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Polonnaruwa is the 2nd largest city in North Central province in Sri Lanka. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Polonnaruwa has a great history of conquest and struggle behind it and rightfully forms the third element in the Cultural Triangle. Located about 140 kms north east from Kandy, Polonnaruwa offers hours of endless pleasure for history and culture lovers, as there are numerous sights of significance.
|Land area |
|3,077 km² (1,188 sq mi)|
|Inland water area|
|216 km² (83 sq mi)|
|3,293 km² (1,271 sq mi)|
Much of the physical ruins standing today are credited to King Parakrama Bahu I who spent many royal resources on town planning, including parks, edifices, irrigation systems and so on. #1# The period of his rule is considered a golden age where the kingdom thrived and prospered under a visionary ruler. The Parakrama Samudra is a mammoth tank and named after its patron. The popular king’s Royal Palace, the Audience Hall encircled by beautifully carved stone elephants and the Bathing Pool reflect the superior engineering capabilities of the time.
History of Polonnaruwa
While Vijayabahu's victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real Polonnaruwa Hero of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu I. It was his reign that is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa, when trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the King, who was adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted, and each be used toward the development of the land; hence, irrigation systems far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during Parakramabahu's reign, systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. The greatest of these systems, of course is the Parakrama Samudraya or the Sea of Parakrama, a tank so vast that it is often mistaken for the ocean. It is of such a width that it is impossible to stand upon one shore and view the other side, and it encircles the main city like a ribbon, being both a defensive border against intruders and the lifeline of the people in times of peace. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu's reign.
However, with the exception of his immediate successor, Nissankamalla I, all other monarchs of Polonnaruwa, were slightly weak-willed and rather prone to picking fights within their own court. They also went on to form more intimiate matrimonial alliances with stronger South Indian Kingdoms, until these matrimonial links superseded the local royal lineage and gave rise to the Kalinga invasion by King Magha in 1214 and the eventual passing of power into the hands of a Pandyan King following the Arya Chakrawarthi invasion of Sri Lanka in 1284. The capital was then shifted to Dambadeniya.The city Polonnaruwa was also called as Jananathamangalam during the short Chola reign.
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