Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia
Do you consider yourself a true explorer? Or, does the idea of turning into a storyteller post an experiential tour excite you? So, just take a break from the mundane tasks of your daily life, and plan a trip to Polonnaruwa only to be left spellbound later!
Replete with some exquisite archaeological treasures and delightful activities, there is so much to savor yet it may leave the wanderer in you craving even more. If you are a history enthusiast, or someone who loves to delve into the history of ancient remnants and take delight in small things, then read through this comprehensive guide- a detailed plan about an excursion to Polonnaruwa. And, pack your bags to navigate your way through the mystical landscapes of this ancient destination in Sri Lanka.
Best Time To Visit Polonnaruwa
The best time to take a trip to Polonnaruwa is from November to March. For, with the onset of winter season, there are fewer chances of downpours; and the region experiences a favorable climate for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Moreover, post precipitation, it is decked with the captivating lush green environs, making the tour in Polonnaruwa even more exciting.
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3 Places To Visit On Trip To Polonnaruwa
Here is a list of some of the best places to visit on your trip to Polonnaruwa. Let’s get on an expedition to this ancient city in Sri Lanka, and take a virtual tour of these archaeological treasures, which you cannot afford to miss out on:
1. King Parakramabahu Palace
Constructed in the 10th century, the splendid royal palace of King Parakramabahu stands as the emblem of splendour in the mystical city of Polonnaruwa. Believed to have around 1000 chambers and seven stories, now the remnants of this historical attraction comprise only 55 halls and three floors. If you are the one who appreciates the ancient marvels, then exploring the royal premises of the King Parakramabahu Palace may leave you with an amazing experience. Designated as a UNESCO Heritage site, the highlights of this palace are the Council Chamber of King Parakramabahu, and the Royal Bath or Kumara Pukona.
Timings: 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Entry Fee: Free entry for Indians and locals
2. Archaeological Museum
With a visit to another UNESCO World Heritage site, here is the best Polonnaruwa tour awaiting you! Encompassing rooms replete with excavated artifacts, the archaeological museum takes you back to the 11th century. Constructed under the reign of King Parakramabahu I, this museum might look like a small hut from outside, but it comprises a host of artefacts and informative visuals, offering you a chance to dig deeper into the history of the city.
Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM, (closed on full moon day)
Entry Fee: 3000 LKR
3. Dalada Maluwa
Also referred to as Terrace of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, the significant attraction of Dalada Maluwa dates back to the 12th century. An exemplary work of art and architecture, Dalada Maluwa was constructed by King Parakramabahu the great and later renovated by King Nissankamalla. Nestled at the heart of Polonnaruwa, this attraction is home to prominent religious shrines. Head to this attraction, and get a chance to marvel at its astounding architecture. Carved with lotuses, dwarfs, friezes of lions, king cobra, and more, its existing rock art is a pure delight.
Timings: 8 AM to 6:30 PM
3 Things To Do On Trip To Polonnaruwa
In addition to the sightseeing of its historical attractions, a guided trip to Polonnaruwa also lets you indulge in some soulful experiences that you might be craving post the exploration of its tourist hotspots:
1. Expedition To Monkey Kingdom
If you believe that the lost city of Polonnaruwa is all about the ruins of ancient architecture, then let us tell you that it is also an abode of a vast monkey population who were also featured in an engaging documentary film of Disney, called ‘Monkey Kingdom’. With a striking backdrop, the archaeological site allows you to take delight in a rendezvous with the three diurnal primates of Sri Lanka: toque macaque, grey langur, and purple-faced leaf monkeys. Inhabited in the heart of Sri Lanka’s dry zone, these primates have flourished under the protection of the Smithsonian Primate Research Center. If you are fond of wildlife, get up close with these monkey species, and grab a chance to learn about the need of protection of these fascinating creatures.
Timings: 6:30 AM to 9 AM
Tip: Do carry your passport or copy of your passport at the site
There is no better way to experience the medieval city of Polonnaruwa other than paddling a cycle from north to south. Hire a bicycle from city stalls, and get ready to explore the quaint town on a full-day excursion. With every significant location signposted in English, there is no chance you lose your way. So, ride through every marvelous scene on a road trip of Polonnaruwa.
Suggested Read: Dig Into 10 Sri Lankan Street Food Items That Are Pure Delight!
3. Savor Local Cuisines
The best way to dig into the culture of any new destination is by treating your taste buds to local cuisines. Crammed with a bevy of restaurants, the ancient town is meant to pamper your food-loving soul with some really scrumptious authentic Sri Lankan cuisines. To start with head to one of the most popular eateries- Jaga Food, and gorge on lip-smacking traditional curries served by them. Or, stop by Sudu Araliya Restaurant or Lake Restaurant for an elite-style dining experience. While, Gami Gedara, Thidas Arana Restaurant, and Wishma are perfect options if you are seeking a cultural tour to Polonnaruwa.
How To Reach Polonnaruwa
Thanks to the documentary film by Disney, called the Monkey Kingdom, a trip to Polonnaruwa is now often frequented by a huge flock of visitors. And, if digging into the ruins of this medieval city is on your travel bucket list, then take a look at the below information to find how to reach this town easily.
If you are traveling from India, the best and the only way to reach there is via airways. As Polonnaruwa does not have an airport of its own, you can take a flight to Colombo from Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. The nearest airport to Polonnaruwa is the Hingurakgoda Airport and one located in Sigiriya, which is about 56 km away from there. Once you reach Sigiriya, you can rent a car or hire a cab to reach Polonnaruwa in about an hour. You can also choose to board a train from Colombo Fort Station to Habarana, which is a journey of about 2 hours, and then travel to Polonnaruwa by taxi for about 45 minutes.
Decked with a plethora of ancient structures, including stupas, statues, temples, and tombs along with wildlife national parks, a trip to Polonnaruwa is a complete delight. So, if you are someone who loves to explore the archaeological treasures, then pack your bags, and get ready for an exhilarating experience. Just take this comprehensive guide along, and voila! Your plan for a perfect Polonnaruwa vacay is sorted.
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