Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is an island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean. Its diverse landscapes range from rainforest and arid plains to highlands and sandy beaches. It’s famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins, including the 5th-century citadel Sigiriya, with its palace and frescoes. The city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka's ancient capital, has many ruins dating back more than 2,000 years.
Sri Lanka with its nearly 3000 years of history holds some of world’s ancient cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Digamadulla. Remnants of these once glorious cities, their palaces, temples, monasteries, hospitals and theaters intricately carved and modeled out of stone lay abandoned amidst the soaring mountains.
Of all the ancient sites the most famed and most exquisite is the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. Sri Lanka’s third and the longest serving capital and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world is also one of the most sacred cities of World Buddhists. It was the capital of Sri Lanka from the Fourth Century BC up to the turn of the eleventh Century and was one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. However the city itself is much older than the Kingdom of Anuradhapura and according to archeological evidence could have originated as far as tenth century BC. Anuradhapura was abandoned due to the due to repeated South Indian Invasions and was eventually forgotten with time until it was rediscovered in the early 19 th century.
Polonnaruwa, the second most ancient kingdom of the country was first made the political center of the country in the ninth century BC. Irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed in Polonnaruwa kingdom, and still provide irrigation water to the farmers in and around Polonnaruwa. Yet the kingdom’s glory was short-lived and a South Indian invasion pushed the political centre towards the centre of the country by the eleventh century. Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, a testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers.
Digamadulla, the Eastern kingdom of Sri Lanka was the agricultural and spiritual capital of the country during the Anuradhapura kingdom. Ruled by a viceroy of the Anuradhapura king Digamadulla was a prosperous province with grand palace, monasteries and temples at every juncture. Having received lesser attention of archaeologists compared to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa many a great creations of ancient Digamadulla had been lost to time, war and plunder while many more silently awaits in the midst of the forests covering the lands of Eastern Sri Lanka.