Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) at Polonnaruwa Kingdom (නෙලුම් පොකුණ)

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The Pokuna or the baths found at Polonnaruwa are comparatively of modest dimensions. The architecturally perfect Kumara Pokuna found close to King Parakramabahu’s palace, the Pokuna found near the rest house and believed to be that of King Nissanka Malla, and the simple baths of the Alahana pirivena are some examples.

Yet a jewel of the Pokuna architecture lies hidden along the lonely road to the northern city, well away from the busloads of pilgrims and tourists that crowd Polonnaruwa’s more famous quadrangle packed with ruins from different dynasties differing in architecture and style.

The Nelum Pokuna or the Lotus Bath is a small stone bath of unique design, built in tiers of eight petalled lotuses in descending form.

The fine-cut granite is in excellent formation and an absolute delight to the modern-day tourist. The atmosphere of garden-like surroundings with its ancient flowering trees enhances its magnificence.

The chronicle speaks of a lotus bath among many ponds constructed by Parakramabahu the Great. It is believed to be the bath provided by the King for the monks belonging to the Jetavana Vihara.

The Archaeological Commissioner describing this granite marvel in his annual Report for 1990 says that the artistic conception of the stone bath is worthy of all praise.

He requests the reader to imagine a gigantic lotus flower of granite in full bloom 24 ft. 9 in. diameter, with five concentric laminae of eight petals, gradually diminishing to a stamen 5 ft. 4 in. across.

Then decide to reverse nature’s order and instead of the convex shape depress the petal rings into concavity 4ft. 6 in. depth and we have the granite lotus bath as it exits in all its shapeliness to this day.

Most tourists miss this site. But if you are lucky to visit it on a quiet evening or early morning it is a spot of great romance which will beckon you every time you visit Polonnaruwa.

by Kishanie S. Fernando
Daily Mirror

Mahawamsa, the great Chronicle of Sri Lanka, speaks of 8 lotus-shaped ponds which were built by King Parakramabahu. Some of these ponds have been discovered hidden in the jungle, buried in time. Department of Archaeology started restoration work on 2 more Lotus Ponds in 2019. They are respectively named “Lotus Pond II” and “Lotus Pond III”.

Also See

Map of Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) at the Ancient Capital of  Polonnaruwa

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Driving Directions to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

The modern town of Polonnaruwa is also known as New Town, and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Through: Central Highway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo: 230 km
Travel Time: 4.45 hours
Driving Directions: See on Google map
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: See on Google map
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time : 2 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map

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