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Pollonarrua or Polonnaruwa (both: pŏlˌənərōˈə) [key], ruined ancient city, NE Sri Lanka. Pollonarrua, beautifully situated on a lake, was once the most splendid city of Sri Lanka. It became a royal residence in the mid-4th cent. and the capital after the fall (late 8th cent.) of Anuradhapura. The city reached its height under the rule of king Parakrama Bahu I (1164–97), the last notable monarch of the Sinhalese dynasty. He embellished the capital with temples, stupas, and huge stone images of Buddha; among these is a famous colossal statue of the recumbent Buddha. Pollonarrua fell to the Hindu Tamils in the 13th cent. The name is also spelled Pollanarrua.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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