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  • Panduwasnuwara

Panduwasnuwara the best location to prepare for your journey inside the island !

122 kilometres from the present day capital, Colombo, lays the mysterious and still largely uncovered ruins of Panduwasnuwara. The ancient city of Panduwasnuwara was established in the 5th century; however the ruins associated with its name were built mainly in the 12th century. It is not completely known for what use the buildings were built but there are theories around the cloudy past of Panduwasnuwara.

Among the crumbling temples there is a very old Temple of the Tooth Relic, which means that at one point in history the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha called this place home during its turbulent past, having been passed through many cities before finding its resting place in present day Kandy. The temple contains an 18th century Buddha statue and frescoes.

The ruins at Panduwasnuwara include stupas, monasteries and accommodation houses for Buddhist monks. Nearby the ruins is the Panda Wewa reservoir which may have been the first irrigation reservoir built in history and at the entrance of the ruins is a six-meter wide moat and the ruins of an enormous fortified wall.

The archaeological site is still largely uncovered by archaeologists and remains off the general tourist path but the sprawling site, 20 hectares (50 acres) in size, is worth visiting if you are in the area. There is a small archaeological museum to visit as well, containing many of the findings from the site including jewellery, coins, small statues and pottery.

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Things to Do

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Take a walk down memory lane

Panduwasnuwara is one of the oldest capitals in the district, making it worth checking out, especially with all its magnificent ruins. Every stone, intact or otherwise, will take you back in time and give you a glimpse of what this ancient city looked like in its heyday.

Feel like royalty for a day

This ancient city in the Kurunegala area used to be a King’s palace, which means it has royalty written all over it. So go ahead, explore the palace and take a walk around BisoMaligawa (Queens Palace) and just feel like royalty even just for one day. Even if you would only see ruins, they look just as regal as they used to be.

Bring out the adventurer in you

Ever seen a rock fortress that rises 100m high? You have the option to get up close and even segue to Sigiriya, a nearby attraction, just make sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothes as it can be a long and exciting hike. So, are you up for an adventure?

Tourist Attractions

Palace in Panduwasnuwara

The ruins of the Panduwasnuwara Kingdom are a site to behold. The ancient buildings are stretched across the 20-hectare area that includes image houses, meeting halls, ancient latrines, accommodation for months, and dagobas. The compound is surrounded by a huge wall and a 6-meter wide moat.

Fire Rock

Located in Yapahuwa, this rock fortress is a natural wonder that rises 100m from a plain surrounding it. It served as a defensible refuge in the early 13th century. Today, it is a magnificent fortress and holy site vibrant with archaeological digs and ongoing restorations.


RidiVihara or Silver Temple is named as such because it was where silver ore was discovered. What’s funny though is that the main attraction in this area is the golden statue in the main cave of PahalaVihara (Lower Temple). Then again, don’t silver and gold mix well together?

Kabbella Lena Cave Temple

This is where you will find one of the largest reclining Buddhas in Sri Lanka.

Other attractions to check out are the Arankele Forest Monastery, Elephant Rock – Athugala, DewagiriViharaya, Padeniya Raja MahaViharaya, and SangamuwaViharaya, among others. Suffice to say that there will never be a dull moment when you visit Panduwasnuwara.

Nearby Attractions:

Temple of the Tooth

This restored attraction is outside the fortified walls. It hides something worth discovering – a 2-level temple that used to be the home of the Tooth relic, and features frescoes and an 18th century Buddha statue.

Corea House

This estate in Madampe is the historic home of the Corea family, one of the well-known families in Sri Lanka.

With proximity to Colombo and Madampe, expect to find plenty of other nearby attractions you can explore at your leisure.

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Last updated on September 11th, 2015 by Teddy

Getting In and Around

 Distance from important cities

  • Colombo: 122 km

  • Kandy: 80 km

  • Galle: 208 km

  • Anuradhapura: 102 km

  • Polonnaruwa: 156 km

  • Arugam-bay: 290 km

  • Trincomalee: 205 km

  • Jaffna: 306 km

Located 122 km away from Colombo, you can reach Panduwasnuwara by travelling along the main road that connects Colombo and Chilaw. There are buses available departing from different points, such as Colombo express, Anuradhapura express, Kandy express and Negombo. You can also take the train for your return trip. The station is 2km southwest of the town center.

Hotels and Accommodation

Hotel Viveka

Located in the North Lake Rd, Hotel Viveka is a one-story villa that is over a century old. It has five rooms with modern bathrooms. It also has the best bar and restaurant in the Kurunegala area.

Kandyan Reach Hotel

This hotel and spa is the perfect place to crash in without spending a lot of money. Good eats for a good price? Perfect!

Littlemore Estate Bungalow

This B&B is said to give you the best Sri Lanka experience. Care to test if this claim is true?

Blue Haven Guest House

Hotel Diya Dahara

Serendib Guest House

Our Picks:

{1} Hotel Viveka

{2} Kandyan Reach Hotel

{3} Littlemore Estate Bungalow

{4} Blue Haven Guest House

{5} Hotel Diya Dahara

Foodies’ Guide

  1. In & Out
    This bakery and café sits close to the bus station. It serves an array of local and Western dishes, in addition to omelets, sandwiches, rice and curry, and smoothies.

  2. Saruketha
    This is one of the most highly recommended eats in the Kurunegala area, renowned for its good food and pleasant staff.

  3. Hotel Kurunegala
    As previously mentioned, this hotel also has an excellent bar and restaurant that are sure to satisfyyour craving for good food.

With its close distance to Airport, Colombo and center of the country, Panduwasnuwara is a great choice to begin your trip.