Medirigiriya Watadage of Sri Lanka is a monastery in the ancient Polonnaruwa Kingdom. The center of the entire monastery is the Medirigiriya Watadage. It was an architectural masterpiece of the early times, and the stupa was entirely there. There are only 7 such stupa houses in Sri Lanka.
The records of King Kanitha Tissa of Anuradhapura (192-194 AD) show that this Varadadej was much worshiped and respected at that time. This monastery was supported by many kings throughout the history of Sri Lanka. In particular, the stupa, the center of the Vatadage, appears to have been built during the reign of Aggabody I (564 – 598 AD). Medirigiriya Watadage in Sri Lanka is a three storied central tower.
The Vatadage is built in a rock pool. There was a single entrance to the north. The entrance is a large carved stone frame built on the bottom of a staircase. The height of the frame is 9.75 feet and the width is 4.75 feet. 27 stone steps past the entrance to a large resting place. Four steps lead from the resting place to the actual stupa house. A low stone wall about a meter high in the stupa house ran around it. There are four magnificent stone Buddha statues on the wall facing the four main directions. There was a 33 feet long sleeping Buddha in the stupa house. The stupa was surrounded by stone pillars with three central rings. The outer ring had 32 pillars, nine feet, the middle ring 20 feet, and the inner ring 16 pillars 17 feet. Some archaeologists argue that there was never a roof. Others say the remains of the ruins still supported the roof. The height of the pillars leads to a very tall roof in the center to accommodate the spiral of the stupa, and the outer edges slope down to a relatively spherical shape.
The ruined but still beautiful Medirigiriya Watadage is a prime example of the high stone carvings used by Sri Lankan craftsmen over the years. Two bathing ponds, a cave, a toilet, and three stone inscriptions used by ancient monks are other features of the Medirigiriya monastery. Two of the inscriptions are hospital management and catering. The third is engraved in ancient Tamil letters.
Medirigiriya was abandoned after the invasion of Kalinga Maga. Half a millennium later, in 1897, the HCP. Mr. Bell rediscovered it on a journey through the woods and immediately realized its importance. He called it an architectural ornament and carried out renovations on it. The renovation was completed in 1945 and opened to the public.