Top 10 Must-Visit Temples in Polonnaruwa

Top 10 Must-Visit Temples in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sri Lanka, is renowned for its historical and cultural significance. It’s a city that flourished during the ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa, and today, its well-preserved temples and monuments offer a glimpse into the country’s rich past. Among the numerous historical treasures in Polonnaruwa, the temples stand out as some of the most fascinating attractions. In this blog, we’ll explore the top 10 must-visit temples in Polonnaruwa.

  1. Gal Vihara:The Gal Vihara, also known as the Rock Temple, is an iconic site in Polonnaruwa. This temple boasts four stunning rock-cut Buddha statues, including a reclining Buddha, two standing Buddhas, and a seated Buddha. The remarkable craftsmanship and serene ambiance make it a must-visit site for any traveler.
  2. Lankatilaka Temple:The Lankatilaka Temple is an architectural marvel with its intricately carved walls and an enormous standing Buddha statue. The temple’s grand entrance and the exquisite stone carvings on its walls are a testament to the advanced craftsmanship of the time.
  3. Thuparama Gedige:Thuparama Gedige is a unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. This temple showcases the harmonious coexistence of two religions during the Polonnaruwa period. The site’s detailed stone carvings and the finely crafted roof are its highlights.
  4. Vatadage:The Vatadage is a circular relic house that once held the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. This is a testament to the advanced architectural skills of ancient Sri Lankans. The Vatadage is adorned with intricately carved stone guardstones and moonstones.
  5. Rankot Vihara:This is one of the largest stupas in Polonnaruwa. Rankot Vihara’s towering structure is an impressive sight, and it offers a unique opportunity to climb to the top for a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
  6. Siva Devalaya:While Polonnaruwa is known for its Buddhist temples, the Siva Devalaya is a Hindu temple that showcases the religious diversity of the region. Its unique architecture and vibrant rituals are a must-see.
  7. Hetiya Vatadage:The Hetiya Vatadage is another circular relic house that once housed a sacred relic. It’s a well-preserved site with intricately carved guardstones and moonstones.
  8. Alahana Parivena:This is a monastic complex that includes several shrines and stupas. The Alahana Parivena was a significant place of worship and study during the Polonnaruwa era.
  9. Pabalu Vehera:Pabalu Vehera is a small but picturesque stupa. The white stupa set amidst the lush greenery creates a tranquil and serene atmosphere for visitors.
  10. Kiri Vehera:

Kiri Vehera is one of the most significant stupas in Polonnaruwa. Its pristine white structure and serene surroundings make it a popular place for meditation and reflection.

Visiting these temples is like stepping back in time to an era of great cultural and religious significance. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa, with its well-preserved temples and monuments, offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich history and architectural marvels of Sri Lanka. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a spiritual traveler, or simply someone who appreciates remarkable craftsmanship, the top 10 must-visit temples in Polonnaruwa are sure to leave a lasting impression and create unforgettable memories of your visit to this enchanting city.

Exploring the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

Exploring the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is an ancient city located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It was the capital city of the country during the 11th and 12th centuries and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is home to several ancient ruins, temples, and monasteries that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

As a tourist, visiting Polonnaruwa was a truly unforgettable experience for me. From the moment I entered the city, I was struck by its awe-inspiring beauty and rich history. The ancient ruins and temples are spread across a vast area, and I was glad to have hired a guide to help me navigate the city.

The first place we visited was the Royal Palace, which was once the home of the King of Polonnaruwa. The palace was built using bricks and wood and features a well-preserved throne room and a stunning audience hall. The intricate carvings on the walls and ceilings of the palace are a testament to the advanced architectural skills of the ancient Sri Lankan people.

From there, we visited the ancient temples and monasteries that are scattered throughout the city. The most famous of these temples is the Gal Vihara, which houses four magnificent statues of Buddha carved out of a single granite rock. The largest of the statues is 46 feet in length and is considered one of the finest examples of ancient Sinhalese Buddhist art.

As we wandered through the city, we came across several other temples and monasteries, each with its unique charm and history. The Lankatilaka Temple, for instance, is an impressive structure with intricate carvings and a towering brick wall that surrounds it. The Tivanka Image House is another temple that features beautiful murals and carvings depicting the life of Buddha.

One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum. The museum is located in the city center and showcases a collection of artifacts, statues, and ancient manuscripts that provide insight into the daily lives of the people who lived in Polonnaruwa. The museum also features a replica of the city, which gave me a better understanding of the layout and scale of the ancient city.

In addition to the ancient ruins and temples, Polonnaruwa is also home to several natural attractions. The Minneriya National Park is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts, where you can spot elephants, leopards, and various species of birds. The Parakrama Samudra, a large reservoir built by King Parakramabahu I, is another popular attraction that offers stunning views and a serene environment.

Polonnaruwa also has several restaurants and cafes that serve traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. The local delicacies, such as Kottu Roti, String Hoppers, and Pol Sambol, are a must-try for any food lover.

In conclusion, visiting Polonnaruwa was a truly unforgettable experience that gave me a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. The ancient ruins and temples are a testament to the advanced architectural skills of the ancient Sinhalese people, and the natural attractions offer a stunning backdrop to the city’s beauty. I would highly recommend anyone visiting Sri Lanka to include Polonnaruwa in their itinerary.