One of the highlights of the country, this great ruined capital takes you right to a trip down the history lane. It has a story of origin, growth and decline spreading across centuries. The archaeological findings are an absolute delight to explore and showed how the country looked during that period.
The ruins are segmented to have a better understanding and also for convenience.
- Archaeological Museum – this is one of the best museums of the country. There are rooms dedicated to themes and have scalar models showing how the buildings used to look back at the day. A must visit before you set out to explore the ruins
- The Royal Palace – this crumbling building used to be a 7 storied, 50 rooms building back in the day. The highlights of the building and the ruins of which still can be seen today are the Audience Hall which were governed by statues of elephants and lions and the vast Bathing Pool having two crocodile- mouth spouts still remaining.
- Quadrangle – a short walk from the North of the Royal Palace lies the area know as Quadrangle – the ruins of a collection of buildings from the Ancient times. Besides the ruins there are also other recumbent image and chapter houses, the Bodhisattva and bodhi tree shrines.
- The Vatadage – this most beautiful circular relic house consists of two terrace and four entrances leading to the central dagoba with its four Buddha’s.
- The Hatadage – this is directly opposite the Vatadage. It was used to house the tooth relic and was once a two storey building. Now it has 3 statues of representing the Buddha of the past, present and future.
- The Gal-Pota – this stone represents an old book. There are various footnotes on the slab and it was brought from the holy city of Mihintale back in the day.
- The Satmahala Prasada – this seven storied building is survived by 6 stories shaped like a stepping pyramid. The figures of a few deities still remain here.
- The Atadage – A shrine for the tooth relic this is the oldest building to survive.
- The Lotus- Mandapaya – this building consists of a very small dagoba encircled by stone pillars which look like the unopened buds of a lotus flower.
- Thuparama Gedige – one of the smallest Buddha temples it has 8 statues of Buddha showing influences from the Hindu Culture.
- Shiv Devale No 1 – this temple is dedicated to either Vishnu or Shiva. During the evacuation of the building a few bronze images were found which are now a part of an archaeological museum
- Shiv Devale No2 – the entire building was built of stone and withheld the test of time. It is one of the oldest surviving structure of the city
- Pabula Vihara – literally meaning the red coral shrine, a lot of red corals were found here during evacuation. The main structure is a large brick dagoba though remains og brick image houses and various Buddha statues lie scattered around.
- Rankot Vihara – this is a red brick dagoba rising to the height of 55m. This is the fourth largest dagoba on the island. Various inscriptions are found on the entrance pathways.
- Buddha Seema Prasada – The monastery’s chapter house. The highlights are the ruins of the convocation hall and the raised platform with pillars.
- Lankatilaka – one of the city’s first monuments it literally means “Ornament of Lanka”. The building has a large statue of Buddha. The building has lost its roof but much of the decorations are still intact. The exterior walls are adorned by various carvings.
- Kiri Vihara – this name means “milk white”. The original lime plaster while evacuation was found to be in perfect condition. The dagoba was left unrestored but it is still preserved at its best. Brick shrines and inscriptions also find their way here.
- Gal Vihara – this is the pinnacle of Sinhalese rock carving. It also contains four rock images all cut from the sam granite. A 14m long reclining Buddha, a 7m long standing Buddha and 2 seated Buddha’s round it up
- Nelum Pokuna – this a lotus pond which has 5 concentric, descending rings of eight petals of flowers
- Tivanka Image House – Tivanka means thrice bent and refers to the fact that the Buddha statue within has a three-curve position. The building is famous for its carvings of dwaefs.
- Potgul Vihara – this place has been thought to have been used to store scared books. It’s a circular gedige and four smaller dagoba’s are arranged around the central dome.
So this in gist the ancient city of Polonnaruwa….but you need to visit it to believe in it and discover more!