Polonnaruwa | Sri Lanka | Travellers Guide

{en:Polonnaruwa} Era existed between AC 1065- 1120. The governing period of this time was about 186 years and 19 rulers had sat on the throne in that period. During the final period in the Anuradhapura era, the cholas shifted the political power to Polonnaruwa, which was situated in the eastern side of the dry zone. The main reason was security, as it was regarded as a strategic location to guard against an invasion from Ruhuna, the refuge of the Sinhalese liberation force. Still the {en:Cholas} were unsuccessful in defending themselves against Vijayabahus offensive riot against Polonnaruwa. They Surrendered in 1070 and left the island.

Polonnaruwa has its own fabulous Buddhist architecture and irrigational network that had been built over the centauries by earlier sinhala rulers. (Ex- Minneria Tanks). The First Sinhalese king to rule in this period was King Wijayabahu who ruled for 55 years after he defeated the cholas.(AC 1065-1120). He restoered Buddhism to its former glory and was also responsible for economic regeneration. The Next famous King to take over from Vijayabahu is King Parakramabahu (AC 1164-1197) He unified the country under one rule and built a remarkable series of irrigation work including the massive Parakrama Samudraya. Nissanka Malla was also a king to take notice of, because he also stabilised Sri Lanka during his period. But his death brought instability & a pirate named Magha, who came from south India conquered Polonnaruwa & executed many years of ruthless control over the island.

For a traveller with enough archaeological enthusiasm, Polonnaruwa will only be challenged by Anuradhapura. A full day visit to this city of ruins must include the Galviharaya (4 magnificent stone sculptures of the Lord Buddha), Hetadageya, Watadageya, Nissankalatha Mandapaya, the Parakrama Samudraya tank amongst many other attractions.

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