Once the site of Sri Lanka’s second medieval capital; Polonnaruwa enthrals its visitors with a timeless reflection of the country’s glorious history.

The quaint landscapes studded with sites of archaeological importance are all well-preserved and lie on the east shore of the ancient man-made lake, the Parakrama Samudraya (literal translation – sea of Parakrama). Peddling one’s way around the sites is the best way to observe and appreciate their antiquated glory as the sites are a little too overwhelming to explore just by foot.

Polonnaruwa, built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, is an UNESCO world heritage site. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya with four splendid statues of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath and king Parakramabahu’s statue. There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic.

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