Sacred City in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura Sacred City, Sri Lanka - Tours in Anuradhapura Sacred city, Sri Lanka - Things to do in Anuradhapura Sri Lanka

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka | Anuradhapura

Top 4 Travel Experiences in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is the Capital of North Central Province of Sri Lanka and a major city in Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was the third capital of the kingdom of Rajarata. This capital was founded in 4th century AD by a Follower named Anuradha of Prince Vijaya.This sacred city was built around a plant from" Sri Maha Bodhi" or the tree of enlistment that was brought from India.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a well preserved historical marvel that from ancient civilization and has been the center for Therevada Buddhisum. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight world heritage sites of Sri Lanka.There are lot of ancient masterpieces and cultural ruins such as towering Stupas ,wonderful rock carvings, huge stone pillars, and ruins of royal palaces, monasteries and bathing tanks along with some artificial reservoirs and the most complex irrigation systems in the world.

Anuradhapura is famous for its eight sacred places are a series of locations in Sri Lanka where the Buddha has visited during his three visit to the country.The sacred palces are Known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi,Ruwanweliseya,Thuparamaya,Lovamahpaya,Abhayagiriya,Jetavanaramaya,Mirisaveti Stupaya and Lankaramaya.

1. Visit the Ruwanweliseya Stupa

July 23, 2018 | by Krishan

Ruwanweliseya is one of the glorious ancient stupas situated in the city of Anuradhapura. It was built by King Dutugemunu who became the king of Sri Lanka after a war in which Chola King Elara was defeated. Ruwanweliseya is also named the Maha Stupa which means the great Dagaba and it is also named as the “Swarnamali Chaitya”, “Suvarnamali Mahaceti”, and “Rathnamali Dagaba”.
Ruwanweliseya is one of the world’s tallest ancient monuments. It is 103 m in height and with a circumference of 290 m. The original stupa is said to be about 55 m in height and was renovated by many kings. This is one of the Solosmasthana (the 16 places of veneration) and the Atamasthana. This is considered to be a sacred place for many Buddhists all over the world. The Mahawamsa contains a detailed description of the construction and the opening ceremony of the stupa.
Some chronicles contain full details about the constructions done by King Dutugemunu back in 140 BC. As stated in Thupawamsa, the land in which the Swarnamalimaha Chethiya was built, was said to have the sacred touch of four Buddhas; Gauthama, Kashyapa, Konagama, and Kakusanda. Hence it could be seen that in the shrine, there are four Buddha statues of the several Buddhas. There is a belief that the rare and precious raw materials required for the stupa are said to have miraculously appeared in the hands’ locales who are not far from the city. Materials such as stones, bricks, mercury, wood apple resin, and fine clay are said to have been used in the foundation as well as sheets of bronze and silver.
It is stated that the king died before construction could be completed, and it was the duty of his brother Saddhatissa to complete the stupa.

2. Visit Mhintale Temple

July 23, 2018 | by Krishan

Mihintale is only 12 kM away from the famous Anuradhapura city. The sacred forest mountain Missaka Pabbatha where King Devanampiya Tissa met Arhat Mahinda Thera and his companions is situated in Mihintale. Prior to that the Lord Gautama Buddha had visited this place on his Third visit which was called as Missaka Pabbatha then. Being one of the sixteen places (Solosmasthana) the Lord Buddha had visited in Sri Lanka, this is regarded as one of the most important sacred places by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The area of Mihintale surrounds with a jungle and there are rock boulders scattered around the mountainous area. There are many caves which were earlier used by monks for meditation in a quite surrounding away from the main city of Anuradhapura.
There is abundance of ancient stone architecture surrounding the many Stupas, monastic complexes and other sacred places. Asoka , the Emperor of India who became victorious after fighting a long war was disillusioned and sought Buddha's refuge to heal up his inner self. Becoming an ardent Buddhist, he let his son and the daughter be ordained as a Bhikku and a Bhikkuni (Buddhist priest and a nun named Mahinda and Sangamitta) whom later became Arhats. Arhath Mahinda and his companions came to Sri Lanka as a delegation sent by Arahath Moggali Putta Tissa with the patronage of Emperor Asoka on the 236 th year of the Buddha parinirvana.
The Sinhalese architecture, paintings and sculpture were a result of the Buddhism which nourished these throughout the centuries that followed.
Mihintale architectural feats are mainly visible in Kanthaka chetiya Vahalkada, Alms Hall, Ancient Stairway, Kalu Diya pokuna and at ancient Hospital.

3. Visit Jayasrimaha Bodhi

July 23, 2018 | by Krishan

The sacred city of Anuradhapura has been nominated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage. The main reason for the historical city of Anuradhapura to become a sacred city was the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. This sacred tree has been planted in the historical Maha Megha Vana Royal Park in Anuradhapura in the month of ‘Unduvap’ (December), 236 BC, according to the written facts. The sacred Bodhi sapling has been ceremonially brought here by Arahant Sanghamitta Maha Theree, under instructions of Arahant Mihindu Maha Thero. King Devanampiyatissa who ruled Sri Lanka in this period has planted this Bodhi tree with great pageantry in the Maha Megha Vana Royal Park dedicated to the venerable bhikkhus. The present age of the Anuradhapura Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is 2,247 years.
Accordingly, the oldest tree of the whole world with a written history is the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi of Anuradhapura. This tree belongs to the family of trees known as ‘asvastha’ in Sanskrit, ‘asvattha’ in Pali, ‘aesatu’ in Sinhala. Botanists have named it ‘ficus religiosa’ taking into account its religious significance.
Lord Gautama Buddha is esteemed as the greatest human being appeared on earth. He attained Samma Sambodhi, enlightenment, seated with his back against it under the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree of Bodhgaya, India. The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi of Anuradhapura being the southern branch of that sacred Bodhi tree is the second most special reason.
Within a short period of bringing the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi sapling to Sri Lanka, the original Bodhi tree of India was destroyed by Queen Thishyarakkha, a queen of Emperor Dharmashoka observing a different faith. The saplings sprouted from its roots were destroyed twice due to hostilities and natural disasters. It is a fourth generation Bodhi tree that dwells in Bodhgaya presently. But, what we see living in Anuradhapura is the southern branch of the original Bodhi tree under which Gautama Buddha was seated with his back against it. Therefore, the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree of Anuradhapura is the only sacred relic in the whole world comparable to the living Buddha, which has been sanctified by the touch of the Lord Buddha and was subjected to the homage of the esteemed one himself for one whole week through ‘Animisa Lochana Pooja’.
It is a specialty here that, this highly sacred Bodhi could be seen and worshipped by anyone without hindrance.

4. Visit Isurumuni Temple

July 23, 2018 | by Krishan

The Isurumuniya Viharaya is situated close to the Tisa Wewa. It is renowned for its stone carvings of which the most famous is one known as the “Isurumuniya Lovers”. The other carvings are of the Horseman, Elephant Pond and the Royal Family.
The Temple was originally known as the Meghagiri Vihara and it is believed that the Vessagiri Vihara which is located close to it is the actual Isurumuniya Vihara.
The Isurumuniya Viharaya was constructed during the reign of Devanampiya Tissa who governed in Anuradhapura, the country’s capital. During his reign 500 high caste children were ordained, and Isurumuniya was built as a monastic complex to house all of them. Thereafter it was renovated by King Kasyapa (473 – 491 AD) who renamed it “Boupulvan Kasubgiri Radmaha Vehera” – a combination of his name along with his two daughters’. Connected to the Temple is a cave with a cliff above it. A small Dagoba was built on this cliff during a later period. At the picturesque entrance to Isurumuniya a rock can be seen either side of a crevice, and this rock seems to rise out of a pond.
To the north of Isurumuniya lies the Ranmasu Uyana or Royal Pleasure Garden. This is a significant location as it is believed that Prince Saliya met Asokamala, his future bride, in this very garden all those centuries ago. The sculpture known as the “Isurumuniya Lovers” is a Gupta style carving of the 6th Century. It shows a woman seated on a man’s lap, lifting a finger in what some people interpret as a manifestation of her coyness. A certain mystery surrounds the carving as no record exists of exactly whom the two images portray. Locals believe the couple depicted in the carving are that of Prince Saliya and Asokamala. Another legend has it that it is the Hindu god Shiva and goddess Parvati depicted in the famous carving. It is possible that the figures represent Prince Saliya (son of King Dutugemunu) and Asokamala, the maiden of low caste he loved. According to historical reports he eventually gave up the throne for her.
Another legend has it that it is Shiva and Parvati depicted in the famous carving.

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