The Ancient City Of Anuradhapura
Visit the capital of the first Kingdom of Sri Lanka and be awed by the majestic landmarks
The city of Anuradhapura is home to some of Sri Lanka's most famous landmarks such as the great stupas
Anuradhapura is known as a “must visit” tourist attractions of Sri Lanka Holidays and is one point of the country’s Cultural Triangle. Anuradhapura, the greatest monastic city of the ancient world that date from the middle of the 5th century B.C. remained the proud seat of kingdom of Sri Lanka until the 11th century A.D. Today Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is replete with renovated monuments, restored edifices, preserved ruins and historical sites where the archeological excavations are still being continued. Today, Sri Lanka Holidays foreign tourists and local tourists, who tour Anuradhapura, are simply unable to witness everything Anuradhapura has to offer, within the confines of a single day as Sri Lanka Tours have been cram-programmed. However the major attractions of Anuradhapura can be visited in a single day.
The History of the City of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura Kingdom is the first established kingdom in Sri Lanka among the Sinhala people. Its rule began with King Pandukabhaya and the Kingdom flourished from 377 BC to 1017 AD. One of the important events during the Anuradhapura Kingdom include the introduction of Buddhism. This was made possible due to the strong union between King Asoka of India and King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka.
From the origins as a settlement by Minister Anuradha in the 6th century BC, Anuradhapura was developed at a rapid pace & was consequently made the capital of the island by King Pandukhabaya (437-366 BC), who took a leaf out of the book of King Abhaya (474 BC), the builder of the first rainwater reservoir of Lanka. King Pandukhabhaya commenced the irrigation schemes in a larger scale providing the lifeline to the fledging Aryan civilization of the Sinhalese. By the mid-3rd century BC Anuradhapura’s fame for the excellence of its temple art and palace architecture, the ingenuity and skill of its irrigation engineers, noble elephants, precious gems, fine spices and its military prowess had spread as far as the Roman-Hellenistic world.
The Famous Buddhist Sites in Anuradhapura
The City of Anuradhapura has a huge number of places for you to visit. In the City there eight places which are called the Atamasthana, they are the main religious sites in Anuradhapura.
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya – Planted in 288 BC this is a branch from the Sri Maha Bodhi Bodhgaya, India where Buddha gained enlightenment. History recalls the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya as the sacred fig tree as the oldest living human-planted tree in the world. The wall was built during the time of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha as protection from wild elephants.
Ruwanwelisaya – Construction of this temple was initiated by King Dutugemunu who didn’t live to see its completion. Some also call it the Swarnamali Chaitya and it is among the tallest stupas in the world .
Lovamahapaya is also known as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasadaya as it has a roof of bronze tiles. Initially built by King Dutugemunu, the structure currently has only remains of the 1600-column structure. Archaeological evidence tells us that the structure once had nine storeys and would have accommodated least 1,000 monks.
Thuparamaya was built during the time of King Devanampiya Tissa (247-207 BC) and was one of the first dagobas built after the introduction of Buddhism.
Abhayagiri Dagaba was built by King Valagamba during his second reign of succession. The dagoba is among the most immense ruin structures in the world.
Jetavanarama at 400 ft is recorded as the tallest stupa in the ancient world. The construction began with by King Mahasen and his son Maghavanna I saw through its completion.
Mirisawetiya Stupa that was constructed by King Dutugemunu after defeating Chola King Elara.
Lankarama that is another another stupa built by King Valagamba.
Ancient City Of Anuradhapura is a must-visit highlight of any visitor’s holiday to Sri Lanka.