Archaeological Museum of Polonnaruwa

Built to mirror the once thriving citadel of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom, the Archaeological Museum of Polonnaruwa is an idyllic museum in Sri Lanka for the history enthuse looking to delve into the rise and fall of the ancient kingdom that existed from the 11th Century AC to the 13th Century AC. Possessing a number of Buddhist and Hindu monuments in the form of stone statues and bronze statues, along with scale models of buildings that existed during the kingdom’s prime period, the museum is one that should not be missed, should you be travelling about the Cultural Triangle.

Best Known For

  • The Archaeological Museum of Polonnaruwa is famed for being the starting point for the traveller looking to explore the ancient ruins of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom that thrived from the 11th Century AC to the 13th Century AC.
  • Built in a layout that mirrors the ancient citadel, each room possesses a number of ancient exhibits, from the religious to the more mundane, such as tools used during the time. The museum also boasts of scale models of the historical buildings that once existed in the kingdom, allowing you to reimagine a lost world.

Interesting Facts

  • The museum was built in 1962, right at the entrance of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa to provide the necessary context and background of the rise and fall of a once powerful kingdom to the traveller.
  • The museum is built in a manner that mirrors the various sectors of the ancient city, making it an easily navigable museum to explore.
  • Some of the highlights in the museum are the diverse, ancient exhibits on display, of which some of the notable being the Buddha and bronze Shiva statues that were unearthed in the excavations that took place since the city’s rediscovery.
  • Another highlighting feature of the museum is the scale models of the buildings that existed during the kingdom’s prominence, before it was laid to waste by the Chola invaders of India.
  • Such models, like the monk’s hospital and the Palace of King Parakramabahu allow you to reimagine a lost kingdom that was once technologically advanced and culturally diverse.
  • To many, the museum is highly recommended by travellers to be the first stop when exploring the ancient city as exploring the museum gives you enough knowledge for you to explore the city without the help of a tour guide.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The museum is open daily from 7.30am to 5.00pm, however, the ideal time to visit the museum is during the morning hours, as the crowds are much lesser, thus allowing you to explore the museum in all its entirety.
  • It is important that you adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the authorities.
  • Please keep in mind that photographs within the museum are not allowed.
  • It is highly advised that you tour the museum before you explore the very ancient city, as it provides the necessary context and background to understand the significance of the ruins.
  • It is also important that you are dressed accordingly, especially when visiting the sacred places of worship in the ancient city.
  • Make sure you have plenty of water and some snacks, just in case the weather is not on your side.

The Archaeological Museum of Polonnaruwa then, is an important complex that allows you to delve deeper into one of the prominent kingdoms in Sri Lanka in great depth.

Title image by: Archaeological Museum of Polonnaruwa The information displayed is provided by Archaeological Museum of Polonnaruwa


Foreign Adults
LKR 4,450
Foreign Adults
USD 25
Foreign Children
LKR 2,225
Foreign Children
USD 13

Tickets At


Culture and Heritage

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