The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 AD.The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site
Kings ruled the central plains of Sri Lanka from Polonnaruwa 800 years ago, when it was a thriving commercial and religious centre. From here, free-marketeers haggled for rare goods and the pious prayed at any one of its numerous temples. The glories of that age can be found in archaeological treasures which give a pretty good idea of how the city looked in its heyday. You’ll find the archaeological park a delight to explore, with hundreds of ancient structures – tombs and temples, statues and stupas – in a compact core. The Quadrangle alone is worth the trip.
That Polonnaruwa is close to elephant-packed national parks only adds to its popularity. And the town itself makes a pleasant base for a day or two, fringed by a huge, beautiful tank with a relaxed ambience.