Fortunately we had time for a little lunch before heading out to explore...I got to use my new 'spork-ive' - isn't it awesome!?
Like Anuradhapura it is also home to impressive ruins and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However Polonnaruwa’s are closer to each other and generally in better repair.
Again we hired bikes as the best way to get around these 1000 year old remains.
There are more palaces, temples and stupas, but the main draw are the huge stone Buddhas.
The 14m high granite carved reclining Buddha is a famous Sri Lankan sight and shows the rock carving abilities of the Sinhalese.
As in Anuradhapura, most buddhist buildings are marked with three elements:
1) the moonstone (‘sandakada Pahana’) - this semi circular stone at the base of steps can be intricately carved
2) the guard stone (‘Mura Gal’) - this provided support to the balustrade and often sculpted with symbols of prosperity and protection
3) the balustrades (‘Korawak Gal’) - this is positioning on the sides of the steps and represents an animal (usually a fire-breathing dragon).
Also spotted some of the city’s toque macaque monkeys which have been living in the ruins since original occupation.
And a couple of other animals!
All impressive, but after a full day of temple-visiting before we were pretty “templed-out” by the end.
...followed by a portion of chicken and veggie noodles.
And sampled a popular local dessert ‘Watalappam’ - a mix of coconut milk, egg, spices and brown sugar treacle.