Best Places to Visit in Polonnaruwa

Best Places to Visit in Polonnaruwa

It’s the 2nd largest city in North Central province. The old city of Polonnaruwa, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage. Will you ever be pleased to feel the imperial splendor in the land of antiquities? Ancient engineering technology of a little island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, magical water-works which are unbelievable to be having centuries ago.

Forerunner of all these fascinations, King Parakaramabahu, ruler of the ancient capital directed all the astonishments with the downfall of the Anuradhapura Kingdom in the 12th century. Fabulous antique architecture bewitches the travelers by fascinating stone build fashions even after thousands of years. Gal Viharaya, Royal palace, Watadageya, Medirigiriya, Sandakadapahana, Lankathilaka are prime locations to feel the old glory.

Is that all? It’s just an old antique city for ancient lovers? and no! There are two National parks for those who enjoy wildlife. Minneriya and Kaudulla. One of the best spots for elephant and bird watching. Centered with extensive tanks where a large number of elephant flocks being seen congregating to tanks at the end of the dry season.

And do you know? Two parks are linked together creating an “elephant corridor “, allowing wild animals to move among two parks. Amazing right? There are more! Parakrama Samudraya, created during the golden era of Polonnaruwa. As a consistent of five other reservoirs connected together. It’s all flabbergasted to see the scenic beauty of the environment. Beautiful royal parks, royal mansions, human-made reservoirs, and massive stone build statues and temples, Polonnaruwa is a magnificent city that will remain you breathless until the end.

Weather in Polonnaruwa

In Polonnaruwa, summer is long, hot, and windy while the winter is too short, cloudy, warm, and wet. The maximum temperature was recorded in the city around 99°F and the average temperature moving between 72°F to 94°F. The hot season lasts from March to September for 6 months and the cold seasons starting from November to January for 2-3 months. Rain falls throughout the year to Polonnaruwa, highest in November and least in June with 1 inch of average total accumulation.

Are you planning to Visit Polonnaruwa?

Check out the places we recommend you to visit on your trip to Polonnaruwa.

Gal Vihara (Rock Temple)

Gal Vihara Polonnaruwa

The inventor of that great veracious religion and philosophy, Buddhism, Lord Buddha is craved in a face of gigantic granite rock. Not only a one actually, but four colossal statues of it also blended with the unique talent of ancient Sinhalese sculpting and craving fabrications. Will, you ever believe if I say, this is the most visited monument in Polonnaruwa? I will tell you why. In this sacred temple, the 4 statues of Lord Buddha.

The largest, of two sitting statue, is the most famous one. Fifteen feet high, craved as seated on a lotus flower. The basement of the statue decorated with flowers and lions. This is not an art but craft made on hard granite, you should see it your own eyes to believe me. The tallest, 22 feets high standing statue the most focused and discussed creation by historians and archaeologists. Macro size artistry, you cannot see fully of you won’t turn up your neck into maximal range!

The longest, reclining statue is 44 feet long. It is one of the largest of all statues in south Asia. The massive originality is concessionary to any mind. The smallest design, only 4 feet high, located inside a wooden chamber on a lotus basement. At the end of all these, I bet, your camera real would have content, that let your friends staring at your lens.

Gal Vihara (Rock Temple) Location on the Map

Royal Palace

Royal Palace Polonnaruwa

Do you think, the first skyscraper is, “The home Insurance Building” in 1885 in Chicago? But, the first skyscraper is, Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu made in late 1100 at Polonnaruwa kingdom. Just think what it’s like walking around the ruins of an ancient medieval city that is dispersed over a huge area? All the remains surrounded by woodland are well maintained and with breathtaking beauty.

If you visit the place, still you can see three levels of bricks that have holes used to insert wooden beams that have gone decayed after thousands of years. That wooden beams have had sustained the wooden floors of the palace. How many storeys do you think this ancient palace had? Its 7 floors along with 1000 chambers in the original palace! Can you believe it?

At present, it remains only 55 halls and three floors only. If you walk out of this palace you will discover the Royal bath, Kumara Pokuna. It is designed to receive water from the adjacent water source. The council chamber of the king is also visible at the place and I can assure, you will never regret visiting this paradigm of luxury. It’s both chilling and thrilling while enjoying pristine architectural marvels.

Royal Palace Location on the Map

Polonnaruwa Vatadage

Polonnaruwa Vatadage

In retrospect of Sri Lankan kingdoms, there are a lot more interesting to know. It’s really fun. Especially, when you are visiting a place knowing the true purpose and the value of the site at the same time. Have you ever visit Polonnaruwa Watadageya, which seems more like a temple?

To assume the crown of Sri Lanka, a king should accede the guardianship of the Relic of the tooth of Lord Buddha. It’s very important. Because the tooth relic is considered to be one of the most devoted treasures of Buddhists over centuries. Polonnaruwa Watadageya, a circular building with concentric terraces. A magnificent masterpiece of buildings and constructions has been built, to be the palace of sacred tooth relic.

There is an outer structure, 18m in diameter, every surface carved with fabulous arabesques. The wall outside, craved with lions and dwarfs appeared to be holding the palace. A lotus design sculptured on the top. The four entrances are carved with giant seven hooded cobra kings. The cobra designs are believed to be as an auspice from evil spirits. Semi-circular stone made moonstones at the northern entrance of the temple. Amazing guard stones and small brick dagoba in the center are something you should never miss on a journey in Polonnaruwa.

Polonnaruwa Vatadage Location on the Map

Medirigiriya Vatadage

Medirigiriya Vatadage

Dating back to the 12th century, the revolution in Buddhism started with the concession of the leadership in the country. Colossal constructions with inimitable artistry of Sri Lankan artists, established everywhere in the country. Madirigiriya Watadageya, a monastery built on the golden era of Polonnaruwa, a centerpiece of all monasteries in Sri Lanka. Distinctiveness in this monastery cannot abridge into one. An architectural masterpiece.

Watadageya’ means a housed pagoda completely within it. ‘Madirigiya Watadageya is a brilliant creation which is one of the stupa houses remaining in Sri Lanka from 7 others. It’s created on three concentric rings of pillars and the stupa housed inside being safe from weather conditions and elapses. Built on a rocky outcrop, has a single entrance facing the north, the door is a huge craved stone frame on the bottom of the staircase.

At the present, the stupa remains in the center. Surrounded by stone pillars 32 in the outer ring, 20 pillars in the middle ring, and 16 in the inner ring. Since the restoration was completed in 1945, it’s open to the public. It’s indeed ruined. But, Madirigiya Watadageya is a prime example to describe the advanced stone crafting practice of ancient Sri Lankan artists without any doubt.

Medirigiriya Vatadage Location on the Map

Angammedilla National Park

Angammedilla National Park

Mother nature is always amazing. It’s stable, well- balanced, well- maintained, self-adjusting with situations. Unless the interruption of human activities on the natural phenomena in the earth. Rise of the human in this world did change the future and the presence of the other species of nature.

Angamadilla National Park is the perfect example, which is one of the national parks in Sri Lanka, declared on June 6th of 2006. Originally, a forest, reserved within Minneriya and Girithale sanctuaries, for the purpose to protect the drainage basin of Parakrama Samudraya. It secures drainage basins of Girithale and Minneriya irrigation tanks as well. It becomes the water source of Sudu Kanda (white hill) lake. Angamadilla, not just a sanctuary, protected water source for the above-mentioned areas as well.

Elephants, sambar deers, muntjacs, water buffaloes, wild boars, peafowls are common within the jungle area. If you are lucky, Sri Lankan leopard, sloth bear, Grizzled bears are not rare. This place is called an ideal place for a wildlife safari, additional historical relics. Getting on to a modified and comfortable jeep, hanging around with ancient irrigation marvels, an experienced travel guide can make your trip a remarkable one, could give you life long memories of your travel journey.

Angammedilla National Park Location on the Map

Other important tourist places that you can visit along with Polonnaruwa

Places inside the ancient city

Lankathilaka Viharaya
Audience Hall
Swimming Pool
Sacred Quadrangle
Shiva Devalaya (Hindu Temple)
Pabalu Vehera (Temple of Marbles)
Rankoth Vehera
Kiri Vehera
Sandakada Pahana

Minneriya National Park
Parakrama Samudra
Statue of Parakramabahu
Somawathiya Temple
Somawathiya National Park
Dimbulagala Monastery