Things To Do In Anuradhapura

Home Top destinations

Anuradhapura is the First kingdom of the Sri Lanka located in the North Central part of the country and around 200 Km (4hours) away from the Colombo City. Till the British captured the whole Sri Lanka in 1815, Sri Lanka had a Monarchy system. According to the Archeologist the Anuradhapura kingdom was established in the 4th Century BC (2400 years ago) by King Pandukabhaya and the Anuradhapura kingdom lasted till the 11th century AD.During these 1500 years 195 Kings ruled the kingdom. In the 3rd century BC, Sri Lanka was introduced the Buddhism. Buddhism receives the Royal patronage and spread around the whole country. Many Buddhist monasteries & monuments were built in the Anuradhapura kingdom and the some of these monasteries and the monuments can still be seen in the area.

Sacred city of the Anuradhapura is a world heritage site declared by the UNESCO in 1982. Anuradhapura is one of the main tourist attractions of the Sri Lanka, due to the Ancient monuments & ancient technology, Religion and Culture. Tourist ticket counter of the sacred city of Anuradhapura open for the public from the 7.30 am to 6.00 pm. Since this is a Buddhist temple, your dress should be below the knees & should cover your shoulders. Best time to visit the sacred city of Anuradhapura is either morning or the evening to avoid the excess heat in the day time and to avoid the crowd.

01. Sacred bodhi tree (Jaya Siri Maha Bodhiya)

Sacred Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa) is one of the most sacred places for the Srilankan Buddhists and it will be second only to the Tooth relic temple of Buddha in Kandy. Sri Lanka received the Buddhism in the 3rd century BC .Non Sangamiththa brought a sapling of the Sacred Bodhi tree, where Buddha attained the enlightenment. Sacred Bodhi tree or Jaya Siri Maha Bodhiya is known as the oldest human planted tree in the world with the recorded history. You may see many Buddhists visit here and perform various types of rituals.

02. Ruwanweliseya stupa

Stupa is a domed shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine and Stupa is one of the main elements of the Buddhist monastery. Stupas were built by enshrining the Relics of Buddha (Bodily, Associated, Commemorative relics) .Ruwanweliseya is one of the biggest Stupa in Sri Lanka built around 2200 years ago. According to the greater chronicles of Mahawamsa, a bowl of bodily relics were enshrined in the Ruwanweliseya Stupa and the height of the Stupa is around 103m.

03. Jethawanaramaya monastery complex

Jethawanaramaya is one of the ancient Buddhists monastery complex existed in the Anuradhapura kingdom and the Jethawanaramaya stupa is the biggest Stupa in Sri Lanka, which was built around 1700 years ago. Height of the Jethawanaramaya Stupa is around 122m & at that time it was the 3rd largest building in the world and only second to pyramid in the Giza’s. Around 94 million of bricks were used to build the Stupa. Archeological finding of the excavations done in the ancient monastery complex is exhibit in the Museum located near to the Jethawanaramaya Stupa.

04. Abayagiriya monastery complex

Abayagiriya monastery complex was the biggest monastery existed in the ancient Sri Lanka. According to the historians around 5000 Buddhist monks lived in the Abayagiriya monastery and various subjects such as Arts, Languages, Medicine, Architecture, Astrology, Surveying and mathematics were taught in here. Many tourist attractions located in here such as Abayagiriya Stupa, Twin Pond (Kuttam pokuna),Elephant pond, Samadhi Buddha statue, Refectory complex. Guard stone & Moonstone found in the Abayagiriya monastery complex reflects the advance intricate carving skills of the ancient artist.

05. Isurumuniya temple

Isurumuniya is a fully pledge ancient Buddhist temple in the Anuradhapura. Isurumuniya is famous for fine & intricate rock carvings. Specially the carving of the Elephants in the pond, Isurumuni lovers, Royal family and the Rain god are the main attractions of the tourist. Royal pleasure garden named Gold fish garden or “Ranmasu Uyana” is another important place to visit closer to the Isurumuniya temple.

06. Mihintale

Mihintale is a Buddhist monastery complex located 15 Km away from the Anuradhapura city. Mihintale is considered as the cradle of the Buddhism of the Sri Lanka. In 3rd century BC Arahath Mahinda Thero visited Sri Lanka from the India and preach the Buddhism to the King Devananpiyatissa, the ruler back then. Mihintale is a residual mountain and the rock caves of the area were donated to the Buddhist monks as the dwelling places. Ruins of the well managed ancient hospital complex & refectory can be seen in the premises. Inscriptions found in the area prove the stories link to the Mihintale monastery complex.