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Polonnaruwa is an ancient city in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, steeped in history and utter beauty, it is a place that cannot be missed for people traveling through the country. Even though the region has flourished in all aspects, it has never lost its history, and the ancient relics of bygone eras remain standing.There is so much to see and do in Polonnaruwa, so we have gathered a list to ensure you don’t miss out on some of the best memories you can make.

  • Kaudulla and National Parks 

Sri Lanka is famous for its population of elephants, and what better way to see them for yourself than up close and personal. This National Parks have some of the largest gatherings of elephants in the world, where you can easily spend the day discovering not only these wonderful creatures but the other wildlife and natural beauty of the parks.

  • Rankot Vihara 

The Rankot Vihara is one of the most respected temples in Polonnaruwa, although it is around 800 years old, it remains pretty much intact and is truly a place to be admired. As an extra, after visiting the temple, don’t leave straight away, as the area is surrounded by trails and wilderness that can be explored.

  • Gal Vihara 

Gal Vihara is a rock temple consisting of four Buddhas carved into the face of an enormous granite rock and is some of the most impressive stonework you will ever see, and are considered to be some of the best examples of ancient Sri Lankan sculpting. The four Buddhas comprise of two seated, one standing, and one reclining, with them ranging from 4 feet tall to 46 feet tall. It’s a work of art you will never forget.

  • The King’s Audience Hall 

One of the first things you will notice when visiting the Audience Hall are the stairs; you are greeted by a magnificent ancient staircase, where the top is solemnly guarded by statues of lions either side. Inside the Audience Hall are elephants carved into the rocks, impressively detailed and different from each other. This site is a place of amazement and truly highlights the special history that Polonnaruwa holds.

  • Toque Macaques 

Okay, to be honest, this isn’t a tourist attraction, but rather it is a type of monkey. You will see them often on your visit as they roam freely among public areas, and are a huge hit with tourists. They have been observed to have tame behaviour, but please remember they are still a wild animal, and just like with tourist attractions, they need to be respected.

If you love adventure, you will not be disappointed, if you love discovering places you would never believe existed, you will not be disappointed, and if you want to feel like you never want to leave, again, you will not be disappointed. Polonnaruwa is a real treasure within a spectacular country, and once you arrive, you will see it is obvious why it deserves to be a World Heritage Site.

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