Deeply rooted in history beyond myth and legend, boasting of its exquisite past with its collection of palaces, bathing pools and stupas; Polonnaruwa was the island’s medieval capital between the 11th and 13th century.
The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I in 1070. +
Centuries-old monumental rock relief formations of the Buddha carved in four varied asanas – the Gal Vihara or rock temple was originally named ‘Uttararama’ and was founded in the 12th century by Parakramabahu I.
Exotic in overtones yet symbolic to different stages in life: growth, energy and power. Depicted in the formation of elephants, lions, horses intertwined with intricate foliage of ‘Liya Val’ the moonstones and guard stones at the entrance of the Vatadageya are infamous for its artwork.
Distinct to the ancient Sri Lankan architecture Polonnaruwa holds the Medirigiriya Vatadage built during the reign of Parakramabahu I. The uniqueness of the Vatadageya is that the centre of the structure is a stupa overlooked on the four sides by beautifully stone carved Buddha statues.
Difficult to grasp at first sight from the remaining colossal mass of stone and brick, the ruins of the 12th Century king’s Royal Palace also known as ‘Vijayotpaya, or Vijayanta Prasada’ does not betray the large structure it once used to be.
Measuring 31 metres by 13 metres and once said to have had seven stories; in close-up it is reminiscent of a series of elevated levels, covered chambers, porches and courtyards.