The Royal Palace, Polonnaruwa Historical Site Sri Lanka Flag

TOUR 20D (SRI LANKA) - 4th -17th March 2020
Day 8, Monday 9 March

Letting out Slack…….. So far so good at Sirigi Uyana. The breakfast is a fair improvement on the previous days and much better than nothing at all. Arriving early in Matale istrict yesterday allowed for a late afternoon excursion that freed up the best part of a day. Having a driver and car is quite effective in getting around. The plan today is to add another important historic site at Polonnaruwa to the list but it’s over an hour away. As it was not prioritised when we made our original visit list, it would obviously be a bonus making up for previous disappointments. As a bit of a history buff, this new location is music to my ears but it also comes at a price. To date I have desperately been trying to work to a budget but now I’ve had to give that up and start using cash machines as my UK currency will not last now. Today is likely to be the heaviest expenditure for one day. As well as reimbursing my driver, I will need to hand over more than 9,000 rupees ($50) just for the entrance fee for the UNESCO ancient site of Polonnaruwa. Unlike at Anuradhapura ancient city where our driver managed to get around a number of sites without us paying the entrance fee, this site is more compact so making the site easy to control with a ticketing system.
Polonnaruwa…….. Arriving at Polonnaruwa well before lunch, we purchase the tickets and head for the obvious first port of call, the museum. Here I get a good idea of the layout of the site beside the Bendiwewa Lake. I also learn a good deal about the history of the site and how it fits in with the history of the Anuradhapura Kingdom and the different influences that have given this ancient site a place not only in regional history but in the history of the Buddhist world as well.
It's now time to examine the ruins. The next obvious site is the citadel and surrounding monuments which takes a good hour. Thereafter we visit some of the remaining monuments scattered mainly to the north and include not only Buddhist temples but Hindu shrines as well, indicating a coexistence that seemed peaceful for the most part. The table below lists all the main sites.

Polonnaruwa Old City Polonnaruwa (Fee $25 per foreigner)
Central Area Northern Area Southern Area
Island Park*
• Royal Palace
• Council Chamber
• Kumara Pokuna
Satmahal Prasada*
Nissannkalata Mandapa*
Image House*
Outer City
Shiva Devale No 1
Sacred Quadrangle
Pabalu Vehera
Shiva Devale No 2
Manik Vehera*
Rankot Vehera*
Monastic Hospital
Gopala Pabbata
Baddhasima Prasada*
Alahana Parivana*
Damala Maha Seya
Lotus Pond
Tivanka Image House
Nai Pena Vihara
Summer Palace

Potgul Vehera
Potgul Vehera Statue
Parakrama Samudra

* monuments visited on 9 March

Trunk Road Return…….. This tour lasts well into the afternoon and it’s time to return. On the way back there is a close encounter with a wild elephant while travelling through the Angammedilla National Park with a number of vehicles pulling over. However, it’s not wise to hang around too long.
Limited Value…….. Heading more or less straight back to the resort, we again skip a meal. Without labouring the point excessively, we just don’t feel we’re getting good value for money with almost everything we do. It may be a surprise to some, but everywhere there are add-ons including the toilets. Very little is for free. It seems that this tour to Sri Lanka will turn out to be the most expensive tour I’ve been on since I started this website. Tomorrow we move on again to take in another ancient site but I’m expecting thereafter to break the sequence of histoic site visits. Next Page.

Bandiwewa Lake, Polonnaruwa

The Royal Palace,
Polonnaruwa Historical Site

The Citadel, Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Kumara Pokuna (32 - royal bath), Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Council Chamber (34),
Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Satmahal Prasada (51),
Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Galpota Slab, Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Vatadage (39), Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Hatadage (40), Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Thuparama (47), Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Bodhighara, Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Nissannkalata Mandapa (43),
Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Image House, Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Manik Vehera (59),
Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Rankoth Vehera, Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Alahana Parivena (73),
Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Baddhasima Prasada (86),
Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Lankatilaka (90), Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Kiri Vehera (91), Polonnaruwa Historical Site

Gal Vihara (94 - rock temple),
Polonnaruwa Historical Site