Anuradhapura is located at a distance of 206 km away from Colombo of western province, in the North central province of Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura can be reached by Colombo-Kurunegala-Anuradhapura main motor road as well as by Colombo-Anuradapura railway line.
History of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura, the very first capital (3rd BC -10th AD) of ancient Sri Lanka, established in 380 BC by a minister of King Pandukhabaya by the name of Anuradha, on the banks of River Malwatu Oya, was once the greatest monastic city of the world. In spite of the recurrent invasions by the marauding Dravidians from Southern India, the capital city lasted for nearly a millennium and a half, till the establishment of the city of Polonnaruwa.
Today, Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage is home to preserved ruins, renovated Buddhist monuments and massive rainwater reservoirs. Its renovated ancient rainwater reservoirs continue to supply water for the irrigation of the agricultural district as it did during its glorious era. Sri Lanka’s prime attraction of the local pilgrims as well as the foreign tourists, Anuradhapura is the most adored living heritage city of Sinhalese Buddhists of Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura is nicely bisected by the River Malwatu Oya into two regions: old city on the western bank irrigated by rainwater reservoirs Bassawakkulama and Tissa Wewa; modern town on the eastern bank irrigated by Nuwara Wewa reservoir.
New city of Anuradhapura
The modern city is pleasant and well-planned city. The hotels and guest house are sheltered and shaded by wooded gardens.
Old city of Anuradhapura
The old city isn’t a dead city cluttered with ruins. Some of the Sinhalese Buddhist cultural attractions are living pilgrimage sites with colossal living monuments. Rehabilitated ancient rainwater reservoirs irrigate whole agricultural district of Anuradhapura. The old city is in fact the supreme cultural site of awesome dynamism.
So vast is the area of Old city where the renovated monuments and ruins are located, it is easy to get confused and desperate in ideas on how best to go about exploring the site. The time tested method is to get a hang of the three great monasteries that flourished during the glorious era of Anuradhapura: Mahavihara monstery;Jetavana Monastery; Abhayagiri monastery.
The main attractions at Anuradhapura
Among the main attractions are Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, The Brazen Palace, glorious Ruvanvalisaya dagoba stupa, Thuparama stupa, The Archeological Museum and Folk Museum, Jetavana dagoba stupa, Jetavana Museum, The Citadel, Abhayagiri dagoba stupa, Samadhi Buddha statue, Kuttam pokuna twin ponds and Isuruminiya Vihara temple.