Anuradhapura was the setting of the illustrious kingdom that resided approximately 1500 years ago. Today its historical monuments and stunning natural surroundings have made it an important tourist destination in Sri Lanka as well as a UN World Heritage Site. The monuments in Anuradhapura do not merely reveal the history of Sri Lanka but also signify the architectural knowledge and capabilities during the time of the Kingdom.
Buddhists both local and foreign, often visit this great city throughout the year since it is home to many significant Buddhist Stupas and monasteries. Most tourist attractions in Anuradhapura consist of temples, relics of ancient structures and monasteries. Considered as the most sacred place of Anuradhapura is the holy Bodhi tree. The Holy Bo tree is in fact part of the Sri Maha Bodhi in Bodhigaya by which Lord Buddha meditated and obtained enlightenment nearly 2500 years ago. A branch of the Sri maha Bodhi was brought to Sri Lanka under the guardian ship of Venerable Sangamittha.
Aukana Buddha is also a significant tourist attraction in Anuradhapura. Dating back to the 5th century to the time of King Dathuseana, the Aukana Buddha statue stands tall approximately 50 kilometres south of the city. The statue has been carved out from a hard granite rock and is a marvellous creation of artistry. Yet another significant attraction in Anuradhapura is the Thuparama Temple, which is renowned as the oldest Dagoba of the country. Another higlighiting factor to the fame of this temple is the fact that it is said to be the shrine of a Lord Buddha’s sacred collar bone.
Isurumuniya Lovers is also an interesting tourist attraction which is said to be crafted during the 3rd century B.C. Isurumuniya Lovers, which is well known for its impressive rock carvings, is a wondrous art of early craftsmanship provides insight into the skills of the ancient Sri Lanka. The Ruwanveli Sweya that was created during the reign of the famed Emperor Dutugamunu is said to be the most eminent of Buddhist stupas.
Travellers to Anuradhapura should not miss the Abhayagiri Stupa and Monastery. It is 108 metres in height and was among the tallest constructions of the ancient world. Futhermore, another monument is the Samadhi Statue which is is among the best Buddha structures of Sri Lanka and was built during the 3rd century AD. Mihintale is also a place worth a visit. It was in Mihintale that the son of Emperor Asoka, Thero Mahinda, acquainted the Sinhalese citizens with the teachings of Lord Buddha.
With such historical and cultural attractions in Anuradhapura that are known to be world, much are yet to be discovered. This great city of immense historical significance remains to be powerful in its heritage, livelihood and hospitality