Polonnurawa-located at a distance of 216 km from Colombo-was the capital of Sri Lanka in medieval times. Used by the Sri Lankan kings as a 'country residence' from the 7th century, Polonnurawa became Sri Lanka's capital in the 11th century AD.
During its time the city was fortified with three concentric walls, beautified with parks and gardens and sanctified by many a shrine and sacred place. The city and the surrounding area were watered by a unique irrigational complex known as the Sea of Parakrama (Parakrama Samudra).
Places to See
Parakarma Samudra: Parakarma Samudra is a man made irrigation tank spread over an area of 5940 acres, built by the King Parakramabahu. It is one of the most striking features of Polonnurawa.
Royal Citadel: The Citadel housed the palace and the administrative buildings of King Prakramabahu who ruled in12th century AD and is enclosed by a huge rampart more than a metre thick. It is an impressive building with fine stone carvings. The Royal Bath is outside the rampart with a flight of steps leading to it. The beautiful bath is made of stone with a small pavilion probably used as a changing room.
Gal Vihara: It is a rock cut Buddhist shrine dating back to 12th century AD. It contains magnificent images of Buddha carved out of stone.
Vata-Da-Ge: A circular relic chamber built enclosing a dagoba that had been a popular architectural style in ancient Sri Lanka.
Hatadage: A relic chamber built by King Parakramabahu I to house the sacred Tooth Relic.
Lotus Pond: A stone pond built in the shape of a lotus flower in eight parallel tiers probably to provide seating to the monks while bathing.
Source: Tourism-Sri Lanka