Polonnaruwa Overview


  • Country: Sri Lanka
  • Location: North Central Province
  • Mean Sea Level: Approximately 50 meters (164 feet) above sea level
  • Type of Activity: Archaeological exploration, cultural tours
  • Area: Polonnaruwa archaeological site covers around 122 hectares
  • Coordinates: 7.9392° N latitude, 81.0186° E longitude

Polonnaruwa is an ancient city that served as the capital of Sri Lanka in medieval times. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its well-preserved ruins and historical significance. Key attractions include the Gal Vihara rock sculptures, the Royal Palace, and the Vatadage, a circular relic house with intricate stone carvings. The Archaeological Museum provides insights into the city’s rich history, showcasing artifacts and exhibits that depict the grandeur of the Polonnaruwa era.

The city’s layout reflects advanced urban planning and architectural skills, with sophisticated irrigation systems that supported agriculture and daily life. Visitors can explore the expansive ruins by bicycle or on foot, taking in the serene beauty of the ancient structures set against lush greenery. Polonnaruwa is part of the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, offering a fascinating glimpse into the island’s ancient civilization and cultural heritage. The blend of historical monuments, scenic beauty, and wildlife, including monkeys and birds, makes Polonnaruwa a unique and enriching destination.

Top Activities in Polonnaruwa

  • Exploring the Gal Vihara: Visit the famous rock sculptures of Buddha, known for their detailed carvings and serene expressions.
  • Touring the Royal Palace: Discover the ruins of the ancient Royal Palace, once the residence of King Parakramabahu I.
  • Visiting the Vatadage: Explore the circular relic house with its intricate stone carvings and historical significance.
  • Walking through the Quadrangle: See a collection of important ruins, including the Thuparama Image House and the Shiva Devale.
  • Visiting the Archaeological Museum: Learn about the history and artifacts of Polonnaruwa, providing a deeper understanding of the ancient city.
  • Exploring the Parakrama Samudra: Visit the massive artificial reservoir built by King Parakramabahu I, demonstrating advanced ancient irrigation techniques.
  • Biking around the Ruins: Rent a bicycle and tour the expansive archaeological site at your own pace, enjoying the serene environment.
  • Photographing the Ancient Monuments: Capture the beauty and historical essence of Polonnaruwa’s well-preserved ruins.
  • Wildlife Watching: Observe local wildlife, including monkeys and a variety of bird species, amidst the ancient ruins.
  • Visiting Pothgul Vihara: Explore the ancient library and statue believed to represent King Parakramabahu I.
Open chat
Can we help you?