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Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour Excursion, Sri Lanka

Region: ancient-cities | Location: Polonnaruwa
Sri Lanka Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour
 Other regions: capital-colombo | east-coast | hill-country | south-coast | west-coast
In the 12th century AD, the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa was one of the great urban centres in South Asia. Today, the well preserved ruins give you the chance to experience the grandeur of this period and marvel at the artistry of the island’s early craftsmen. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982.

Polonnaruwa was Sri Lanka’s second ancient capital. Many of the existing ruins owe their construction to Parakrama Bahu the Great, the last in sequence of warrior-kings, who developed the city on a lavish scale. The city in its day was fortified with three concentric walls, beautified with parks and gardens and sanctified by many a shrine and sacred place leaving us today with really memorable sights. The majestic King's Council chamber, the rock cut Lotus Bath, the statue of Parakrama Bahu (one of the great kings of Sri Lanka), the rock-cut sculptures of Gal Vihare (Temple) and the Sea of Parakrama (a vast man-made reservoir) are some of the memorable sights to be seen.

History

The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders (southern India invaders) in 1070 CE to reunite the country once more under a local leader.

The real Polonnaruwa Hero of the history books is actually Vijayabahu I’s grandson, Parakramabahu I. It was his reign that is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa, when trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the King. He was adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted, and each be used toward the development of the land; hence, irrigation systems far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during Parakramabahu's reign, systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. The greatest of these systems, of course is the Parakrama Samudraya or the Sea of Parakrama, a tank so vast that it is often mistaken for the ocean.

Gal Vihara

This consists of four separate images of Buddha carved in stone. The standing Budda is 7m tall and is said to be one of the finest although to many the great reclining image of Budda some 14m long is the most impressive.
  More on the Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour of Sri Lanka ☟

Quadrangle

A compact group of fascinating ruins in a raised-up area compounded by a wall comprising of Vatadage, Thuparama and Hatadage. Vatadage (a circular relic house flanked by Budda images and encircled by columns) which has a moonstone reckoned to be the finest in Polonnaruwa. The Thuparama is a gedige (ancient Sinhalese architectural style, hollow temple with extremely thick walls and a corbelled roof). This is the smallest gedige in Polonnaruwa but also one of the best and the only one with its roof intact. The Hatadage is a tooth chamber said to have been built in 60 days.

Royal Palace Grouping

This is comprised of three main ruins: Royal Palace, Audience Hall and Bathing Pool. The Royal Palace was a magnificent structure measuring 31m by 13m and is said to have had seven storeys. The Audience Hall is notable for the frieze of elephants around its base, each elephant in a different position. The Bathing Pool still has one of its crocodile-month spouts remaining.

Many more . .

Polonnaruwa contains many sites of ruins, far too to mention here. We will take you to most of the sites. If there are any in particular you wish to visit please be sure to inform us during the tour.

Tours to the Polonnaruwa Region, Sri Lanka

 
Sri Lanka Mini Cultural Heritage Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Mini Cultural Heritage Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1099 
Discover the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka inclding Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Tour, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage with time on the beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Mini Cultural Triangle and Wildlife Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Mini Cultural Triangle and Wildlife Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1069 
Discover the world renowned Cultural Triangle and the wild life of Sri Lanka in this tour while staying at some of the finest hotels. Tour includes Anuradhapura Ancient City Tour, Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Caves, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Peradeniya Botantical Gardens, Minneriya National Park, Negombo Village Tour, and Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage plus time on the beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Luxury Heritage Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Luxury Heritage Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £2709 
Discover the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka with luxury inclding Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Tour, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage with time on a luxurous beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Royal Kingdom Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Royal Kingdom Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1199 
Discover the cultural past that dates back to the 5th century BC and the proud history of Sri Lanka. This unique holiday will take you to the most prominent historical ancient royal kingdoms in Sri Lanka give time to experience Sri Lanka's charming people, culture and diverse landscape. You will be staying at some of the finest hotels that give the sprit of this holiday but still retaining the modern comforts.

Sri Lanka Heritage Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Heritage Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1089 
Discover the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka inclding Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Tour, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage with time on the beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Elephant Insight Mini Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Elephant Insight Mini Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1089 
Giving you a detailed insight into the lives of Sri Lanka’s pachyderm population and swinging by some of the best stretches of coast Sri Lanka has to offer, the Elephant Insight Mini Tour and Beach package is designed with the best locations for a good viewing and interaction with elephants and a serene stay along the sunny golden sands of Sri Lanka’s tropical shores.

Sri Lanka Elephant Insight Mega Tour HolidaySri Lanka Elephant Insight Mega Tour Holidayfrom £1169 
Elephant Insight Mega Tour


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Excursions of the ancient-cities Region, Sri Lanka

 
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura Ancient City TourAnuradhapura Ancient City TourAnuradhapuraancient cities
 Anuradhapura ancient city in Sri Lanka is a magical place. Anuradhapura features some of the most ancient archaeological treasures in Sri Lanka dating back to the 4th century BC. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites that must be missed.
 

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 Polonnaruwa ancient city remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
 

Sri Lanka Sigiriya Rock FortressSigiriya Rock FortressSigiriyaancient cities
 Sigiriya Rock Fortress is another fascinating World Heritage site dating back to the 5th century which was once a stronghold for a king who sought refuge. It remains on a 200 meter high rock with magnificent views of the surrounding jungle.
 

Sri Lanka Jungle TrekkingJungle Trekking ancient cities
  
 

Sri Lanka Hot Air Ballooning Sri LankaHot Air Ballooning Sri LankaDambullaancient cities
 Discover the ancient kingdoms and national parks in style. Hot air ballooning is now available in Sri Lanka.
 

Sri Lanka Dambulla Cave TourDambulla Cave TourDambullaancient cities
 Dambulla Cave Temple is the best preserved cave temple complex in the country with beautiful statues and paintings.
 

Sri Lanka Mihintale TourMihintale TourMihintaleancient cities
 Mihintale is a sacred mountain peak considered to be the location where Buddhism was first introduced to the island of Sri Lanka. The mountain peak is approached by a grand stairway of 1840 granite steps.
 

Sri Lanka Avukana Buddha statueAvukana Buddha statueKala Wewaancient cities
 The magnificent free-standing Avukana Buddha statue carved out of a single granite rock face during the 5th century is the tallest Buddha statue in existence today.
 

Sri Lanka Minneriya National Park SafariMinneriya National Park SafariPolonnaruwaancient cities
 Dominated by the ancient Minneriya Tank, Minneriya National Park has plenty of scrub and light forest in its 8890 hectares to provide shelter for its toque macaques, sambar deer, leopards and elephants – to name a few.
 

Sri Lanka Elephant Back SafariElephant Back SafariSigiriyaancient cities
 In the afternoon take an optional Elephant Back Safari through the forests and villages of Habarana/Sigiriya.
 

Sri Lanka Rathnapura Gem miningRathnapura Gem miningRatnapuraancient cities
 Sri Lanka is one of the top five gem-bearing nations in the world. The long-established gem mining area in Sri Lanka is Rathnapura, also known as the City of Gems. In between rich greenery and paddy fields, you will see locals gem mining.