Anuradhapura: A Journey Through Sri Lanka’s Ancient Capital

Explore the historical and cultural treasures of Anuradhapura, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rifath Farook

July 25, 2023

Anuradhapura is a city that will take you back in time. As the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, it was the seat of power and culture for over a thousand years, from the 4th century BCE to the 11th century CE. It was also the cradle of Buddhism in the island, where the sacred Bodhi tree was planted and where countless stupas and temples were built. Today, Anuradhapura is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can marvel at the ruins of a glorious civilization and feel the spiritual aura of a sacred city. In this blog post, we will take you on a journey through Anuradhapura’s history, culture, and nature, and show you why it is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Sri Lanka.

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi: This is the oldest living tree in history, which is believed to have sprouted from a cutting of the Bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. It is revered by Buddhists as a sacred relic and attracts millions of pilgrims every year.

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Ruwanweliseya: This is one of the largest and most impressive stupas in Sri Lanka, built by King Dutugamunu in the 2nd century BCE. It is said to contain the relics of Buddha and is surrounded by a wall with 344 elephant statues.

Lovamahapaya: This is a 2000-year-old palace that was once nine stories high and had 1000 rooms. It is also known as the Brazen Palace because of the bronze tiles that covered its roof. It was used as a monastery and a council hall by the ancient kings.

Abhayagiri Monastery: This is a vast monastic complex that was founded in the 2nd century BCE by King Vattagamani Abhaya. It was one of the most influential Buddhist centers in Sri Lanka and had a library, a museum, a hospital, and an alchemy laboratory. It also has several stupas, temples, caves, and sculptures.

Abhayagiri Monastery
Isurumuniya Temple: This is a rock temple that dates back to the 3rd century BCE. It is famous for its rock carvings, especially the one depicting a group of elephants bathing in a pond. It also has a statue of a royal couple, which is considered to be one of the finest examples of ancient Sri Lankan art.

Isurumuniya Temple
Mihintale: This is a mountain peak that is regarded as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is where King Devanampiya Tissa met the Buddhist missionary Mahinda, who converted him and his people to Buddhism in the 3rd century BCE. It has several shrines, stupas, caves, and ponds that are associated with this historic event.

Thuparamaya: This is the first stupa that was built in Sri Lanka after the introduction of Buddhism. It was constructed by King Devanampiya Tissa in the 3rd century BCE and enshrines the right collar bone of Buddha. It has a circular base and a conical dome, and is surrounded by stone pillars.

Jetavanaramaya: This is one of the tallest stupas in the world, reaching a height of 122 meters. It was built by King Mahasena in the 3rd century CE and contains relics of Buddha and his disciples. It was part of a large monastery that housed thousands of monks.

Wilpattu National Park: This is the largest and oldest national park in Sri Lanka, covering an area of over 1300 square kilometers. It is home to a variety of wildlife, such as leopards, elephants, bears, deer, crocodiles, and birds. It also has several natural lakes that attract many animals and visitors.

Wilpattu National Park
Anuradhapura is a city that will awe you with its ancient wonders and inspire you with its spiritual significance. It is a city that preserves the legacy of a great civilization and the teachings of a great religion. It is a city that offers you a glimpse of the past and a taste of the present. Anuradhapura is a city that you should not miss when you visit Sri Lanka.

Image Courtesy:

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi | Ruwanweliseya | Lovamahapaya | Abhayagiri Monastery | Isurumuniya Temple | Mihintale | Thuparamaya | Jetavanaramaya | Wilpattu National Park

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