Get your first taste of Sri Lanka’s glorious history in Anuradhapura! Explore the remains of one of the island’s greatest kingdoms within a 5-hour tour. Enjoy the sightseeing of gargantuan stupas like clouds brought to earth, ingenious irrigation works, palaces, monasteries and the sacred Bo tree that are fascinating to visit.
Anuradhapura is the first kingdom of Sri Lanka and one of the South Asia’s grandest kingdoms which acted as a royal capital for over 100 kings for centuries. It is believed that from the fourth century BCE until the beginning of the 11th century CE it was the capital of the Sinhalese. During this period, it remained one of the most stable and durable centres of political power and urban life in South Asia.
It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka. This is one of the archaeological pilgrim sites which alive and holds most awe-inspiring monuments. It was the third capital of the kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara.
The city, now a World Heritage site, was the centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies 205 km north of the current capital of Colombo in the North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu River. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Anuradhapura houses eight sacred places where the Lord Buddha has visited during his three visits to Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura is home to the sacred Bo tree which is a sampling of the Bo tree in Buddha Gaya – the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. This has been brought to Sri Lanka by princess Sangamitta – the daughter of Emperor Ashoka of India in 288 BC. People have been coming here and paying respect for thousands of years, making it oldest documented living tree of which there is a record.
During your visit, you will also witness remarkably well-preserved large stupas and dagabas like Ruwanveli Seya - the biggest stupa in Sri Lanka which is an eye-catching attraction that has immense architectural value; Abayagiriya - the 02nd largest stupa in the island today; Thuparamaya – which enshrined the collarbone of Lord Buddha and the 01st dagaba built in Sri Lanka; Abhayagiri Dagaba - where Tripitaka inscribed in gold leaves enshrined; Jetawanaramaya – where a part of a sash or belt tied by the Buddha is believed to be enshrined; Mirisaveti Stupa – where the relic studded sceptre of the king Dutugemunu is deposited; Lankarama and continue visit palaces like Brazen palace; ponds like Twin pond; sculptures; moonstones; etc. and learn about how they have been built by craftsman and adorned by artists and the complex irrigation system they used in different sites. Stepping-up amongst these brilliant ruins while listening to the tales behind those and about successful kings and queens at that time will be a real treat.
You can gather valuable insights regarding Buddhism and enlighten yourself with the historical attractions of the city.
Furthermore, you can shop in Anuradhapura and collect local souvenirs like – replica artefacts, carved wooden figures, postcards, earrings, etc. to make your travel trip a lasting memory. Besides, you can taste the authentic Sri Lankan meal in the hotels and restaurants of Anuradhapura. The meals will be quite cheap and delicious. Plus, the street markets are crowded and you can pay a visit to them to figure out how locals interact with the visiting people.
You can either hire a bicycle or head with a tuk-tuk ride to explore the kingdom, that will give you a taste of local living standard.