The history Polonnaruwa goes as far as 6th century BC when a minister of the king Vijaya (From whom the Sinhalese race was born) established a town called “Vijitha Grama” on the area now called Kaduruwela. This is also the place for the famous “Battle of Vijithapura” between the Great King Dutugamunu (161-131 BC) and the Tamil invader Elara in his effort to re-unite the country under one Sinhalese King. This area was gradually developed as an influential agricultural town with large irrigation tanks and complex waterways built by various kings who ruled from Anuradhapura.
The selection of Polonnaruwa as the capital was not random choice by the invaders but a strategic choice. Polonnaruwa was developed to be the next kingdom by the Sri Lankan kings from the fifth century BC itself and even during the Anuradhapura era some kings chose this area to rule from whenever the Anuradhapura was under siege.`
Anuradhapura was first kingdom in Sri Lanka and lasted for over 15 centuries from the 4th century BC. The last king of Anuradhapura was the king Mahinda V who was captured by Chola Invaders from South India in 993 and took him prisoner and was taken to India. Later he died in India itself. The Chola Invaders destroyed everything in Anuradhapura and took their ruling capital to Polonnaruwa in 1017 which they called “Jananathapuram”. During this period most of the Sinhalese in these areas migrated to the south to escape the cruelties of this Tamil ruler. After the death of King Mahinda in 1029 in India, the Sinhalese started a definite revolution stating from the South. This revolt was headed by the youngest son of King Mahinda who died unexpectedly. Ten years later a prince by the name of Keerthi made the final attack on Polonnaruwa in 1070 and defeated the “Soli” king who reigned the area for almost 75 years. He held his consecration in Anuradhapura as king Vijayabahu and made his ruling capital Polonnaruwa.