Miniature Water Garden, Polonnaruwa: an elaborate network of water pavilions, pools, courtyards and water courses, laid out in the last quarter of the 5th century, then expanded during the post-Kasyapa Period (10th-13th century). It isn't so "miniature", to be honest!
Sri Jinaratana Bhikku Abhyasa Vidyalana, a relatively unknown Hindu temple near the more popular Gangaramaya Temple. 100 rupee entrance fee, an overzealous guide and a free "protection guide" given to me made this visit memorable. My tuktuk driver told me it was his first time there.
Rooming in, Ruvanveli Mahaseya. 200 rupees to see the holy Bodhi Tree. Devotees gathered around and sang songs and recited hymns for this Bodhi Tree. it actually felt weird that people were singing to a tree - very Avatarish! Maybe James Cameron got his idea from here!
A must buy is the $50 Round Ticket (above) that any tourist who wants to visit the Cultural Triangle must purchase. Validity is 14 days from the date of first use. I bought mine in Anuradhapura (Archaeological Museum), but should be available in Kandy, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla. On top of this $50 ticket, you have to pay entrance fees to several other temples and sites (Temple of Tooth Relic, Peradeniya Botanical Garden, Dambulla Caves, etc.) Yup, you better get used to this endless practice of paying everywhere. Furthermore, you see donation boxes at every turn, nook and cranny of these heritage sites. My wallet was bleeding for the whole duration. And I was actually waiting for a tourist officer to remind me that I have yet to pay for the Sri Lankan air that I breathed. :)
Overgrown baby at the Ruvaneli Mahaseya (Sri Lanka's most venerated stupa) in Anuradhapura.