Sri Lanka’s medieval capital rose to fame after Anuradhapura's decline. Polonnurawa became Sri Lanka's capital in the 11th century AD.
During its time the city was fortified with three concentric walls, decorated with parks and gardens and sanctified by many a shrine and sacred place. The city rests in the northeast shore of a huge lake; equivalent to an inland sea called the Parakrama Samudraya the largest irrigation tank in the island spread over an area of 5940 acres was the lifeblood of the ancient city, as it is still the case today, providing water for the thirsty rice crops.
Polonnaruwa’s centerpiece is the Terrace of the Tooth Relic, best known today as “The Quadrangle”. A group of 12 magnificent building stands on this platform in the heart of the ancient city and is a must see attraction for any visitor.
As you enter the platform, you will come across Vata-da-ge, a circular relic shrine built enclosing a dagoba, which is probably the oldest building in the city. This is protected by a guard stone to prevent evil from entering and the moonstone at the flight of steps is the best preserved. Directly opposite is the Hata-da-ge, the Temple of the Tooth built by King Parakramabahu I. The Royal citadel housing the King Parakramabahu’s Palace and administrative building is enclosed by a huge rampart more than a meter thick. It is an impressive building with fine stone carvings. To the east you will find Gal pota or Stone Book, 26 feet long and 14 feet wide, this huge stone slab was dragged here from Mihintale and contains inscriptions written about King Nissankamalla’s invasion of India and his relations with foreign countries. Other famous sites to visit within the Quadrangle is the Chapter House, Sathmahal Prasada, Atadage, Lata Mandapaya, Image of the Bodhisattva, Bo tree Shine and Thuparamaya.
Other attractions to see are Lankathilaka, Kiri Vehera, Demala Maha Seya, Tivanka Image House, Naipena Vihara (Cobra Shrine), King Parakramabahu’s Summer Palace and the Lotus Bath; a unique stone bath built in the shape of a Lotus with 8 tiered petals.
One must not fail to visit the Archeological Museum containing an impressive collection of ancient statues and artifacts, which is situated closer to the famous Miridiya rest house.
Places of Interest
* Parakrama Samudraya
* The Quadrangle
* Gal Vihara
* Kiri Vehera
* Demala Maha Seya
* Tivanka Image House
* Naipena Vihara
* King Parakramabahu’s Summer Palace
* Lotus Bath
* Archaeological Museum
Places of Interest