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The Ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Historical Background of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom

In the second century BC, Polonnaruwa was known as Campurupitiya. It was here that King Dutugamunu set up his main campaign against king Elara. Polonnaruwa in the Vellakkara article is called Poolanari.

In 1017 CE the last king of Anuradhapura, the 5th Mihindu, fled to Ruhuna following the invasion of the Chola power. Anuradhapura one of the advanced civilization in South Asia for a period of about 1500 years, became desolate wasteland due to the devastation caused by the Cholas.

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Raja raja and Rajendra (father and son) who were known as Cholas of South India from 993 AD to 1070 AD ruled Polonnaruwa for 77 years. They named the city “Janatha Mangalam” and Janatha Puram “. According to Sri Lanka historians, even before the arrival of Cholin, Polonnaruwa had been chosen as a capital and a suburb.

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It is also evident from Mahavansa that some Sinhalese kings lived here from time to time. The cottage pub near Rankoth Vehera, a cave inscription dating back to the 1st century indicates that the area was inhabited by the earliest Buddhism. Archaeological evidence available from this site indicates that the MBP type North Indian polished pottery was found and their use is at least early as BC. It is said that there was a settlement in this place for a period of about four hundred years. The history of the sacred city of Polonnaruwa dates back to the time of the arrival of information about that period. The discovery of these MDT type clay vessels confirms that this land dates back to the beginning of the kingdom of Anuradhapura.

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“Even a single drop of water fallen from the sky, should not be flown down to the sea without getting the use of it”

King Parakramabahu the Great made great strides in the irrigation system of the country and provided for the prosperity of the Rajarata Region. The Great Parakrama Samudra built by King Parakum is a good example of his service to the development of the irrigation system. The country was peaceful and self-sufficient during this period and even rice was sent abroad.

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Excavations in the area of the pooja town at Polonnaruwa have been uncovered in three categories.

The first part deals with the conduct of Hindu religious activities. The second part deals with the characteristics of the inhabitants of the community, the architectural features and the information they used. The third part is the production process. Iron and glass products were also found in the process.

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Informtion about the iron industry and the glass industry has been received from places like Ibbankatuwa and the Polonnaruwa history can be replaced with that.

Polonnaruwa which was once the capital of the ancient rajarata kingdom was also known as Vijayarajapura. After defeating the chola invaders around 1070, King Vijayabahu I chose Polonnaruwa as his capital.


Parakramabahu the Great, who succeeded Vijayabahu I was the most prosperous ruler of the Polonnaruwa Period, The Parakum Dynasty was known as the golden age of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom and King Parakramabahu the Great was able to bring about economic and agricultural prosperity in the country.

Nissankamalla, who succeeded Parakramabahu to the throne of Polonnaruwa, has had some success in his rule, but other rulers have not been able to establish good governance.

One of the main reasons for this is the disputes between each other over the throne. Under these circumstances, the Kalinga Maga invasions took place around 1214, leading to the complete collapse of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom. Dambadeniya became the next kingdom of Sri Lanka.


Plonnaruwa kongdom

Vatadageya is one of the most valuable Polonnaruwa ruins. The old Vatadage is still well preserved. Of the four Buddha statues in the four directions, only two are currently standing. With the surroundings, sandals and the lanterns, this place is perfectly fine. The Vatadage is a large building erected around it for the protection of the stupa. These Polonnaruwa Vatadages are among the best surviving Vatadages in Sri Lanka.



The ‘Hatadage’ in front of the Vatadage is said to be the work of King Nissankamalla. There is a large inscription of King Nissankamalla nearby. It gives you information about state administration. Experts say that this is called Hatadage because it had been completed in sixty hours. It is believed that this may have been a storied building with a wooden roof. It is believed that this place is also a relic shrine where the Tooth Relic was brought.

Rankoth Vehera

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The Rankoth Vehera was once a wild stupa. King Parakramabahu who started the Rankoth Vehera would have completed by King Nissankamalla. It has been called the Golden Tower since it had a golden tower in the past. The flatness of the upper strata of the Polonnaruwa era stupa is still visible in the Rankot Vehera.

Thiwanka Pilimageya

Even though it is just a kilometre away from the main road to visit the ruins, the Tivanka Idol House is a must-visit for those interested in ancient art. The Thivanka Idol’s oldest temple paintings are still in ruins. It is also said that the paintings in the statue belong to two eras. The architecture of the Pallava architectural style looks a little out of place and looks like a Hindu building. Sculptures on the outer walls are still visible to gods, necromancers, dwarfs and lions. For the safety of the paintings, photographs are not allowed inside the statue house. The statue is known as the Tivanka statue as it had a bowed Buddha statue in three places and the house around the statue is now being used as a roof to protect it.


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The Galvihara is a great place to visit in Polonnaruwa. This place. of worship, is considered to be very sacred by Buddhists. There are several beautiful Buddha statues in Galvihara. All these. statues are made from a single stone.

Parakrama Palace and the Rajya Sabha


The palace of King Parakramabahu has several floors. South Indian rebels who broke into Sri Lanka after the Polonnaruwa era has demolished this beautiful palace. However, the ruins of this palace are still preserved by a few meters high. The place where the stone pillars were erected on pillars on a ground-level platform is considered to be the court of King Parakramabahu. The walls and carvings of the palace are very well preserved.

I Laksitha ,nature,history lover and blogger,
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