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Exploring the Ancient Wonders of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, is a city steeped in history and cultural heritage. Once the thriving capital of the ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa, this city now stands as a testament to the island's rich past. Renowned for its well-preserved ruins, ancient monuments, and serene landscapes, Polonnaruwa is a must-visit destination for history buffs and travelers alike. This article delves into the significance of Polonnaruwa city and highlights the top places to see and visit in Polonnaruwa.

A Glimpse into Polonnaruwa City

Polonnaruwa city, located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, served as the capital of the country from the 11th to the 13th century. It succeeded Anuradhapura and flourished under the reign of King Parakramabahu I, who implemented extensive irrigation systems and built numerous architectural marvels. Today, Polonnaruwa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting visitors eager to explore its ancient wonders.

Top Places to See in Polonnaruwa

1. The Royal Palace Complex

The Royal Palace Complex is one of the most significant places to see in Polonnaruwa. Built by King Parakramabahu I, this complex once housed the royal palace, council chambers, and other administrative buildings. Although much of the palace is in ruins, the grandeur of its remains provides a glimpse into the opulence of the ancient kingdom.

2. Gal Vihara

Gal Vihara, also known as the Rock Temple, is a must-visit site in Polonnaruwa. This rock-cut shrine features four stunning Buddha statues carved into a single granite rock face. The intricate craftsmanship and serene expressions of the statues make Gal Vihara a remarkable example of ancient Sinhalese art.

3. Parakrama Samudra

Parakrama Samudra, also known as the Sea of Parakrama, is a massive reservoir built during the reign of King Parakramabahu I. Covering an area of approximately 2,500 hectares, this impressive irrigation system is a testament to the engineering prowess of the ancient kingdom. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll along the reservoir's banks or admire its expansive beauty from a distance.

Must-Visit Places in Polonnaruwa

1. Polonnaruwa Vatadage

The Polonnaruwa Vatadage is a circular relic house located in the ancient city. It is one of the most iconic structures in Polonnaruwa and is believed to have housed the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. The intricate stone carvings and well-preserved stupas make it a fascinating site to explore.

2. Rankoth Vehera

Rankoth Vehera is a massive stupa that stands as one of the largest in Polonnaruwa. Constructed during the reign of King Nissanka Malla, this impressive structure is a significant religious site. The stupa's towering presence and historical significance make it a key highlight for visitors.

3. Lankatilaka Temple

The Lankatilaka Temple is another architectural marvel in Polonnaruwa. This ancient temple features a large standing Buddha statue and elaborate carvings that adorn its walls. The temple's imposing structure and spiritual ambiance make it a must-visit destination for those exploring the city.

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, is a city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the ancient Royal Palace Complex to the serene Parakrama Samudra, there are numerous places to see in Polonnaruwa that captivate the imagination and provide a window into the island's glorious past. Whether you're a history enthusiast or a curious traveler, the must-visit places in Polonnaruwa promise an enriching and unforgettable experience. Plan your visit to this ancient city and immerse yourself in the timeless wonders of Polonnaruwa.


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