A majestic figure with a grave expression
A magnificent statue made purely from stone stands on the eastern Bank of the Parakrama Samudra Reservoir. It is considered as the symbol of Polonnaruwa. This statue depicting an austere figure holding what is thought to be an ola leaf manuscript is carved on a large boulder. The identity of the statue is yet a mystery. It is referred as Pulastya Rishi Statue and also as King Parakramabahu statue and measures over 11 feet in height. This statue is considered as one of the finest historical statues in Sri Lanka. It is mostly believed to be a statue of King Parakramabahu because it is located on the eastern bank of the Parakrama Samudraya Reservoir which was built by him.
However, it also said that this statue is of the great Sage Rishi “Pulastya”; Grandfather of great king “Shri Ravana”. Rishi “Pulastya” was a Brahman who was meditating and living in a forest called “Thapo wanaya”. Historical records reveal that the area in which the statue is located was known as Pulastya Pura in the ancient days before it was changed as Polonnaruwa. The fact that a Brahmanical sacred thread that runs from the left shoulder of the figure across the body and the thalappawa worn on the head instead of a crown are facts that support to convinve that the statue it not of King Parakramabahu but of Sage Rishi “Pulastya”
Eventhough the identity of the statue is still a mystery the details of the statue are amazing. It is beyond doubt that Pulastya Rishi Statue also known as King Parakramabahu statue is one of the greatest examples of Sri Lankan art.