Travel Tips

Anuradhapura

Next stop on our tour was Anuradhapura. This was the first capital of Sri Lanka and has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site. It remained the capital of Sri Lanka for a period of 13 centuries. It was abandoned for Pollonurawa, when in was destroyed in an invasion by the Chola king Rajaraja.

We stayed at the Palm Garden Village Resort. Have put up a review of the hotel here
Anuradhapura, Visit Sri Lanka
Anuradhapura has several shrines/stupas of historic importance A day can be easily spent to see these places.

Jetavanarama: Built in 2 century AD, this is considered the largest stupa in the world. It is believed that a part of the belt worn by Buddha is enshrined here. At the time of its construction it was the 3rd tallest structure in the world behind the pyramids of Egypt.

Maha Bodhi Tree: A branch of the Bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment was brought to Sri Lanka by Sanghamitra, daughter of Emperor Ashoka.

Abhayagiri: When Indian princes attacked Anuradhapura, the King made a tactical retreat. When a Jain monk saw this, he passed derogatory remarks against the king. Upon this, the King vowed to build a Buddhist vihara in place of the Jain temple. The king lived in the mountains for 14 years and gathered an army. and attacked Anuradhapura. He defeated the Indian princes. One of his first acts on doing this was to demolish the Jain temple and build the Abhayagiri Vihara in its premises.

Ruwanwelisaya: Built in 2nd century BC, this is one of the tallest stupas in the world. It was built by King Dutugemunu, who became king of all Sri Lanka after defeating the Chola King Elara in war.

Thuparamaya: Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka by Ashoka's son Mahindra. At his request, the King Devanampiyatissa built Thuparamaya which enshrines the collar bone of the Buddha. This is considered to be the first dagoba built in Sri Lanka.

Lovamahapaya: This was also known as the Bronze palace as it was covered with bronze tiles. This was a nine story building which acted a residence for the monks of Mahaviharaya Buddhist University.

Kuttam Pokuna [Twin Pools]: Ancient bathing tanks or pools.