Exploring Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

The Majestic Ancient Capital 

The Quadrangle Atadage in Polonnaruwa |  Image by Nahid Sultan via Wikimedia Commons

Over 800 years ago, Polonnaruwa was an ancient capital, a buzzing commercial city, and a religious epicenter of Sri Lanka. Its archeological complex prominently displays its splendors of yesteryear, giving a good idea of how the city thrived. Your cultural and historical tour of the country is incomplete without visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Archeological complex

This city is a haven for history lovers, consisting of hundreds of temples, religious monuments, royal palaces, and ancient structures. During your visit, you may want to check out Hotel Sudu Araliya, which is a popular choice among travellers.

A little bit of history 

Historically, during the Sinhalese kingdoms, Polonnaruwa remained the royal capital for three centuries. During the Chola invasion (from India) of Anuradhapura, the capital city at the time, they chose Polonnaruwa as their kingdom city. Polonnaruwa was ideal during wartime since it shielded them from the local kings. The Sinhala kings managed to regain supremacy by defeating the Cholas. King Vijayabahu of Sri Lanka created Polonnaruwa as a city that signifies prominent Buddhist glory. The reigning King Parakramabahu I significantly improved the city with significant constructions, beautiful parks, and the most prominent Parakrama Reservoir.

Visiting Polonnaruwa

History buffs can go all out in Polonnaruwa. Guided tours are available, and all the monuments have English signage. Out of the many sites to visit here, these are the places to visit in Polonnaruwa you must not miss!

– Sacred Quadrangle (Dalada Maluwa)

This was once the home to the sacred tooth relic of Buddha. There is a circular relic house in the middle of the quadrangle and a Buddha statue in the middle of the circular room.

– Royal Palace

This significant royal palace, which remains from King Parakramabahu’s era, is said to have had 50 rooms and 30 columns supporting its structure.

– Swimming Pool (Kumara Pokuna)

The remains of the royal family swimming pool can be seen here.

– Shiva Devale 02

Built during the brief Chola dynasty, it is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva.