Explore Polonnaruwa's Rich Heritage
Duration from Hotel : ~33 min
Distance from Hotel : 0.5 mile
Difficulty Level : 5
As one of Sri Lanka’s most significant ancient cities, Polonnaruwa offers visitors a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the country. Located just an hour’s drive from Elephas Resort, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit for anyone interested in Sri Lankan history.
Founded in the 11th century as the capital of the Chola dynasty, Polonnaruwa later became the capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom. The city is known for its impressive ancient ruins, including the Royal Palace, the Quadrangle, and the Gal Vihara temple complex. The city’s archaeological park is home to a wealth of ancient buildings, shrines, and sculptures, all of which offer a unique insight into the country’s past.
One of the highlights of any visit to Polonnaruwa is the Gal Vihara temple complex, which is home to four magnificent statues of Buddha. The largest of these statues, a 14-meter-long reclining Buddha, is one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia. The other three statues, standing, seated, and another reclining, are equally impressive and offer a fascinating insight into the religious practices of the ancient Sri Lankan people.
Another must-visit site in Polonnaruwa is the ancient Royal Palace complex. This impressive building, constructed in the 12th century, was once the residence of the ruling king and his court. Visitors can explore the remains of the palace, which include several large buildings, a large audience hall, and a beautiful bathing pool.
The Quadrangle is another significant site within Polonnaruwa’s archaeological park. This complex of buildings includes several impressive structures, including the Vatadage, a circular shrine that once housed a sacred relic, and the Thuparama, a well-preserved dagoba that dates back to the 12th century.
In addition to these ancient sites, Polonnaruwa is also home to several picturesque lakes and other natural attractions. Visitors can take a leisurely boat ride along the Parakrama Samudra, one of the largest man-made lakes in the country, or explore the beautiful forests and wetlands that surround the city.
Whether you’re a history buff, an avid photographer, or simply someone looking for a unique and unforgettable travel experience, Polonnaruwa is a destination not to be missed. With its rich heritage, stunning architecture, and beautiful natural surroundings, it offers something for everyone. So why not add it to your list of must-visit destinations and experience the magic of Sri Lanka’s ancient past for yourself?