Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka
Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka first capital, a potent symbol of sinhalese power, archaeologists delight and...
Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's first capital, a potent symbol of sinhalese power, and the most extensive and important of Sri Lanka's ancient cities. For over 1000 years, Sinhalse kings, and occasional South Indian interlopers, ruled from the palace of Anuradhapura and its size and the length of its history, and equally the length of time since its downfall, make it more difficult to comprehend than younger, shorter-lived Polonnaruwa. Several centuries before the Jesus Christ, while the Greek empire was at its zenith, many other regions were emerging from the stone age; Anurdhapura was already and advanced civilization. Anuradhapura is 250 km north of Colombo.
Anuradhapura was established in 4th century BC. It was the first capital of Sri Lanka and remained so until 8th century AD. Anuradhapura is an archaeologist's delight and contains several monuments of historical importance. The city is considered very sacred by the Buddhists and is home to the largest dagobas in Sri Lanka. A dagoba is a dome enshrining sacred relics or the bodily remains of the Buddha, or articles used by him like the alms bowl and other objects of veneration. It is built in different sizes on a pedestal with a spire on top crowned with a pinnacle. The earliest dagobas had a stone umbrella on top of the dome in place of the spire.
Although people may have lived in this area since as early as the 10th century BC, Anuradhapura became a great city after the arrival of a cutting from the Bodhi Tree ('tree of enlightenment'), the Buddha's fig tree, in the 3rd century BC. The sacred branch was brought to Sri Lanka by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns.
Anuradhapura went on to become a ceylonese political and religious capital (4th century BC) that flourished for 1,300 years. In its prime, Anuradhapura ranked alongside Nineveh and Babylon in its colossal proportions—its four walls, each 16 miles (26 km) long, enclosing an area of 256 square miles (663 km2)—in the number of its inhabitants, and the splendour of its shrines and public buildings.
The city also had some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world. Most of the great reservoir tanks still survive today, and some many be the oldest surviving reservoirs in the world.After an invasion in 993 AD, Anuradhapura was permanently abandoned. For centuries, the site lay hidden in the jungle. Rediscovered by the British in the 19th century, Anuradhapura became a buddhist pilgrimage site once again.
The revival of the city of Anuradhapura began in earnest in the 1870s. The modern city (population 40,000) is a major road junction of northern Sri Lanka and lies along a railway line. The headquarters of the Archaeological Survey of Ceylon is in Anuradhapura. Today, the splendid sacred city of Anuradhapura, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, draws many buddhist pilgrims and visitors.
November to March
Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, Thuparma Dagoba, Ruvanveli Dagoba, Abhayagiri Dagoba, Jetavana Dagoba, Samadhi Buddha, Mihintale, Awkana, Mirisavati Dagaba, Kuttam Pokuna, Loha Prasada
Sri Maha Bodhi Tree: The right branch of the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya in India under which the Buddha attained enlightenment was brought to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC by princess Sanghamitta, the daughter of emperor Asoka. It was planted in Anuradhapura and is venerated to this day by the Buddhists from many countries of the world. This is the oldest recorded tree in the world whose exact age is known.
Thuparma Dagoba: Thuparama Dagaba is a favorite sightseeing spot of the tourists. Apart from the ancient ruins, temples and shrines, visitors will be enthralled with the captivating beauty of the natural scenery in this region. Thuparama Dagaba, Anuradhapura was the first Buddhist shrine constructed in this place.
Ruvanveli Dagoba: Ruwanweli Dagoba is also known as Mahathupa or "the Great Stupa" and is popularly considered as the greatest of the Dagobas of Anuradhapura. During the enshrinement of the relics, several monks are believed to have come here. The original Ruwanweli Dagoba, Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka is believed to be 135 meter high, though the present height is considerable shorter. The diameter of the structure is 80 meter.
Abhayagiri Dagoba: Established by King Vattagamini in 88 BC, the Uttravihara (Northern Monastery) is now known as the Abhayagiri Monastery. This was a result of the King being jeered by a Jain hermit, while fleeing from from the South Indians, after losing his throne. He spent 14 years 'in the wilderness'. When he returned to power, he destroyed the Jain monastery, and around the the Jotiya shrine, he built a Buddhist monastery.
Jetavana Dagoba: To the east of the Mahathupa lies an enormous brick dagaba, the Jetavana. The dagaba was originally built to a height of 400 feet (120 Metres), making it the 3rd largest building in the world at that time. The two taller buildings were the biggest of the Egyptian pyramids, built two thousand years before. The dagaba is recorded to having a concrete base, and foundations of brick 26 feet deep (12m).
Samadhi Buddha: Samadhi is a state of deep meditation, and the Lord Buddha is represented in this position after gaining enlightenment. This 4th century AD statue of the Buddha in meditative pose is acknowledged worldwide as a masterpiece. The Indian nationalist leader, Nehru, derived strength from contemplating his statue, during his imprisonment by the British.
Mihintale: Thirteen kilometers from Anuradhapura is the sacred mountain of Mihintale, the site of introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the year 247 BC. World's first fauna and flora sanctuary was established at Mihintale in the 3rd century BC. Today the peak of Mihintale, approached by a grand stairway of 1840 granite steps, has many temples, lodgings for monks and several splendid statues of the Buddha.
Awkana: Awkana-located 51 km southeast of Anuradhapura-is famous for 12 metres tall granite statue of Buddha, hewn out of solid rock in the standing posture on a lotus pedestal. The statue was built during the reign of King Dhatusena in the 5th century AD.
Mirisavati Dagaba: Mirisavati Dagaba is one of the most astounding tourist attractions in Anuradhapura. This fabulous structure not only gives an insight on the Sinhalese art and architecture, but also provides the tourists some ideas and aspects of the history and culture of the land. The prominent site of the Mirisavati Dagaba, Anuradhapura is a favored place of visit for the tourists.
Kuttam Pokuna: Kuttam Pokuna is one of the best examples of bathing tanks or pools in ancient Sri Lanka. The bathing tanks are situated in Abhayagiri in the north Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. The Kuttam Pokuna, Anuradhapura was built by the Sinhalese in the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura during 6th to 8th century. Though the pools seemed to be of the same sizes, one of them is larger than the other by 12 meter in length. The design and lines are impressive.
Loha Prasada: Loha Prasada, Anuradhapura is popularly known as the Brazen Palace, is presently in the picturesque ruins and was a major place of Sri Lankan civilization. In the ancient times, the palace included the refectory as well as the Uposathagara. Loha Prasada in Anuradhapura is situated in the vicinity of the Sacred Bo Tree and is one of the most visited site in Anuradhapura.
Various modes of transport can be availed to reach Anuradhapura. One can take private car, luxurry coach, train, inter-island airplane (infrequent) and public bus transportation. Bus is the cheapest mode to travel to Anuradhapura.
Proceed on the route to Warakapola, and then north to Dambulla. Now take route A9 north till Galkulama and from the junction, move along route A13 to Anuradhapura.
Move on route A10 till you reach Padeniya. Turn right on highway A28. It would lead you to Anuradhapura.
Route A9 north would take you to Galkulama junction. Anuradhapura is not far from here.
Palm Garden Village Hotel, Miridiya Lodge, Galway Miridiya Lodge, Nuwarawewa Resthouse, Tissawewa Resthouse, Nimnara Lake Sojourn, Boa Vista Guest House