As you arrive in Polonnaruwa early morning, you will firstly visit the Archaeological Museum which offers great insight into the art and history of the former medieval capital city, featuring an extraordinary collection of bronze statues and scale replica models of the sites depicting buildings for what they would’ve looked like in the past.
You will then be taken to the Royal Palace and Citadel of King Parakramabahu I. Initially, it was a structure of seven stories which would have been a marvel to the people of the time. You will see the Audience Hall or Council Chamber which is a large pavilion-like hall with intricate carvings. In the corner of the Palace grounds, you will find the Royal Bathing Pool.
This will be followed by a visit to the Quadrangle which was the focal point of the old city. It is a complex comprising all ruins of ancient building, starting from the Shiva Devale, and then on to the Thuparamaya a well preserved image house, the Nissanka Latha Mandapaya (Floral Altar), the Hatadage (House of seven relics), and the famous Polonnaruwa Vatadage which is a creation of that has been revered with prominence in Sri Lankan history.
Then on to see the Gal Potha (Stone Book) which is an enormous book carved out of rock, and the Satmahal Prasadaya a building which was influenced by oriental architecture that was very unusual and complicated. It was like a stepped pyramid with six stories erected one above the other.
From this point the bus will take you to the Pabalu Vehera an expression of love and the Rankoth Vehera, the 4th biggest dagoba after the three giants in Anuradhapura.
You will then visit Alahana Pirivena Monastery which is the great monastic complex founded by King Parakramabahu I in the 11th century comprising the Buddha Seema Prasada and the Lankatilake image house.
The next visit would be the Kiri Vehera, a milky-white shrine which is the best preserved dagoba in Polonnaruwa.
You will then proceed towards north to see the magnificent Gal Vihara, a collection of world renowned statues. There are four figures of the Buddha carved out of a cliff of granite, which are considered to be the best rock sculptures in the island.
Next visit is to the Nelum Pokuna, the Lotus Pond which is a beautifully carved granite pond that was constructed into the shape of a Lotus flower, and the Thivanka Image House, one of the largest monasteries around Polonnaruwa.
You will be taken for Lunch which would approximately be around 12:30pm.
After lunch, you will be taken to see the marvel at the Parakrama Samudraya, also known as the Parakrama Sea, given its sheer magnitude of its size. This was created by King Parakramabahu I who made irrigation possible by the engineering mastery of this artificial lake that fills up by draining out the rainwater that collected through 11 channels which supplied a network of irrigation canals and minor tanks.
Thereafter you will visit King Nissanka Malla’s Royal Palace Complex. It has an elevated platform with eight granite columns and surrounded by a low wall. At the centre of the platform, is a small stupa which is also made from granite stone. You will also see the royal audience hall or council chamber which is Nissanka Raja Sabha Mandapa.
Then the bus will take you to see the Giant Statue of Parakramabahu I, an enormous 12th Century statue of great artistic skill. The stately but reverent sarong clad figure is carved out of a wall of rock, holding a manuscript. Then you will proceed to see Pothgul Vihara. This is the oldest library and monastic complex found in Sri Lanka.
You will return to your destination from Polonnaruwa at the end of the tour in the evening.