Sin: පොළොන්නරුව poḷonnaruva – Tam: பொலன்னறுவை polaṉṉaṟuvai

‘Pulastya’s City’  NCP,  Sri Lanka

The origins of the name Polonnaruwa are unclear.

Polonnaruwa is not the real name of the place and is not very ancient. Major Forbes, writing in 1828-30, first used the name and James Emerson Tennent followed his example seventy years later.

The archaeologist HCP Bell  said it was a “word of doubtful Elu origin”.

The classical name used in the Mahavamsa was Pulastipura and some relate this to the Hindu sage Pulastya and the Tamil form, Pulastya Nagara or Pulatti Nakara.

Polonnaruwa was the second great capital of Sri Lanka following the fall of Anuradhapura to the Cholas in the 10th century.

A city called Jananathapuram was founded by the Cholas in the 10th century and when the Cholas were expelled from Sri Lanka, Vijayabahu I captured it and over the years it was transformed into the ancient city we know, famed for its palaces, shrines, tanks and temples.

For related place names see Sri Lanka Place names.