Gal viharaya Polonnaruwa


It is where ancient Sri Lanka established its kingdom after the fall of Anuradhapura. The kingdom lasted from the 10th century to the 13th century. This archaeological city is a treasure trove of extraordinary stone monuments from its heyday. As it became the ruling kingdom of both Sinhala kings and Chola invaders, the city has a wealth of Brahmanic monuments. Polonnaruwa temple ruins, which are in hundreds, are scattered in and around the archaeological park. The area also features enormous reservoirs and water tanks built by the kings. It is one of the largest paddy cultivators in the country. Its UNESCO World Heritage Site status is a testimony to its rich and colourful history.

Hidden Gems

  • Pothgula Vihare is a dagoba-like building thought to have been used to store sacred books.
  • Royal Palace complex has the palace ruins of Parakramabahu I, including Audience Hall.
  • Shiva Devalaya 2 is a 10th Century Hindu temple, the oldest, constructed by Cholas.
  • Gal Potha is the longest stone inscription in Sri Lanka and resembles a palm manuscript.
  • The Archaeological Museum showcases artifacts and replicas of original structures.
  • King’s Council Chamber has each minister’s name inscribed on the stone pillars.

Best Times to Visit

Polonnaruwa is a year-round destination. October to December is the rainy season.



Top Attractions

Gal Viharaya

Gal Vihare

It is a 12th Century rock temple, built by King Parakramabahu I. Four rock relief Buddha statues carved into an enormous rock face are the main feature.



Known to be Sri Lanka’s best-preserved Vatadage, it is a circular relic house located in the Quadrangle, which has the most concentrated monuments.

Rankoth vehera

Rankoth Vehera

It is the largest Polonnaruwa stupa and the fourth largest on the island. Constructed by King Nissankamalla in the 12th Century, it’s 170m tall.

Thiwanka Pilimage

Thivanka Image House

Famous for its unique Buddha statue, it contains the only surviving Polonnaruwa murals. These are some of the best frescoes of Buddha’s past lives.

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya

The structure built by King Nissankamalla consists of a latticed stone fence surrounding a small dagoba. Lotus-shaped stone pillars circle the dagoba.

Sathmal Prasadaya

Sathmahal Prasada

It is one of the most distinctive places to visit in Polonnaruwa. This ziggurat-style structure has six diminishing storeys shaped like a stepped pyramid.

Where to Shop in Polonnaruwa

When it comes to shopping, choices are limited here. While the city can provide basic groceries and essentials, there are no fancy places to spend your cash.

Where to Eat in Polonnaruwa

Most Polonnaruwa restaurants serve local dishes. Jaga Food, Gami Gedara, Sudu Araliya, Thidas Arana, Wishma, Lake Restaurant, Govi Gedara, and Mahanuge serve a variety of traditional cuisine.

Top Accommodations

Explore where you enjoy a comfortable stay during your explorations.

deer park hotel

Deer Park Hotel

Overlooking the Giritale reservoir, this scenic hotel with cottages is 14 km from both the ancient Polonnaruwa Vatadage and the shrine of Hatadage.
Refined cottages surrounded by jungle and lush vegetation have tile floors, satellite TV and sitting areas. Most have open-air bathrooms. Upgrades add private gazebos and pool, pond or forest views.
Ekho Lake House

Ekho Lake House

Airy rooms have lake views and traditional dark wood furnishings. All come with terraces and minifridges, as well as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Upgraded rooms include 4-poster beds, and there’s 1 with a hot tub and private outdoor dining area.
Amenities include a restaurant and a bar with lakeside terraces. Breakfast is available for an extra charge.