It is a UNESCO world heritage site
Anuradhapura is listed as one of the country’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, which is no wonder. The city is considered to be among the oldest and continuously inhabited cities on the planet. Archaeological finds date back to the 10th century BC. C.
It was a proud ancient capital
Today, Anuradhapura is one of the major cities of Sri Lanka in the North Central Province. In the distant past, it was an even more important city on the island. Anuradhapura enjoyed the honor of being the capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata. In fact, it is believed that the city served as a capital between the 4th century BC. C. and the eleventh century.
It is the home of an ancient fig tree
One of the main attractions of Anuradhapura is an ancient fig tree. He is known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. This tree is said to be related to the legendary Buddha Gaya fig tree in India.
It is said that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in the shadow of the original Sri Maha Bodhi tree at Buddha Gaya. Sri Lankans believe that Anuradhapura sprouted from a cut of the original tree planted in 288 BC. This makes the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi more than 2000 years old.
Has two cleverly designed ponds
Within the gardens of the Abhayagiri Monastery are the 1,500-year-old Twin Ponds or Kuttam Pokuna. The irrigation system established for the ponds is quite progressive. It is often touted as one of the most advanced examples of hydraulic engineering in existence at the time.
King Aggabodhi commissioned the construction of these pools in the 6th century AD for the monks of the monastery. The two ponds are approximately 130 feet and 90 feet long and made of stone.
Has an ancient moonstone
Also resident in the Abhayagiri Monastery is the Sandakada Pahana, an ancient moonstone carved from stone. What is a moonstone you ask? It is a stone slab that is cut into a semicircle shape and has intricate carvings. Moonstones are generally placed at the entrance of Buddhist temples. This one in particular dates back to the 1st century BC. C.
Take a close look at the lotus flower depicted in the center. Around him are many levels of animals carved into his face. Each of these creatures symbolized a different worldly concept, such as birth, aging, illness, and death. The lotus, on the other hand, represents Nirvana. And so, the moonstone is believed to symbolize the overcoming of karma, temptations, and the cycle of life and death. In Buddhism, this means the path to enlightenment.
Interested in the city and its many historical wonders? Take some time in your itinerary to spend a few days there. Accommodation in Anuradhapura is easy to find and staying in the city doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you are trying to stick to a modest budget, take a look at these guesthouses in Anuradhapura. They provide all the necessities that are part of the Yoho Promise. That is, things like WiFi, air conditioning, TV, and breakfast.
While you’re there, you can also visit other cities that are part of the Cultural Triangle.