Lovamahapaya was an ancient building located between Ruvanveliseya and Sri Mahabodiya in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, 200 km from the capital, Colombo. It was built by King DevanampiyaThissa, the first Buddhist king of the country, in the 3rd century BCE and was later redesigned by King Dutthagamani, in the 2nd century BCE, into a massive refractory the remains of which you can see today.
According to early historical sources, Lovamahapaya was a massive nine storied building with each side 400 feet long. The building was supported by 40 rows of stone pillars each containing 40 pillars, totaling 1600 pillars in all. It’s walls were decorated with corals and precious stones and its roof was covered with copper-bronze plates, because of which it’s also know as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasadaya. Each level of the building was rumored to have 1,000 rooms. These early descriptions may be exaggerated, but Lovamahapaya would have been one of the most prominent buildings at the time it was constructed.
Unfortunately, aside from the hundreds of supporting stone pillars nothing remains of this once supposedly majestic building. The building was completely destroyed in a fire, the upper structures being made of wood, during the reign of King Saddhatissa, less than 30 years later.
Over the next several centuries until the fall of the Anuradhapura Kingdom in the 10th century, Lovamahapaya was rebuilt and then destroyed numerous times by invading armies. King Parakramabahu who reigned from 1153 to 1186 AD raised and restored the stone pillars. The small building in the center of the stone pillars that is visible today, is of late construction and is the Venue of Uposatha (chapter house) of the Maha Vihara even now.
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