Sri Lanka’s finest ancient architecture can be found at 12th century Polonnaruwa, the city that became the country’s second capital after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993.

The ruins of Polonnaruwa, sited on the eastern shores of Topa Wewa Lake, include remains of gardens, palaces, temples and monasteries. Besides monuments built by the Cholas from India, there are  monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created in the 12th century.

The monuments are grouped into five clusters, but the Royal Citadel and pavilion, Council chambers, Relic House, Quadrangle and northern groups are the most popular. The finely sculpted architectural details, ancient murals, giant Buddha statues and stupas lend a magical atmosphere to the site.

Exploring the site by bicycle provides a unique experience.

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