Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
An ancient religious and commercial centre, this is the place where the kings and the monarchs seated themselves. And that pretty much explains why people flock to this part of the country for its amazing sights and structures; for its tombs, temples, stupas and statues galore.
Once the capital of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa bears witness to many a civilisation that took place in Sri Lanka during the medieval period. Built by Parakramabahu I , this city stands testimony to the architecture finesse of the bygone era. Today this city is known to be one of the cleanest in Sri Lanka and is wooing tourists from far and wide with it’s picturesque setting, ancient character and attractive hotels.
Places to visit in Polonnaruwa
The Gal Vihara is a group of beautiful Buddha temples carved in rock, these architectural marvels mark the epitome of the Sinhalese workmanship. The central feature though is the four images of Buddha carved out of a single granite rock. The largest seated image is 5m tall and depicts Buddha in Dhyan mudra on a lotus pedestal with carvings of flowers and lions below. Yet another jaw-dropping statue is that of the Buddha in standing image, 7m tall with ornate pedestals, this image is seen wearing a sorrowful face. The Gal Vihara also houses the reclining Buddha, a 14 m long structure of Buddha lying on his arm and supported by bolster.
Built on a rocky atop, the Lankatilaka Vihara or temple is built overlooking rice fields, hills and forests. Built out of granite and rock, the temple pillars are 17m tall and showcases archs, massive beams and other architectural intricacies.The atmosphere here is one of spiritual with the fragrance of incense and a sense of quietude around.
POLONNARUWA ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
The Archeological Museum showcases finds excavated from Polonnaruwa, the museum is known for its brilliant collection of treasures in bronze and jaw-dropping statues of Hindu Gods. The museum consists of several rooms and houses a model of the Polonnaruwa city, giving visitors an overview of the layout and structure of the city.
Today Polonnaruwa has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site, the city is a reminder of the kind of skill and expertise possessed by the people of the past.