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Kingdom of Polonnaruwa

Kingdom of Polonnaruwa


The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was the kingdom from which Sri Lankan kings ruled the island from the 8th century until 1310 CE. Pollonnaruwa was the fifth administrative center of the Kingdom of Rajarata.
 The history Polonnaruwa goes as far as 6th century BC when a minister of the king Vijaya (From whom the Sinhalese race was born) established a town called “Vijitha Grama” on the area now called Kaduruwela. This is also the place for the famous “Battle of Vijithapura” between the Great King Dutugamunu (161-131 BC) and the Tamil invader Elara in his effort to re-unite the country under one Sinhalese King. This area was gradually developed as an influential agricultural town with large irrigation tanks and complex waterways built by various kings who ruled from Anuradhapura.

The selection of Polonnaruwa as the capital was not random choice by the invaders but a strategic choice. Polonnaruwa was developed to be the next kingdom by the Sri Lankan kings from the fifth century BC itself and even during the Anuradhapura era some kings chose this area to rule from whenever the Anuradhapura was under siege.

Anuradhapura was first kingdom in Sri Lanka and lasted for over 15 centuries from the 4th century BC. The last king of Anuradhapura was the king Mahinda V who was captured by Chola Invaders from South India in 993 and took him prisoner and was taken to India. Later he died in India itself. The Chola Invaders destroyed everything in Anuradhapura and took their ruling capital to Polonnaruwa in 1017 which they called “Jananathapuram”. During this period most of the Sinhalese in these areas migrated to the south to escape the cruelties of this Tamil ruler. After the death of King Mahinda in 1029 in India, the Sinhalese started a definite revolution stating from the South. This revolt was headed by the youngest son of King Mahinda who died unexpectedly. Ten years later a prince by the name of Keerthi made the final attack on Polonnaruwa in 1070 and defeated the “Soli” king who reigned the area for almost 75 years. He held his consecration in Anuradhapura as king Vijayabahu (see The Royal palace of King Vijayabahu I in Anuradhapura) and made his ruling capital Polonnaruwa.

A chronological list of rulers in Polonnaruwa

“Chola” Invaders

South Indian invaders


Vijayabahu I



Jayabahu I

Younger brother of Vijayabahu I


Wickramabahu I

Son of Vijayabahu I


Gajabahu II



Parakramabahu I

The father of Parakramabahu , Manabharana was the son of Mitta, who was the sister of Vijayabahu I

The mother of Parakramabahu was Rathnavali who was a daughter of Vijayabahu


Vijayabahu II

Son of Parakramabahu’s sister


Nissanka Malla

Came from Kalinga kingdom in India


Wickramabahu II

Son of Nissanka Malla


Choda Ganga

A nephew of Nissanka Malla


Queen Leelavathi

Wife of Parakramabahu I


Sahasa Malla

A relation of Nissanka Malla who came from Kalinga kingdom in India


Queen Kalyanavathi

Second wife of Nissanka Malla



Was made the king at the age of three months


Anikanga Mahadipada

Ruled the country for 17 days


Queen Leelavathi (restored)




Invader from Kalinga kingdom in India


Queen Leelavathi (restored)



Parakramabahu Pandu

Invader from pandya kingdom in India



Invader from Kalinga kingdom in India