Polonnaruwa Ancient city

The Island's medieval capital and second most ancient city (11th to 13th century AD) rose to fame after the decline of Anuradhapura. Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 A.D to reunite the country once more under a local leader.

The city Polonnaruwa was also called as Jananathamandalam during the short Chola reign. While Vijayabahu's victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real Polonnaruwa Hero of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu I. It was his reign that is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa.

The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu's reign.However, with the exception of his immediate successor, Nissankamalla, all other monarchs of Polonnaruwa, were slightly weak-willed and rather prone to picking fights within their own court.

They also went on to form more intimiate matrimonial alliances with stronger Kingdoms, until these matrimonial links superseded the local royal lineage and gave rise to the Kalinga invasion by King Maga in 1214 and the eventual passing of power into the hands of a Pandyan King following the Arya Chakrawarthi invasion of in 1284. The capital was then shifted to Dambadeniya.

The polonnaruwa city in it's day was fortified with concentric walls, beautified with parks, gardens and sanctified by many shrines. Huge man-made reservoir the Parakrama Samudra or sea of king Parakrama is larger in size than the Colombo Harbour. Other most important place of the city is ''Gal Viharaya'' where one can see three masterpieces sculptures of The Buddha depicting standing, sitting and reclining posturescarved out of rock.

Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned Archeological relic sites in the country. In 1982, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared as a world heritage site by UNISCO.

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