Polonnaruwa: The Ancient Elephant

Monday, July 24, 2017
Polonnaruwa is the second most ancient city of Sri Lanka and former capital after Anuradpura was destroyed in 993. The ancient city hold a great deal of ruins and I've chosen the most prominent ones in my opinion. The best way to get around the ancient city is by bicycle. You'll have to head for the museum to buy your ticket as you can not buy it in the entrance of the city.

Polonnaruwa Vatadage in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Circular and with four different entrances the ancient Polonnaruwa Vatadage is rumored to have hold the ancient tooth relic of Lord Buddha.

Rankoth Vihara in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Rankoth Vihara is a stupa. In Sinhalese "ran" means gold, "kotha" is the given name to the pinnacle of a stupa and "vihara" means stupa. Rankoth can roughly be translated to "Gold Pinnacled Stupa".

Lankathilaka Vihara Image House in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Lankathilaka Vihara is an ancient Buddha image house completely made out of clay bricks. Hosting a 12,5 meter high Buddha statue.

Kiri Vihara in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Kiri Vihara is a stupa standing taller than 24 meters. The only stupa to survive 900 years of forces of nature and still stand in original condition.

Gal Vihara in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
The rock temple Gal Vihara features four rock relief statues of Buddha carved into the face of a large single granite rock. The most discussed of the carvings is the standing statue with crossed arms. An unusual pose for Buddha and some historians believe this is in fact not Buddha.

Royal Palace in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
The Royal Palace measures 31 meters x 13 x meters and is said to have had seven floors. Supported by 30 columns, the roof is the main hall, which had 50 rooms in total.

Satmahal Prasadaya in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Satmahal Prasadaya is a seven storied building thought to be an unusually shaped stupa. There are only four known squared stupas in all of Sri Lanka. In Cambodia similar stupas can be found and some believe it's been built in honor of the Cambodian workers who helped build Polonnaruwa.

Elephant having a morning walk in Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka
Besides looking at ancient buildings and temples. Polonnaruwa is located quite close to some of the largest elephant gathering in Sri Lanka. Head to Kaudulla National Park or Minneriya National Park for some excellent wild elephant safari. Go by sunrise to avoid tourists.

Bird in Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka

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