Polonnaruwa – where ancient Lanka’s grandeur and artistry stands proud
The serenity and the wondrous ruins of this city make it one of most must see ancient cities of Sri Lanka. It will transport you to a glorious era of Sri Lanka where religion, arts and culture had been in full bloom. Polonnaruwa, a city which had been royal capital for both Sinhalese Kings and several Kings of the Chola dynasty still bears hints which will tell you the splendour and majesty of the engineering and art of the Polonnaruwa era.
Polonnaruwa is about 5 hours away from Colombo, many prefer to hire bicycles for the day for sightseeing as it gives them more time to enjoy the ancient ruins. The first location that we will recommend is the Royal Palace which the archaeologists believe to have been built and used during the period 1153-1186. The King’s Royal palace will give you an idea about the regal splendour of Sri Lanka as this massive building is said to have originally consisted of seven storeys with walls that are three metres thick. The structure today bears only several walls and beams to hold only two floors but the archaeologists say that the ruins contain evidence to suggest that the Palace had 50 rooms! Within the premises you can also see the audience hall used by the king which is one very well preserved depict the artistic grandeur of that era.
However the next sight you must enjoy is the Vatadegeya and this is a circular building where relics of Buddha had been kept. The outer perimeter is about 18 metres in diameter. You can walk around this building to enjoy the well persevered and intricately carved guard stones. The circular building has guard stones in all four entrances and at the centre of the building you will find a stupa. The stupa is surrounded by four Buddha statues.
The highlight of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa is the series of Buddha statues in Gal Vihara (Stone temple). As the name suggests all Buddha statues are completed in stone and it is truly breathtaking how the artist has carved even the most delicate flow of the Buddha’s robe on the stone adding an almost lifelike sense to the statues. The Standing Buddha is 7 meters tall and there is also a Buddha statue in the meditative state. The reclining Buddha depicts Buddha entering the state of Nirvana. The sense of serenity on the face of the Buddha statue goes on to show the marvellous skills of the stone carvers of ancient Lanka. The observer truly enjoys the tranquillity and peace of these statues which speaks volumes about the magnificence of this stone temple.
The 54 metre Rankoth Vihara is also a must visit sight in Polonnaruwa as it is in great condition and it is also the fourth biggest stupa in Sri Lanka. It is said that this was built during the reign of King Nishshankmalla and it is named Rankoth Vihara as it is said that the Vihara had a golden a pinnacle!
Do enjoy these sights to get a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s ancient wonders and immerse yourself in the history and legend of these historic sites when you visit Sri Lanka.
Venue Details & Map
Polonnaruwa Ancient City
Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka