Polonnaruwa is the most captivating of Sri Lanka’s old cities. Located on the banks of a sparkling manmade lake, a long line of ambitious kings constructed a huge city here between the 11th and 13th centuries. Inside the city’s concentric three-layered walls are the ruins of once-fantastic gardens, monasteries, palaces and temples. You can still see highly carved architectural detail, antique frescoes and murals, giant Buddha images, and enormous stupas. Visit at sunrise for the gorgeous glow of light and to see monkeys on patrol.
The former royal bath and swimming pool is one of the main attractions and remains well-preserved. Located at the corner of the palace grounds, crocodile-mouth spouts direct freshwater into the pool.
The original lime plaster of the Dagaba Kiri Vihara is still a perfect white after almost 700 years of existence. It is the best-preserved unrestored dagaba, a dome-shaped shrine containing relics of Buddha or Buddhist Saint, of the Polonnaruwa city.
Also worth a visit are the 55 remaining rooms of the Royal Palace, the former 1,000-room home of King Parakumba (1153-1186) and the Audience Hall with beautiful stone-carved elephants alongside each of its walls.
Fans of Duran Duran will recognise Polonnaruwa from their 1982 music video ‘Save a Prayer’.
Things to do in Polonnaruwa
Some of the great things you can enjoy in Polonnaruwa include:
- Visit at sunrise for the soft glow of light and to see the patrolling monkeys
- Discover the well-preserved royal swimming pool
- Explore the 55 remaining rooms of the Royal Palace
- Admire the beautiful stone-carved elephants alongside the walls of the Audience Hall
The best way to see in Polonnaruwa
If you would like to visit Polonnaruwa, why not take a look at one of our wonderful ATOL and ABTA protected holidays? Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and the tours mentioned are just examples to help inspire you.
Contact our travel experts on 01792 315499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.