Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa was the capital of Sri Lanka between the 11th and 13th centuries AD. The kingdom contained royal palaces, bathing ponds, monasteries, and dagabas and owed most of its splendour to the three kings – King Vijayabahu I, Parakramabahu I, and Nissankamalla I. The sites in Polonnaruwa reflect a combination of Sinhalese and South Indian culture and architecture, and though it was ravaged by invasion in the centuries that followed, there is still evidence of its former grandeur. The ruins of the ancient city stand on the east shore of the Parakrama Samudraya (the Sea of Parakrama).
Among the historical places in Sri Lanka to be visited in Polonnaruwa is the Parakrama Samudraya, a reservoir built by King Parakramabahu which is still the major source of water for irrigation in this area. The citadel contains the ruins of royal buildings, and within it is the Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu, which once stood seven storeys high. At the heart of the city is the Terrace of the Tooth Relic, an elevated terrace that has several buildings of archaeological and historical importance and at its entrance is one of the most beautiful buildings of the city, the Wata-da-ge (the circular relic house). A huge slab of rock called the ‘Galpotha’ which means the stone book, carries an inscription of more than 4300 letters. The Gal Vihara is home to four magnificent Buddha statues, of which the most imposing is the 14 m reclining Buddha, a figure of serene beauty. Two more important sites are the Alahena Pirivena and the Lankatilake Image House.
The excursion begins after breakfast at 07.30 hours and lasts for eight hours. Jetwing Vil Uyana is 60 km away from Polonnaruwa and is a one and a half hour drive each way. Guests will be provided with a water bottle, binoculars, transport, entrance fees, lunch at the Polonnaruwa Rest House, and a fresh fruit juice on return to the hotel. Wear comfortable clothes suitable for a visit to a religious site, sunglasses, caps or hats and carry your camera, insect repellent and sun block with you.