Polonnaruwa was the second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s Kingdoms; Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu 1. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa came in to being after the Anuradhapura Kingdom was invaded by Chola forces from India. The city of Polonnaruwa covers over 122 hectares and had a large irrigation system therefore as a result it became as an agricultural and irrigational hub in the country.

Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Monuments in Polonnaruwa

(1) Parakkramabahu Statue –

(2) Galviharaya –          

Polonnaruwa Gal Viharaya (Uththararamaya) is one of the main attractions and one of the best intricate creations which can be seen in Polonnaruwa. The Buddha statues created in rock are simply amazing. The statues are the main attraction of this place. Gal Vihara statues are created using best rock material. The 4 important feature of Gal Vihara are images of the Buddha created on a large brickwork rock face thus they are believed to be the ideal examples of the rock craving and sculpting arts of the early Sinhalese. Almost 15ft deep cut is there on the rock to create a rock face to hold the images. You will see why this temple is visited by thousands of people throughout the year. Three of the statues are relatively large the smallest of them is more that 15ft and the largest is long more than 46ft. The four statues are as follows

(1) Seated Statue    (2) Statue in Vidyadara Cave

(3) Standing Statue (4) Reclining Statue

Main Samadhi Buddha statue   

The large Samadhi Buddha Statue is around 16ft in height and it’s the left most one towards the left.

Statue in Vidyadara Cave           

This Statue is located in a cave call Vidyadara Guhawa. There are some decorations done on the background wall.

Standing Statue

Reclining Statue                            

This is the largest statue of gal vihara. This statue is one of the greatest art works not only in Sri Lanka but also in whole South Asia. The statue symbolizes the Parinirwana of the Great Lord Buddha.

(3) Parakkramabahu Palace –          

Built by King Parakkramabahu who ruled in 12th century AD.

(4) Watadage –          

A circular relic chamber built enclosing a dagoba that had been popular architectural style in ancient Sri Lanka.

(5) Hatadage –

A relic chamber built by King Parakkaramabahu 1 to house the Sacred Tooth Relic.

(6) Sathmahal Pasada –

(7) Nissanka Latha Mandapa –

(8) Atadage –

(9) Parakkrama Lake –

Parakkarama Samudra is a man made irrigation tank spread over an area of 5940 acres, built by the King Parakkramabahu. It is one of the most striking features of Polonnaruwa.

(10) Pothgulvehera –

(11) Pabulu Vehera –

(12) Thiwanka Pilimage –

(13) Hindu Shrines –

(14) Lotus Pond –

A stone pond built in the shape of a Lotus flower in eight parallel tiers probably to provide seating to the monks while bathing.

(15) Rankoth Vehera –

(16) Alahana Pirivena Complex –

  • Baddasima Pasada
  • Lankathilaka (The Image house)
  • Kiri Vehera (The Milky Dagaba)

(17) Museum of Polonnaruwa –


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