The second ancient kingdom of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I. Located in the North Central Province, 227 Km from Colombo (3.5 hours drive), was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.
Although it was declared the capital before, the time of King Parakramabahu I is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa. During his period the trade and agriculture flourished. Irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhpura age were constructed during Parakramabahu reign.
Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best palnned archeological relic sites in the country. It is one of the cleanest and beautiful cities in the country.
Polonnaruwa Museum -
The ruins of Polonnaruwa are protected within an archeological site north of the modern town. The museum displays many recovered masterpieces of the ancient capital.
The Quadrangle -
Terrace of the Tooth Relic is known as the Quadrangle. It was the centrepiece and sacred precinct of ancient Polonnaruwa.
Lankathilaka is an image house soar to a height of 16 metres (55ft) enclosing a large statue of Lord Buddha.
Gal Vihara -
The most amazing rock-carved art in ancient Sri Lanka, the Gal Vihara is home to four magnificient Buddha stutues carved out of a granite cliff-face.
Parakrama Samudraya -
Meaning sea of King Parakrama, is a massive reserervoir that extents to over 22 square kilometres. It consists of three separate reservoirs connected by narrow channels. The northernmost reservoir is the oldest and referred to as Topa wewa, built around 386. The middle section Eramudu wewa and the southernmost portion, at the highest elevation, is Dumbutula wewa, both sections were added and the reservoir expanded during the reign of King Parâkramabâhu I.
Minneriya National Park -
Minneriya National Park is one of the best places to spot Sri Lankan elephants. Particularly its famous for "Elephant Gathering" - a gathering of a large number of elephants towards the end of the dry season.
Kaudulla National Park -
Linked to Minneriya National Park it's also a famous place to watch wild elephants.