Polonnaruwa: An Ancient City of Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa, located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, is an ancient city that has a rich history and culture. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country and is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is known for its archaeological ruins, temples, monuments, and other attractions that make it a great place to explore.


History of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was first established in the 10th century as the capital of the Sinhalese kingdom. After the collapse of the Anuradhapura kingdom, it became the seat of power for the Sinhalese rulers. During its peak, it was a bustling city that was home to a thriving culture, economy and religious life.

The city was later abandoned in the 13th century due to a number of factors, including invasions by the South Indian Chola dynasty. In 1982, Polonnaruwa was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its rich cultural heritage.


What to See and Do in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is home to many attractions, including numerous archaeological ruins, temples, monuments, and other attractions. Visitors can explore the ancient city and get a glimpse into its past.

The Archaeological Museum is a must-visit for those interested in ancient history. The museum houses artifacts from the various periods of Sri Lankan history, such as the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa periods.

The Royal Palace and Parakrama Samudra Lake are also popular attractions. The Royal Palace was once the residence of the Sinhalese kings and is now open to the public. The lake is a great place to take a boat ride and admire the scenery.

The Rankot Vihare and Kiri Vihara are two of the most important temples in Polonnaruwa. The Rankot Vihare is the largest stupa in Sri Lanka and is a popular pilgrimage site. The Kiri Vihara is a temple dedicated to the Buddha and is a great place to learn more about Buddhism.

The Polonnaruwa Vatadage is a complex of temples and monuments that is believed to have been built during the reign of King Parakramabahu I. It is an impressive structure and is a great place to get a glimpse into the city’s past.

The Nelum Pokuna is another important attraction in the city. The pond was built during the reign of King Parakramabahu I and is a great place to take a stroll and admire the scenery.

Other attractions in the city include the Gal Vihara, the Royal Audience Hall, and the Temple of the Tooth. All of these attractions are great places to explore and get a glimpse into the city’s rich history.


Where to Stay in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa has a variety of accommodation options to choose from. There are a number of hotels, guesthouses, and homestays available in the city. Many of these offer great amenities and comfortable rooms at affordable prices.

For those looking for a more luxurious experience, there are also a number of resorts in the area. These resorts offer a range of amenities, such as swimming pools, spas, and other facilities.

No visit to Polonnaruwa is complete without trying the local cuisine. The city is home to a number of restaurants and cafes that serve up delicious Sri Lankan dishes.



Polonnaruwa, with its rich history and cultural significance, stands as a captivating destination for travelers exploring Sri Lanka. From the ancient ruins and temples to the serene Parakrama Samudra Lake, the city offers a journey back in time. Must-visit sites like the Royal Palace, Rankot Vihare, and Polonnaruwa Vatadage provide insights into the city’s historical and religious importance.

For accommodation, Polonnaruwa caters to diverse preferences, ranging from comfortable guesthouses and homestays to luxurious resorts. Visitors can enjoy the local cuisine in the city’s restaurants, savoring the flavors of Sri Lankan dishes.

Polonnaruwa’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site highlights its cultural significance, making it a key stop for those interested in the history and heritage of Sri Lanka. Exploring the city and its archaeological wonders offers a unique and enriching travel experience, connecting visitors with the vibrant past of this ancient city.

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