05
Mar-2014

Polonnaruwa

Sri Lanka   /  
  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City

  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City

  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City

  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City

  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City

  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City

  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City

  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City

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Polonnaruwa is the second oldest city in Sri Lanka, World Heritage listed by UNESCO since 1982. Ruins of the ancient royal city are well preserved and can be visited in an afternoon, usually by bike.

Practical information to visit the ancient royal city of Polonnaruwa

The park entrance for tourists is quite expensive, as elsewhere in Sri Lanka: $ 25 per person (Rs 2,875). You can buy it at the Archaeological Museum, 15 minutes by bike from the entrance to the site, so do not forget to buy it before you get there! Allow at least 3 hours for the visit, which is usually done by bike. You can rent one at your guesthouse but also at the park entrance or in restaurants (300 Rs, do not hesitate to negotiate). Be vigileant about the condition of the bike because it may happen that you rent a bike in poor condition (this happened to us, the bike wheel has deflated after 5 minutes and we had to rent another one).

Polonnaruwa is much more compact and therefore you can visit it much faster than Anuradhapura. It is also better preserved. You can admire numerous ruins in good condition, grouped into two parts : the Quadrangle and the Royal Palace.

  • There is not much left from the Royal Palace, which at the time was a huge 7-storey structure. But the Audience Hall is very well preserved and is known for its frieze of elephants (note they are all different) and lions at the top of the stairs. This part of Polonnaruwa also includes a swimming pool with two crocodiles mouths.
  • Even more remarkable, the Quadrangle is dominated by Vatadage, a circular building very well preserved and beautifully carved. Attention, you must remove shoes to enter. The Vatadage is surrounded by many other sacred monuments. Note the Gal Pota, a book of stone measuring 9 meters, and Satmahal Prasada, which looks like a pyramid of 6 storey staircase.

Where to go after Polonnaruwa?

Complete the Cultural Triangle with a visit of Sigiriya. Take the bus, 1h drive for Rs 88. You first need to take a tuk-tuk from the old town of Polonnaruwa to the bus station which is located at 4 km (Rs 450).  We arrived at Polonnaruwa at noon, from Anuradhapura, and have left Polonnaruwa to Sigirya in the evening. This is possible to do this on the same day because Polonnaruwa can be visited in 3h.

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