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Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is the first capital/kingdom in Sri Lanka starts from 6th century BC to 11th a period 1600 years. More than 120 kings were ruling the country from the kingdom of Anuradhapura. A village of Anuradha grama was formed by a minister names Anuradha in 6th gradually expanded up to the kingdom of Anuradhapura. During this period there were many Buddhist monasteries dwelling with more than 5000 Buddhist monks. Anuradhapura kingdom was abandon and establishes the new kingdom in 1073 AD. Anuradhapura is most important religious and cultural site of Buddhist devotees in Sri Lanka today. There are many Buddhist monuments and ruins which go back to BC’s and early AD’s. The city of Anuradhapura is declared as world heritage site by UNESCO.
The Complete Travel Guide

Anuradhapura

SAMADHI STATUE

The statue was carved out by an unknown person out of dolomite marble granite rock during the period of 3-4th century AD. This statue was found fallen to the ground in 1886 with damages to the nose and it was erected in 1914. It is 7 feet and 3 inches in height and depicts the Dhiyana mudra or deep meditating posture. It is very well proportionated statue, 2400 years ago.

RUWANWELISEYA STUPA

NOTRE DAME DE PARIS
According to the tradition, Ruwanveli seya is the second important site in Anuradhapura after Sri Mama Bodhi. This is a magnificent creation of King Dutugamunu in 137 BC to 161 BC with the height of 300 feet. the circumference of 950 feet. The stupa is one of the world’s tallest monuments and was the fifth tallest structure of any kind at the time it was built in the 2nd bowl of relics of Buddha and it is one of the most secret places of Buddhist devotees.

LOVA MAHAPAYA

BRAZEN PALACE
Lovamaha Pasada was the chapter house in the Maha Vihara Complex. This was built by king Dutugamunu (161 – 131 BC) with nine stories and the roof was covered with copper plates. Therefor it was called Lovamaha Prasada or Brazen Palace. The monks occupied in the rooms from the top to bottom according to their seniority. Enlightened monks were living in 8th and 9th floors. Pillars measuring on each side a hundred chambers totaled 1000 chambers. All balconies are decorated with lotus flower motifs and silver bells were hung, describes in great chronicle Mahavansa.

ISURUMUNIYA

This is a beautiful site by the side of the Thissa wewa(Tank). The early history of the site is not known. The Buddha’s foot shows that the history of the place goes back to the pre Christian era as a Buddhist temple. At that time it was called Megagiri Vihara. In the 4th century AD when the tooth relic was brought to Anuradhapura, it was placed at this temple and exhibited for certain period.

WESSAGIRIYA

This is the place with 32 caves, where some members of royal family lived after embraced Buddhism. Later it has been developed as a monastery complex along with Isurumuniya. The caves with drip ledges show the ancient hydraulic management and inscription shows the literacy among the people.

JETHAWANA MONASTERY

Jethawana Stupa was built by king Mahasena in 276 – 303 AD in Mahavihara premises. At the time of construction, the stupa was third largest building in the world after two Pyramids in Egypt. Mr. Emerson Tenant a British engineer and a historian, in the early 19th century stated that, out of the bricks used to build Jetawanaramaya stupa, a wall with 3ft high and one foot width could be built from London to Edinburgh. A marvel of Sri Lankan ancient architecture is still remaining as the largest brick building in the world. Original height was 400ft and present days 372ft and diameter 367ft and foundation is 28ft. Jetawana Stupa shows the architectural and engineering skills of the ancient Sinhalese people which was not surprised by any other civilization.
 

TWIN PONDS

KUTTAM POKUNA
Twin pounds or Kuttam pokuna is another artistic and hydraulic engineering work of ancient Sri Lankans. These twin pounds are belongs to Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery complex and most probably been used by the Buddhist monks for bathing purposes. According to the historians these ponds been constructed during king of Aggabhodhi-1, in the period of 575 – 608 AD. Water supply been done by underground pipeline and sent through several filtering chambers before falls to the ponds.

ABAYAGRI STUPA

Abayagiri Stupa was constructed by king Valagamba in 1st century BC and present height is 255feet (79.98m). Now it is second largest stupa in the island. In the 5Th century AD, a Chinese Buddhist monk Fa-Hsien has mentioned in his book that stupa was stand with 400 feet height and decorated with gold and silver. Presently the stupa is under restoration. In 12th century, during the king Parakramabahu restoration work been done.

AUKANA BUDDHA STATUE

Aukana is a single rock/granite cut upright Buddha statue, depicting Abhaya mudra. It is 43 feet height and carved out from existing granite rock by King Dhatusena during the period of 459-477 AD. In the east of the statue there is a reservoir named Kala weva reservoir constructed in same period by King Dhatusena. It is situated 45 mints to 1 hour drive from city of Anuradhapura. However on our way to Anuradhapura, Aukana statue could be visited easily.

Top Things to see in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is a major part of the cultural triangle, which is significant to the Buddhist devotees in particular. With that being said, the city has several top-class tourist attractions and tourists can buy a $25 ticket for entering to almost all the attractions in the city of Anuradhapura. Also, if anyone wants to visit all the sites in the cultural triangle, a $50 ticket would be enough.

Following are the top attractions of Anuradhapura –

  • Sri Maha Bodhia
  • Ruwanweli Stup
  • Lovamahapaya
  • Abhayagiri Stupa
  • Twin Ponds
    Elephant Pond
  • Aukana Buddha Statue
  • Thuparamaya
  • Samadhi Buddha Statue
  • Isurumuniya
  • Mihintale
  • Jetavanarama Stupa