Poḷonnaruwa

Sacred Quadrangle Vatadage Polonnaruwa Sri Lanka 57

Poḷonnaruwa (Sinhala: පොළොන්නරුව, romanized: Poḷonnaruva; Tamil: பொலன்னறுவ, romanized: Polaṉṉaṟuvai) is the main town of Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Kings ruled the central plains of Sri Lanka from Polonnaruwa 800 years ago, when it was a thriving commercial and religious centre.

Treasures from that age can be found in the archaeological treasures that still give a pretty good idea of how the city looked in its heyday.

That Polonnaruwa is close to elephant-packed national parks only adds to its popularity. And with good accommodation and plenty of bikes for hire, the town itself makes a pleasant base for a day or two, fringed by a huge, beautiful pool with a relaxed ambience.

You’ll find the archaeological park a delight to explore, with hundreds of ancient structures – tombs and temples, statues and stupas – in a compact core. The Quadrangle alone is worth the trip.

The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first established by the Chola dynasty as their capital in the 10th century. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site.

Currently the new Polonnaruwa is undergoing a major development project known as the “Awakening of Polonnaruwa”. This envisions the development of all sectors in Polonnaruwa including roads, electricity, agriculture, education, health and environment will be developed comprehensively.

Polonnaruwa is of unknown origin and was adopted by the traveller James Emerson Tennent. It’s Tamil form, Pulainari, is mentioned in Tamil inscriptions found at Polonnaruwa of the Chola period. The name is also derived from its ancient name Pulastya nagara or Pulatti nakaram meaning city of the Hindu sage Pulastya.

Previously known as Jananathapuram or Jananathamangalam. Later known as Vijayarajapuram as mentioned in the records of Jayabahu I, which probably was derived from the name of Vijayabahu I.

History

Polonnaruwa was established by the Cholas as capital city under the name Jananathapuram in the 10th century. Under this period flourished Hinduism. Raja Raja Chola I built Vanavan Mahadevisvaram, a Shiva temple at Polonnaruwa named after his queen, which presently is known as Siva Devale.

The temple among other contained Ganesa and Parvati statues of bronze. Sri Lanka was under this period ruled under Rajendra Chola I directly as a Chola province. However, following the year 1070 AD ended the Chola rule in the island, and Polonnaruwa was captured by Vijayabahu I.

Trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the king, who was so adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted and each was to be used toward the development of the land.

You find irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during Parakramabahu’s reign – systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. The greatest of these systems is the Parakrama Samudra or the Sea of Parakrama. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu’s reign.

 

Poḷonnaruwa the main town located in Kaduruwela area and hosts the remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. Ancient temples, places of worship and ruins dating back many thousands of years. A must visit location in Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lanka Visas for UK and many other European Passport Holders – no charge for 30 day tourist visa August 2019

Sri Lanka Visas for UK and many other European Passport Holders

The Sri Lankan Department of Immigration & Emigration has announced that as of 1 August 2019, British nationals on short visits to Sri Lanka of up to 30 days can get a visa on arrival free of charge.

The immigration authorities have not confirmed if this is a temporary scheme or a permanent change to visa policy.

For up-to-date information and advice on visas, check with the Sri Lankan High Commission in the UK.

If you’re travelling for paid or unpaid work, and/or are planning a visit of longer than 30 days, you should get a visa from the Sri Lankan High Commission before you travel.

Overstaying your visa will attract a fine and possible detention and deportation.

If you have overstayed your visa, you must report to the Department of Immigration & Emigration

Visas on arrival have been suspended for all travellers arriving from Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Passport validity
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry to Sri Lanka.

UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Sri Lanka.

watersports

malu banna watersports sri lanka island tours

Sri Lanka is home to watersports along most of the great beaches.

Watersports is particularity popular at Bentota and Aluthgama where the river awaits on most days of the year. There is no season as such at Bentota River – every day is a boating day.

  • River safari
  • River Fishing
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Lighthouse Island Tours
  • Banana Rides
  • Sofa Rides
  • Jets Ski
  • Wakeboarding

 

Ella Sri Lanka

ella sri lanka trains arch bridge waterfalls 1

Ella is located in the Badulla district of “Up Country” Sri Lanka – very similar to the Scottish Highlands in Summer – without the midges!

Ella map 2

However you can enjoy exploring the beautiful countryside of Sri Lanka with tea plantations on the hill slopes, forests on the tops and incredible waterfalls.

You can hike the misty mountains and adore the stunning views of the valleys in Sri Lanka, then the next minute jump in the incredible natural pools right below the waterfalls. Explore the tea estates and savour tea from 100 years’ old tea factories in Ceylon (Sri Lanka was called Ceylon earlier).

Ella has a blend of both a relaxed vibe and a there is so much to discover!

Ella is not just a place for adventure tourists. With its mild climate, lush green hills and valleys and an abundance of bird life for the ornithologist, Ella has something for everyone from where forays can be made to nearby caves and waterfalls, trekking trails and mountaineering or unwinding with a chilled beer through the cold nights.

New feature for this season is the hideaway Flying Ravana Mega Zipline, said to be the longest and fastest zipper in South Asia covering a distance of nearly 600 metres, done in 30 seconds.

The Zipline is not for the faint-hearts and once done the craving can be for more swooping rides on the cable above a thick canopy of vegetation. Overseas tourists outnumber the local adventure seekers for whom there is no age restriction and is left entirely at the discretion of the rider or glider.

Extremely friendly staff help tourists with the safety harness and helmet at the visitor centre before they are taken to a high altitude platform from where two gates fling open and the ride begins.

There is a brilliant aviator’s view of the surrounding mountain massifs and what can be surveyed below for a stunning 30 seconds, while the end can be like a bird of prey swooping onto its target with a precision strike. Visitors can hit speeds of up to 80 kilometres an hour and are well taken care of from start to finish.

The famous and picturesque Nine Arch Bridge, the only one of its kind in the island where tourists wait for the train to pass providing them with photographic stuff that could find a place in any of the world’s top shelf traveller magazines. On some days foreign tourists outnumber the locals and king coconut vendors cash in to sell their watery delights.

Many foreign tourists stay for two weeks savouring Ella and the waterfalls, hiking through wooded hills or rock climbing and then return to their hotels or the many guest houses to spend the chilly nights unwinding with a beer or two. Visiting pubs after sunset is yet another night-time attraction with cricket World Cup fever catching on and hotel staff and waiters having to serve their customers as well as keep a close tab on match proceedings.

Some foreign tourists group together in the evenings for a session of music strumming their guitars playing Western or folk songs reminiscent of a bygone era, and still kept alive and even relished by the younger generation who find it irresistible.

Hotel keepers and restaurant caterers claim there is no specific season for tourists in Ella unlike in neighbouring Nuwara Eliya that blooms and blossoms in spring and has wonderful rainy seasons in the later spring.

Tourists want peace and relaxation and to feel at “home from home”, and they discover exactly that here in Ella.

Everyone likes the local food and drink, the walks and views, and it is not surprising that more hotels and guest houses are under construction in Ella and its surroundings.

Scooters can be hired for daytime excursions across Ella from where one-day sojourns by vehicle can be made to places like the world heritage site of Horton Plains where stag or sambhur deer roam in the distance and red rhododendrons bloom in the month of May and various other flora and fauna throughout the year.

The Ambewela dairy farm, famous for its special breed of black and white cows and stud bulls which is like a stolen piece of New Zealand and the nearby Catholic Adisham monastery in Haputale where Benedictine monks reside, are what distinguish Ella from the rest of the scenic spots in the country.

Ian Botham Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 3

Cricket legend Ian Botham takes his grandchildren to Sri Lanka

  • England’s leading wicket taker first visited Sri Lanka to play cricket in 1982
  • This time, he took his grandchildren for a sunshine holiday of beach fishing
  • He has a particular fondness for Kandy, with its famous Buddhist temple

My initial impression of Sri Lanka?   Hot.

Stand Up Paddleboard "SUP"  Sri Lanka Jungle River Adventure

I first visited in 1982 – when England played their first test match against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Then we went and played in Kandy, in the central province, and it has become one of my favourite places in the whole country. It’s home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), and is the most important spot for Sri Lanka’s Buddhist community.

The whole town is steeped in history. It’s always been one of the country’s major trading places, and there are beautiful temples and tea plantations. It must be part of your itinerary.

A family favourite: Ian Botham has spent time with his grandchildren in Sri Lanka – and has long found Kandy (right), where the Temple of the Tooth Relic is an important Buddhist landmark – to be one of its greatest cities

I only really started to fall in love with the country on coming back to commentate. As a player we were never in one place long enough.

I visited the south at the start of 2004, just after the tsunami. It was horrendous, with bodies still being pulled from the rubble. Since then, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation (I’m an ambassador for the organisation) has worked with the Sri Lanka-based Foundation of Goodness and built the Southern Project in Seenigama, an area which was devastated by the huge wave.

 

There’s a brand new school, a cricket oval and an Olympic-sized pool. The pool was paid for by rock singer Bryan Adams, who offered to help fund the sports complex after reading about the destruction wreaked by the tsunami, and locals have named it the Bryan Adams Pool in his honour.

It’s hard to believe that when I first visited, the railway line – and a train – were 400 yards away in a coconut tree.

It was this project which inspired me to undertake last year’s sponsored walk. I managed 160 miles, from the north to the south of the island, in eight days. The aim was to raise money and mirror what’s been done in the south – because the north was devastated by the civil war and has suffered terribly.

The north has so much to offer – it’s Sri Lanka’s next booming tourism centre. The main draw are the beaches – they’re sensational.

There are new hotels and railways being built and the airport at Jaffna, the capital city of the northern province, is being renovated. It should establish itself within five years. Anuradhapura – the capital of the north central province – and Mihintale, which is the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, have beautiful stupas and temples which put Angkor Wat to shame – well, almost.

They are within what’s known as Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle.

Splendid: The south coast of Sri Lanka has glorious beaches – and has recovered from the tsunami of 2004

 

This area’s most spectacular landmark is the Sigiriya rock fortress – an enormous, 200-metre-high lump of stone. In 480 AD, a Sri Lankan king built his castle atop the rock. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and Sri Lankans call it the eighth wonder of the world.

I climbed it on my first cricket tour and was amazed. So much that, while taking a photo, I accidentally knocked over the bottle of water I’d diligently carried to the top. I remember watching in horror as it rolled over the edge and tumbled out of sight.

I’ve visited Sri Lanka with my family several times. Some of the most memorable trips have been with my wife and the grandchildren.

It’s incredibly child-friendly – as child-friendly as destinations like Spain or the Caribbean. We wanted to show the grandchildren that life isn’t easy, that terrible things happen but you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on.

The Sri Lankans are the best example of this – they’re always smiling and there’s no bitterness about the unfair hand they’ve been dealt, with the civil war and tsunami.

They are the reason my wife Kath and I keep returning.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the capital, Colombo, which is a fantastic, progressive city, with great hotels and restaurants. We like Lagoon, the restaurant at the Cinnamon Grand hotel, where you choose your seafood from a huge display and the chefs cook it however you want.

The grandchildren loved it – they would compete to find the biggest fish.

Other great restaurants in the capital are the Ministry of Crab, which is owned by Sri Lankan cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, and the Park Street Mews restaurant, which blends Sri Lankan and European cuisine.

I’ve probably spent most time in the south, in coastal towns like Galle and Weligama. In Weligama, we rented a villa and just chill out – I love watching the stilt fishermen balancing on their poles.

Inviting: Kandy, at the very heart of this tropical island, is Sri Lanka at its most intriguing

I’ve spent hours walking around Galle fort, which is a walled city. The locals have incredible stories to tell about the day the tsunami hit – how they could see the wave coming and ran inside the fort, emerging hours later to find the rest of the city in ruins.

The fort was built by the Portuguese in the 14th century and it split the wave and saved thousands of lives. Nobody inside died – you can walk around inside and see these old shops and restaurants which weren’t even affected.

The grandchildren also adored Weligama, where they fished, rode in tuk-tuks, played on the beaches and spotted turtles.

One day was spent just fishing on the beach.

One of my grandchildren, James, is extremely competitive – he simply has to beat his younger sister at everything.

malu banna watersports sri lanka island toursGalle Fort Sri Lanka Jumper srilankaislandtours (3)

James had spent all day waiting for a bite. He put down the rod while he nipped to the loo and his sister Imani-Jayne picked up the rod and caught a fish within seconds. James was livid.

My advice for anyone considering a visit to Sri Lanka? Do it. It is all there to be explored.

Tourism on the south coast is well-established. The east and west coasts are becoming more established, and the north will soon be the next big tourism destination.

What’s more, you don’t have to walk everywhere – like I did.

Travel Facts: Plan your own tour of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Airlines (www.srilankan.com, 020 8538 2000) flies daily (apart from Saturdays and Sundays, when there are two flights a day) to Colombo from London Heathrow. Prices from £613.

Find more about the work of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation at www.laureus.com

Local waterfalls in Sri Lanka

Galboda Ella Nawalapitiya waterfalls sri lanka

Local waterfalls in Sri Lanka you must visit!

Sri Lanka is a cherished vacation spot all around the world. Whether you are looking for an adventure trip or a romantic get-away, this country gets you one of the best experiences. Along with the most sacred historic ruins and ancient monuments, Sri Lanka hosts the best of Nature. You could find rain-forests, jungles, wildlife, springs, waterfalls, beaches and much much more at this tiny, yet amazing island Paradise!

Waterfalls are one of the most precious gifts Nature has offered to Sri Lanka. If you are a tourist visiting Sri Lanka, or a local who loves to travel, do not forget to check out the Natural Pools, and the beautiful Waterfalls that Sri Lanka has to offer!

The waterfalls come along with amazing trekking trips. So when you are on a look-out for an adventurous, thrilling experience, break out the map and mark these beautiful locations;

  • Asupini Ella – Mawanella

A heart-pounding experience awaits you at the city of Mawanella in the form of the amazing ‘Asupini Ella’. This beauty is a 30m (98ft) fall, and could be sighted from the historic town of Aranayake.

In Sri Lanka, every historic location has its own fascinating story, and the Asupini Ella is no different.

The name ‘Asupini’ was derived from a story about ‘a king who had many queens’. Lore says that these queens committed suicide by jumping down the fall. The tale also says that one can sometimes hear a fearsome roar, which continues for around 15 minutes, signifying that it will claim a human life within a period of two months.

A plunge pool strewn with rocks is formed by the Asupini Ella, although, this beautiful pool draws the visitors towards it- people are restricted from bathing in it. This is because of the high risk of drowning. All these folktales and drowning risks are the reason this ella remains a secret!

Mawanella is also home to many other big and small Waterfalls, which could be visited within a single day trip:

  • Huluganga Ella
  • Jodu Ella
  • Saree Ella
  • Thaliya Wetuna Ella/ Alakola Ella
  • Galboda Ella- Nawalapitiya

A train trip to this amazing fall would be a great idea! Nestled at the Hatton Rail Track in an abandoned, but picturesque tea estate adjacent to the Galboda station at Nawalapitiya, lies the Galboda falls. The name ‘fall adjoining the stone’ (Galboda) is derived from a large boulder situated at its foot. Studies state that the water in this area gushes down with a velocity higher than anywhere else in the country.

A beautiful temple standing on the mountain right above the fall is the best view in all of the area. The mesmerizing fall is a good 30metres high and is categorized as a wet zone due to its high rate of rainfall. This nature’s beauty is an eye-catcher!

  • Gartmore Falls (Sri-Pada Falls)

Also identified as Sri-Pada falls, the 25m Gartmore Fall is often mistaken to the Moray Falls. The fall is of similar height and nestles a few hundred meters away from the Siri Pada falls. Both these waterfalls drop directly on the Maskeliya Reservoir.

The area hosts many other waterfalls, each of which offers a splendid view!

  • Diyaluma Falls- Koslanda, Badulla

If you are looking for a location for your trekking trip, the Badulla District is the place to go!

The area is surrounded by natural pools, waterfalls, and amazing trekking locations. The district is home to Diyaluma Falls -the second highest fall of Sri Lanka. The fall is a good 220m (720ft) high and is situated just 6 km away from Koslanda.

The Diyaluma Fall gives you the opportunity to enjoy many things in a single trip. Like every other fall, the Diyaluma Fall has its own historic tales. It is a great tourist destination for the travelers who enjoy visiting ancient ruins and historical sites.

  • Handapan Ella- Ratnapura

Travel along the Ratnapura- Deniyaya road, which falls at the end of Buluthota Pass. From there, walk along the 4 km long path. The path is bumpy and filled with rocks and slippery routes to the jungle. This trek will lead you to Rakwana, where you will get the most stunning view of the Handapan Falls.

The Handapan Ella is a 23m (height) fall which springs from the Handapan Ella Valley (1230m high). This is the starting point of the Rakwana River.

Waterfalls like Lover’s leap in Nuwara Eliya, and the Bambarakanda Ella in the Badulla District -which are also the highest falls of Sri Lanka- are the most visited and well-known waterfalls in the country. The ones listed above are the hidden treasures and some of the must see-waterfalls in Sri Lanka!

Stand Up Paddleboard “SUP”  Sri Lanka Jungle Adventure – 3 days

Stand Up Paddleboard "SUP"  Sri Lanka Jungle River Adventure

Stand Up Paddleboard “SUP”  Sri Lanka Jungle Adventure

Three days and two nights of awesome fun and exploration off the beaten track on a remote river in Sri Lanka.

This Stand Up Paddleboard “SUP”  Sri Lanka Jungle Adventure, meanders through the Sri Lankan Kanneliya Rainforest with river grade I/II rapids and jungle hills as the backdrop, the Gin Ganga is a true wild jungle river experience.

Stand Up Paddleboard "SUP"  Sri Lanka Jungle River Adventure

Adventurers Trip Information:

All equipment is provided including buoyancy aids and helmets for safety through the rapids.

For camping – hammocks with built in mosquito nets, tents are also available  for couples including sleeping bags and air mattress.

Stand Up Paddleboard "SUP"  Sri Lanka Jungle River Adventure

 

Food is provided as follows:

Day 1 – Lunch & dinner. Rice & Curry cooked by local village families

Day 2 – Breakfast, lunch & BBQ dinner

Day 3 – Breakfast & lunch stop on return road transfer.

 

Water provided, bring reusable bottle

All rapids are optional with easy portages (walk around) along the riverbank.

Some SUP paddling experience is necessary.

A training paddle session is available prior to the trip where our guide will ensure you have the necessary skills.

The campsites offer basic shower and toilet facilities.

What to wear and bring:

All of your personal belongings must fit into a 40 litre dry bag

Luggage storage is available at main base for you to collect on return

Our camp guides carry all other camping, cooking equipment and food.

Valuables, cameras, phones etc  are brought at your own risk.

For the Stand Up Paddleboard “SUP”  Sri Lanka Jungle Adventure  you will need:

  • Two/three sets of clothes. Swimwear and quick drying clothes for paddling.
  • Dry clothes x 2 to change into at the camp sites.
  • Small towel
  • Footwear for riverbank (trainers or flip-flops or thongs or slippers)
  • Socks in case of sunburn or insect bites.
  • Sunglasses (with straps / ties)
  • Sun hat
  • Small amount of money for tips and snacks.
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen. Odomos from a local pharmacy works well. DO NOT buy Nomos – it doesn’t work. If you are allergic to insect bites, we suggest bringing the strongest DEET possible.
  • Soap for bodywash – biodegradable if possible.
  • Optional – Bottle of wine or liquor.

Stand Up Paddleboard “SUP”  Sri Lanka Jungle Adventure Itinerary

 

Day 1:

  • 6am. Meet for coffee and debrief at Camp Poe, Ahangama. Secure storage is available.
  • Two hour mini-bus transfer.
  • 730am Local breakfast in Udugama.
  • 9am. Unload van, pump up and load boards.
  • 9.30am. Whitewater safety brief.
  • 10am Launch. The morning paddle has the highest concentration of rapids throughout the whole trip. All are optional with riverbank portages available and none exceed Grade II.
  • 12.30pm Lunch stop.
  • 2pm. Arrival at Campsite 1 – Uncle Sumith’s Tea Plantation. Tea, Coffee and snacks.
  • Optional hill climb.
  • 7pm. Rice and curry dinner with campfire stories and song.

 

Day 2:

  • 6.30am. Tea, Coffee & Breakfast.
  • 8am. 1 hour paddle to a small tributary river where we stop for a swim in crystal clear waters. Short walk through tea plantation.
  • 2-3 hours paddling with multiple rapids. Plenty of opportunities to stop and swim.
  • 2pm. arrival at Campsite 2. Coffee and snacks. Swim, play in the rapids and firewood collection.
  • 5pm. Prepare dinner and cook over campfire.
  • 7pm. BBQ around campfire.

 

Day 3:

  • Optional wake up at 5am for sunrise mountain hike and photo opportunities.
  • 5.30am Start walk.
  • 7.30am. Reach viewpoint.
  • 830am campfire cooked breakfast.
  • 10am. start final 7km paddle.
  • 1pm. Finish at Mapalagama for rice & curry lunch.
  • 3pm. Arrive back to Camp Poe.

FAQ:

  • Are there crocodiles? None have ever been spotted nor an attack ever reported.
  • Are there venomous animals? Yes, we will be in the jungle so it is possible we could see snakes & scorpions. Although they are extremely rare.
  • Do I need experience? Some paddling experience is necessary. A training paddle session is available prior to the trip where our guide will ensure you have the necessary skills.
  • Are there vegetarian food options? Vegetarian options are always available, for further dietary requirements please enquire.

How deep is the river? Water levels can vary depending on rainfall. The main river channel is generally 8ft deep or more.

Our guide will always assess the rapids beforehand and point out any shallows, rocks or hazards

This is a great river adventure, not 5 star hotel, a real adventure that you will remember for a lifetime.

 

 

 

Snorkel Safari Adventures Come Snorkelling Sri Lanka Style Madiha Polhena South Coast

Snorkelling Polhena Madiha Coral Reef Turtle Coloursish Sri Lanka

Explore the underwater beauty in the tropical lagoons between Polhena and Madiha coral reefs and the secluded beaches on the South Coast of Sri Lanka.

Admire the colour fish, the octopus and the turtles as you glide on the surface looking at the beauty on the sea bed.

 

 

Snorkel Safari Adventures Come Snorkelling Sri Lanka Style Madiha Polhena South Coast

 

Snorkel Safari Adventures Come Snorkelling Sri Lanka Style Madiha Polhena South Coast