A UNESCO World Heritage City
Polonnaruwa, which became the capital of Sri Lanka following the decline of Anuradhapura, was to witness the Sinhalese Buddhist civilization reaching still greater heights. The vast irrigation network with reservoirs that look like natural in-land seas sustained such epic scales in rice cultivation, during the reign of king Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D), Sri Lanka became known as the Granary of the Orient.
Among the main tourist attractions at Polonnaruwa are preserved ruins of magnificent royal palaces, enormous Buddhist temples, intact monumental sculpture in colossal statues carved from sold rock boulders that once rivaled Anuradhapura in magnificence.
Today, Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its preserved ruins and restored ancient irrigation reservoirs is a “must visit” cultural destination of Sri Lanka Holidays. As much as the preserved cultural monuments would enlighten the tourists, the wild life sanctuaries in the district of Polonnaruwa affords ample opportunities for the joy and fun in the close range of wild elephants, other mammals to the lovers of wildlife. At the city of Polonnaruwa itself is the largest ancient irrigation reservoir called Parakrama Samudra (Sinhala: the Sea of Parakrama) is always lovely, and with the plethora of birdlife, it is seldom that there is not something interesting going on upon its shimmering expanses of waters. No rest house in Sri Lanka Holidays has a lovelier waterscape than that of Polonnaruwa Rest House nestled at the end of the immense motorable bund of the magnificent reservoir under the shade of mighty trees.
Immediately to the south of Parakrama Samudra ancient man-made lake, sandwiched between River Amban Ganga and River Mahaweli Ganga in the district of Polonnaruwa is Wasgomuwa National Park; to the just north east of Polonnaruwa town is Flood Plains National Park; still further to the north east, again within the Polonnaruwa district is Somawathiya National Park; to the north west in the Polonnaruwa district is Minneriya Giritale National Park enclosing vast Minneriya irrigation reservoir and Giritale rainwater reservoir; to the further west is the transportation hub and accommodation option of Habarana, another wildlife sanctuary. Polonnaruwa takes your breath away.