Another ancient city with impressive ruins and beautiful lakes

Polonnaruwa is an ancient city located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It served as the second capital of Sri Lanka during the medieval period and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Polonnaruwa boasts a rich history and cultural heritage, with impressive ruins of palaces, temples, and monasteries.

The city is located on the east bank of the expansive Parakrama Samudra lake, which is one of the largest ancient man-made reservoirs in Sri Lanka. This lake is a testament to the impressive engineering skills of the ancient Sri Lankan kings, who constructed an elaborate system of canals and reservoirs to irrigate the surrounding paddy fields.

Polonnaruwa’s history can be traced back to the 10th century, when it was chosen as the capital by King Vijayabahu I. The city reached its zenith under the reign of King Parakramabahu I in the 12th century. During this time, Polonnaruwa was a bustling metropolis with grand palaces, temples, and public buildings. However, after the decline of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom, the city was abandoned and fell into ruin.

Today, the ruins of Polonnaruwa provide a glimpse into the country’s rich cultural heritage. The most notable structures include the Royal Palace complex, the Gal Vihara (rock temple) with its impressive statues of Buddha, and the ancient temples of Thuparama, Rankoth Vehera, and Lankatilaka. Visitors can explore these structures on foot or by bicycle, and the well-preserved ruins provide a unique insight into the life and times of the ancient Sri Lankan kings.

In addition to the impressive ruins, Polonnaruwa is also home to a variety of wildlife. The area around the Parakrama Samudra lake is home to numerous bird species, while the nearby Minneriya National Park is home to elephants, leopards, and other exotic animals. Visitors can also enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the lake, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Overall, Polonnaruwa is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage. The impressive ruins, beautiful lakes, and diverse wildlife make this ancient city a truly unique and fascinating destination.