Things to do in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is located in the heart of the Cultural Triangle, this ancient city was documented as the first kingdom of Sri Lanka, dating to the 4th century BC. It was during the peak of this kingdom that Buddhism became the established religion in the country, which is signified by the dominating structure of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya along with other temples and ruins dotted around the historic town. 

  1. Visit Jetavanaramaya
  2. Visit Sri Maha Bodhi
  3. Visit Ruwanweliseya
  4. Visit Thuparamaya
  5. Visit Abhayagiri Monastery
  6. Visit Archaeological Museum
  7. Visit Isurumuniya Temple
  8. Visit Samadhi Statue

# 1

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Jetavanaramaya

Jetavanaramaya monastery is one of the largest monasteries in the heritage city of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. This magnificent structure was the third-largest structure in the ancient world. Legend has it that a part of Buddha’s sash or belt was tied and preserved here at the Jetavanaramaya monastery.

The Jetavanaramaya stupa comes with a fascinating historical significance which depicts the differences going on between the two sects of Buddhism- Theravada and Mahayana sects of Buddhism. Today, the stupa is no longer the tallest, but is one of the largest in the world, with an area of over five hectares and housing over 10,000 monks.

# 2

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Sri Maha Bodhi

The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is one of the most ancient trees which are living even today standing tall in the Mahamewna Gardens in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. The tree is believed to have sprouted from a cutting brought from Bodhdha Gaya in India, where Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment. 

This ancient Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree has been protected and cared for by many years by the ancient kings and queens as well as the Buddhist monks. Today the tree is surrounded by statues, water canals and golden fences which make the site even more holy and spiritual enhancing its natural beauty. 

The Sri Maha Bodhi tree is the most sacred tree in Sri Lanka and is revered and respected by Buddhists in Sri Lanka and all over the world. Many devotees believe that this sacred tree has the power to grant the wishes of every person who pays a visit to the complex.

# 3

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Ruwanweliseya

The Ruwanweliseya stupa is one of the largest stupas or dagobas, which is in the heart of the beautiful heritage city of Anuradhapura. This magnificent stupa was built by King Dutugamunu, who was hailed to be the hero of the island.

Today the Ruwanweliseya stupa stands tall with a height of 338 feet and a diameter of 951 ft. The stupa is surrounded by large paved courts and platforms which add to the beauty of the place. Initially, on the outer side of the boundary of the wall is a complete circle of elephants, made out of the brickwork.

Till today, there are many renovations which have taken place from time which has made the Ruwanweliseya stupa is one of the most revered and influential areas of worship for the Buddhists in Anuradhapura.

# 4

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Thuparamaya

Thuparamaya, also known as Thuparama, is the first stupa which was constructed in Sri Lanka after the introduction to Buddhism and is in the beautiful city of Anuradhapura. The ancient stupa of Thuparamaya was built during the reign of the King Devamnampiyatissa somewhere in the 3rd Century BC and is said to enshrine the right collar bone of Gautama Buddha. The ruins of the complex today cover an area of approximately three and a half acres of land.

The shape of the stupa was initially of a paddy rice shape which was later restored to a conventional bell shape in the year 1862. There were several changes to Thuparama, but some of the most significant changes were first in the 7th Century BC when the stupa had gold and silver castings.

# 5

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Abhayagiri Monastery Complex

The Abhayagiri Vihara is one of the most beautiful and exciting structures which is in the atmospheric setting of Anuradhapura. The grand scale of the monastery ruins is genuinely breathtaking and can be viewed at any time. The Abhayagiri Vihara has a beautiful and shimmering glow.

Abhayagiri Vihara is not just a beautiful stupa but is also the place where a fraternity of Buddhist monks who maintain their records, traditions and way of life. The Abhayagiri Monastery was established in the 2nd Century BC by King Valagamabau in the celebration of his victory against the Indian Chola invaders. The main stupa was constructed over the footprint of Gautama Buddha, making it the second-largest stupa on the island.

# 6

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Archaeological Museum, Anuradhapura

Established in the year 1947 by the efforts of Dr Senarath Paranavithana, the archaeological museum of Anuradhapura holds some exciting artefacts, carvings and ancient everyday items found after excavations in Anuradhapura and other historical sites around Sri Lanka.

It is a rich source of information on the heritage and culture of the place. The museum displays artefacts connected with ancient capital located at Polonnaruwa which are worth watching, especially the miniature models of buildings, which are currently in ruins at Polonnaruwa.

# 7

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Isurumuniya Temple

Sri Lanka’s ancient capital city, Anuradhapura is home to relics, stupas and rocky hills that bring an aura of serenity. Isurumuniya is one of the granite, marble and stone structures located near Tissa Wewa, and this Buddhist temple boasts of architecture and sculptures that showcase the emancipation of the artists.

The structure of Isurumuniya is a crossover between a temple and a fortress. It was erected as a dorm for 500 kids and then evolved to becoming a temple owing to its sanctity. The structure evokes decorum and the carvings on stone are beyond thought provoking. This divine structure comes to life with internationally acclaimed inscriptions of the Isurumuniya Lovers, Elephant Pond and The Royal Family.

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Samadhi Buddha Statue

Samadhi Buddha statue is one of such marvels. Placed in Mahamevnāwa Park, this 4th-century statue is considered the best work of Buddha.

King Mutasiva built Mahamevnāwa Park. Maha signifies the rains that poured during the construction of the park. 

On the whole, Samadhi means to concentrate all your efforts and bring yourself together to achieve something. Thus a visit to Samadhi Statue will stand true to what it means and would revive weak souls to get back on track.

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Wasgamuwa National Park

Minneriya National Park

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