Polonnaruwa the ancient city, which showcases evident traces of human existence from the 2nd century BC, became an important city around the 6th century AD as Kings built tanks supporting the paddy industry. In the 10th Century AD, the South Indian Cholas took advantage of the political instability and power struggle in Sri Lanka and invaded the country, setting out warfare and chaos. The capital was moved from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa as a safety measure. This sparked the beginning of the Polonnaruwa period the city was strategically located near the main crossing point on the Mahaveli river, which helped safeguard the southern province.
The South Indian Chola dynasty ruled for 77 years after murdering King Mahinda V. The famous Kings of this period where; King Vijayabahu I who saved Polonnaruwa from the Cholas, Parakramabahu the Great who established irrigation works, secured Buddhism and built great buildings and parks and King Nissankamalla who reigned for a short time but contributed none the less. After the death of King Nissankamalla a ruthless ruler named Magha terrorized the country under his rule for 21 years. Polonnnaruwa died under his wrath and turned to the arms of the jungle as the capital was moved to Yapahuwa.
Polonnaruwa is more spectacular and intriguing as history unravels before them through the well preserved ruins and monuments that relate their tales in silent wonder. This city is more advanced in terms of architecture, artistry and creativity with a combination of South Indian influences and Buddhist affluence.