Top 10 Must-Visit Temples in Polonnaruwa

by | Nov 4, 2023 | Asia

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.

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