Polonnaruwa: The Second Ancient Capital of Sri Lanka

Unraveling the Glorious Past and Timeless Treasures.

Rifath Farook

July 29, 2023

Step back in time to the golden era of Sri Lanka's history as we journey to Polonnaruwa, an ancient capital steeped in grandeur and cultural heritage. Situated in the country's North Central Province, Polonnaruwa stands as a testament to the artistic and architectural brilliance of ancient Sri Lanka. In this blog post, we will delve into the city's glorious past and explore its timeless treasures that continue to captivate visitors from around the world.

Royal Palace and Quadrangle: The Royal Palace complex in Polonnaruwa unveils the opulence and grandeur of the ancient kings. Roaming through the meticulously designed chambers and courtyards, you'll envision the splendor of royal life. The Quadrangle, with its array of temples and stupas, showcases the architectural finesse and religious significance of the city.

Royal Palace and Quadrangle
Gal Vihara: Prepare to be awestruck by the Gal Vihara, a collection of magnificent Buddha statues carved into a single granite rock face. The serene expressions and intricate detailing of these statues make them some of the finest examples of ancient Sinhalese stone carving.

Gal Vihara
Polonnaruwa Vatadage: Admire the intricacies of the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, a circular relic house constructed to enshrine sacred relics. The Vatadage is a testimony to the advanced engineering and artistic craftsmanship of the ancient Sinhalese.

Polonnaruwa Vatadage
Rankot Vihara: As you approach the Rankot Vihara, the massive white stupa emerges, symbolizing the city's prominence in Buddhist tradition. Marvel at the sheer size of this ancient dagoba and take in the serene atmosphere that envelopes the sacred site.

Rankot Vihara
Lankathilaka Vihara: The Lankathilaka Vihara, an awe-inspiring brick temple, stands as a masterpiece of ancient architecture. Ascend the steep staircase to the temple's sanctum, where you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Lankathilaka Vihara
Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum: Dive deeper into the city's history at the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum, which houses a remarkable collection of artifacts excavated from the ancient ruins. The museum offers insights into the daily life, art, and culture of the bygone era.

Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum
Parakrama Samudra: Embark on a tranquil boat ride on the Parakrama Samudra, an ancient irrigation reservoir that once served as a lifeline to the city's agriculture. The vast expanse of water against the backdrop of verdant landscapes creates a sense of serenity and timelessness.

Parakrama Samudra
Medirigiriya Vatadage: Venture beyond the city to Medirigiriya, where the Medirigiriya Vatadage stands in all its glory. This lesser-known gem showcases a unique style of architecture, and its intricate carvings offer a glimpse into the spiritual devotion of the ancient inhabitants.

Medirigiriya Vatadage
Polonnaruwa Archaeological Park: Embrace the vastness of the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Park, which houses a multitude of ancient ruins spread over several kilometers. Exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site on foot or bicycle allows you to immerse yourself in the city's rich history at your own pace.

Polonnaruwa Archaeological Park
Polonnaruwa, with its ancient marvels and storied past, beckons history enthusiasts, culture seekers, and travelers in pursuit of timeless treasures. As you wander through the ancient ruins and marvel at the ingenuity of the Sinhalese ancestors, you'll be transported to a bygone era of royal glory and artistic excellence. Polonnaruwa is a city of wonder and awe, inviting you to uncover the secrets of its ancient civilization and connect with a past that continues to shape the fabric of Sri Lanka's heritage.

Image Courtesy:

Lankathilaka Vihara | Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum | Medirigiriya Vatadage

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