10 Places to see in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is a World heritage site by UNESCO in Srilanka which declared in 1982. The Polonnaruwa city is located 227km from the Colombo capital. The city can be devided into two part, the modern city and the ancient city. This was the second kingdom of Srilanka which lasted for nearly 2 centuries. At the end of 10th century during the reign of king Mahinda 5 the cholas, the south Indian invaders invaded anuradapura kingdom. So after capturing they shifted the kingdom to Polonnaruwa in the beginning of 11th century, from anuradapura.

Polonnaruwa is declared a World heritage site by UNESCO in Srilanka in 1982 because of its ancient constructions. Alahana pirivena monastery complex had been a major reason for the consideration as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Polonnaruwa is located in the North central province of Srilanka and 196 km from Katunayake international airport - 4 1/2 hours drive

Polonnaruwa was the second Kingdom in Sri Lanka from 11th Century to 13th Century. Polonnaruwa is a show piece for ancient city planning.

District of Polonnaruwa situated in the dry zone in North Central province

The city can be divided into two parts, the modern city and the ancient city

The polonnaruwa is a famous tourist destination because of its cultural, heritage, architectural, religious with ancient irrigation development

01. The Sea of Parakramabahu ( Reservoir )

Parakrama Samudra (or King Parakrama’s sea or the Sea of King Parakrama) is a shallow reservoir (wewa), consisting of five separate wewa (reservoirs) (thopa, dumbutulu, erabadu, bhu, kalahagala tanks) connected by narrow channels in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

The northernmost reservoir is the oldest and referred to as Topa wewa (Sinhalese wewa is almost equal to English word lake or reservoir, but used unique Sri Lankan technology) built around 386 AD. The middle section Eramudu wewa and the southernmost portion, at the highest elevation, is Dumbutula wewa, both sections were added and the reservoir expanded during the reign of King Parâkramabâhu I. 

Note to remember

Have a Swim or Bath only on recommended areas.

The best evidence to show case the ancient irrigation technology Srilanka had 1000 years ago.

02. Island Park

Deepa Uyana is a park situated outside and to the west side of the Palace of King Parakramabahu the Great, extending to the shores of the Parakrama Samudraya. The council chamber of King Nissanka Malla is believed to lie here. In the past, Deepa Uyana was referred to as the Dipuyyana in Pali which translates to “an Island Garden”. Inscriptions state that King Nissanka Malla had renamed the Deepa Uyana as “Kalinga Uyana

Note to remember

Car park available – bring a water bottle, sun cream and sunglasses.

Service of an Area Guide or a Higher guide is highly recommended

Inside the park you can visit the palace of king nishshanka malla and various other ruins

03. Archeological Museum - Polonnaruwa

The Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum exhibits finds excavated from the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO-listed site.

This is a great place to start a trip to Polonnaruwa, particularly as its models of the city’s buildings allow visitors to imagine how it would have appeared hundreds of years ago.

Moving through the museum, visitors can learn about this former capital by theme, with a highlight including a series of Chola bronzes.

Note to remember

The best place to get an idea about Polonnaruwa kingdom. better to visit the museum before visit the site

Service of an Area Guide or a Higher guide is highly recommended

You can buy the ticket from here to visit all the historical sites of polonnaruwa

04. Royal Palace of king parakramabahu

Entrance to the remaining portion of the building is from south. The great central hall measuring 13x31m, probably for political meetings. Roof is supported by 36 wooden columns whose sockets remain visible in their brick bases. These wooden pillars were protected by brick and mortar as they were easily subject to decay. Thick flanking walls retain beam sockets for supporting next floor level. And scholars believe thick walls needed to bargainthe shallow depth of foundation. As usually the ground floor was open

 

Note to remember

Highly Recommending to hire a site guide to get the maximum output of the tour.

Car park available – bring a water bottle, sun cream and sunglasses.

Don’t forget to visit the Audience hall and the Pond nearby

05. Hindu Temple – God Shiva temple

This is one of the earliest dated buildings in Polonnaruwa. It was named after the queen of Raja Raja chola ,Mahadevi Iswaramudaiyar who is the mother of Rajendra chola. Therefore the name of the kovil is Manawan Mahadevi Iswaramudaigar kovil. The Lingam and the Yoni are the symbols of worship. Therefore, it believed a temple, praying for fertility. Even today it is in excellent preserved condition and it had been built with granite stone slabs using the grove and peg method. This temple is functioning even today. Some of the fine bronze sculptures found in and around shrines here are exhibited in Polonnaruwa museum.

Note to remember

There are two Shiva Temples. I have mentioned the Shiva temple number 02 in the location

Service of an Area Guide or a Higher guide is highly recommended

Car park available – bring a water bottle, sun cream and sunglasses.

06. Circular Relics Chamber (vata da ge)

One of the more unique structures of the entire kingdom, the Polonnaruwa Vatadage has a long and illustrious history. Considered to be the only structure of its kind in the whole of Sri Lanka, this complex is believed to be the place in which the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was housed, following the shift in the capital from Anuradhapura in the 11th century.

Note to remember

Now you are entering to the scared quad triangle. Therefore, you need to remove your shoes and hats.

Bring temple shocks to wear. Mornings and Evenings are recommended to avoid the high heat.

Service of an Area Guide or a Higher guide is highly recommended

Car park available – bring a water bottle, sun cream and sunglasses.

07. Gal Viharaya – Rock Temple

This marvelous shrine was created by great king Parakramabahu the 1st.The name Gal vihara translates to English as rock shrine. And was discovered by Lt.Fagan during an exploration in 1820Ad.Uttararamaya is another name for this shrine. Rock temple is the best example of the technology srilanka had 1000 years ago to create such a wonderful creations on the rocks and Human Skill as well as Artistic sense had among Srilankan people. 

Note to remember

This is a scared temple. Therefore, you need to remove your shoes and hats before you enter the premises

Getting the service of an Area guide or Higher guide is highly recommended

Bring temple shocks to wear. Mornings and Evenings are recommended to avoid the high heat.

08. Rankoth Vehera (Golden Pinnacle Stupa)

Rankoth Vehera is a stupa located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. The stupa was built by Nissanka Malla of Polonnaruwa, who ruled the country from 1187 to 1196. The Rankoth Vehera has been built according to the tradition of the stupas of the Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya and bears a close resemblance to Ruwanwelisaya. In fact, a stone inscription situated close to the stupa even identifies it by the name “Ruwanweli”. However, it has later come to be known by the currently used name, Rankoth Vehera. In Sinhalese, ran means gold, kotha is the name given to the pinnacle of a stupa, and vehera means stupa or temple.

Note to remember

This is a scared temple. Therefore, you need to remove your shoes and hats before you enter the premises

Getting the service of an Area guide or Higher guide is highly recommended

Bring temple socks to wear. Mornings and Evenings are recommended to avoid the high heat.

09. Lanka Thilaka Viharaya – The Image House

Parākramabāhu I (Pali Mahā Parākaramabāhu 1153–1186AD) was king of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. During his reign from the capital city of Polonnaruwa, he unified the three lesser kingdoms of the island, becoming one of the last monarchs in Sri Lankan history to do so. He oversaw the expansion and beautification of his capital, constructed extensive irrigation systems, reorganized the country’s army, reformed Buddhist practices, encouraged the arts and undertook military campaigns in South India and Burma. The proverb “not even a little water that comes from the rain must flow into the ocean without being made useful to man” is one of his most famous utterances.

Note to remember

This is a Buddhist image house. Therefore, you need to remove your shoes and hats before you enter the premises

Getting the service of an Area guide or Higher guide is highly recommended

10. Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park is located 182 km away from Colombo in the North Central Plains of Sri Lanka. The major city closest to Minneriya National Park is Polonnaruwa. The renovated vast ancient Minneriya Rainwater Reservoir that irrigates the considerable area of the district of Polonnaruwa is the focal point of the Minneriya National Park. Being part of the elephant corridor which joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa parks, Minneriya National Park gives the opportunity to see herds of Elephants throughout the year.May to October is the best period to visit Minneriya National Park in view of the famous Gathering of the wild elephants.

Note to remember

Pre book a safari service provider to avoid last minute fire fighting

Witness the Famous Elephant gathering on the months of July and August.

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