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A monastic city of highest order, Anuradhapura, since prehistoric times has been a popular destination for spirituality. The land has been home to monasteries and their resident monks, who spent their lives meditating for the attainment of enlightenment. This is the reason; this city of Sri Lanka has touched the pinnacles of architecture and spirituality, which is applauded by the whole world.


Abhayagiri Dagoba Meaning Hill of Protection or the Fearless Hill, Abhayagiri Dagoba has a strong history that takes one back to the 1st century BC. At that time, it used to be 100 m high, only second to the Pyramids of Giza. The holy city is said to have been set by Sanghamitta, a Buddhist nun who settled it around a cutting from Lord Buddha’s tree of enlightenment. Though in ruines, the monument is still revered and visited by throngs of Buddhist devotees.

Sri Maha Bodhi A sacred site in Anuradhapura, the sacred bodhi tree here has grown from a cutting that was brought by Sanghamitta from Bodhgaya. Buddhist followers visit here during the full moon to make offerings and also meditate. 

Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba One of the most impressive buildings in Anuradhapura, this site belongs to the 140 BC. Though the monument has been damaged in the course of time, but still it is very impressive. As per legend, Lord Buddha’s ashes were enshrined in Dagoba during its consecration. This was a grand occasion that was attended by monks who came from Rajagriha, Vaishali, Patna, Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Archaeological Museum Also famous as Puravidu Bhavana, this archaeological museum in the old kachcheri building was established in 1947 by Dr. Senarath Paranavithana. It is one of the oldest museum and exhibit antiquities like inscriptions, Buddha statues, drawings, puppets, coins, jewelleries and Beads. Prime attraction here is the model of Thuparamaya Vatadage which has a relic chamber of Mihintale Kantaka Chetiya Dagoba.

Jetavanarama monastery Once the world’s largest stupa, Jetavanaramaya sits on the ruins of Jetavana monastery. It was built by King Mahasena of Anuradhapura (273–301) after the Mahavihara was destroyed. His son Maghavanna I continued with the construction of the stupa till the present shape.

Mihintale The mountain peak of Anuradhapura marks the site, where Buddhist Monk Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa. It is a pilgrimage site and is full of many ruined structures that are still revered for their sanctity.

Wilpattu National Park The largest wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka, sprawling over an area of 131,693 hectares is known for Willus or natural lakes formed by rain water. In 1905, it was declared a 1905 only till 25th February 1938, when it was upgraded to the status of National Wildlife Park. Amid the rocky outcrops, one will find Leopards, Asian Elephants, Barking Deer, Water buffaloes and also a huge number of migratory birds and butterflies.

Other places to See in Anuradhapura

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