Samadhi Buddha statue - carved in Granite, Polonnaruwa by Hafiz Issadeen

Polonnaruwa

Kings ruled the central plains of Sri Lanka from Polonnaruwa 800 years ago, when it was a thriving commercial and religious center. The glories of that age can be found in the archaeological treasures that still give a pretty good idea of how the city looked in its heyday. You'll find the archaeological park a delight to explore, with hundreds of ancient structures – tombs and temples, statues and stupas – in a compact core. The Quadrangle alone is worth the trip.

That Polonnaruwa is close to elephant-packed national parks only adds to its popularity. And with good accommodation and plenty of bikes for hire, the town itself makes a pleasant base for a day or two.

Nearby Kaduruwela, 4km east of Polonnaruwa, has the lion's share of banks, shops and other facilities.

Explore Polonnaruwa

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Polonnaruwa.

Top experiences

Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Polonnaruwa.