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Sandakada Pahana

In English language, we call this as Moonstone. This is a half circle stone carving. Hence, the name came for this by the name of half-moon the “Sandakada pahana”. This is a famous carving in many ancient architectures. Hence most of the entrances of Buddhist pilgrimages we see sandakada pahana (moonstone).

In addition to sandakada pahana, most main gates have two other carvings. One of those is guard stone, which is “mura gala” in Sinhalese. Moreover, the other one is Balustrades, which is “korawak gala” in Sinhalese.

History of Sandakada Pahana

We first see the sandakada pahana in Anuradhapura kingdom but we cannot see the development in the Polonnaruwa kingdom. In fact, the perfect moonstone is the Anuradhapura moonstone. Anyway, a person who is stepping to any Buddhist temple, first steps to this moonstone. Some of the archaeologists say that this implies the attaining to nibbana.

Structure Changing of Sandakada Pahana

We can see many changes of the design of moonstone during the history. However, the highest creativity is existing in Anuradhapura kingdom. We can see outermost flame ring in this sandakada pahana. In addition, a ring of four types of animals such as elephant, horse, lion and the bull carved inside the flame ring. These beasts are chasing each other. After that, we see a foliage with a wavy stem. Inside this wavy foliage we can see swans who are holding a flower with a leaf from the beak. We can see another floral pattern inside of this circle. Moreover, the center is a lotus. Archaeologists say that this lotus implies the nibbana.

Sandakada Pahana appears in various shapes after the Polonnaruwa kingdom. In example, we can see a triangular shaped moonstone in Temple of Tooth in Kandy. In addition to the shape, the content of this great carving also subjected to change. They lose the complexity in order to the time.

As an example of the reduction of complexity, no bull exists in Polonnaruwa era. Therefore, this is the main identification mark among the sandakada pahana in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

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