Built. Under ruler Parakramabahu I (1153-1186). The palace was originally named Vijayanta Prasada after the Hindu god Indra’s palace in heaven.
Location. The center of the citadel, located on the southern end of the old city. (Toggle Map above)
Although the powerful ruler’s palace is largely in ruins, its basic layout is still discernible.
Entrance. Entering the rectangular enclosure from the east, visitors proceed across an open courtyard — which likely functioned as a waiting area — to an elevated platform that holds the
Palace structure. The palace structure is anchored by the royal chamber, which is fronted by an audience hall with rows of wooden columns (now lost). The whole is surrounded by a series of small cells that might have served as living quarters for support staff.
Stairway. The original stone (granite) stairway is preserved on the south side of the palace platform, attesting to the presence of upper floors.
The Royal Chamber
The remains of the palace are dominated by the tall thick brick walls of the royal chamber.
Seven original floors. While the Culavamsa historical chronicle (sequel to the Mahavamsa) indicates that the palace originally had seven floors (and, perhaps exaggerating, a thousand rooms), there is only evidence of two floors and part of a third. Unfortunately, as throughout Polonnaruwa, since the others were likely made entirely of wood, they have not survived.
Holes held beams. The holes in the brick facade originally held wooden beams that supported the upper floors.