Sri Lanka historical tour to Anuradhapura and  Polonnaruwa

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How do I proceed with my Sri Lanka cultural tour to Anuradhapura and  Polonnaruwa?

Following the receipt of numerous emails from readers who were uncertain whether to plan their Sri Lanka historical tour to Anuradhapura and Polonnarwa, I was inspired to compose that article. Likewise, the title of this article bears a striking resemblance to “Polonnaruwa or Anuradhapura.” A portion of the numerous emails I receive from readers around the globe contain the following questions: “Should we plan our Sri Lanka cultural tour with Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa?” and “Why should we choose a Sri Lanka tour package with  Anuradapura and  Polonnaruwa.

We aim to provide our readers with a comprehensive analysis of both locations, enabling them to make an informed decision regarding which archaeological site to visit. If time permits, we do suggest visiting both the historical city of Anuradhapura and the historical site of Polonnaruwa.

The following are additional inquiries regarding the Sri Lanka tour to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa that we receive from our readers:

  • What are the opening hours of Polonnaruwa?
  • What is the dress code for Polonnaruwa?
  • Is Polonnaruwa worth a visit?
  • What is the distance between Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa?
  • Does Anuradhapura merit a visit?

What are the hours of operation for Polonnaruwa?

Although visitors may enter the site at any time of day, the ticket counter does not reopen between l 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This category of inquiry is frequently encountered by tourists who have an exceptionally restricted amount of time to spend in Sri Lanka, whereas others, despite having ample time, prefer to limit their vacation to one or two destinations and set aside some time for relaxation. Certain families and elderly travelers in their sixties and seventies prefer to cover little territory during their journeys.

My objective is therefore to assist you in determining which of the historical sites in Anuradhapura or  Polonnaruwa is most appropriate for your needs. Having visited both locations on numerous occasions, I found them to be of equal interest. Both exhibit an extensive assortment of historical landmarks.

To make a reservation for a trip to Sri Lanka, kindly contact Seerendipity Tours via email at Contact us via WhatsApp or phone at 0094774440977.

Both Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are significant ancient metropolises comprised of countless dilapidated structures. Both cities are renowned tourist destinations in Sri Lanka and UNESCO world heritage sites.

 Sri Lanka historical tour to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are  included in the majority of Sri Lanka tour itineraries, including 5-day and 7-day excursions. Both of the Sri Lanka tour itineraries provided below is multi-day excursions on account of the lengthy airport transfer. In Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa is not suitable for a day journey, particularly if one is departing from Colombo.

All-inclusive cultural triangle tour, the essence of Sri Lanka culture, Cultural Triangle Tour of Sri Lanka are the most popular Sri Lanka holiday packages to visit cultural traingale tourist attractions such as Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Anuradhapura, situated in the province of Sri Lanka’s north-central region, conceals hundreds of ancient structures. This UNESCO world heritage site holds significant tourist value and is incorporated into the majority of Sri Lanka itineraries, including cultural triangle excursions lasting four days, seven days, and three days.

Is a visit to Anuradhapura worthwhile?

Over tens of thousands of years ago, human beings inhabited the ancient city of Anuradhapura. In the third century BCE, Anuradhapura served as the Sri Lankan capital. Observed an extensive area comprised of man-made lakes and rice terraces. Anuradhapura remains a site of ongoing archaeological activity, progressively divulging its ancient narratives to tourists.

It is a worthwhile visit due to the fact that it is an archaeological menagerie that displays the religious devotion, engineering prowess, and artistic aptitude of people who existed several millennia ago.

 Abhayagiriya stupa or pagoda, for instance, remains a magnificent edifice and was originally considerably more expansive in size. 115 stories in height, Abhayagiri Dagoba was one of the most colossal edifices of its era when it was constructed during the reign of King Walagambhu II (89–77 BC).

The archaeological site of Anuradhapura is replete with such magnificent structures; among them, Jetawanarama stands out as the second-largest brick edifice of antiquity. The city is replete with dozens of these intriguing edifices, and the vast majority of their adherents continue to hold them in high regard.

We also advise renowned travelers to visit the Twin Ponds, Samadhi Buddha, Thuparama Dagoba (3rd century BC), Lankarama, Isurumuniya, Moonstone, Sri Maha Bodhi, and Guard Stone. Visiting all of those locations could potentially consume a duration of approximately five hours due to their immense spatial distribution.

How do you feel now? Is a visit to Anuradhapura worthwhile?

Three main monastery complexes comprise the enormous city of Anuradhapura: the Abhyagiri Monastery Complex, the Jetawanarama Complex, and the Mahavihara Complex. Temple complexes dotted across an expansive expanse were present, each housing a monastic quarter, stupas or pagodas, hospitals (Ayurveda), gardens, meditation centers, and libraries. Additionally, each temple complex featured an audience hall.

Is a visit to Polonnaruwa worthwhile?

Should one possess a significant inquiry, is a visit to Polonnaruwa worthwhile? Simply put, the answer is YES! An extensive assortment of tourist attractions can be found within the historic city of Polonnaruwa, all of which are intricately linked to the nation’s past.

I have visited the historical site of Polonnaruwa on numerous occasions. Those with a keen interest in history and culture are highly encouraged to pay a visit to Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa’s archaeological site conceals dozens of intriguing structures, including lakes, palaces, Hindu shrines, Buddhist temples, and audience halls, among others.

A visit to the historical city of Polonnaruwa typically commences in the vicinity of the Parakrama palace, an edifice that suffered destruction as a consequence of the South Indian invasion. In the vicinity of the Parakrama Palace, which is located in the inner city, are several additional structures, including audience galleries.

One beholds magnificently conserved structures, which extend from the Parakrama palace to the quadrangle and Gal Vihara situated at the far end of the historical city of Polonnaruwa.

Monuments in Polonnaruwa are in excellent condition, in contrast to Anuradhapura, due to the significantly youthful age of Polonnaruwa in comparison to its counterpart. In contrast, the quantity of monuments in Polonnaruwa is considerably diminished in comparison to that of Anuradhapura, and the monuments in Anuradhapura are dispersed across a considerably larger expanse than in Polonnaruwa.

How to book a trip to Anuradhapur and Polonnaruwa

To make a reservation for a journey to Sri Lanka, kindly contact Seerendipity Tours via email at Contact us via WhatsApp or phone at 0094774440977.

This eight-day private tour of Simply Sri Lanka includes luxury accommodations and visits to the island’s most popular tourist destinations, including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya Rock, the Dambulla Golden Temple, the Tooth Relic Temple of Kandy, and Udawalawe National Park. You will anchor near the conclusion of the voyage on the deserted shores of Mirissa.

What are the highlights of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa excursions?

By visiting Sri Lanka historical tour to  Anuradhapura and  Polonnaruwa, one can delve into the profound historical legacy of Sri Lanka. This location is home to numerous ancient structures, including temples, palaces, gardens, and remnants of numerous others.

What is the distinction between Sri Lanka historical tour to Anuradhapura and polonnaruwa ?

The primary distinction between Sri Lanka historical tour to Anuradapura and Polonnaruwa  pertains to the age of their historical monuments. Anuradhapura boasts dilapidated structures dating back several millennia, including Ruwanweli dagoba and Abhyagiri dagoba, both of which were constructed prior to the birth of Jesus Christ.

Monuments in Polonnaruwa are considerably more recent in construction than those in Anuradhapura. The majority of historical structures in Anuradhapura were constructed from the 3rd century BC to the 10th century AD, whereas the majority of historical monuments in Polonnaruwa were constructed between the 10th and 11th centuries AD.

Museum Visits in Sri Lanka tour package with Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa

In addition to exploring monuments, museum visits are crucial for comprehending the historical background of Sri Lanka. Although both locations feature museums, the Anuradhapura Museum is considerably less well-organized than its Polonnaruwa counterpart.

The Polonnaruwa museum’s artifacts are considerably better organized and provide a more accurate depiction of the ancient structures that can be observed at the location. The invasion of the Parakrama palace, for instance, reduced it to a few walls and foundations; it had been a seven-story behemoth before the invasion. By visiting the museum prior to entering the historical city, one can observe a scale replica of the Parakrama palace, which provides a straightforward means of approximating the palace’s formidable dimensions.

The Anuradhapura Historical Site

The Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum, alternatively referred to as Puravidu Bhavana, is an archaeological museum situated in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the historic Anuradhapura government structure, a sacred city.

Dr. Senarath Paranavithana commenced the documentation of the Department of Archaeology’s remaining artifact collection prior to his appointment, per the directive of his supervisor, Mr. H.A. Horcarts. This museum was initially housed in a section of a hospital in Anuradhapura, in close proximity to Sri Maha Bodiya and Ruwanwalisaya. Later on, however, Mr. Senarath Paranavithana advocated for the necessity of relocating the museum to a site with more adequate facilities.

As per the available accounts, S. Muganathan Shan and G. D. Ranasinghe assisted in the 1948 organization of this assortment of objects as a museum. It was stored on the southern side of the department building in Anuradhapura.

As a response to the aforementioned request regarding the establishment of the Archaeological Museum, the government of Anuradhapura furnished the historic administrative structure. The museum’s inauguration was delayed in the 1940s as a consequence of the structure’s utilization as a shelter for flood victims in Anuradhapura.

The museum successfully acquired two structures, including the grant building and the adjacent two-story recording building, through the assistance of the governor of Anuradhapura at the time, Mr. Nisshanka Wijeratne. Former director general Dr. Senarath Paranavithana was formally credited with being the driving factor behind the creation of the Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum.

The Anuradhapura Archaeological institution is the oldest and largest institution of the Department of Archaeology of Sri Lanka.

Attractions within the museum

The museum displays an assortment of artifacts unearthed in different regions of Sri Lanka, such as Buddha statues, relic caskets, drawings, figurines, coins, jewelry, beads, and other inconsequential items. These artifacts comprise a scale replica of the Pacvsa structure, the Jantgara, and the Abhayagiri Stupa, among others. Additionally, the Anuradhapura

Archaeological Museum houses the largest collection of inscriptions in Sri Lanka.

The Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum offers insights into Sri Lanka’s history through its exhibition of artifacts excavated by the country’s archaeological department over the preceding century. A visit to the museum prior to exploring the historic city of Polonnaruwa will enhance the significance of the excursion.
The Polonnaruwa Museum, situated within the Polonnaruwa World Heritage Site, features an exquisite collection of artifacts discovered at the location. It is a component of the preponderance of Sri Lankan cultural triangle tours, including the five-day cultural tour of Sri Lanka. The Polonnaruwa museum is situated in a recently constructed edifice in close proximity to the Parakrama Samudra reservoir, which is aged around a thousand years.

 In contrast to Anuradhapura, the Polonnaruwa Historical Museum is the only museum in the city.
A comparative analysis of Sri Lanka historical tour to Anuradapura and  Polonnararuwa

The distance From Colombo to Anuradhapura is 200 kilometers; commencing the journey at 165 kilometers, the journey takes approximately four hours by private vehicle.

 Additionally, air and rail transportation options are available to visitors of Anuradhapura. Trains destined for Anuradhapura commences their journey from the primary railway station located in Colombo (see train schedule). To reach Anuradhapura from Colombo or the airport, one may reserve a seaplane or helicopter; the designated landing location is the domestic airport of Anuradhapura.

Travelling to Polonnaruwa

The primary means of transportation to access the Polonnaruwa monuments is by road. The private vehicle voyage from Colombo to Polonnaruwa, which is 220 kilometers long, takes approximately five hours. In addition to air travel, rail travel can also be reserved from Colombo. Polonnaruwa is accessible by three trains per day from Colombo. Two flights per day depart from Colombo for Polonnaruwa airport.

Embark on an unforgettable five-day tour of Sri Lanka, encompassing an assortment of sightseeing endeavors. All of the following are UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), and a bicycle tour of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa.

Distance from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa

Customers occasionally inquire whether Sri Lanka historical tour to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa can be covered in a single day. The answer is primarily determined by the site of departure of the journey and can be either YES or NO. You can visit both  places on a Sri Lanka tour package in a day if you start the tour from a location such as Sigiriya or Habarana.

Commencing one’s voyage from a remote location such as Colombo or Kandy would impede the ability to visit both locales owing to the substantial duration of transportation. You can easily visit both Sri Lanka tour package with Anuradapura and Polonnaruwa if you stay in a hotel close to either location, as the distance between the two is just over 100 kilometers and the drive takes approximately two hours.

Additional pursuits in Sri Lanka historical tour to Anuradhapura and  Polonnaruwa

While visiting historical monuments is the main attraction for the majority of visitors to these cities, there are several other significant activities that can be enjoyed during your spare time. Engaging in a variety of activities encompasses village tours, Jeep safaris through national parks,

Some of the poular activities for tourists who visit Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa

  • Ayurvedic massage treatments
  • Cooking classes
  • Village tour and boating in the boating
  • Temple visits
  • Jungle trekking
  • Bird viewing.

Hopefully, after contemplating the aforementioned factors, you are now able to determine whether your Sri Lankan itinerary should include a visit to Anuradhapura and or Polonnaruwa. Should you require further information regarding Sri Lanka tour package with Anuradhapura  and Polonnaruwa, please reach out to us at

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