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  • December 2009 (39)
  • The Great Kingdom Of Polonnaruwa

    Tue, Dec 8, 2009

    Sri Lanka

    The kingdom of Polonnaruwa is second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms. It was first announced the capital by King Vijayabahu , who defeated the  Chola invaders in 1070 CE and reunited the country . The city has been listed under the World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1982).

    The place is extremely beautiful and used as a backdrop to film scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. There are now government institutions built about 6 km away from the town. The city is one of the cleanest and greenest places of the country. With the recent climate changes, the city has become far more attractive to tourists. Apart from great archaeological sites you can enjoy rains and chilliness in the later part of the year.

    Polonnaruwa

    From the pages of past:

    The Cholas when conquered the land, constructed monuments of their religion ‘Brahmanism’ and especially temples of Shiva, the appreciable bronze statues can now be seen in the museum of Colombo.

    After the reconquest of Ceylon by Vijayabahu, the city remained capital but it got covered with the Buddhist sanctuaries, Atadage (Temple of the Tooth Relic) is the most renowned and famous one.

    It was in the 12th century AD that Polonnaruwa reached its zenith. The sovereigns who came later endowed the place with monuments. Parakramabahu(1153-1186) created within a triple-walled enceinte a mesmerizing garden city, where the places and sancturaries prolonged the enchantment of countryside.

    Nissamkamalla(1187-1196) also contributed its share in building monuments which may not be as par with the Parakramabahu but nevertheless amazingly beautiful.

    The city was invaded by Tamils and the Maghas and thus the golden era of the city came to an end. The great capital created by Parakrambahu in the century can be described as one of the most astonishing urban creation because of its distinct dimensions and extra ordinary relationship between buildings and the natural environment.

    What you must see:
    • Lankatilaka
      It is an enormous brick structure which has successfully preserved the colossal image of Buddha.
    • Gal Vihara
      It has gigantic rock sculptures which can be easily placed under the splendid works of Sinhalese art.

    gal vihara

    • Tivanka Pilimage
      There are wall paintings drawn around 13th century which illustrate the narratives of previous life of Buddha called Jataka.

    You must visit the city to witness its great urban creation which is well preserved and has excellent environment around it. The 12th century architecture would leave you wondering that how classically a building can be built at that time.  The existence of Buddhism in the place gives you a chance to study ancient religion and great architecture together.




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