A Guide to the ancient city of Anuradhapura


Anuradhapura is an ancient city in Sri Lanka’s north-central area that is rich in history and culture. For more than 1,300 years, it was Sri Lanka’s political and religious center; today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many temples, stupas, and ruins that provide a peek into the nation’s past may be found throughout the city. In this post, we’ll examine some of Anuradhapura’s must-see locations and provide advice on how to get the most out of your visit to this intriguing city.

Getting there

The capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo, is 200 kilometers north of Anuradhapura. The quickest method of transportation is by road, either by using a private vehicle or a bus. Depending on traffic, the trip from Colombo takes about 4-5 hours. You can take a train from Colombo to the adjacent town of Anuradhapura Junction if you’d like to go by train, and then you can take a tuk-tuk or a taxi from there to the city.

Exploring the ancient city

Given the size and complexity of Anuradhapura, at least two days should be set up for a thorough exploration. While many of the sites are close to one another, strolling is the ideal way to see Anuradhapura. You can hire a bicycle or a tuk-tuk if you’re pressed for time or would rather go in comfort.

Because Anuradhapura’s major attractions are dispersed over a vast area, it’s crucial to carefully arrange your visit. The Thissa Wewa tank, where you may buy tickets and acquire a map of the area, is the major entry to the city.

The following are some of the must-see locations in Anuradhapura:

Sri Maha Bodhi Tree

With a known history of more than 2,000 years, the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree is a revered fig tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, and is thought to be the oldest surviving tree in the entire world. Due to the fact that it is thought to have originated from a twig of the Bodhi tree, which is where the Buddha obtained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, India, it is of enormous religious significance to Buddhists all over the world. The tree is surrounded by a fence and is part of the Mahamewna Gardens complex. Before entering, visitors must take off their shoes and dress modestly. Pilgrims present the tree with water, incense, flowers, and prayer flags in various colors. The Sri Maha Bodhi Tree is protected by the Sri Lankan government and is a revered site of pilgrimage.

Ruwanwelisaya Stupa

In Sri Lanka’s holy city of Anuradhapura, there is a sizable old Buddhist stupa called the Ruwanwelisaya Stupa. It is thought to hold the Buddha’s remains and was constructed by King Dutugemunu in the second century BC. The stupa is a 338-foot-tall architectural wonder that is adorned with finely detailed carvings, figures, and paintings. Four flights of stairs encircle the dome-shaped building, and carvings of elephants decorate the stupa’s base. The stupa is regarded as a representation of Sri Lankan Buddhism and is a well-liked destination for tourists. Before entering the building, guests must take off their shoes and dress modestly.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa

An ancient Buddhist stupa called Jetavanaramaya Stupa can be seen in Sri Lanka’s revered city of Anuradhapura. At a height of 400 feet, it is one of the tallest ancient constructions ever erected and was constructed by King Mahasena in the third century AD. The stupa is composed of brick and features a massive pinnacle at the summit of a dome-shaped building. It is embellished with elaborate carvings and statues, including one of the Buddha sitting down. The stupa, a representation of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, is a well-liked destination for tourists. Before entering the building, guests must take off their shoes and dress modestly. Anybody interested in the history and architecture of early Buddhism should visit the Jetavanaramaya Stupa, which also provides a fascinating look into Sri Lanka’s rich cultural legacy.

Isurumuniya Temple

A modest but noteworthy temple in Anuradhapura, the Isurumuniya Temple was built in the third century BC. The iconic “Isurumuniya Lovers” carving, which shows a couple of cuddling, is just one of the temple’s well-known rock carvings. A modest museum that features items from the ancient city is also located inside the temple.

The Samadhi Buddha Statue, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Temple, and Abhayagiri Stupa are some of Anuradhapura’s other noteworthy landmarks.

Visitor advice for Anuradhapura

When visiting temples and other religious sites, visitors to Anuradhapura are advised to dress modestly and cover their shoulders and knees. This is because the city is considered to be sacred.

Bring a lot of water; Sri Lanka’s weather can get hot and muggy; you should stay hydrated while touring the city.

It’s important to wear comfortable shoes because Anuradhapura is a sizable complex with numerous sites to see.

Make a careful visitation plan: Anuradhapura is a sizable complex, as was already noted, therefore it’s crucial to carefully arrange your trip to make the most of your time there.

Employ a local guide: Getting to know the history and culture of Anuradhapura better can be accomplished by hiring a local guide. They can also show you how to get around the complex and recommend the finest places to go.

It’s crucial to respect the local culture and traditions when visiting Anuradhapura because Sri Lanka is a deeply religious nation.

Anuradhapura is an interesting city with a rich past and culture, to sum up. Anybody interested in ancient civilizations, Buddhism, or Sri Lankan culture should go there.

Location on Google Map

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