls. These paintings depicting certain incidents from jataka Katha (stories) and the life of the Buddha are the best examples of the murals of the Polonnaruva period. This image house belongs to the vaulted type (gedige) just as Lankatilaka and Thuparama. A fragment of the brick vaulted roof is still lying to the south of the shrine. The vimanas with figures of deities and the dwarf figures in various postures on the exterior walls are admirable works of decorative art.


  • Porch
  • Vestibule
  • Secondary Entrance
  • Stairway
  • Entresol
  • Circumambulating Passage
  • Sanctum
  • Tivanka Buddha Image
  • Fragment of the vaulted roof