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  • Choose to visit, the sacred city of Anuradhapura The UNESCO heritage site was founded in the 3rd century BC with the arrival of Buddhist nun Sangamitta with a sapling of the Bo (fig) tree (tree of enlightenment) from India. The city that flourished as a political and religious capital for over 1300 years and abandoned in the late 900s to early 1000s has markings of a well planned out city. What remains of the City now are the ruins of Dagabos (Dome shaped religious buildings), monastic buildings and Pokunas (bathing ponds) that are of significant historical and architectural value.

    Predominantly an agricultural city in the dry zone, it is evident that the city was provided with water through complex irrigations systems in the ancient times. The lakes, canals and reservoirs built with advanced technical and engineering skills available at the time have lasted 1000s of years and most are still standing strong today.

Choose to Experience Anuradhapura

  • Eight Places of Veneration in Anuradhapura – Atamasthana

    • The Atamasthana are the eight places in Anuradhapura that Lord Buddha is considered to have visited during his three visits to Sri Lanka

      Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya: is the sacred fig tree said to be a sapling of the Bo tree under which Lord Buddha attained Nirvana (enlightenment)

      Ruwanwelisaya: A stupa that is 55 m in height (shorter than when originally built) is considered to be an architectural master piece of King Dutugemunu

      Thuparamaya: Considered as the first dagaba built in Sri Lanka, is surrounded by 41 pillars that originally had numbered to 176. The Dagaba is also considered to contain the right collarbone of Lord Buddha.

      Lovamahapaya: Is also known as the Brazen palace as the roof was made of bronze tiles. The palace is believed to have had accommodated 1000 monks and attendants.

      Abhayagiri Dagaba: Tha largest of 5 major vihara's in Anuradhapura, Abhayagiri is 75 meters in height and said to have been built in 1st or 2nd century BC. The surrounding monastery is said to have accommodated 5000 monks.

      Jetavanarama: is a Stupa located in the Jetavana monastery. The surrounding monastery is said to have accommodated 3000 monks.

      Mirisaveti Stupa: Is built where the scepter of King Dutugemanu was kept while he went for a bath after defeating King Elara where it could not be moved upon his return.

      Lankarama: The stone pillars surrounding the Lankarama stupa indicates that there has been a house built encircling the stupa.
  • A tour in to the Pottuvil mangroves to enjoy a local fishing experience

    • Pottuvil lagoon offers visitors the unique experience of embarking on a fishing trip early in the morning. The trip down the lagoon through the mangroves is a beautiful sight to capture bird life, crocodiles and Elephants.
  • Visit Ancient Museums and the Elephant Pond

    • Situated close to Lankarama, the Eth pokuna (Elephant pond) is an ancient man made pond that is 159 meters long, 52.7 meters wide and 9.5 meters deep. The pond has been supplied water from the Periyamkulama tank through a network of underground canals. The holding capacity of the pond is said to be 75,000 cubic meters of water.

      The museums in the vicinity, Anuradhapura and Abhayagiriya museums contain exhibits of cultural and historical value, Buddha statues, inscriptions, coins and other antiquities including squatting plates, jewelry, pottery and religious sculpture from various archeological sites.
  • A visit to the Kumana Bird Sanctuary and Kudimbigala

    • The Kumana Bird Sanctuary covering over 18,000 hectares of land is an extension of the Yala National Park. The swamp lakes of Kumana attract a variety of water birds and other resident and migratory birds as well as Deer, Elephants and other wild life. The best times to get a glimpse of these rare birds and wild life are early in the mornings or late afternoons.

      On the way to Kumana, one could stop by Kudimbigala – an ancient hermitage. The climb up the rock could be an "uphill" task which is worth the view once you reach to the top. The scenery and the flora and fauna of the jungle as well as the meditation caves that surround the Stupa are well worth a visit.
  • Visit other sites of archeological, architectural, historical and cultural value

    • The entire city of Anuradhapura is of archeological, architectural, historical and cultural value. Some sites are not to be missed and others are "bonuses" as you will invariably drive by unknown sculptures, random pillars that will catch the eye of the experiential traveller. Isurumuniya, rock temple with an "attached" pool and intricate carvings and sculptures; the neighboring 40 acre pleasure garden used by the ancient Sri Lankan Royals known as Ranmusu Uyana containing bathing ponds with sophisticated hydraulic systems; Samadhi statue – the Buddha statue carved in Granite located at the Mahamewna park; and the twin bathing ponds known as Kuttam Pokuna - considered to be one of the significant achievements in hydrological engineering and outstanding architectural and artistic productions are some of the "must sees".
  • Make an excursion to Mihintale Rock and Temple

    • Mihintale Rock is believed to be the meeting point between Mahinda Thera who came to Sri Lanka from India and the ruling King Devanampiyatissa, where the former preached the doctrine of Buddhism to all present. At the foot of the hill are the ruins of a hospital including a medical bath, stone inscriptions and urns. The cave where Arahat Mahinda resided, the kaludiya pokuna – a famous pond, and the ruins of a courtyard and refectory can all be seen on the way up the 1000 ft tall hill.