Polonaruwa is a Historic location.
You must purchase tickets when entering archaeological sites.
Definitely request for a Tour Guide fluent in the language of your choice to understand what you are looking at.
Polonaruwa was the second Ancient Capitol of Sri Lanka. After the fall of Anuradhapura kingdom in the hands of foreign invaders, the rulers established strong bases around the Polonaruwa reign and conducted successful warfare driving foreign forces away from the country. The reign also being well nourished by River Mahaweli, the longest river in the island, was the obvious choice for the new capitol.
The remnants of the ancient city can be explored today. Despite most of the ruins are badly eroded by the elements, many sites with religious significance were maintained in prestine condition through the passage of time by the religious locals. These places are visited and worshipped by locals even today.
Among the most significant remnants of the ancient city, the most obvious is the huge reservoir “Parakrama Samudra”. Through out the ancient times, Sri Lankan society was sustained through farming. Polonaruwa being in the dry zone, rain wasn’t available year around yet water was necessary for the rice fields. Hence these massive reservoirs were constructed in hopes of collecting enough rain water to maintain a year long water supply.
This capitol too fell under a massive foreign invation and all significant structures in the city were ruined by the enemy forces.