Polonnaruwa, located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, is an ancient city steeped in history and archaeological wonders. Once the capital of the island during the medieval period, Polonnaruwa now stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a significant archaeological treasure trove that draws history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. The city's origins date back to the 10th century when it was established as the second capital of Sri Lanka after the fall of Anuradhapura. Under the reign of King Parakramabahu I, Polonnaruwa reached its zenith, becoming a thriving center of trade, culture, and religion. The king's grand constructions and irrigation projects transformed the city into a majestic urban center, as evidenced by the many palaces, temples, and reservoirs that still stand today. The Archaeological Park of Polonnaruwa spans over an extensive area, showcasing the impressive ruins of ancient structures and monuments. The Royal Palace complex stands as a testimony to the architectural brilliance of the era, with its well-preserved audience hall, council chamber, and other royal quarters. Among the most iconic landmarks in Polonnaruwa is the Gal Vihara, a group of exquisite rock-cut Buddha statues carved into the granite cliffs. The statues, including a standing Buddha, a reclining Buddha, and two seated Buddhas, are masterpieces of ancient Sri Lankan art and a testament to the devotion of the time.

The city's religious significance is further highlighted by the beautifully preserved temples, such as the Lankathilaka Temple and the Rankot Vihara. These temples exhibit intricate carvings and elaborate architectural features, showcasing the artistic and spiritual richness of the medieval period. One of the remarkable feats of engineering from this era is the Parakrama Samudra, a massive reservoir built to supply water to the city and its agricultural lands. The reservoir, spanning over an area of 2,500 hectares, is an impressive testament to the advanced irrigation systems of ancient Sri Lanka. Visiting Polonnaruwa is like stepping back in time, as the well-preserved ruins and historical landmarks offer a vivid glimpse into the glorious past of this ancient city. The serene setting, surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife, adds to the mystique and allure of the site. Today, Polonnaruwa continues to be an archaeological and historical gem that allows travelers to immerse themselves in the rich heritage of Sri Lanka. The ancient city's cultural and historical significance, combined with its peaceful ambiance, makes it an unforgettable destination that offers a truly unique and enriching experience for all who venture into its storied past.