Vishnu Devale No. 2 of Polonnaruwa Kingdom (විෂ්නු දේවාලය අංක 2)

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On the inner side of the Northern Gateway to east of the ancient Polonnaruwa kingdom lies 3 small kovils. On your left are 2 kovils dedicated to God Siva and God Ganesh. On the left is the kovil for god Vishnu currently named as Vishnu Kovil No. 2.

The Cola occupation of the country during the period 1017-1070 CE saw the establishment of many shrines dedicated to the worship of godheads of the Hindu Pantheon. Polonnaruwa having been their centre of administration for several decades, most of these shrines were founded within the capital itself.

At least fourteen ruined monuments of this category were discovered by Bell during the first decade of the twentieth century. Recent excavations have exposed one more brick built devales including a one in the Alahana Parivena complex. It is possible that some of these monuments were founded in the thirteenth century, when yet another wave of invasion took place under Magha of Kaliga which ultimately saw the fall of the Polonnaruwa kingdom.

This kovil has been completely built with granite blocks but only the bottom portion of the building survives today. Out of the 3 devalaya’s in this cluster, only the Vishnu Kovil has survived the forces of nature better than the other two. This devalaya was discovered and recorded by Bell in 1908 and reports that this was the only Vishnu Kovil within the walls of the inner city.

It has 2 rooms, the vestibule and the inner sanctum which are of the same size, 6 feet 9 inches square with a mandapam in front. The roof and much of the walls had been collapsed when discovered. However the 4 armed Vishnu statue carved out of rock still survives and stand at the center of the inner sanctum even today.

Hindu Shrines Discovered in the Ancient Polonnaruwa Kingdom

  1. Siva Kovil No. 1
  2. Siva Kovil No. 2
  3. Siva Kovil No. 3
  4. Siva Kovil No. 4
  5. Siva Kovil No. 5 (Naipena Viharaya)
  6. Siva Kovil No. 7
  7. Vishnu Kovil No. 2
  8. Vishnu Kovil No. 3
  9. Vishnu Kovil No. 4 (Naipena Viharaya)
  10. Ganesh Kovil


  1. “Annual Report : Archaeological Survey” (1909) Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 1908, 21(61), pp. 278–285.
  2. සෙනෙවිරත්න අනුරාධ (1998) පොලොන්නරුව : මද්‍ය කාලීන ලක්දිව අග නගරය . කොළඹ 7, Sri Lanka: පුරාවිද්‍යා දෙපාර්තුමේන්තුව .

Also See

Map of Vishnu Devale No. 2 of Polonnaruwa Kingdom

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Driving Directions to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

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

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Central Highway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :226 km
Travel time : 4.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Matale – Dambulla – Habarana
Distance from Colombo : 145 km
Travel time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance from colombo : 105 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Chenkaladi – Valachchena
Distance from colombo :100 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map


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