It is one of the most popular places in Sri Lanka not only for tourists for locals as well. Most of the crowds are gone in the late afternoon.
"Dry" season for this area from July to October/November
Polonnaruwa is part of the cultural triangle. It is formed by Anuradhapura and Mihintale in the north, by Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya to the southeast with Dambulla in the middle and to the south by Kandy and Matale Vihara. The triangle includes five of the eight world heritage sites in Sri Lanka. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa is a World Heritage Site since 1982. It is a huge area, and you should schedule a few hours for a visit. For me, the most beautiful Buddha statues of Sri Lanka are the rock monastery of Gal Vihara. They are the central part which has been carved into a long granite rock of about 50 meters long. To protect the statues from the rain they are sheltered under a roof. Two of them are sitting but with different meanings, one is standing, and the most impressive one which is 14 m long is reclining. There are still discussions if it is a sleeping or passing away depiction. It is a memorable place with a very overwhelming atmosphere. Our guide told us we shouldn't visit this place before late afternoon because it is the most visited monument. Polonnaruwa is crowded the whole day. The buses leave the area in the afternoon, and there wasn't anybody else at Gal Vihara