Kingdom of Polonnaruwa location SriLanka


The second capital (846 AD-1302 AD) of Sri Lanka, which in its prime was protected by 6 km of strong encircling walls. Strategically it commanded all the crossings over the longest & largest river of the island, River Mahaweli. Polonnaruwa's extensive & well-preserved ruins offer a fascinating snapshot of ancient Sri Lanka, including some of the finest monuments.

Ruins of the Buddhist places

Gal viharaya (Temple)
The “gal vihare” is a rock temple of the Buddha situated in north central Sri Lanka. It was contracted in Polonnaruwa in the 12th century by “parakkramabahu” the great. His architects excavated the shrine & the left an inscription describing their work. The central attraction of the shrine are four large Statue of the Buddha, which were carved in to the tace of a granite boulder by “parakkramabahu`s” architects.

The Vatadage at Polonnaruwa is the most famous. As with many other vatadage, it had a “stupa” (Kind of steps) in the centre with four Buddha images facing the cardinal directions. The Vatadage, one of the oldest & most beautiful monuments in Polonnaruwa, is to our left as we enter the “Dalada Maluwa”. It was certainly intended to house the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, which is now deposited at The Sacred Temple of Tooth in Kandy. Built by King “Parakrambahu” the great (1164-1196AD), it was later embellished by King “Nissankamalla” (1198-1206).

Guard stone in Vatadage
Most of the dagoba (stupa) and one of its guard stones at the base of the steps among many other features & surrounding buildings to the marauding Dravidian invaders from South India.

Moonstone in Vatadage
The moonstones- elaborate semi-circular welcome step stones carved in polished granite- represent the spiritual journey from “samsara”, the endless cycle of death & rebirth, to Nirvana(End of the birth), the ultimate escape from suffering. These were unique decorative features of Sinhalese architecture. The moonstone at the northern entrance is the finest in Polonnaruwa.

Hatadage (Kind of a Temple)

Immediately north of the Vatadage is the Hatadage. Another tooth reliquary building, this was constructed in the reign of King Nissankamalla.

This is the Atadage, the ruin of a tooth relic shrine. Built during the reign of 1st Vijayabahu.

Kiri Vehera (Kind of a temple)
Next to the Lankatilaka is the Kiri Vihara (Milk white temple).The best preserved of Polonnaruwa's stupas. Aptly named, this large dagoba’s whitewashed plaster has survived seven centuries of abandonment to the jungle between the collapse of the Polonnaruwa kingdom and its rediscovery in the 19th century by the British colonialists.
The construction of this dagoba is credited to “Subhadra”, Parakrambahu's queen.

Rankoth Vehara (Kind of a Temple)
The largest “dagoba (Religious Statue)” in Polonnaruwa. This building is the hub of the group of buildings known as the “Alahana Pirivena” ('Crematory College') group which formed part of a monastic college during the reign of king Parakramabahu the great.

Thuparama (Kind of a Temple)
From the southwest corner of the Quadrangle, is the Thuparama. A fine example of the “gedige” style of temple architecture which flourished at Polonnaruwa. The only one to survive with its roof still in place.

Built by King “Parakramabahu” the great in 12th century. In the past there were five buildings. But now we can see only two buildings.

Ruins of Royal castles & Monuments

The Royal Palace
In the center of the complex are the ruins of the Royal Palace. It Built by King Parakramabahu the great (1164-1196 AD). It was a massive wood and stone structure seven storey in height, with a floor plan of 31m by13m (100ft by 43ft).The upper floors were of wood, and only the massive, 3m (10ft) thick lower walls survive.

Royal Bathing Pool
Next to the Audience Hall is the Kumara “Pokuna” (Royal Bathing Pool). This was fed with water from the stream which runs through the palace grounds

Latha Mandapaya
West of the Vatadage is the Latha Mandapaya, miniature dagoba encircled by stone columns topped with carved lotus buds. It is surrounded by a carved stone trellis. It was built by king Nissankamalla.

Audience Hall
Immediately to the east of the Palace stands the Audience Hall used by the kings of Polonnaruwa to summon the nobles of the kingdom and to meet the emissaries from foreign rulers. Finely sculpted stone lions seated at the top of the steps leading into the hall were symbols of royal power.

The Medicine Boat
The medicine boat: The stone medicinal bath which looks unnervingly like a sarcophagus is a common feature as seen in all the ancient hospitals of Lanka.
Stone inscriptions: The stone medicinal oil bath is a common feature as seen in all the ancient hospitals of Lanka.

Siva Devale (Kind of Hindu Religious thing)
Immediately north of the Royal Palace complex is the Siva Devale. In 13th-century this was built as a Hindu temple. The technical skills of its builders are evident from the fine, precisely cut stonework of its walls.
Sathmahal Prasada
In the northeast corner of the Quadrangle are the ruins of “Satmahal Prasada”. A six-storey, pagoda-like building which is unlike anything else in Sri Lanka. It has left archaeologists bowled out as to its origin.


New Town
Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 (0) 27 2225406, 2225407
Fax: +94 (0) 27 2224848

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Travel Asia said...

The kingdom of Polonnaruwa is second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms. It was first announced the capital by King Vijayabahu, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 CE and reunited the country. For more information visit

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