Anuradapura is regarded as Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the capital of the island for many centuries. Being well known for its cultural and religious value the city attracts many local and foreign visitors who love to explore the ancient history of Sri Lanka.
Among the many attractions in the city are the Dagabas, tanks, wild life, art and architecture which are highly respected for their religious and cultural value. The civilization which developed through Anuradhapura is woven round the tanks, the dagabas and temples. These attractions vary from the world’s oldest Bo tree, known as the Sri Maha Bodi which is a branch of the sacred Bo tree in which the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, to the tallest Dagabas, temples and remains from palaces which are regarded by the Buddhists as the depiction of Buddhism.
The city was named by “King Pandhukabaya” as the royal capital in 380 B.C, and it continued as the capital for 119 Sinhalese kings till the capital was moved on to Polonnaruwa in 1000 A.D. Later on, the capital was ruled by “King Dutugemunu” who is appreciated by the Sri Lankans for the contribution he rendered in the attempt of protecting and enhancing the cultural and religious heritage while maintaining the sovereignty in Anuradapura.
Thuparama Temple, Abhayagiri Stupa & Monastery and Ruwanweli Seya are few of the main religious attractions in the city. Thuparama Temple is regarded as the oldest temple in the country, while Abhayagiri Stupa & Monastery is the largest monastery complex in Anuradhapura. Some other notable sites in Anuradhapura which denote the cultural values of the city include Isurumuniya Lovers which is the ever famous rock carving, the Palace of Vijayabahu, and Tissa Wewa. The city of Anuradhapura therefore epitomizes the rich history of Sri Lanka and the significance of Buddhism within its heritage. For any one planning a visit to Sri Lanka Anuradhapura would easily be a must visit site and also a place that would create a deep appreciation of an ancient way of life which entwined religion, art and architecture.