Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned Archeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the kingdom’s first rulers. Some of the finest collections of Buddhist sculpture can be seen at Galvihara (Rock Monastery) in Polonnaruwa. Polonaruwa is known for its large rock cut images, which have been preserved perfectly over the many centuries. The unique set of statues cut out from a single granite wall with supreme esteem. The Samadhi image Buddha is in deep meditaion sitting on a seat adorned with lions and thunderbolts. There is a halo round his head.
The standing Buddha with hands placed across the chest – rather rare pose- is believed to be portraying how He spent the second week after Enlightenment. The statue is 23 feet high. The 46 foot long reclining Buddha is a perfect piece of art showing Him in the state of ‘parinirvana’. Polonnaruwa is the 2nd largest city in north central province. The first Sri Lankan King who lived in Polonnaruwa Aggabodhi IV, and the town came gradually to become the ‘Country Residence’ of royalty.
One recent scientific observation is that of its climate changes. Historically Polonnaruwa had a tropical climate most of the year, although it was occationally chilly in December and January. But in recent years rain and chilliness has been increased noticeably.
The greeny environment, amazing ancient constructions, the greatest of these systems is the Parakrama Samudraya (a huge lake built in 1200 A.C.), or the sea of Parakrama, a tank so vast that it is often mistaken for the ocean. King Parakramabahu raised Polonnaruwa to its heights. He erected huge buildings, drained swamps and planted vast areas with crops; planned beautiful parks and created wildlife sanctuaries. Parakramabahu was the last great king of Sri Lanka.
Things to do in Polonnaruwa
- Visit the ancient ruins and monuments
- The Gal Vihara
- The Polonnaruwa Vatadage
- The Lankathilaka Image House
- The Sandakada Pahana
- The Somawathiya Chaitya
- The Statue of Parakramabahu I
- The Nissanka Latha Mandapaya
- Take a safari to Wasgamuwa National Park
- Visit the archaeological museum