A World Heritage site, the sprawling area is accessible by vehicles to the three different ticketed sites. Many parts of the ruins are amazingly well preserved. There is a polished granite staircase leading to the seven-storey palace which still stands.
The King’s latrine is another well preserved room, quite similar to our squatting toilet with markings to place the feet and a small rectangular hollowed drain.
At the parliament house, we see the fine details of moon stone at the entrace, carved with a lotus flower, bounded by inner circumference of elephants and outer ring of buffaloes. I was told the seat for the king is displayed at the museum.
This archeological site, especially where the temple is located, is considered to be sacred as it once contained the Buddha’s tooth relic. All women entering the temple must be appropriately covered at the shoulders and legs to be allowed in. To enter the temple site, even though it’s an archeological site with sandy ground, we were made to remove our shoes at the entrance. Strict protocol about not taking photos with your backs towards the Buddha’s statues was also enforced by security personnels. That means no sefies.
The third ticketed sites is that of the three giant Buddha statues carved out from a single granite rock that is still used for worship today. The standing Buddha is one of two whose posture is especially unique.
The whole area of archeological ruins reminded me of Apsara, which we visited in Hue, central Vietnam, the difference being Apsara is Hindu and Polonnaruwa Buddhist.
Entrance to Polonnaruwa costs US$30 which allows you to visit the three sites of palace, temple and three giant Buddhas.