Polonnaruwa (Sinhalese - Tamil called by Cholas) is a town. It's the main town of Polonnaruwa District in the North Central Province, Sri Lanka. Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa, remains as the royal ancient city of polonnaru kingdom.
The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader.
The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site.
While Vijayabahu's victory and shifting of kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real "Hero of Polonnaruwa" of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu I. It was his reign that is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa, when trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the king, who was so adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted, and each was to be used toward the development of the land; hence, irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during Parakramabahu's reign, systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. The greatest of these systems, is the Parakrama Samudraya or the Sea of Parakrama. It is of such a width that it is impossible to stand upon one shore and view the other side, and it encircles the main city like a ribbon, being both a moat against intruders and the lifeline of the people in times of peace. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu's reign.
With the exception of his immediate successor, Nissankamalla I, all
other monarchs of Polonnaruwa were slightly weak-willed and rather prone
to picking fights within their own court. They also went on to form more intimate matrimonial alliances with stronger South Indian kingdoms, until these matrimonial links superseded the local royal lineage and gave rise to the Kalinga invasion by King Kalinga Magha in 1214 and the eventual passing of power into the hands of a Pandyan King following the Arya Chakrawarthi invasion of Sri Lanka in 1284. The capital was then moved to Dambadeniya.
The city of Polonnaruwa was also called Jananathamangalam during the short Chola reign.
Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Near the ancient city, there is a small town with several hotels (especially for tourists) and some glossy shops, and places to fulfill day-to-day needs. There are government institutions in a newly built area called "new town", about 6 km away from the town and the main road. The largest school in the district, Polonnaruwa Royal Central College is situated at new town.
Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province, but it is known as one of the cleanest and more beautiful cities in the country. The green environment, amazing ancient constructions, Parakrama Samudraya (a huge lake built in 1200), and attractive tourist hotels and hospitable people, attract tourists.
One recent scientific observation is that of its climate changes: historically, Polonnaruwa had a tropical climate most of the year, although it was occasionally chilly in December and January. But in recent years the rain and chilliness has been increased noticeably. Although this is surprising to some people, it is more enjoyable for tourists. However, there is a setback, as paddy field farmers can suffer when there is too much rain.