Polonnaruwa ancient city
Polonnaruwa is a well-preserved city of ancient dagobas, moonstones, beautiful parks, massive buildings and stunningly beautiful statues.
Polonnaruwa lies 216 km northeast of Colombo, 140kms northeast of Kandy and 104kms southeast of Anuradhapura. Sri Lanka´s medieval capital (11th – 12th Century AD) is a well-preserved city of ancient dagobas, moonstones, beautiful parks, massive buildings and stunningly beautiful statues. The majestic King´s Council Chamber, the Lotus Bath, the Lanka Thilaka Viharaya, the Gal Viharaya (rock temple) and the statue of one of Polonnaruwa´s great kings, Parakramabahu, are a few of this capital´s memorable sights. The Sea of Parakrama – a vast 12th century man-made reservoir dominates the city. Although it is nearly 1000 years old, it is much younger than Anuradhapura, and in much better repair. Moreover, the monuments here are located in a more compact area, and their development is easier to follow.
POTTUVIL AND ARUGAM BAY
Arugam Bay, 3km (2 miles) south of the small fishing village of Pottuvil, had a reputation as a surfer´s paradise before the area became unsafe due to incidents in and around Pottuvil and on the roads leading to it. It has long, empty beaches and a wide lagoon which is a haven for numerous bird species.
GAL OYA NATIONAL PARK
Gal Oya covers 260km2 (100 sq miles) of scrub and open country around an artificial reservoir, the Senanayake Samudra (Senanayake Sea), named after Sri Lanka´s first post-independence prime minister. Formed in the early 1950s by damming the Gal Oya River, which flows out of the foothills to feed the lagoons south of Batticaloa, the huge lake has a deeply indented coastline, suitable for exploring and viewing game by boat. Unfortunately it is closed until further notice.
LAHUGALA NATIONAL PARK
About 16km (10 miles) west of Pottuvil, Lahugala was designated as a national park mainly to provide a protected corridor for elephant groups moving between the larger reserves of Ruhuna (Yala), to the south, and Gal Oya, to the north. In the dry season this small park is reputed to have more elephants than any other part of the country, attracted by the grazing around the reservoirs within the park