Polonnaruwa is a Medival city or second capital of Srilanka which declared as UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in Srilanka, situated 227 km from capital Colombo.
The Anuradhapura kingdom was the first kingdom of Srilanka; it was invaded by Cholas from south India in latter part of 10th Century AD. And Cholas made Polonnaruwa as Capital and kingdom which ruled as sub kingdom of India. Because they found Polonnaruwa is more prosperous and safe. After 77 years king Wijayabahu from south of Srilanka ousted the cholas and recaptured the kingdom. But Anuradhapura never turned back as kingdom.
Though there were several kings in Polonnaruwa, three major kings are notables, King Wijaybahu, King Parakramabahu the great and King Nissankamalla respectively during the period of 11th century to 13th Century AD. This period was a golden period for the people of Polonnaruwa and was self sufficient. It is said only the salt brought from the outside of Polonnaruwa.
During 13th Century after the demise of king Nissankamalla, political uncertainty occurred. Then the Maga from Kalinga (Now Odissa, India) used the opportunity and invaded the Polonnaruwa and destroyed the city. Unlike the other invaders their aim was not to rule but to only plunder. They destroyed the city completely by setting fire. Maga was the worst invader which the country had witnessed. The people start shift from the city. Finally Polonnaruwa became an abandoned city.
During the colonial period of the British, LT.Fargon a British officer discovered an abandoned city inside the forest. Then archeological excavations and refurbishments works has been started led by H C P Bell.
Now Polonnaruwa attracts many people within the country and around the world. In Polonnaruwa any can be witnessed the ruins and monuments of religious and as well as secular.
Some of Polonnaruwa Attractions
Citadel and palace of the king Parakramabahu
The Palace complex has been described in the chronicles as a palace in heaven with thousand rooms. Still we can observe three stories made out of bricks and wood. The ground floor is used as a lobby, store houses and security purposes. There is a staircase made out of granite. Some walls had been decorated and painted. The thick walls denote the shorter foundation. Behind the palace, the palaces for the queens and the quarters of royal servants.
This was built on an elevated platform to show the grandeur of royalty. The pillars with beautifully carved. Pillar heads indicate who should sit at the respective pillars.
The Terrace of the Relic or Quadrangle
This is situated in the middle of the city.
- The gate house
- Circular relic chamber- the tooth Relic Temple of King Parakaramabahu
- Nissanka lath Mandapaya
- Atadage and Hetadage- Temple of Sacred tooth relic Temple
- Stone book
- Sathmahal Prasadaya
Parakramabahu Samudra (Sea of Parakramabahu)
King Parakramabahu built this large reservoir about 900 years ago combining three smaller tanks. The water was brought from two canals which are more than 36km long from Amban River. The Dam or the Bund 15km long and height are 40ft. it covers an area of more than 14sqkm. Even today there are more than 20 sluice gates and irrigate 43sqkm of paddy fields.
Shiva Temple 1 and 2
The Hindu shrines about seven, which are the oldest building found in the site. During the Cholas occupation these shrines have been built for their religious purposes. The buildings show ancient south Indian architecture. The LINGAM and YONI are the symbol worship. The temple was built by fixing granite slabs without using any plaster or bonding agent.
Gal viharaya (Uttararama- Northern Monastery)
This was built by king Parakramabahu and most elaborated temple complex in the chronicle and most popular among the pilgrims and visitors. The four Buddha statues which are in perfect states of preservation are considered as master pieces of Buddhist Iconography.