After abandoning Anuradhapura which had been due to several Chola invasions, King Viajayabahu I made Polonnaruwa the capital city of Sri Lanka. In succession to King Viajayabahu I two other monarchs Parakrmabahu I and Nissankamalla made a notable contribution towards the development of the culture and the economy making Polonnaruwa not only a cultural centre but also the hub of economic development. Today as a World Heritage city Polonnaruwa ranks on par with Anuradhapura mainly due to the recognition of the cultural sites in the area.
Location and route
To reach Polonnaruwa easily from Colombo is through Habarana junction which is 170 km away. A right turn from there to the east will lead to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa after a distance of 40 km. the Colombo-Batticalo railway line too passes through the city.
Some of the Places to visit
Gal Viharaya is one of the world renowned temple and consists of three Buddha images in sedentary, standing and reclining postures carved by sculptors of exceptional competence.
Poth Gul Vehera
The complex of ruins close to the bund of the main tank towards the south of the city is known as Pothgul Vehera built by King Parakrama Bahu I. The main structure here is a library building.
This is an impressive well-carved statue of height 11 feet opposite the complex is not fully identified. However, the two generally accepted views are that it is the image of King Parakramabahu I or that of Sage Pulasthi whose name was used for Polonnaruwa.
Parakrama Royal Palace
The ruins of the palace, also known as Vaijayantha Prasadaya was an elaborate multi storied structure and was the most prominent building which unfortunately had got damaged by fire.
Shiva Devala Iand II
These had been built according to the south Indian traditions. Prominanta among the carvings are the Shiva LIngas, lotus flowers, lion figures. Devala II is considered to be the oldest. It was built by King Rajendra I.
A large monastery complex known as Alahana Pirivena which also included a hospital was built by Parakramabahu I and also included five storied Lankathilake Temple.