Cycling Through Ancient Ruins from Polonnaruwa
The tour gives you the wonderful opportunity to enjoy viewing the remnants of the ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. Wander amongst the ruins of the second largest kingdom of old and get to know more about them. Cycle to the beautiful Parakrama Samudra (Sea of Parakrama) and listen to its history. View the clean green countryside of Polonnaruwa and feel more relaxed. Finish off with a refreshing king coconut drink.
- Archeological ruins of Polonnaruwa- guided tour
- Visit to Sea of Parakrama
- Cross-country cycling
- Insurance cover up to USD 2,000
- Cycles and Cycling guide/ supporting crew
- Back up vehicle (Cycle Carrier)
- Water and refreshments during the ride
- Canoeing ride
What to Expect
You will be starting your cycling tour 9:00 am at the entrance of the old city of Polonnaruwa. The citycarries a history from over a millennia ago. Though it existed on a smaller scale before; the city truly flourished between 11th century and 13th century AD, when it was the capital of the country. The city was architecturally advanced and the ruins found in this UNESCO World Heritage Site today rival that of ancient cities such as Angkor and Egypt.
You will be starting your tour with a visit to the ruins of King Parakramabahu I's Palace which was a magnificent 12th century edifice that rose to seven stories. You can still see the remains of the central wall which supported over 40 interconnected rooms and the bottom section of the structure.
In line with this monument is the the Council Chamber built by the same king, who was an amazing engineer. The perfectly designed Chambers had such good acoustics that you could hear the speaker in any corner of the room. The base of the chamber and some of the pillars still stand, and you will be able to observe the fine stone craft used on the outer wall carvings.
You will also view the mysterious Satmahal Prasada (otherwise known as Seven Storied Edifice), whose makers are unknown. The stepped pyramid style building bears resemblances to Mayan and Angkor stepped pyramids. The Atadage and Hatadage, the first and second Sacred Tooth Relic Shrines of Polonnaruwa, will also be places you will pass on your bike.
The Gal Vihara Rock Sculptures are a very important destination of your tour which displays some of the best artistry of the Polonnaruwa period in its three giant statues; the standing, seated and reclining Buddhas which were carved from solid granite. The carvings were so beautifully done, with detailed expressions that stone crafters afterwards were unable to match the perfection of these statues.
Some of the other things you will get a chance to see are the vaulted halls of the wonderfully preserved Thuparama; Rankoth Vihara which is the biggest pagoda in Polonnaruwa; the Shiva Temple built by the Cholas who invaded in the 10th century; and the famous Vatadage of Polonnaruwa with its circular structure, embellished guard stones , carved balustrades and central stupa surrounded by Buddha statues at the cardinal points.
After viewing the ruins in the old city, you will be pedaling to the Parakrama Samudra, again a creation of the formerly mentioned illustrious monarch. The vast reservoir which was built to preserve and make use of 'every drop of rain', still remains an extremely impressive feat even today. The reservoir boasts some wonderful views that you can enjoy while visiting it. Later you will pedal back to your starting point enjoying the green countryside and many toque macaque monkeys that live in the area. You will finish off your tour by 12:00 pm with a fresh and cooling king coconut drink.