If you love history and want to connect with more of beautiful Sri Lanka, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Polonnaruwa is sure to amaze you with its well-preserved ruins that take you back in time. There is an old town and new town in Polonnaruwa, in which most of the ruins are located in the northern section of the old town. The ruins are separated into 5 groups. The first group is near the rest houses that have mainly buildings dating from the time of King Nissanka Malla’s reign which includes royal baths and the King’s Council chamber. The palace group of buildings dates back to the reign of King Parakramabahu I and includes the magnificent royal palace, which is said to have been 7 stories high, the audience hall with an amazing frieze of elephants, and the Prince’s bathing pool, which still has one of the crocodile mouth spouts. The quadrangle group includes the vatadage (circular relic house), the best example of the gedige architectural style – the Thuparama, the Gal Potha (massive stone slab representing an Ola leaf) and several astonishing temples of Buddhist and Hindu influence and style. The northern group has Gal Vihara, the Tivanka Image House, the Lotus Pond, a massive monastic convocation hall and many Dagobas and temples. You’ll find a library dagoba called Potugul Vihara and an unusually life-like statue of the Buddha in the southern group.
Please note that in most places you will have to remove footwear, therefore a pair of socks would be handy since the grounds will be extremely hot to walk barefoot. Dress should be modest clothing with women covering their shoulders and knees. Entrance fee to the site for Foreign Nationals is US$25 which can be obtained from the museum, which is near the rest houses and is open from 8am – 5pm daily. This fee is applicable for all the sites within the old town of Polonnaruwa.