Polonnaruwa is an ancient city located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It served as the second capital of the country after the fall of Anuradhapura and is renowned for its well-preserved archaeological ruins, reflecting the grandeur of the ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.
The city of Polonnaruwa flourished between the 11th and 13th centuries and was a thriving center of politics, trade, religion, and culture. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination that offers a fascinating glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich historical and cultural heritage.
One of the main attractions in Polonnaruwa is the Archaeological Park, an expansive site that houses the ruins of the ancient city. The park is divided into several zones, each containing different structures and landmarks. Exploring the park on foot, bicycle, or by hired vehicle allows visitors to discover the remarkable remnants of a once magnificent city.
The most iconic site in Polonnaruwa is the Royal Palace complex, which includes the impressive King’s Audience Hall, Royal Bathing Pool, and the Royal Pavilion. These structures showcase the architectural prowess of the ancient builders, with intricate carvings and well-preserved details.
The Gal Vihara, a group of magnificent Buddha statues carved out of a single granite rock, is another major highlight of Polonnaruwa. The statues, including the standing, seated, and reclining Buddha, are renowned for their exquisite craftsmanship and serene expressions.
Other notable attractions in Polonnaruwa include the Thuparama Image House, Vatadage Relic House, Lankatilaka Image House, and Rankoth Vehera, an enormous stupa that dominates the skyline of the city.
Visiting Polonnaruwa allows travelers to immerse themselves in the ancient history and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. The well-preserved ruins provide a tangible connection to the past, offering insight into the architectural styles, religious practices, and societal structures of the time.
Aside from the archaeological sites, Polonnaruwa is surrounded by scenic landscapes and natural beauty. The city is bordered by picturesque lakes, including the Parakrama Samudra, a vast reservoir built by King Parakramabahu I. The lake provides a serene backdrop to the ancient ruins and offers opportunities for boat rides and birdwatching.
Overall, a visit to Polonnaruwa is a journey back in time, where visitors can explore the remnants of a once glorious city and appreciate the craftsmanship and artistic achievements of the ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, culture lovers, and those seeking a deeper understanding of the country’s rich past.