Let’s go back in time

Modern day Polonnaruwa is made of two parts; Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site.

While Vijayabahu’s victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real “Hero of Polonnaruwa” of the history books is actually Parakramabahu I. It was his reign that is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa. Trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the king, who was so adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted and each was to be used toward the development of the land. Hence, irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during Parakramabahu’s reign – systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. The greatest of these systems is the Parakrama Samudra or the Sea of Parakrama. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu’s reign.

Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic cities in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province, but it is known as one of the cleanest and more beautiful cities in the country.

Polonnaruwa is usually considered over Anuradhapura for day trips as most of its attractions are located within a smaller area. And it is best explored by bicycles. Our tours usually feature Polonnaruwa as a day trip from Sigiriya or Dambulla. The area also hosts a number of National parks so wildlife is plentiful. In fact the monkeys in the area were filmed for the critically acclaimed documentary, (Disney’s) Monkey Kingdom!

Key attractions in and around Polonnaruwa

  • Parakrama Samudraya (Lake)
  • Hatadage
  • Rankoth Vehera
  • Nissanka Latha Mandapaya
  • Gal Vihara
  • Shiva Devalaya
  • Kumara Pokuna
  • Watadage
  • Kiri Vehera
  • Gal Potha
  • Dalada Maluwa
  • Atadage
  • Demala Maha Seya
  • Pothugal Viharaya
  • Alahana Pirivena
  • Lankathilaka Vihara
  • Thivanka image house
  • Royal Palace
  • Bathing Pools


Leave a Reply