Iconic Sites


The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 CE to unify the country once more under a native leader. While Vijayabahu's victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered momentous, the real Polonnaruwa Hero of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu I. The city Polonnaruwa was also called as Jananathamangalam during the short Chola reign.

However, with the exclusion of his immediate successor, Nissankamalla I, all other monarchs of Polonnaruwa were slightly irresolute and rather susceptible to picking fights within their own court. They also went on to form more intimate matrimonial unions with stronger South Indian Kingdoms, until these matrimonial links outmoded the local royal lineage and gave rise to the Kalinga invasion by King Magha in 1214 and the eventual passing of power into the hands of a Pandyan King following the Arya Chakrawarthi invasion of Sri Lanka in 1284. The capital was then changed to Dambadeniya.

Expansive ruins inclusive of tombs and temples, statues and stupas paint a vivid image of how the city looked in its heyday. A visit to Polonnaruwa is of great archaeological and historical value for researchers and the Quadrangle is a prime feature of the city.

Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archeological relic sites in the country, authenticating the discipline and greatness of the kingdom's first rulers.