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Ideal duration: 2 - 3 Days

Best Time: November - March Read More

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"History along with a homely experience!"

Polonnaruwa Tourism

Polonnaruwa, a marvel of a place, is in Northern Sri Lanka. The city once served as the capital of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa under the Chola Empire in the 10th century. This makes it the second most historic kingdom in Sri Lanka after Anuradhapura.

The entire town has two sections - the development and infrastructure part called the Polonnaruwa new town and the Old Site with ancient remains and monarchical structures.

The old part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has numerous ruins dating back to 800 years comprising of tombs, temples, statues and stupas. Within the town, is the celebrated quadrangle, Gal Vihara – Buddhist 12th century rock temple, Archaeological museum, Polonnaruwa Vatadage – holds the relic of the tooth of Buddha, Rankot Vihara – a 12th century stupa, Hatadage - an ancient relic shrine and the Lankathilaka – a cathedral type Buddhist temple and many other statuettes dedicated to Lord Buddha.

Another beauty is the wildlife in the Minneriya National Park dedicated to elephants. It has the most significant elephant gathering in the whole of Asia. A jeep safari there will show you around monkeys, iguana, crocodiles pelicans and various animals and birds in their natural habitat. The eerie ruins of Polonnaruwa are home to the Potgul vihara – an age-old library with domes for roofs that hold sacred books and a lecture theatre. The eternal city has beautiful landscapes for pictures. For instance, the Parakrama Samudra is one of the five reservoirs in Sri Lanka that has provided water to the people since the days of yore.

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History of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was the capital of the Cholas and the Sinhalese kingdoms. The Cholas shifted the capital from Anuradhapura to this princely state as they believed it offered more protection against attacks. Later it was fully conquered and taken by the Sinhalese, and during this time it flourished in trade and commerce. Buddhism garnered Sri Lanka during the rule of King Nissanka Malla who inscribed a majority of the stone architecture.

Food in Polonnaruwa

Priyamali gedara, Gemi Gedara, Thidas Arana Restaurant, Wishma Restaurant, are some of the places you can experience local cuisine. Rice and curry is their staple food. So their dishes hero the rice element and is garnished generously with vegetables, coconut milk based gravies and chilli paste for spice.

Shopping in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa offers wine and home-brewed alcohol - Midland Wine Stores, Midland Beer Shop. Around the ancient city, small artefacts and souvenirs can be purchased. While in the city, one can find Batik cloths, wooden handicrafts and custom tea.

Tips to Travel to Polonnaruwa

Rent a cycle to visit Sigiriya - ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa. The stone monuments are closely built yet the whole structure spans many acres. Wear flip-flops or any sandals that you can be removed easily. Holy stupas adorn Sri Lanka and hence they don’t let you walk in with footwear. Make sure to wear clothes that cover your body, shorts and tank tops are looked down upon by the locals.

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Rankot Vihara in Polonnaruwa
Potgul Vihara in Polonnaruwa
Hatadage in Polonnaruwa

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FAQs on Polonnaruwa

What is the best time to visit Polonnaruwa?

November to March is the time to be in Polonnaruwa. The weather is warm and gets colder around December, and there are fewer chances for precipitation. Your stay will be hassle-free if you could avoid the rains. June – August is drier and remains sunny with barely any rainfall. While September – November sees minimal tourists who would make the stay inexpensive; January, July and August see the most visitors. Winter from December to February presents a favourable climate. The temperature is peaceful, which is why tourists step foot between these three months. The presence of trees and lush greenery aid the tropical, temperate climate. Watching elephants in the MInneriya National park that too, in huge numbers would be possible in the dry seasons of July – October. As good as 300 elephants gather together to drink water from the reservoir, and it is indeed a sight to see!
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What are the things to do in Polonnaruwa?

The top things to do in Polonnaruwa are The Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu, Rankoth Vehera, Archaeological Museum, Polonnaruwa, Kiri Vihara, Polonnaruwa Vatadage, Nissanka Latha Mandapaya. You can see all the places to visit in Polonnaruwa here

What are the places near Polonnaruwa?

The top places near to Polonnaruwa are Sigiriya which is 28 km from Polonnaruwa, Kandy which is located 83 km from Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura which is located 79 km from Polonnaruwa, Colombo which is located 170 km from Polonnaruwa, Nuwara eliya which is located 113 km from Polonnaruwa

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