Polonnaruwa was the second royal city of the Sinhalese kingdom in Sri Lanka listed on zipcodesexplorer. It replaced Anuradhapura at the end of the 10th century and remained the capital until the end of the 13th century. The palace and temple complexes uncovered in the archaeological site are stone testimonies to the former Sinhalese architecture and sculpture.
Ruined city of Polonnaruva: facts
|Official title:||Polonnaruva ruined city|
|Cultural monument||Residence of twelve kings with the former seven-storey palace of King Parakrama Bahu I, the king’s council hall, the 100×110 m Dalanda-Maluva complex (11th-13th centuries) and the Thuparama shrine house (»House of the Buddha image “) As well as the” House of 60 Relics “(Hatadage) and the statue house (Vatadage) as well as the largest monastery complex in the city, Alahana Pirivena (” Monastery at the cremation site “)|
|location||Polonnaruva, northeast of Colombo|
|meaning||second capital of the Sinhalese kingdom with masterpieces of Sinhalese architecture and sculpture|
Polonnaruva Ruined City: History
|1017-1235||royal and religious center|
|1055-1196||It flourished under the rulers Vijayabahu I, Parakrama Bahu I and Nissankamalla|
|after 1215||Task as a residence|
|1935||Approval for inspection|
Rock Buddhas and light-footed elephants
Dead silence surrounds the stretched out Buddha, who has gently laid his head to one side on a pillow roll. Eyes and lips are closed. A deep inner calm speaks from his face. Finally, finally, the burden of earthly existence falls away from him. Buddha enters nirvana. He will go out and reach the goal of his ways: the redemption from the cycle of rebirths. At the head end you look over at a second figure. She stands upright, crosses her arms over her chest and keeps her eyelids down. Is it a second image of the Buddha that shows the enlightened one? Or his favorite disciple Ananda watches here, in whose expression joy and pain are united, knowing full well that death came as a friend? The fact that the artists – contrary to the iconographic tradition – could exceptionally have placed the figure of Ananda on the Buddha’s head is explained by the natural work surface. Because for the masters under King Parakrama Bahu I it was necessary to carve out the Gal Vihara place of worship with the two colossal figures as well as two further sculptural Buddhas – one seated and one sunk in meditation – out of a single boulder. There would have been no more room for Ananda at the foot of the 14-meter-long Nirvana Buddha. to carve out the Gal Vihara place of worship with the two colossal figures as well as two further sculptural Buddhas – one seated and one sunk in meditation – out of a single boulder. There would have been no more room for Ananda at the foot of the 14-meter-long Nirvana Buddha. to carve out the Gal Vihara place of worship with the two colossal figures as well as two further sculptural Buddhas – one seated and one sunk in meditation – out of a single boulder. There would have been no more room for Ananda at the foot of the 14-meter-long Nirvana Buddha.
Gal Vihara crowns any visit to Polonnaruva, Sri Lanka’s medieval capital. In the archaeological park, ruins of palaces, temples, meeting houses, baths as well as inscription stones and Buddhist sacred buildings, the »Dagobas«, are reminiscent of the golden times of the metropolis. This heyday was preceded by a war between the ruling Sinhalese and the South Indian Cholas. The latter occupied the north of the island, plundered the holy city of Anuradhapura and established the control center of their power further southeast in Pulatthinagara, later Polonnaruva, a former military base and sporadic seat of government of the Sinhalese rulers. After their reconquest, Polonnaruva was in full bloom as the state capital under the kings Vijayabahu I, Parakrama Bahu I and Nissankamalla.
In the kilometer-wide area of Polonnaruva, monumental buildings, such as the 60-meter-high Dagoba Rankot Vehera, alternate with details from the rich treasure of Sinhalese stone carving, for example in the central religious district, in whose temples Atadage and Hatadage the famous tooth relic of the Buddha was once kept. As a symbol of protection and royal power, it later made its way to Kandy on winding paths and is now venerated there by the believers in the Dalada Maligawa Temple of the Tooth. The round statue house Vatadage was also designed as a reliquary building. On the stairs leading up to the seated Buddha sculptures, there is no way past guard steles and threshold stones. Tiny elephants run over crescent-shaped floor plates – worked with fine hands – their movements seem almost light-footed. Acquaintance with pachyderms is also made through the masterful reliefs in the council hall of Parakrama Bahu I and at the Thuparama sanctuary. But not all buildings and sculptural evidence in Polonnaruva have survived the centuries unscathed. Of the standing Buddha in the Lankatilaka statue house, nothing more than a torso remains, and the splendor of the former seven-story royal palace of Parakrama Bahu I can only be guessed at. The Gal Vihara complex, which for a long time was protected by a brick mantle, is extremely magnificent. As a close observer, one takes in every detail of the expressive statues – right down to the curves of their earlobes and the carefully designed folds of the robes.