Once the greatest monastic city of the ancient world, Anuradhapura, boasts some of Sri Lanka’s and Asia’s richest cultural and archaeological heritage sites, with each site unraveling a mystery of the great sages of old. The phenomenal legacy of the ancient historic kingdom of Anuradhapura Sri Lanka was birthed in 380 BC and thrived for approximately 1500 years, remaining the royal capital for 119 successive Sinhala kings, despite numerous intrusions and clashes.
Forming part of the monumental cultural triangle and entitled a UNESCO world heritage site, this historic city is a must-see if you are interested in history. Anuradhapura presently houses some of the greatest ancient ruins of the glorious island nation including remains from temples, palaces, and the tallest dagoba in the country.
The weather in Anuradhapura is usually warm and dry with the exception of the relatively cool months of December and January.
Things To Do
The glorious Anuradhapura heritage is not limited to the monumental ancient ruins alone. There are in fact many things to do. Anuradhapura is home to many simple restaurants serving delectable cuisine, including Anzu’s Restaurant with authentic Chinese food served in a relaxed atmosphere. Casserole too is a bustling restaurant, serving a wide range of Sri Lankan, Chinese and Western food, cooked to perfection. If you are looking for a lovely, traditional restaurant to enjoy a typically Sri Lankan breakfast or short-eats, Salgado Hotel and Bakery is the ideal place.
Renting a bicycle and cycling leisurely around the city is also a recommended thing to do. Anuradhapura, being a vast city offers much to be explored.
Steeped in a heritage of rich history, every inch of the ancient city of Anuradhapura boasts attractions you would not want to miss. Places to visit in Anuradhapura range from great temples, monasteries, and museums laden with treasures to intricately designed ponds and statues speaking in unison as a testament to the wisdom of the architects of yesteryear.
One of the key places to visit in Anuradhapura is the Sri Maha Bodhi or the sacred bodhi tree, which is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world and was brought to the island by Princess Sangamitta, the sister of Monk Mahinda who first introduced Buddhist teachings to Sri Lanka.
This ancient city of Anuradhapura also boasts some of the finest stupas in the world, including the Ruwanweli Seya, raised in the 2nd century B.C. by the great King Dutugemunu and popularly considered the greatest among stupas. Another one of the key Anuradhapura attractions is the Thuparama temple, which is known to be the oldest temple in Sri Lanka and is said to enshrine the collar-bone relic of Lord Buddha.
The third highest monument in the world at the time of the fall of the Roman empire, the Jethawana Monastery also in Anuradhapura is about 120 meters in height and was founded by King Mahasen, one of the greatest kings in the history of Sri Lanka. The largest monastery complex in Anuradhapura, the Abhayagiri stupa and monastery, was raised in the 2nd century B.C. by King Walagamba and it was an international institution by the 1st century A.D.
Some of the other main places to visit in Anuradhapura include the Archaeological Museum, the Abhayagiri Museum, the Isurumuniya lovers and the Kuttam Pokuna among many others.