The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa served as the island’s capital from the 11th to 13th centuries, a relatively brief but glorious epoch that witnessed a flowering of Buddhist arts and architecture.
 
 

Polonnaruwa was established as the capital after Anuradhapura had been invaded in the late 10th century. Under King Parakramabu, who ruled in the late 11th century, Polonnaruwa became a magnificent walled city. He built the vast reservoir and ordered the construction of monasteries, temples, palaces, bathing pools and Buddhist statues, all set in a forested park surrounded by moats.

The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site.

DON'T MISS

 
 

sights in Polannaruwa

PALACE COMPLEX OF KING PARAKRAMABAHU

This is a majestic palace build by King Parakramabahu I, with seven stories and said to have one thousand chambers... Read more >

NISSANKA LATHA MANDAPAYA

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya is a unique structure built by King Nissanka Malla. The most important feature of this building is the shape and the carvings of the stone pillars... Read more >

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Rankoth Vehera

Rankoth Vehera (stupa with golden pinnacle), is the biggest stupa in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa built by Nissanka Malla, who ruled the country from 1187 to 1196... Read more >

VATADAGE

The Polonnaruwa Vatadage is an ancient structure dating back to the Polonnaruwa period of Sri Lanka. It is believed to have been built during the reign of... Read more >

GAL VIHARA 

Gal Vihara is home to four magnificent Buddha statues hewn out of a granite cliff-face. The highlight is the majestic 14-metre (46ft) reclining Buddha... Read more >

Atadage

A shrine for the tooth relic, the Atadage is the only surviving structure in Polonnaruwa dating from the reign of Vijayabahu I. Built on 54 stone pillars... Read MORE >

LANKATHILAKA IMAGE HOUSE

The impressive walls of the Lankatilaka image house enclose a large but headless statue of the Buddha who stands squashed inside the high, narrow space within... Read more >

Thuparama image house

Thuparama Image House is one of the few buildings where you can see a roof completely made out of bricks and has survived over 900 years... Read more >

Hatadage

The Hatadage, just door to the Atadage, and built for the same purpose by King Nissanka Malla to protect the sacred Tooth Relic, a symbol of royal power in ancient Lanka... Read more >