Polonnaruwa is home to a number of monuments, sacred temples, stupas, ancient relic shrines and other structures of great intrigue. The Hatadage is just one of those major attractions in Polonnaruwa that personifies the influence of Buddhism during the era. Coupled with the interesting architecture that can still be seen of the ruined monument, the Hatadage is a complex quite difficult to resist exploring.

Best Known For

  • The Hatadage is best known for being a unique architectural monument, although in a ruined state. This is due to its symmetrical pillars that still stand today, making it quite difficult to discern exactly how such symmetry was achieved in its construction.
  • Couple that with the significant role it played during the Polonnaruwa Kingdom, under the reign of King Nissanka Malla, the Hatadage is indeed a sight to behold.

Interesting Facts

  • The Hatadage was built during the reign of King Nissanka Malla of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom that ruled from 1186 to 1197.
  • Initially built as a 2-storey building to house the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha (which is now housed in Kandy), a number of legends surround this monument.
  • One story suggests that the reason for it to be called ‘Hata’ (translated as 60), is that it contained 60 other sacred relics, in addition to the Tooth Relic.
  • Another story states that the reason for its name is that King Nissanka Malla’s craftsman built the marvel in just 60 hours.
  • Regardless of which story is true, the building remains to be an intriguing structure to many who explore the ruined building.
  • As a result of the subsequent invasions from South India, which led to the fall of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom, the second storey was completely destroyed, however, much of the first storey remained intact.
  • Many who explore the building often marvel at the symmetry of the pillars that can still be seen, even in its ruined state.
  • At present, the only chamber that can be recognised is the main shrine area that once possessed 16 stone columns, of which only 3 remain with sculptures of the Lord Buddha.
  • There are a number of other exquisite carvings and features, similar to the ones in the main shrine room, making it an ideal location to let that inner archaeologist in you explore the ancient relic shrine.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The Hatadage can be visited daily from 7.00am to 8.00pm, however, the ideal time to visit the ancient monument is during the early hours of the morning, since the crowds are much less, allowing you to explore the complex with ease.
  • Please keep in mind that it is a heritage site, therefore it is imperative that you adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the authorities.
  • It is best if you do bring along water and some snacks, since it can get quite warm during the day.
  • Please refrain from taking any polythene or plastic to the site.
  • Photography is allowed.

Even in its ruined state, the Hatadage of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom still boasts of its amazing architectural feats. Travelling in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa? Go ahead, explore and reimagine the architectural wonder in its original grandeur.

Title image by: Jehan Gamalathge The information displayed is provided by Hatadage

Location info



Foreign Adults
USD 25
includes access to entire city
Foreign Children
USD 13
includes access to entire city

Tickets At


Culture and Heritage

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