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One of the most splendid cities in the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province. Polonnaruwa was once the capital of Sri Lanka in the 11th and 12th centuries. The true traditional essence of Sri Lankan culture can be experienced with the small towns and villages of Sri Lanka, and Polonnaruwa is one such place. One of the cleaner and most beautiful cities of this island country, Polonnaruwa has been declared as the World Heritage Site. To visit Sri Lanka and not explore the fertile land of Polonnaruwa would be a huge waste.


Royal Palace
When visiting the heritage city of Polonnaruwa, the Royal Palace is a major attraction. The palace belonged to the great King Parakumba (1153-1186), and was constructed as a seven-storey building. It took around seven years and seven months to get completed. The Palace, which is now in ruins, was destroyed by an invader from south Indian named “Maga’.

Shiva Divale No. 2
Another popular attraction of Polonnaruwa is the Shiva Devale No. 2. Considered to be the oldest building in the city, the place dates way back to the South Indian Chola dynasty. The structure has been created entirely out of stone; therefore, it is still in a much similar condition as it was when it was built centuries ago. The statue of Lord Shiva’s mount, Nandi the bull is something to watch out for.

Gal Vihara
Gal Vihara is a group of astonishing Buddha images. These images exude the best of Sinhalese rock carving. Consisting of four separate images, interestingly, all the images are cut from one long slab of granite. The standing Buddha image here is 7m tall and is said to be the finest of the series.

The Dagaba Kiri Vihara
The term Kiri Vihara means “milk-white”. It is a huge structure that is situated in the north of Lankathilaka Pilma Ge, and was created by a queen of the great king Parakramabahu (1153-1186) named “Subadra”. The original lime plaster of the structure is in perfect white condition, even after almost 700 years of its creation. It is said to be the best-preserved unrestored dagaba of the Polonnaruwa city. The first traditional name of the stupa was “Rupavathi Stupa”.

The Pabalu Vehera
The Pabalu Vehera is the third largest dagaba of the ancient Polonnaruwa city. The origin of this unique shaped stupa is yet to be discovered. It has been built by a consort of the King great Parakramabahu (1153-1186 AD), and is currently known by the name of “Pabalu” which means beads. This is due to the reason that a large number of glass beads had been found at the time of the excavation of the area near to the stupa.

The Sacred Quadrangle
Located just a short stroll away from the north of the Royal Palace ruins, Quadrangle can be defined as a space or a courtyard. The sides of a Quadrangle are majorly occupied by parts of a large building. This sacred Quadangle has a number of significant sacred monuments. It is the representation of the grand architecture of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. The extremely eye-catching scene of the entire quadrangle is believed to be the circular Vatadage. Four large Buddha statues surround the middle of the shrine.

One of the most symbolic structures of Polonnaruwa, Lankatilaka Vihara is also a popular attraction. The complex houses a Buddha statue, which is now sadly headless and stands at a height of 14cm. Built by King Parakrabahu the great, the shrine is a definite deviation in terms of Buddhist architecture. The interior walls are decorated with beautiful murals, and the outside walls are divided into five floors.

Rankot Vihara
Rankot Vihara Dagoba is the largest in Polonnaruwa and the fourth largest in Sri Lanka. Standing tall at 54m, it has been attributed to the reign of King Nissanka Malla. The construction of the Dagoba perfectly imitates the Anuradhapura Style. Like other major Dagobas, the dome has earth fill covered by a brick mantle and plaster.

Trivanka Image House
The literal meaning of Trivanka is “thrice bent”. The name of the structure refers to the fact that the Buddha image inside the complex is in a three-curve position, which is normally reserved for female statues. The building is noted for its fine frescoes depicting Buddha in his past lives.

Other major attractions of Polonnaruwa are

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