Anuradhapura is one of the major cities in Sri Lanka and the capital city of the North Central Province. The city is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka with Historical importance and religious significance, popular due to its well preserved ruins of the ancient Sri Lankan Civilization. Anuradhapura was also considered the third capital in the Rajarata kingdom, following Thambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara Kingdoms.
Anuradhapura famous for its ruins is also a UNESCO world Heritage site and was the main centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. It remained one of the most stable and durable centres of political power and urban life in South Asia. The city lies on the banks of the historic Malwathu oya, 205km north to Colombo District and is one of the continuously inhabited cities in the world thus resulting being chosen as one of the eighth world heritage sites of Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura is now surrounded by Buddhist monasteries covering an area of 40 Km, sixteen square miles. The layout of Anuradhapura is described in the Mahavansa and it is believed that King Pandukbhaya made it his capital in the 4th Century BC. King Pandukabhaya constructed a reservoir named abhayawapi and established shrines, cemeteries, a place for execution, villahe boundaries and much more.
The architectural remains can be still seen in the City of Anuradhapura and gives a sight seer a glimpse of what had been the county during the historic era Most of the lakes and tanks built for water supply and irrigation still survive to date. The ruins and the techniques used during the Anuradhapura Era for construction is outstanding.
The remaining ruins consists of three classes of buildings, dagobas, monastic buildings and ponds or commonly known as pokunas. The dagobas are bell shaped masses of masonry carrying over a few feet to 340m in circumference. Remains and ruins of monasteries are found in every direction in the shape of raised stone platforms, foundations and stone pillars out of which the most famous place is being the brazen palace erected by king Dutugemunu. The ponds or pokunas and tanks for irrigation and supply of drinking water are scattered everywhere through the jungle. The city of Anuradhapura also contains the most sacred Bo-tree, which is said to date back to the early years of 245BC.
The eight great places of veneration or atamasthana in Anuradhapura is a must visit. They are Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abahaygiri dagaba, Jethavanarama, Mirisawateyi stupa and lankarama.
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