Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka

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Tourist information about Polonnaruwa

Полоннарува, Шри-Ланка Quadrangle in 3D
View photos in 3D

Polonnaruwa (Polonnaruwa, Polonnaruwa Polonnaruva) is a city in the North Central province of Sri Lanka and 212 km from Colombo (see Polonnaruwa map of Sri Lanka). He is best known as the second capital and the ancient city and ruins in the archaeological Park of Polonnaruwa is one of the most popular attractions of Sri Lanka, listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO since 1982, the Park is part of the Cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, and if you arrived in the country, to get acquainted with its history and culture, not just lying on the beaches, Polonnaruwa is a must to visit.

The first capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom was Anuradhapura, which is also a very popular tour destination in Sri Lanka. But after the 9th century the ancient city was severely damaged by the invaders, the capital was moved to Polonnaruwa. The capital city did not stay long, only until the 13th century, after the capital fell under the onslaught of invaders from South India and was transferred to the city of Dambadeniya. However, despite the short period, there was created a unique temples, palaces, statues.

Just to see the ancient ruins, these tend to get a lot of tourists interested in the history of the island, both independently and in tour groups. It's safe to say that Polonnaruwa does not yield much more famous and popular Sigiriya and Anuradhapura. And, in a sense, it is even more interesting to them. So, the local archaeological Park is far superior to Sigiriya scale. If on inspection of Sigiriya you will spend a few hours to see everything here, need a few days. As for the comparison with Anuradhapura, our opinion is that Polonnaruwa is much more diverse. In Anuradhapura is almost certainly after a few hours of exploring the monotonous pagodas (the Dagoba) you all get tired, and here you climb further and further into the archaeological Park to see the ruins of temples, palaces, pools, and of course pagodas.

Polonnaruwa is large by local standards the city. Here there is all necessary but minimal tourist infrastructure, and it focuses within the new town (New Town). Hotels abound here, where to eat hopes. And that's all, no entertainment here. Even the travel Agency to find easy. Therefore, usually tourists stop in the city for no more than 2 days, we advise you the same.

And, perhaps, not to mention the local attractions in addition to the archaeological Park – wildlife. Near the town are several picturesque places where organized eco-tours. You can buy them in hotels or travel agencies on the street.

How to get to Polonnaruwa

You can get there by bus or train from Colombo, either by hired transport or taxi.

How does a transfer bookingDetails >
Поиск трансфераFind the right route
Бронирование онлайнBooking a transfer online
Встреча водителемThe driver meets you at the airport or at the station


This is an inexpensive and comfortable way to get to the city. In Polonnaruwa is only two trains daily, both from Colombo.

This is a daily train departing from Colombo at 06:50 (arrive at 12:08) and a night train departing at 19:15 (arriving at 01:34). Back trains depart at 22:28 (arrival at 04:49) 09:25 (arrival at 15:25). The price from 185 to 620 rupees depending on the class of ticket.

Railway station in Polonnaruwa is quite far from the city centre and will have to get there by tuk-tuk.


A bus service connects the city with almost all the major towns and resorts of Sri Lanka. As in most other cases, when travelling by bus in Sri Lanka for long distances it is best to start the route in the first half of the day because you may not get there in time before dark. Tickets not purchased in advance, bought at the station before departure.

From Colombo, buses leave from the intercity bus station in Pettah area (see how to get to Colombo). The cost of 160 rupees, of over 6 hours. From Kandy bus stand from 80 rupees 4 hours. From Anuradapura three hours, from 60 rupees.

And here is the schedule of trains and other vehicles in Polonnaruwa, available for online booking:

Sightseeing of Polonnaruwa, tips on inspection

Полоннарува, Шри-Ланка Quadrangle in 3D
View photos in 3D

Polonnaruwa was the second capital of the state from the XI to the XIII centuries the Main monuments that you can see here, was built in the heyday of the state of the XII century during the reign of king Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 gg.).

This is a must visit place in Sri Lanka. It is more diverse than Anuradhapura, and preserved monuments in a better condition than Mikindani. Ancient buildings are more majestic and beautiful.

The ancient city or the Archaeological Park covers a large area, and some ruins are located outside its territory (Museum, Royal complex of king Nissankamalla, Potgul Vihara, Parakrama Samudra, Naipena Vihara), because around is best by car, motorbike or Bicycle. By the way, the bike rentals can be rented in hotel/Guesthouse and at the entrance to the Archaeological Park, and if you want here is to agree to use the services of guides.

The entrance to the Archeological Park fee: 25$ (3900 rupees), children (6-12 liters) of 12.5$ (1,900 RS). Moreover, tickets are sold only in the Museum, so you should buy them and then go to the entrance of the Archaeological Park. The entrance ticket includes a visit to a Museum, Archaeological Park and temple of Gal Vihara (located inside the archaeological Park), and consists of three vouchers coupons. Tickets are checked at the main entrance to the Park, and it assumes a single entry for one day. But if you are tired and want to leave the Park for lunch, you can be in control and they will put a mark on the ticket, so you can go back, but only in the same day. Control of tickets and hard tickets are checked even when you exit.

The Park is large and all surrounded by a barbed wire fence, but for those who really want to save, it is possible to get over the barbed wire and free. There are quite a few places through which you can get over the fence on foot, even by car or motorbike. These gaps know the locals, and, oddly enough, they are usually happy to help tourists who are looking for a way to get inside. Inside the tickets no one checks, however, the output control will not let you, so go also have in a roundabout way.

In addition to the paid archaeological Park there are several groups of ruins and temples that are worth visiting. They are marked us on the map, as marked by the Museum and the entrance to the archaeological Park. Inside the archaeological Park is easy to navigate and follow the signs without a map.

The Museum is recommended in the first place, it is clearly possible to see and learn interesting and important information about a particular monument of Polonnaruwa and to not lose sight of the important details. In addition, only in the Museum sold admission tickets to the archaeological Park. The Museum is small, consists of several small rooms, connected by corridors, pass on it easily, literally in a straight line. The exit is on the reverse side of the entrance. The exposition of the Museum dedicated to archaeological finds collected from the Archaeological area of the ancient city. It contains a lot of photos from excavations, stone statues and other items. Informational signs are presented in English. Photographing in the Museum is prohibited.

To examine in the archaeological Park briefly all possible for half a day, but on other monuments outside it will need the same amount of time. Cards don't give, so don't forget to print and bring a map, and you our map of Polonnaruwa. Next to the Museum building there is an information Board, and every significant object has signs with information about him in English.

We list places that are worth visiting, by location from North to South (keep in mind that if you get to the Park officially through the main entrance, to see everything will be just the opposite from South to North):

Полоннарува, Шри-Ланка Thivanka Image House
  • Thivanka Image House – a beautiful carved temple with an 8-foot statue of Buddha inside and the remains of frescoes on the walls
  • Lotus Pond – a pond reminiscent of the structure of the Lotus flower
  • Demala Maha Seya – the big overgrown hill on which the stupa is unfinished and a little loose. The hill has a fairly steep dirt path on which you can climb, relying only over the branches and roots of trees
  • Gal Vihara or rock temple 4 statues of Buddha, carved in a solid piece of granite rocks, is a model of Sinhala thread
  • the rich monastic complex, Alahana Pirivena built by king Parakramabahu I, with lots of buildings (houses, baths, kitchens, pools, parks), and includes the main monastic building Baddhasima Prasada, Lankatilaka Vihara – high brick building with amazing carvings and a 12-meter statue of Buddha inside, next to the white stupa - or Rupavathi Kiri Vehera Stupa is the second largest in Polonnaruwa, preserved almost intact, to the North and East of it there are two smaller stupas (it is believed that they were the funeral of king Parakramabahu I and his wife)
  • the monastery complex with a stupa Rankoth (Rankot) Vehera – the biggest stupa in Polonnaruwa and the 4th largest in the country. From her North on the left side are drawn the ruins of the ancient monastic hospital, a Monastic Hospital and the ridge of the rock cave Gopala Pabbata – right
  • Manik Vihara (Menik Vihara) stupa on a high pedestal, the oldest located in Polonnaruwa
  • two temples next to each other, Shiva Devala No. 3 and Vishnu Devala No. 2
  • Hindu temple of Shiva Devala No. 2, better preserved than the first Shiva Devalaya No. 1
  • unusual shape Pabalu Vehera stupa with the remains of the ruins around
  • sacred square (Sacred Quadrangle) or the Dalada Maluva, including the unusual structure of the Nissanka Lata Mandapaya; the stupa-house Thuparamaya; temples, where a sacred relic – a Tooth of Buddha, built by different rulers: Atadage - korlem Vijayabahu I (Vijayabahu I, St. 1070-1110 years), Vatadage – king Parakramabahu, the Royal capital (Parakramabahu I 1153-1186 St. gg.), Hatadage – king Nissankamalla (Nissankamalla, St. 1187-1196 years); Satmahal Prasada – a rare type of stupa; the Gal-Potha (Stone Book) or Stone book – plate inscribed with the king Nissankamalla (Nissankamalla)
  • Hindu temple of Shiva Devalaya No. 1
  • the Royal complex of king Parakramabahu, the Royal capital I (The Palace Complex of King Parakramabahu I), consisting of the Royal Palace (Royal Palace), Royal court (Royal Court), the Kumara Pokuna pond, etc.
  • Outside the main Archaeological Park are:

    Полоннарува, Шри-Ланка Ruins of Hindu temple
  • Naipena Vihara, the Hindu complex
  • Museum Of Polonnaruwa (Polonnaruva Museum)
  • located to the North of the Museum of the Royal complex of king Nissankamalla (Royal Palace of Nissankamalla)
  • 2.5 km South of the southern boundary of the main Archaeological area is yet another interesting monastery ruins of the library of the Potgul Vihara, near the statue of king Parakramabahu, the Royal capital I
  • on the contrary Potgul Vihara raskinulos Parakrama (Parakrama Samudra) – a large lake built by king Parakramabahu, the Royal capital I

As is customary everywhere in Sri Lanka, all visited ruins are religious objects, and therefore here must meet specific requirements for appearance (not allowed bare shoulders and knees), you need to remove your shoes before the Shrine. At the same time, also do not forget about protection from the sun, and also socks, because walking on hot stones is not very nice.

🕐 Working time: archaeological Park and Museum are open from 9:00 to 18:00

💵 Entrance fee / ticket price: 25$ (3250 rupees, see exchange rate), children (6-12 liters) of 12.5$ (1625 crore).

Hotels of Polonnaruwa, where to stay

Hotels in Polonnaruwa enough, however, to find them is not easy. There is no clear area of concentration of hotels, and to find something, you have to walk or ride. At least some concentration of hotels and guesthouses located in the heart of the old town (see map), and if you have not previously booked a hotel, you should look here. True, not the fact that you will easily be able to find accommodation on the spot: usually all occupied. In any case, it is best to choose accommodation closer to the centre of the old town and the entrance to the archaeological Park. New town (New Town), no tourist is of no interest, it is better not to settle.

A good option to have the helped of the number of tuk-tuk drivers. For a small fee they will take you through multiple hotels or guesthouses, where, however, you will be called inflated prices with the Commission pomogalov. Sometimes it is the only option here is to find accommodation if you not booked via the Internet.

As for prices, they are here, as usually in Sri Lanka, unreasonably high by Asian standards. For more or less a clean room with air conditioning will have to pay $ 30, and then only when booking in advance.

Find and book a hotel in Polonnaruwa for the best search engine for hotels in Asia Agoda.com can through the search form. All sites have Russian interface and Russian-speaking customer support, numerous real guests reviews. And in Agoda and Booking are bonus system:

Find and book accommodation in Polonnaruwa can on these sites or via the search form. All sites have Russian interface and Russian-speaking customer support, numerous real guests reviews. And in Agoda and Booking are bonus system:

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Photo Of Polonnaruwa

Comments / recent posts on the topic on the forum
admin 30 November, 2017
The site presents guides to Central cities and sites of Sri Lanka:
The cultural triangle
Adam's Peak
Forest Sinharaja
Nuwara Eliya
The guides will be supplemented.
In this topic you can ask questions and discuss travelling to these places. Changes to the guides are appreciated :SUPER ...
Competent 5 January, 2018
Correct though Pinnawella at Pinnawala. In English, too. ...
admin 5 January, 2018

Thanks for noticing. As it turns out, the first time for you to remember and pronounce then. It was also with Polonnaruwa-Polonnaruwa for a long time myself retrained. ...
AMN Oct 10, 2018
Assalamu Alaikum.
I would like to ask. can I find in Sri Lanka Halal food
thank you.
and sorry for the mistakes ...
admin October, 10, 2018

Hello! Yes, I can, but this kitchen is not very widespread. Looking for Muslim hotels, if they operate such restaurants. ...
Павел112244466 11 November, 2018
Here you write "you can still get from Matara to Bandarawela" what kind of bus? What's the number? As he goes ?? If you write a guide, write all the information or just certain. ...
helka November 19, 2018
Good day, tell me whether in Polonnaruwa storage or where to leave bags if you arrive there in the morning, walk around the Ancient city, and then go by bus to Kandy. ...
admin 19 November, 2018

Not sure what injury is there. Rather rather sure that they are not, because there is the entrance and ticket control on-street storage no. Maybe there is something in the office selling tickets, but it is unlikely that the Sri Lankans before this would have thought of. If you really look for a place where to leave things, it is best to railway station so should be storage, as on all other stations. Well, in case you can try to negotiate for a nominal amount of staff offices for the sale of tickets or to go into the first hotel and the clerk to negotiate. The last version working and tested 100%.
And generally I on your place would think if you can master this route without lodging. I can understand if it's a tour or car with driver. But to come in a new strange city, to find a place where to leave your Luggage, find the cashier, to get to the entrance, navigate through the vast territory... besides, you need something to get around distances. Will have to find a tuk-tuk for the whole day. IMHO, knowing how difficult travel in hot countries, I would come in the evening, slept, and bright and early the next day I began to explore the Park. ...
helka December 2, 2018
Thank you very much for the reply. The fact that we were coming and so in the morning, so will spend the night in Dambulla, and was planning to rent a tuk tuk for the whole day.
About things have already booked a cheap guest house, where they leave it at that. )) And I hope the night will be in Kandy, because if you come to Polonnaruwa in 10 hours then to 16 hours the time I think that would be enough to see the most important thing, especially on a tuk tuk. ...
admin December 2, 2018

Well, in principle Yes, 6 hours on a tuk-tuk. Determine for yourself the most important thing to look at. I hope our guide to Polonnaruwa read. ...