Pedaling Through Peaceful Polonnaruwa
This afternoon tour takes you on a cycling trip into the peaceful countryside around the town of Polonnaruwa in North Central Province – a refreshing break from visiting famed monuments and ancient ruins, crowded with tourists.
Once the capital of kings, Polonnaruwa now moves at a much slower pace compared with the hustle and bustle of Sri Lanka’s larger cities – a perfect rural backwater to go cycling, experience village life and meet friendly locals.
We begin the bike tour in the little town of Bendiwewa and our first stop is a local house for a taste of kurumba – a type of coconut water, which makes a great energy drink! Here you will get an idea of the different uses of the coconut tree – an important daily source of sustenance for villagers.
We also bike past several small lakes where you can see some of the fishing techniques being practiced by local fishermen. As we continue into the countryside, your guide will keep an eye out for birdlife and if you’re lucky, you might be treated to a glimpse of some of the more exotic species.
The last part of the trail courses along a canal where villagers use small wooden bridges to get from one side to the other. Water monitors – large lizards, which can grow to three or four meters long – are a common sight on this stretch, but don’t worry, they are shy and timid creatures!
We eventually end up near Giritale Lake bund, where your regular guide will be waiting to pick you up. The bike trail covers a distance of approximately 13 km over relatively flat terrain, so it’s easy riding for anyone who is reasonably fit and healthy.
Your guide for the duration of the bike ride is a local villager, and while he only speaks a little bit of English, he will make up for it with his friendly, hospitable approach and in-depth knowledge of the area!