The Ruins of Polonnaruwa


  • Location: Polonnaruwa District, North Central Province, Sri Lanka
  • Reason to visit: one of the UNESCO cultural heritages
  • Our ratings: ★★★★★
  • Entrance fee: 1800Rs
  • Opening Hours: 07:00am-18:00pm (Jan 01-Dec31, from Monday-Friday)
  • Recommended tour for you 7 Days Classic Sri Lanka Tour


The Ruins of Polonnaruwa is located in the northeast of Sri Lanka, 216 kilometers northeast of the capital Colombo. Polonnaruwa became the capital of Sri Lanka in 933 AD. In the Polonnaruwa, there are not only Brahmanic sites from the Chola dynasty, but also the remains of the mythical garden city built in the 12th century by emperor Polonnaruwa. In 1982, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed the ancient city of Polonnaruwa as a cultural heritage on the world heritage list.

The Ruins of Polonnaruwa


The history of Ruins of Polonnaruwa

In 933 AD, following the destruction of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa became the capital of Sri Lanka. At the end of the 10th century AD, the capital and Buddhist center Anuradhapura began to decline, and Polonnaruwa became famous for its replacement. From 1059 to 1207, with the prosperity of Polonnaruwa, its construction level also reached the point of perfection. The huge artificial reservoir and the inner sea dotted in the ancient city also add a lot to the panorama here. From the 14th century, Polonnaruwa tended to be deserted. In the early 20th century, it was rebuilt into a modern city.

The Ruins of Polonnaruwa


The architecture of the Polonnaruwa Ancient City

Most of the existing places of interest in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa were built during the reign of King Polokaramobahu. At the moment, only the tall pedestal and rows of stone pillars are left in the conference hall, but the beautiful reliefs on the pedestal are still clearly visible, namely elephants and lions.

The conference hall steps of the Polonnaruwa Ancient City are divided into three sections, the first two sections of the entrance have a beautiful moonstone on the ground, the third part of the steps on the left and right are guardian beast. Each section of steps on both sides of the guardrail and the guardian beast shape design are very clever. The site area is large, with broken buildings scattered everywhere in the jungle, and here used to be the second royal capital of the ancient Sri Lankan dynasty. From the ruins, visitors can imagine the prosperity of the heyday at that time.

The Ruins of Polonnaruwa

Going down from a path on the north side of the conference hall, there is a royal bath for royal ladies' bathe. There are also two crocodile-shaped water outlets. The inner layer is marble, and the outer layer is brick. It is said that marble can absorb the heat of the sun and make the water temperature increase. There is also a dressing room on one side, and only the foundation remains.

In the ancient city, there are many such baths, distributed in different areas, with different shapes and sizes. People of different levels use different baths, which shows the grandeur of the dynasty at that time. Although the palace complex remains only two stories high, it is still tall and magnificent. This circular temple in Polonnaruwa is the most well-preserved and the most exquisite.

Here is a Lotus Temple in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City. What is special about the Lotus Temple is that the surrounding stone fence imitates a wooden fence, and stone pillars surround a small stupa in the middle. These stone pillars look unique, like the stems of lotus flowers and carved with totems.


How to get to the Ruins of Polonnaruwa

No.1 Train

You could take the train to the Polonnaruwa train station, then take a Tuk-tuk car to the ancient city.

No.2 Bus

There are many buses at Anuradepulle, Colombo and Kandy arrive at the Polonnaruwa train station, you could also take the bus come to the Polonnaruwa train station, then take taxi or Tuk-tuk car to the ancient city.

The Ruins of Polonnaruwa



♦ Dress Code: Prohibited items of clothing include shorts, mini-skirts, tight-fitting trousers, any see-through items of clothing, sleeveless tops, sandals (excluding those with heel straps), sweatshirts, sweatpants, and pajamas. Dress conservatively is all you need.

Although there is no photo prohibition in the temple, it is recommended not to take pictures due to the respect for the Buddha statue.

Take off shoes when entering the temple.

No intimate behaviors allowed in the temple.

The Ruins of Polonnaruwa area is huge. It is better to rent a bike to visit.


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