Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The sacred city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, is composed of monastic complexes. In addition, it has four enormous stupas (Jetavana, Ruyanvelisaya, Mirisavati and Abhayagiri).

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Additional Travel Information

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Sacred Bodhi Tree

Ratna Prasada Guard Stone

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Visitors may also see the ruins of walls along with a method of moats that secure the secular portion of the town referred to as the Citadel. Even the outskirts of Anuradhapura were mainly utilized for agriculture. A water system that was remarkably innovative allowed for yearlong irrigation.

Abhayagiri Vihara Monastery

The sights are contained in a archaeological park that needs quite a bit of walking from 1 website to another. Tickets cost $25 USD and are sold at the Archaeology Museum (open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm , closed Tuesdays).

Moonstone of Abhayagiri Vihara

Isurumuniya Vihara  

Tuk-tuks are readily available to take you around. Many drivers will say that you do not have to buy a ticket and they’re able to get you in without one, but we recommend every visitor buy a ticket so as to support restoration and maintenance attempts.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Jetavanaramaya Monastery and Stupa

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

In addition, we suggest hiring an English-speaking excursion guide, which will considerably increase experience and your expertise of Anuradhapura. The cost for a personal guide fluctuates, but prices fall between 850 and 1,000 LKR every day. Do not be worried if you have not pre-booked a guide.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Ruwanwelisaya Stupa

Here is what to see and do in Anuradhapura!

Thuparama Dagoba  

In the Ruwanwelisaya stupa complicated, a five-minute walk across the sidewalk promenade picnickers and monkeys, attracts visitors to the Sri Maha Bodhiya, and also even the Sacred Bodhi Tree. This fig tree that was sacred has been propagated in the original Bodhi Tree under which Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama was. He is referred to as Gautama Buddha, or understood only because the Buddha.


Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Although it is not unusual to encounter 2,000-year-old olive trees from Greece and the Middle East, the Bodhi Tree at Anuradhapura was planted in 288 B.C., making it the oldest surviving tree on the planet! It is protected by a wall and also revered by tens of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims that come to pay homage every day of the year to it. This impressive Bodhi Tree is one of the most sacred Buddhist relics from the world and is being adorned with strings of prayer flags of charm for peace protection, and great fortune.

Note from David

Jewel Palace, or the Ratna Prasada, is a complex that was utilized by a sect of monks who practiced Mahayana Buddhism — a separation from the Theravada school of thought which dominated Anuradhapuran life. King Kanitthatissa originally built Ratna Prasada from the very first century. The building, which was an enormous structure in its heyday, was demolished through the Dravidian invasion around the 8th century. It was later rebuilt through the reigns of King Mihindu II and King Mihindu IV.

Have a Look at Visiting the Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Among the most noteworthy destroys of Ratna Prasada is the 8th century protector stone featuring a stone-carved naga king, or cobra king, holding ships of abundant wealth. In his hand, he also holds a kettle of plenteousness. At the proper, he still holds a flower bouquet. The shield stone is in excellent requirement to get a artefact, but it just represents half of the first pair that stood at the entrance to the monastery. These shield stones served within the monks of their wealth and Ratna Prasada as a means of protection.

Located at the north end of Anuradhapura is that the Abhayagiri Vihara monastic complicated. It had been constructed by King Vattagamini at 88 B.C. and possess the capability to house 5,000 monks at a moment. That this was the largest monastery in Sri Lanka. The house, which extends around 500 acres, includes Buddha figurines, a stupa, one of the most outstanding moonstones from Sri Lanka (see below), and also 2 quite famous bathing flats, the Kuttam Pokuna.

Even the”twin ponds,” as they’re referred to, have been constructed sometime between the 8th and 10th centuries B.C. Although their design might seem easy enough, their pipes isn’t anything but. Even the Anuradhapurans were master engineers, according to their irrigation systems. The twin ponds feature empty, match, and ducts used to filter out the pools of water. Along with their pipes that is impressive, the plan of these pools reveals an eye for elegance.

Without needing to irritate themselves, the monks could enter the pools using a few collections of granite staircase, or sit across the edges and use boats to wash. Unlike their name, the ponds are not twins at all. One has a region of 6,732 square feet, whereas the smaller of both measures 4,641 square feet. Gardens and a wall that is protective surround them. Though visitors are not allowed to enter the water, it’d be a shame to come to Anuradhapura and miss these beauties.

A Sandakada Pahana, or Moonstone, is a Sri Lankan architectural element developed during the Subsequent years of This Anuradhapura Kingdom.

There is A moonstone a slab of rock placed at a Buddhist temple’s entrance. The Sandakada Pahana at Abhayagiri Monastery dates back to 1st century B.C.. A lotus blossom foliage is depicted in the center and is surrounded by rows.

The elephants represent birth, bulls represent aging, disease is represented by lions, along with also the horses signify passing. Even the swans, on the other hand, are thought to represent the forces of good and evil throughout one’s lifetime at play. The moonstone, then, is interpreted as a depiction of hammering worldly temptations and attaining the ultimate goal. The picture of the lotus blossom is located across Asia in architecture and is thought to be a place in Buddhism.

The Polonnaruwa period was carried into by moonstones’ usage. After that, the designs of these moonstones had shifted and were utilized at the foot of other buildings, not only at the entrances of Buddhist temples.

Even the Isurumuniya Vihara is a complex carved out of solid rock. It had been used to house issira, or 500 ordained Buddhist monks. Generally, issira were children from families in castes ready to dedicate their lives to Buddha’s teachings and the path to enlightenment. After they were ordained, they lived apart from the rest of society that was Anuradhapuran.

Flower offerings are brought by pilgrims to a statue of a reclining Buddha, who housed within one of those shrines and is dressed in a red robe that is glowing. The statue has been surrounded with paintings depicting the Buddha’s life and legends of this Anuradhapurans’ historical world. Giant boulders, some of which feature carvings of elephants and other figures, are scattered throughout the complex. Additionally, there are pillars, shrines, statues, plus a stupa.

A museum in the monastery displays carved. Included in these are rock benches and carved images of the royal family dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries B.C. Visitors may climb the staircase to the top of the highest boulder to get a great view of their property.

Close to the Isurumuniya Vihara a complex of historical bathing ponds stated to be the location where son of King Dutugamunu, Prince Saliya, became enamored. According to legend, the prince and his love wed even though her not being of noble blood, thus forfeiting the throne to his uncle. Their love is immortalized in a 6th century rock carving, which is housed at the museum. Entry to Isurumuniya Vihara is currently 200 LKR.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Even the Jetavanaramaya Monastery along with stupa were assembled by King Mahasen (273 — 301 A.D.) It has a height of 122 meters and is thought to have been one of the tallest constructions in the ancient world as it was completed, next only to the Egyptian pyramids at Giza. Constructed with bricks made of clay and sand, the Jetavanaramaya stupa is just as much a nod to engineering that is historical since it’s to spirituality. A relic, A part of Buddha’s sash, is believed to be enshrined here. Gazing up at this feat, you will be in awe of the planet of Anuradhapura.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Like many other societies that came the Anuradhapurans willing to spend over 20 years and utilize tens of thousands of skilled laborers to erect a monument respecting religion and the celestial. Even the Jetavanaramaya Museum, which is located adjacent to the stupa, reveals archaeological finds made during renovation efforts on site. Items on display include jewelry objects and coins. Entry to the museum is free of charge.

Called the”Great Stupa,” that the Ruwanwelisaya stupa is a huge white architecture that occupies the Jetavanarama stupa by over 100 years. King Dutugemunu, that became ruler after defeating King Elara, commissioned its construction in 161 B.C. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to determine its completion. The glistening white monument is rather large, with a height of 91.4 yards and a circumference of 290 meters. It is the second stupa in Anuradhapura and continues to be an important place of worship.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The large white dome represents heaven — its design was motivated by a bubble. Many believe that relics of the Buddha are housed within the dome. The Four Noble Truths, although the eight rings represent the Noble Eightfold Path are represented by the portion over the dome — both are touchstone teachings of Buddhism. There is also much to find the pavilion across.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Rows of layers and carved elephants of brick provide the structure with both support and decoration. Visitors light coconut oil votives across a wall adorned with figurines of elephant heads. The Ruwanwelisaya website has freestanding pillars and smaller destroys that were part of their sacred complicated. Pilgrims depart offerings of flowers and food .

Constructed, destroyed, and restored through the ages, the Thuparamaya Dagoba is the stupa in Sri Lanka. Though not as impressive as other stupas from Anuradhapura, it is sacred because it holds a relic of the Buddha. The arrangement that we see today is a complete reconstruction that was done in 1862, though some of the original pillars still stand round the primary building.

King Devanampiyatissa originally built Thuparama Dagoba at the four th century to house the most collarbone relic. Other remnants from the first dagoba include rock carvings, column foundations, temple ruins, along with a beautiful moonstone.

Other Points of Interest

Mihintale is religious complex located approximately 13 kilometers east of Anuradhapura and a Buddhist pilgrimage website. It is thought that this is where Mahinda transformed King Devanampiyatissa . Mahinda was an emperor’s son in India, but chose a path of devotion and instead became a Buddhism monk. Mihintale, or”Mahinda’s Mountain,” eventually became the part of Buddhism and also Sinhalese tradition. It was monasteries a complex of cave dwellings, along with stupas. The ruins of some of the buildings may still be seen making Mihintale the day trip in Anuradhapura.

So as to service the thousands of Buddhist monks that lived in Mihintale, King Sena II (853-887 A.D.) had a hospital built at the base of the mountain. Archeologists have been able to determine the original design of the building, by examining the ruins. The hospital needed four rooms taken for bathing, preparation , supply storage, and consultation and a courtyard.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The stairway that is wonderful is. Its scale the mountainside, bringing people to the very first degree of the Mihintale complicated. Here lie the ruins of the chief shrine and the main dining room, which can be accessed via another flight of stairs and contains two stone slabs that are inscribed.

Other ruins to Go to at Mihintale Comprise the Lion Pond, Naga Pond, Mahinda’s Cave, Kantaka Cetiya stupa, Maha Stupa, as Well as the Aradhana Gala rock.

Aradhana Gala is frequently referred to as”meditation rock” or”rock of invitation.” According to legend, it is really where Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa met. Visitors ascend the staircase, to the top of Aradhana Gala, with the help of railings. Out there there are incredible views, especially around sunset. The month of Posen (June) brings in many Buddhist pilgrims to Mihintale, and Posen Poya is the holiest day of the year (typically the evening of a complete moon in June). Entry to Mihintale is 500 LKR.

The way to get to Mihintale from Anuradhapura would be to employ a tuk-tuk. There are lots of English-speaking guides waiting about Mihintale if you are considering hiring one to reveal the sights for a few hours. Shoes are not allowed past a certain point. Bring an original pair of dark socks if you do not wish to wander barefoot on pebbles and sand. We suggest visiting to avoid the heat.

Exploring the sacred city of Anuradhapura is much like going to see with Mayan ruins in Guatemala or Roman ruins in Italy; then you should be able to appreciate the accomplishments made by societies through what is left of their infrastructure. A narrative is told by each website in the Anuradhapura. It is clear how important religion was to the society, and how the realm had been in spreading Buddhism.

It is important to be aware that there are significant spaces between some of those attractions, and so transportation will be necessary to make the most of each day. Tuk-tuks are always available to take you around to each of those sites, however a tour guide/driver may also be hired for your day in the event you choose. For touring Anuradhapura, airy clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes are essential. Many stupa sites need all guests to remove their shoes (this is really where socks come in useful ) and dress appropriately as a kind of respect. Donation boxes are put up to help cover maintenance costs, although feature free admission.

Monkeys, fruit bats and birds, lizards are some of the local critters you will strike at each of the sites. Remember that the monkeys are wild, and though they appear tame, I suggest that you attempt to feed them or don’t ever touch. They have the capacity to pass on a few horrible things to people who you do not want to take back home with you. Additionally, they’re notorious for stealing things.

A day trip to nearby Mihintale will complete your schooling of Sri Lankan Buddhist tradition. The complex is amazing and in good shape for the age. Made a town perched in the hills, which is a place for Buddhists today. The sacred city and the monastic complex of Mihintale of both Anuradhapura will transfer you back Buddha’s teachings held dominion over every aspect of society and when kings ruled. I sincerely hope you love and appreciate your time spent in Anuradhapura among the ruins before heading off in your next Sri Lankan experience.

Time zone: GMT +5:30 hours (Indian Standard Time)

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Capital city: Colombo

Languages spoken: Sinhalese, Tamalese and English

Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Currency converter: XE

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Getting about: When traveling between cities, trains and buses are best. Buses could be crowded and are seldom air-conditioned. Trains are slower and may be crowded as well, Although, they often considered the more comfortable mode of transportation. When in town, tuk-tuks, buses, taxis, and, in many cases, simply walking, are all viable forms of transportation. Sometimes, cars and drivers may be hired for a day or bikes may be rented.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Shopping: there are lots of souvenir shops in the Anuradhapura Old Town where postcards and chotchkies are sold. The New Town has clothes shops, supermarkets, plus a handful of bookshops.

Tipping policy: Service prices, typically 10%, are included at most restaurants. Drivers and manuals will even expect advice. A tip of 50 LKR is acceptable for hotel doormen and also the men and women who accumulate guests’ shoes at the temple.

Things to See and Do in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Electricity: There are two Kinds of sockets, the Form D Indian 5 amp BS-546 and the Western CEE 7/16 Europlug.


Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA)

Sri Lanka Colombo Airport (CMB)

Entry/exit requirements: As of January 1, 2012, all vacation and business passengers to Sri Lanka have to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). This may be accessed online through the Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization System site.

Health and safety: Though instances are infrequent, dengue fever is endemic to Sri Lanka. Even the mosquito-borne disorder has potential. By preventing getting bitten by 16, the only way to stop contracting the dengue virus is. Use a dependable lotion or spray insect repellent to help keep mosquitoes when possible and then sleep under a mosquito net. Symptoms generally begin after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If you think you have fever seek medical treatment.  Emergency medical treatment in hospitals could be costly. It is advised to have travel health insurance coverage throughout your stay. We recommend the Explorer bundle. To avoid unwanted attention, like wearing jewelry, refrain and producing large quantities of money.

Best time to visit Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons, so that your trip does need some pre-planning. The dry season in the south region of the country is between March and December. The dry season from the northern and southern parts of the nation lasts from May to September. Between October and November, intermittent rains occur across the nation. December through March is also the most bizarre time and also the most popular.

Have you seen Anuradhapura before? What did you think of what do and to see in Anuradhapura? Leave a comment below!