Places To Visit In Polonnaruwa

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Here are the top 15 tourist attractions to see in Polonnaruwa:

1. The Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu

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1 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Constructed under the reign of King Mahaparakram Bahu between the years 1153 to 1186, the striking Royal Palace stands as the emblem of grandeur in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. The Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu is a place of great historical importance, the reason why it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in the year 1982.

2. Rankoth Vehera

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2 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

This magnificent stupa is situated in Polonnaruwa and is the 4th largest stupa in Sri Lanka. Built by the Nissanka Malla(1187-1196) it is one of the most sought after tourist attractions, i.e. 'dagobas' of the country. Rich in vibrant history and scenic beauty, this place must be on your to-visit list if you come to Sri Lanka.The stupa of Rankoth Vehera is in the centre of a large square terrace. There are four entrances to the yard with four cardinal points.

3. Archaeological Museum, Polonnaruwa

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3 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is an ancient city, which constitutes, apart from the natural ruined sites ,one of UNESCO's World Heritage Site. The city has rooms full of excavated artefacts, which form the archaeological museum of Polonnaruwa. The museum was established in the Public Services Sports Club Hall at Polonnaruwa in 1962 and depicted scenes from 1012 A.D. During this period, the region was ruled by the Chola dynasty, which had some of the mightiest rulers. One of the most diligent rulers was King Parakramabahu I, who selflessly supervised the construction of Polonnaruwa. The museum looks like a small, simple hut from outside, but consists of a variety of informative visuals and artefacts on the inside.

4. Kiri Vihara

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4 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Kiri Vihara is a dagoba or stupa in Kataragama region in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, North Central Province, Sri Lanka. This an 80 feet tall, whitewashed, peaceful stupa is the second largest stupa in the town. Kiri Vihara was constructed in the 11th century AD, by King Parakramabahu's queen, Queen Subhadra. Its original name was Rupavathi Chaitya. Later the name was changed to Kiri Vihara, which means 'white stupa', which is because of its limewashed coating.

5. Polonnaruwa Vatadage

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5 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa Vatadage is a well-preserved Vatadage in the famous Dalada Maluwa quadrangle of the ancient city of ruins, Polonnaruwa. Vatadages are typical Buddhist structures found in Sri Lanka. These are circular, constructed using stone and brick with intricate stone carvings and a wooden roof. They were built to protect stupas. Currently, there are ten Vatadages in Sri Lanka, and the most popular one is Polonnaruwa Vatadage.

6. Nissanka Latha Mandapaya

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6 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya is a unique structure located in Sri Lanka. This architectural marvel is one of it's kind for many reasons. Nissanka Latha Mandapaya is a unique structure located in Dalada Maluwa quadrangle of Polonnaruwa district in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. This architectural marvel is one of it's kind for many reasons. King Nissanka Latha built Nissanka Latha Mandapaya in the 20th century. The purpose of this construction was to recite and hear Buddhist scriptures. Mandapa is a word used for sheltered pillars. In the 20th century, mandapas were built inside houses and used for recitals during after death ceremonies, which is how the structure got its name.

7. Dalada Maluva, Polonnaruwa

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7 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

The circular building of Dalada Maluwa, also known as Terrace of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, is a beautiful work of art and architecture of the 12th century. Dalada Maluwa was built by King Parakrambahu the great (1164-1196AD), it was later enhanced and decorated by King Nissankamalla (1198-1206). It was the intended house for the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha; however, presently, the Tooth Relic is deposited in Kandy Tooth Relic Temple.

8. Angammedilla National Park

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8 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

About half an hour away from the historical city of Polonnaruwa, bordered by the Angammedilla Canal in the south, lies Angammedilla National Park. A relatively more recent addition to Sri Lanka’s long list of protected areas, Angammedilla National Park is a habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna. The park was initially designated to protect the catchment areas of the Parakrama Samudra, a shallow reservoir in Polonnaruwa, and the Minneriya and Girithale irrigation tanks.

9. Pothgul Viharaya, Polonnaruwa

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9 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Pothgul Viharaya is an old library and monastery in the Polonnaruwa district of Sri Lanka. The ruins of this ancient library date back to the twelfth century. The name Pothgul itself means 'Bookstore'.

10. Manampitiya Bridge, Polonnaruwa

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10 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Manampitiya Bridge is the second longest bridge in Sri Lanka. Before the Kinniya Bridge was declared open in 2009, it was the longest bridge in Sri Lanka. The bridge has a length of 302 metres. It comprises two decks, an early-twentieth-century steel bridge and newly built bridge.

11. Giritale Wewa, Polonnaruwa

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11 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Giritale Wewa or Giritale Tank is a reservoir in Giritale and Minneriya. Giritale Tank was one of the deepest tanks in Sri Lanka during the rule of ancient capital Polonnaruwa.

12. Parakrama Samudra

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12 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Parakrama Samudra is a water reservoir which consists of five different lakes namely Thopa, Dumbutulu, Erabadu, Boo, Katu tanks. It is also known as King Parakrama's Sea and is in Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. Topa Wewa is the oldest reservoir here which was built around 386 AD. The middle section has Eramudu Wewa and below you have Dubutula Wewa. The lakes here are separated by a smaller dam to reduce the pressure.

13. Gal Vihara 

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places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Gal Vihara is a rock temple of Buddha which is in the north of Sri Lanka in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Polonnaruwa. It was initially known as Uttara Rama. It has four rock statues, each portraying different figures of Buddha. The first one is where Buddha is seated on a lotus; the second one is also a seated figure but smaller in size; the third one is a standing figure, and the last one is a reclining figure.

14. Sigiriya Rock Fortress

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14 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

Sigiriya or the Lion Rock is an ancient fort located in the Matale District in central Sri Lanka. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is in the Matale District of Central Sri Lanka and lies between the towns of Dambulla and Habarane at the height of 370 metres. It consists of a citadel and has ruins of palaces, the Lion Gate, gardens, moats, the Mirror Wall, and many beautiful frescoes (paintings made in wet plaster on walls). The place got its name from the Lion claws, carved at the entrance of the Lion Gate. You can reach the Sigiriya Fortress either by bus or by train, from the main towns of Dambulla or Habarane.

15. Minneriya National Park

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15 out of 15
places to visit in Polonnaruwa

The Minneriya National Park is in the Northern province of Sri Lanka, four hours away from Colombo, and 30 minutes away from Sigiriya. The national park is famous for its herds of elephants migrating for food, water and shelter, and forming a 'gathering' that can be witnessed by the visitors. The dry season is the best time to visit this place, as the majestic elephants migrate to the Minneriya Tank for water. Apart from elephants, the national park is also home to several mammals, birds, reptiles, and different kinds of plant species. Minneriya National Park comes under the dry zone, meaning, it receives less rainfall compared to the other areas in the country.