Tivanka Image House


Polonnaruwa's northern road ends at Tivanka Image House. Tivanka means ‘thrice bent’, and refers to the fact that the Buddha image within is in a three-curve position normally reserved for female statues. The building is notable for its fine frescoes depicting Buddha in his past lives – the only Polonnaruwa murals to have survived (photos not allowed). Some of these date from a later attempt by Parakramabahu III to restore Polonnaruwa, but others are much older.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Polonnaruwa attractions

1. Nelum Pokuna

0.29 MILES

A track to the left from the northern stretch of road leads to unusual Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond), nearly 8m in diameter, which has five concentric,…

2. Damila Thupa

0.64 MILES

King Parakramabahu I planned this 12th-century stupa to be the world's largest Buddhist monument, but even with the enforced assistance of Tamil prisoners…

3. Gal Vihara

0.88 MILES

Part of Parakramabahu I’s northern monastery, Gal Vihara is a group of beautiful Buddha images that probably marks the high point of Sinhalese rock…

4. Exit

1.05 MILES

Most visitors exit the archaeological site here.

5. Kiri Vihara

1.08 MILES

Construction of the dagoba Kiri Vihara is credited to Subhadra, King Parakramabahu I’s queen. Originally known as the Rupavati Chetiya, the present name…

6. Lankatilaka

1.16 MILES

One of the most evocative structures in Polonnaruwa, the Lankatilaka temple was built by Parakramabahu I and later restored by Vijayabahu IV. This massive…

7. Buddha Seema Prasada


Set on a natural ridge, this was the monastery’s convocation hall, where monks met fortnightly. This building features a fine mandapaya (raised platform…

8. Vishnu Devale No 4


This minor Hindu site is outside the main archaeological area and can easily be skipped.