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The Ancient Cities

Polonnaruwa

    This city was the second great capital of srilanka after Anuradhapura and is located about 100kilometres of

the south east. It’s prominence as the capital lasted for about 300 years, during which a number of major Buddhist structures were made. But while they were built in a later age, these structures were lesser in size and magnificence to those of more ancient times. None the less, most of these are beautiful and significant.

By the 13th century, Polonnaruwa became increasingly vulnerable to attacks from the north by Indian invaders, and civil wars, subsequent kings gradually shifted their capitals to words the south-west, and like Anuradhapura before it, Polonnaruwa was eventually abandoned. This ancient city is designated a world heritage site by UNESCO.

 

The Sea Of Parakrama

Although without any religious significance, this reservoir is possibly polonnaruwa’s most impressive feature .it was constructed during the reign of king parakramabahu in the late 12th century and served both as a defense against invaders and as a supply of water for both the city and for irrigation. Reservoirs in Sri Lanka are both the city and for irrigation. Reservoirs in Sri Lanka are somewhat incongruously called “tanks” and some of them, like the sea of parakrama, are so big they are actually more like inland seas.

In fact, this reservoir covers more that 22sequare kilometers and is comprised of three huge bodies of water connected together. This was an incredible feat of ancient engineering which has to be seen to be believed. It fell into disrepair following the decline of the city but was restored in recent times. The lake now irrigates more than 72 sequare kilometers of rice fields.

 

The Quadrangle of the Temple Of Tooth

Just before the quadrangle lies the remains of parakramabahu’s seven stroyed victory palace. Only its 3 meter thick walls still stand. Within this quadrangle is the vactadage, an elegant temple which consist of two concentric stone terraces encircling a number of Buddha statues in the Samadhi, or medidation, posture.

At the four entrences are beautifully carved moonstones and guardstones.making this the finest temple in Polonnaruwa. Just across is a second temple the at adage, where the tooth relic was housed on the upper floor. The the most complete structure of the quadrangle is the thuparama, which originally constrained a seated Buddha image.

 

The Gal Vihara

Some of the finest Buddha statues in sri lanka are found in the gal vihara, or “rock temple”, where four Buddha image are carved from the face of a single granite rock there is a very impressive 5 meter high seated image with an elaborate halo behind it’s head, and next to it is a similar but mach smaller one in a recess .on a rock between the recess and the standing image is an inscription describing parakrama-bahu’s efforts reform the sangha in 1165

Next is a large standing image although 7 meters tall. Because of it’s an usual posture with its hands folded across its chest, some people believe that this image is not of the Buddha, but of ananda his personal attendant.

At the end of the cliff is a massive reclining stature just cover 14 meters long. This statue shows the Buddha at rest as he enters in to final nibbhana the flow of the robes. The pillow and the feet of the statue are all exquisitely carved. The face also has a most peaceful and serene smile.