Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura situated in North-Central Province which is one of the largest archeological sites in the world is world famous for its well preserved ruins of the great Sri Lankan Civilization. The Civilization which was built upon this city was one of the greatest Civilizations of Asia and in the world. Founded in the 4th century BC it was the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom till the beginning of the 11th century AC. It was made capital by King Pandukabhaya. During this period it remained one of the most stable, wealthy and durable centres of political power and Urban life in South Asia and was a Kingdom which ruled Sri Lanka for a long period of time.

Today this ancient city of Sri Lanka, which is scared to the Buddhist World which it’s surrounding monasteries, covers an area of over 40sq.km and shows the unique culture which was once present there.

The archeological city of Anuradhapura has also been declared by UNESCO as a world Heritage Site.

Monuments in Anuradhapura

(1) Sri Maha Bodhiya – 237 BC, King Devanampiyathissa

  • Brought by Arahath Sangamith (Daughter of Emperor Ashoka and Sister of Arahath Mihindu)

(2) Ruwanweli Stupa – 161 – 137 BC, King Dutugamunu

(3) Jethawanaramaya – 276 – 303 AD, King Mahasen

(4) Abhayagiri Monastry – 89 – 76 BC, King Walagamba

(5) Samadhi Buddha – 4th Century AD

(6) Mahapali Alms Hall – 10th Century AD

(7) Thuparama – 3rd Century BC, King Devanampiyathissa

(8) Lovamahapasada – King Dutugamunu

(9) Abhayagiri Stupa

(10)Twin Pond – 567 – 591 AD, king Agbo 1

(11) Moon Stone

(12) Mahaviharaya – 237 BC, King Devanampiyathissa

(13) Guard Stone

(14) Nissankamalla Inscription – 1187 – 1196 AD, King Nissankamalla

(15) Awukana

  • What may be called one of the wonders of the world is the tall, standing statue of the Buddha at Awukana, another architectural marvel of the ancient Sinhalese. The rock cut statue which stands 39ft above its decorated lotus plinth and 10ft across the shoulders, belongs to the period of King Datusena the builder of the great reservoir Kala wewa. It has been very well preserved over the years and is a joy for anyone to see and appreciate. It is a unique creation by an unknown sculptor. Awukana Buddha Statue is located at 30km Northwest of Dambulla close to ancient Kala Wawa man-made rainwater reservoir. This is also the tallest ancient Buddha Statue of Sri Lanka.

(16) Isurumuniya

  • This small group of striking black rocks is one of the most attractive and peaceful place in this town. It also has some outstanding sculptures. The temple is carved out of solid rock and it houses a large statue of the seated Buddha. You can climb up steps to the top of the rock above the temple to get a good view of the countryside. There is a cleft in the rock which is full of bats, they are fascination to watch. On the terraces outside is a small square pool, they are also some beautifully carved Elephants, showing great individual character. Note the carving beside the main entrance just above the water level.

Isurumuni Lovers

  • 6th century Gupta style craving. The Woman, seated on the man’s lap, lifts a warning finger, probably as a manifestation of her coyness, but the man carries on regardless. the figures may represent Dutugamunu’s son and low caste (sadolkula) maiden Asokamala whom he loved. It’s known that he gave up the throne for her.

(17) Mihinthalaya

  • The rocky projection of Mihinthale is where Sri Lankan Buddhism Originated, in 247 BC, King Devanmpiyatissa was converted to Buddhism here by Arahath Mahinda, a kinsman of the Indian Emperor Ashoka. On top of the hill is the Ambasthale Dagoba where King Devanampiya and Mahinda met. Sri Lanka has blessed this rock with splendid masterpieces of architecture. The site includes remains of a hospital, a monastic complex, stupas and dagabas. While some of these structures are in an almost perfect state of preservation, some others are in complete ruin. The most impressive out of these is the Kantaka Chetiya, which exhibits some of the finest architecture of the early Anuradhapura era. The climb to the summit consists of almost thousand steps. The Mihinthale Dagoba can be seen from far away and is an especially beautiful sight at nights.

Mihinthale is a collection of 4 mountains each about 1000ft in height. They are

(1) Mihinthalawa

(2) Athvehera Mountain

(3) Anaikutti Mountain

(4) Rajagirilena

(Mihinthalawa is the main mountain and where the Aradhana gala and the main Mahaseya Stupa is situated) Exploring Mihinthale involves quite a climb, it is best it is done in early morning or evening to avoid the midday hot sun.

Places to visit :

  • Kantaka Chethiya
  • The Refectory
  • Relic House
  • Sinha Pokuna
  • Ambasthala Dagaba
  • Sela Chethiya
  • Mahinda’s Cave
  • Aradhana Gala
  • Mahaseya Dagaba

 

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