Archaeological Museum


This excellent museum has rooms dedicated to the citadel, the outer city, the monastery area (check out the model of the monks' hospital and medical instruments) and Hindu monuments. The latter room contains a wonderful selection of bronzes, including some outstanding Shiva statues. One depicts Shiva, ringed by an aureole (celestial arch), performing a cosmic dance while trampling on a dwarf.

Photos are not allowed.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Polonnaruwa attractions

1. Royal Baths


This water tank next to the EKHO Lake House has a stepped entrance and is fed from the nearby Topa Wewa.

2. Royal Palace

0.13 MILES

The Royal Palace constructed by Parakramabahu I was a magnificent structure measuring 31m by 13m, and is said to have had seven storeys. Today its…

4. King’s Council Chamber

0.17 MILES

This pillared hall is where the King Nissanka Malla’s council would have met. Inscribed into each of the 48 columns in the chamber is the name of the…

5. Audience Hall


Parakramabahu I’s Audience Hall is notable for the frieze of elephants, each of which is in a different pose. There are fine lions at the top of the steps.

6. Bathing Pool


Just outside the southeast corner of the palace grounds, the Bathing Pool (Kumara Pokuna) has a central lotus island and two of its crocodile-mouth spouts…

7. Entrance to Ruins


This is where you will have your Polonnaruwa ticket checked, before entering the main site.

8. Polonnaruwa Ruins

0.32 MILES

For three centuries Polonnaruwa was a royal capital of both the Chola and Sinhalese kingdoms. Today's archaeological park is a delight to explore, with…