Anuradhapura: Exploring the Sacred City

by | Mar 27, 2023 | Asia | 0 comments

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation that is steeped in history and culture. One of the most important historical sites in Sri Lanka is Anuradhapura. This ancient city was the capital of Sri Lanka from the 4th century BCE until the 11th century CE. Anuradhapura is known for its magnificent temples, stupas, and other religious monuments. It is also home to the sacred Bodhi tree, which is one of the most revered Buddhist sites in the world. In this blog, we will explore Anuradhapura and the Bodhi tree in more detail.

The History of Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura was founded in the 4th century BCE by King Pandukabhaya. The city grew in importance and became the capital of Sri Lanka. It was also a major center of Buddhism, and many temples and stupas were built in the city.

Anuradhapura was invaded and destroyed several times over the centuries. However, it was always rebuilt and continued to be an important religious and cultural center. In the 11th century CE, the capital was moved to Polonnaruwa, and Anuradhapura was abandoned. It was rediscovered in the 19th century and has since been restored as a major historical site.

Exploring Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is a sprawling city with many important historical sites. The most famous of these is the Sri Maha Bodhi, which we will explore in more detail later. However, there are many other temples and stupas worth visiting in Anuradhapura.

One of the most impressive sites in Anuradhapura is the Ruwanwelisaya stupa. This massive stupa was built in the 2nd century BCE and is one of the largest in Sri Lanka. It is surrounded by a wall with beautiful carvings and is said to contain relics of the Buddha.

Another important site is the Jetavanarama stupa. This stupa was built in the 3rd century CE and is even larger than the Ruwanwelisaya stupa. It is also surrounded by a wall with carvings, and there are many smaller stupas and temples in the area.

The Abhayagiri Monastery is another important site in Anuradhapura. This monastery was built in the 1st century BCE and was one of the largest monasteries in the world at the time. It was a major center of learning and was home to thousands of monks.

There are many other temples and stupas to explore in Anuradhapura, and it is worth taking the time to visit as many as possible. The city is also home to many beautiful parks and lakes, making it a pleasant place to spend a day or two.

The Sri Maha Bodhi

The Sri Maha Bodhi is the most important site in Anuradhapura and is one of the most revered Buddhist sites in the world. The Bodhi tree is said to be a descendant of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. The tree was brought to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE by Sanghamitta, the daughter of Emperor Ashoka.

The Sri Maha Bodhi is located in the Mahamewna Gardens, which is a beautiful park with many other important historical sites. The tree is surrounded by a wall, and there is a small shrine nearby where visitors can make offerings and pray.

The Sri Maha Bodhi is a deeply spiritual and peaceful place. Many Buddhists visit the site to meditate and reflect. It is also a popular tourist destination, and visitors from all over the world come to see the sacred Bodhi tree.

When visiting the Sri Maha Bodhi, it is important to show respect for the sacred nature of the site. Visitors should dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the area around the Bodhi tree. It is also important to be quiet and respectful, as many people come to the site to meditate and pray.

There are many rituals associated with the Sri Maha Bodhi. One of the most important is the lighting of oil lamps. Visitors can purchase small lamps and oil from vendors near the site and light them as an offering to the Buddha. This creates a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere around the Bodhi tree, especially in the evening.

Another important ritual is the offering of flowers. Visitors can purchase lotus flowers or other offerings from vendors and place them around the Bodhi tree as a symbol of respect and devotion.

The Sri Maha Bodhi is a deeply spiritual and meaningful site for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. It is a place of great beauty and tranquility, and a visit to Anuradhapura is not complete without experiencing the sacred Bodhi tree.


Anuradhapura is a fascinating historical site that is well worth a visit. It is a testament to the rich history and culture of Sri Lanka, and the many temples and stupas in the city are awe-inspiring. The Sri Maha Bodhi is a particularly important site, and visitors should take the time to experience the beauty and spirituality of this sacred tree.

A visit to Anuradhapura is a journey through time and a chance to connect with the deep spiritual roots of Sri Lanka. It is a reminder of the importance of respect for culture and tradition, and a testament to the enduring power of faith and devotion.

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