Another ancient city close the Dambula town is Polonnaruwa - the mediaeval capital of the Island which is about 210 km northeast of Colombo, 140km northeast of Kandy and
104km southeast of Anuradhapura..
The climate of Polonnaruwa is tropical most of the year, usually in January and December get a little bit chilly. In last years the chillness and the rain increased and that is even more enjoyable and surprising for tourists and other people.
Ancient Polonnaruwa is the second most sacrosanct cities of Sri Lanka. In the year 1070 King Vijayabahu proclaimed Polonnaruwa for the capital. The most important is a period of his grandson Parakramabahu 1., this era is known for period of trading and agriculture. They built systems for watering of the fields in dry times. The lake was so huge, people are often confusing the lake with the sea. The name of the lake is Parakrama Samudraya (built in 1200 A.C.)
In the city of Polonnaruwa we can admire the remains of kings palace, a huge pagoda and spaciouss, settled gardens. Near gardens is the place called Gal Viharaya with four statues of Buddha chiseled in the rock. First statue is the Buddha in a meditative position, second statue is in the cave, the third standing Buddha is eight metres high and fourth lying statue is fifteen metres long.
The old part of Polonnaruwa is from twelfth century. At first moment the most of tourists cant believe that everything in the town is so preserved. The most beautiful fact is that the old part of the town and nature are very connected.
Everywhere you look there is a lot of monkeys specially macaques, many other reptiles and also many trees. Polonnaruwa is also called as the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. Monks recorded and written down the early history of Sri Lanka. Those writings are known as the Great Chonicles, there are also a Chulavamsa known as the lesser Chonicles and they give us more accurate situation of the Polonnaruwa era.
Polonnaruwa Era existed between AC 1065- 1120. The governing period of this time was about 186 years and 19 rulers had sat on the throne in that period. During the final period in the Anuradhapura era, the cholas shifted the political power to Polonnaruwa, which was situated in the eastern side of the dry zone. the Sinhalese liberation force.
During the time when Anuradhapura was the capital of the country, Thopa, Minneri and Giritale tanks had been built in the Polonnaruwa region. The agricultural development brought about by these tanks resulted in themigration of people to Polonnaruwa.
The existence of a very fertile agricultural area helped to build the economic strength of kings. The main road from Rajarata to Ruhuna lay across Polonnaruwa. The province of Rohana served as a fortress for rebels and leaders. Since it is very easy to reach Rohana by wading across the Mahaveli Ganga, it was also easy to control Rohana from Polonnaruwa.It has been recorded that kings such as Aggabodhi III , AggabodhiIV and Sena II had visited Polonnaruwa to rest and there had been palaces built for the purpose.
Accordingly, Polonnaruwa appeared to have served as a sub capital even in the Anuradhapura Period. When the Pandyan king Sri Mara Sri Vallabha invaded Anuradhapura, Sena I is said to have gone to Polonnaruwa for protection. Therefore, Polonnaruwa has also been referred to as ‘Kandavuru Nuwara’ - the camp city. In the proximity to the harbour of Gokanna provided an opportunity to gain economic benefits through foreign trade. Similarly, it was easier to defeat the foreign invaders at the harbour itself before they could get a foothold in the country. Location on the banks of the Mahaveli made it a suitable area for irrigation and agriculture. The Cholas shifted the capital from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa. The Sinhalese kings who chased away the Cholas too made Polonnaruwa their kingdom