The Polonnaruwa Ruins are a World Heritage site and date to 1270 AD. It was the second most ancient kingdom of Sri Lanka. There are hundreds of Temples and other structures at Polonnaruwa.
Polonnaruwa was the capital of the South Indian Chola dynasty in the late 10th century. It sits at the head of a man-made lake that was created in the early 1200s.
One of our favorite sites was Gal Vihara. This is a grouping of 4 Buddha images carved from one large slab of granite.
The reclining Buddha is 14 meters long (about 42 feet) is said to be a depiction of the Buddha entering nirvana (after death). The site is very impressive and haunting.
The first Buddha is 7 meters and is thought to be an image of Ananda, one of the Buddha’s disciples, mourning the Buddha’s ascendancy to Nirvana.
Many people choose to skip the Polonnaruwa Ruins in favor of going to Anuradhapura. Don’t make that mistake. We went to both and recommend doing both.
If you want to know more about Anuradhapura, see Our Experience of Poya Day