Post the Anuradhapura era, Polonnaruwa was the second capital city of ancient Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It contains awesome historical ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Paraklramabahu I, during the 12th century.
Among its many attractions, is the Parakrama Samudra(ocean) a known landmark. Created by King Parakramabahu, it is the largest man-made natural water reservoir in the country that covers an area of approximately 2,500 ha.
The Sanctuary of the Gal Vihara is most interesting as it contains three statues of Buddha. These are – the Seated Image reflecting Dhyana Mudhra, meaning ‘Meditation gesture’. The Standing Image which is in much contradiction and discussion amongst historians and archaeologists, that the Standing Image is in fact the sorrowful looking monk ‘Ananda’ reflecting the death of Lord Buddha or indeed the image of Lord Buddha during his 2nd week of enlightenment. The third image is of the Reclining Buddha that denotes Lord Buddha has attained Nirvana!