9 Amazing Places To Visit Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Last Updated On October 15, 2021

As well as Anuradhapura, the city Polonnaruwa also has numerous tourist attractions because of its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sinhala civilization and its religious background. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa was designated as a UNESCO world historic site in 1982. If you plan to visit Sri Lanka, you must add Polonnaruwa to your bucket list.


A brief history of Polonnaruwa


During the Chola dynasty, at the end of the 10th-century, Polonnaruwa was chosen as the Chola kingdom's capital. The historic city of Polonnaruwa served as the capital of both the Chola and Sinhalese kingdoms for three centuries.


Polonnaruwa was chosen over Anuradhapura because it was strategically located in the heart of Sri Lanka. Those advantages undoubtedly contributed to the Ruhunu Sinhalese kingdom's protection against the insurrection.


The Sinhalese monarch Vijayabahu eventually drove the Cholas off the teardrop-shaped island in 1070. He also chose Polonnaruwa to be the Sinhalese kingdom's capital.


Polonnaruwa reached its pinnacle of splendor during Sinhalese sovereignty. Regrettably, this was not to last. Sinhalese power shifted to the western half of the island in the early 13th century, where Colombo stands.



Best time to visit Polonnaruwa


In July, August & January, tourist traffic is less, and the climate is comfortable for traveling.  


How to get to Polonnaruwa


There is 227.6km from Colombo to Polonnaruwa. There are several options to get Colombo to Polonnaruwa. Choose as you wish

1.Train-it takes 5hours and 30minutes

Price of tickets -Rs.750-Rs.1061(depend on class)

2.Bus-it takes 5hours and 10minutes (depending on traffic )

Price of tickets-Rs.3873-Rs.4723

3.Taxi-it takes 3hours and 35minutes

Price -Rs.18000-Rs.22000

4.Drive-it takes 3hours and 35minutes



Places to visit in Polonnaruwa 


1. Royal Palace 



Royal Palace in Polonnaruwa belongs to the reign of King Parakramabahu, whose reign was 1st century A.D. This palace is a prominent example that demonstrates the marvel of ancient Sri Lankan architecture. In the past, it was a seven-story building with 1000 rooms, but only three stories with 55 rooms remained after the Kalinga Maga invasion.


2.Shiva Dewalaya No.2



Shiva Dewalaya no.2 is an ancient Kovil that is considered the oldest building in the Polonnaruwa area. Shiva Dewalaya no.2 is completely built from stone. So the structure of Kovil remains in a much similar condition as it was initially built. The statue of the Nandi, the bull & shiva's mount, can be seen there. The beauty and marvelous architecture of these monuments will surprise you. Do not miss shiva Dewalaya no.2 if you visit Polonnaruwa.


3.The Audience Hall


Image from Traveler Ceylon



The Audience Hall belongs to the reigning King Parakramabahu. It is recorded that this hall has been used to hear petitions and to meet foreign diplomats. But now, you can only observe the ruins of it. There is a rock staircase at the entrance starting with Sandakada Pahana & Makara figures on either side. There are two beautiful stone-carved lions at the top of the stairs. Along the audience hall wall, there are some beautiful stone-carved elephants, each in a different pose.


4.The Sacred Quadrangle 


Image by roshan thiranajaya from Pixabay 


The Sacred Quadrangle is one of the most preserved ruins in Polonnaruwa, and it is also known as Polonnaruwa Watadage. Polonnaruwa Watadage is another place that well demonstrated the tremendous architectural skill of ancient Sri Lankans. According to the beliefs of Sri Lankans, Sacred Quadrangle was built to hold the tooth relic of lord buddha by King Parakramabahu or hold the alms bowl of lord buddha by King Nissanka-Malla. By now, you can see four giant buddha statues in the middle of this circular monument. The ideal time to visit the sacred quadrangle is in the afternoon.


5.The Royal Swimming Pool


Image by Thanuja Sandaruwan from Pixabay


Royal Swimming Pool is one of the main attractions in Polonnaruwa. This swimming pool is situated at the southeast corner of the palace ground. Two crocodile mouth spouts pump fresh water into the pool. The ideal time to visit there is in the evening.


6.Lankathilaka Pilimage


Lankathilaka pilgrimage is a monolithic Buddha image house built by King Parakramabahu. This image house is wholly made out of bricks & it mainly consists of three parts: the sanctum, the vestibule, and the entrance porch. The buddha statue in the Lankathilaka pilgrimage is 42 feet in height Specially made flat bricks have been used to build it. Now, the face and the hands of the Buddha statue have been destroyed. At the entrance to the image house, there are two massive brick walls. Among them, the tallest one is 58 feet in height. Don't forget to check out this incredible creation if you visit Polonnaruwa.





Kiriwehera is a large pagoda that is situated in the north of the Lankathilaka pilgrimage. This stupa was built by queen Subhadra, wife of King Parakramabahu. Kiriwehera can be called the best-preserved stupa in Polonnaruwa. In the past, it was known as Rupawathi stupa. Kiriwehera belongs to the Alahana Pirivena & it is rising to 80 feet.


8.Gal Viharaya


Image from C E Y L O N



Gal Viharaya is a pilgrimage site among those who visit in Polonnaruwa area. In here, there is an attractive buddha statue complex created with stone. Gal Viharaya is also the creation of king Parakramabahu. Gal Viharaya is the best representation of incredible skill & expertise in the art of stone sculpture in Sri Lanka. Now Gal Viharaya is a UNESCO world heritage site. The Buddha statues of Gal Viharaya will bring a higher level of awakening concerning the Buddhist art in Sri Lanka.


9.Visit the Lake for Sunset


Image by Tourslanka


Polonnaruwa is situated on the bank of Topa Wewa. It is an excellent place to catch the sunset. At that time, the light is particularly magical & the wind blowing through the lake may give you an unforgettable relaxation and a fantastic sight you have never seen.