The Quadrangle

Polonnaruwa Day Tour

Explore Sri Lankan history from centuries ago with a Polonnaruwa Day Tour…

Being the second-largest kingdom in Sri Lanka, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa has much in store for archaeologists, history lovers, and those who simply want to learn more about Sri Lanka. Today, the city is one of the best planned archaeological relic sites across the country, standing as evidence of the greatness and discipline of the first rulers of Polonnaruwa. UNESCO declared Polonnaruwa as a World Heritage site, thereby making it a popular tourist attraction in Sri Lanka.

When you visit Polonnaruwa, you will see why it is one of the most beautiful and green cities in the country. It is home to stunning ancient constructions hospitable people, the huge man-made lake from 1200 A.C. (Parakrama Samudraya), the stone colossal statue of Buddha and the Lankathilaka Temple.

History of Polonnaruwa

When the armies of the Tamil Cholas invaded and looted Anuradhapura in AD 993, Polonnaruwa became the country’s capital and remained so for 77 years. From its outlook, Polonnaruwa has a cosmopolitan mix of cultures – Indian Hindu and Sinhalese Buddhist.

In 1073, King Vijayabahu drove the Cholas away but kept Polonnaruwa as his capital city. For the next forty years, bloody civil war continued and King Vijayabahou dies in 1161. King Parakramabahu then captured Polonnaruwa, assuming he uithen controlled the entire island nation. He was known as the last great king of Sri Lanka as a result of the series of building works and expansion in Polonnaruwa. In 1293, Sri Lanka was taken over by the armed forces of South India, abandoning Polonnaruwa to the jungle.

Strategic importance

Known as a camp city, Polonaruwa was a safe hideout for armies, thereby giving it the name ‘Kandavuru Nuvara’. The city stretched for several kilometers along the east of the majestic reservoir – Parakrama Samudra, and was protected by 6kms of durable encircling walls.

Religious Significance of Polonnaruwa

  • Groups of Buddhist pilgrims visit Polonnaruwa for its ruins, temples, stupas and Hindu Kovils.
  • Rankot Vihara – largest stupa in the city at 180 ft high.
  • Lankathilaka Gedige – built during Parakramabahu’s reign.
  • Kiri Vihara – was surrounded by forests; rediscovered in the 19th century.
  • Shiva Devale – Hindu Temple built in the 13th century.

Places you will visit

Polonnaruwa Museum

Polonnaruwa Museum

Sri Lanka is known for its massive and astounding tea plantations where tea is grown, plucked, and manufactured into different flavours of tea powder. You get the unique opportunity to visit one of the tea factories where you will learn about and be a part of the plucking and manufacturing process.


The Quadrangle

One of the highest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, 11 in number to be exact, this beautiful piece of nature has been running for the past couple of years and has been able to dazzle and amaze almost all its visitors by the unique flow of nature running through its system. Ramboda Waterfalls is indeed one of the most ideal locations to be, and relaxation and bamboozlement is guaranteed.

Lankathilaka Polonnaruwa

The Lankathilaka

An image house with impressive walls soaring to a height of 55 ft, enclosing a large, headless Buddha statue that is squashed inside the high, narrow space.

Gal Vihara

Gal Vihara

Four Buddha statues are located here, chopped out of granite cliff face. Gal Vihara is the peak of ancient Sri Lanka’s rock-carved art. A majestic 46 ft reclining Buddha is the highlight here: a figure so beautiful that it inspired centuries of Sinhalese art.

Not to miss in this tour

  • Carved walls of the Quadrangle
  • Recovered Chola bronzes at the Polonnaruwa museum

Things you will do

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa (by foot or bicycle)
  • Undertake religious blessings at the Ancient Gal Viharaya
  • Enjoy an authentic Sri Lankan rice and curry meal at the famous Piyumali House
  • Catamaran ride in Parakrama Samudra


Q. Is this day tour for me?

Polonnaruwa is a mandatory destination for anyone who is interested in Sri Lanka tourism, particularly for those in the field of history and archeology. It is one of the cities in the cultural triangle and can be explored by bicycle to make it more fun!

Q. Can it be tailor-made?

Yes, this Polonnaruwa day tour itinerary can be customized according to your requirements.

Q. When to go?

Polonnaruwa is in the dry zone and has tourist-friendly sunshine all year round. According to observations regarding the weather in Polonnaruwa, it has been noted that the latter part of the year sees a significant drop in hot and humid temperatures. Regardless, a Polonnaruwa day tour is a must on your Sri Lanka holiday itinerary.

Q. What will transfers cover?

Pickup from Hotel – Tour Attractions – Drop at your Hotel.