Polannaruwa is hands down my favourite heritage city in Sri Lanka. I had first visited the place when I was about 7, but could not recall that trip too clearly.
Then in 2013 I went to help my cousin settle into his medical internship at Polannaruwa and fell in love with the place immediately. The temples and old city are quite a treat. Be sure to rent a cycle and check out them out. I have been to the ruins three times now in the last year and a half and still love going there.
However, the clowning glory of the city is The Parakrama Samudra (The Sea of Parakrama). It was built by King Parakramabahu I, a visionary for his time. When my friends come down from India I make it a point to take them to the Samudra and they have always been impressed.
This artificial tank literally does look like a sea. More often that not you are bound to see some elephants coming to drink from its waters. There is also a variety of birds coming to feed from the tank.
I always look forward to visiting Polannaruwa. Some of the more calmer moments in my life have been just sitting by the Samudra, feeling the wind beat against my face and taking in the magnificence of creation of both Universe and man.