Exploring ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Gal viharaya: Fabulous stone carving of Buddha in 'samadhi',August,2013

Glimpse on the city history

A visit to  this ancient city, takes you  all the way back to the 12th century of the Sinhalese history. Polonnaruwa dated 8 – 12th century,served as a capital at the time of second great kingdom, was once a complex of royal palaces,  after the destruction of a similar kind of town named Anuradhapura(capital of the north central during the 4th century, now ruins). The relics are monuments dedicated to Brahminism and Shiva temples constructed by the King Parakramabahu I, the grandson of Vijayabahu who first declared the city to be the capital . During the time, the city involved in trade and proved a major part in the art and sculpture fields.

The story 

After a quick heavy trek to Dambulla cave temple and having  two hours in hand to reach Polonnaruwa before it closed for the day, relying completely on the country’s public transportation was the last thing we wanted to opt for. Nevertheless, We took a tuk- tuk from outside the temple to be dropped at the bus stand. Shockingly, with not much of a wait, managed to catch the bus towards the town of polonnaruwa. A five minute tuk tuk from the bus stand into the ancient city led to  a tad of unexpected surprises. Believe me, it is a city of its own, huge grounds, so vast that you need a tuk tuk to go around the entire ancient town. Delving into the history of the surroundings would eat up a good six hours of your time with no much effort.

The – stone work of various idles ,

-the monumental ruins – the temple structure although most of them broken down,

-the curiousness of what the complex was designated to in its ancient days grapples you to have a read of the descriptive board panel kept against each palace/temple/shrines,

– the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas

– the ancient moonstone

It is no wonder that the city has been listed in the UNESCO world heritage site.

The flaw that the city is far up North central makes it a double thought for tourists who are visiting the country for a very short period. However, for all those who are visiting Sri Lanka, it is a suggestion to not stick to Galle and Kandy alone but definitely explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa which was once one of the most splendid city of Sri Lanka. If you would like to ransack the city at your own space, then staying at a hotel close to the ancient city would be appropriate.

Besides traversing along the good streets of Galle, mesmerizing beaches, warmth of a comforting hotel, awful and ghastly bus station of Colombo, Sri Lanka sure keeps up its history which I now believe is a good one.

PS: there is an entry fee to view the city and timings are from 8am to 6pm.

Things to see in the sacred city :

Being a scattered city, not all monuments might enthrall you. but incase you have no time and would like to only glimpse over a few good ones then have a visual view of the place of the must-sees :


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