December 29th, 2009 – by: Vlindeke
This day we had a visit of the Polonnaruwa site (part of the Cultural Triangle) on our program, approximately 70 kilometres from our hotel in Sigiriya. The great ruined capital of Polonnaruwa is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
On our way to get there we stopped at the Pollonaruwa Rest House. A former state hotel (managed by Ceylon Hotels Corporation), nicely located at a lake site. Used to be a fancy place, in 1954 Queen Elizabeth II was a guest! We had coffee and ginger cookies and went on to visit the Polonnaruwa site. You can rent a bicycle to discover this site.
We started at the Royal Palace Group (remains of the Royal Palace, Council Chamber and Royal Baths) and continued at The Quadrangle (The Vatadage, an impressive circular relic house, the Hatadage and the Satmahal Prasada). Passing the Rankot Vihara (a huge red-brick dagoba or stupa) visiting the Lankatilaka (‘Ornament of Lanka’), a huge, but now headless standing Buddha. Next was the Kiri Vihara, another dagoba (stupa). Last, but definitely not least, we visited Gal Vihara (‘Stone Shrine’). Four beautiful Buddha statues, all carved from the same massive rock of granite!