Polonnaruwa

Not a day trip from Kabalana – but a trip on its own!

Polonnaruwa is the main town of Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader.

The ancient City of Polonnaruwa has one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. There are numerous monuments and ruins for tourists to explore. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. Another draw for tourists is the city’s population of toque macaques. The monkeys have been living in the ruins since human occupation and continue to thrive here long after the humans left. The monkeys and their environs are featured in the 2015 Disney film, Monkey Kingdom, which was largely filmed in Polonnaruwa.

The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Near the ancient city, there is a small town with several hotels (especially for tourists), some glossy shops, and places to fulfill day-to-day needs. There are government institutions in a newly built area called “new town,” about 6 km away from the town and the main road.

The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site. A new restoration project for the ancient City is still underway.