Anuradhapura, (අනුරාධපුරය in Sinhala, அனுராதபுரம் in Tamil), is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization.
The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.
From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²).
- Protohistoric Iron Age
Although according to historical records the city was founded in the 5th century BC, the archaeological data put the date as far back as the 10th century BC. Very little evidence was available about the period before the 5th century BC (i.e. the protohistoric period), though excavations have revealed information about the earlier inhabitants of the city.
Further excavations in Anuradhapura have uncovered information about the existence of a protohistoric habitation of humans in the citadel. The protohistoric Iron Age which spans from 900 to 600 BC, marked the appearance of iron technology, pottery, the horse, domestic cattle and paddy cultivation. In the time period 700 to 600 BC the settlement in Anuradhapura had grown over an area of at least 50 ha. The city was strategically situated of major ports northwest and northeast, it was surrounded by irrigable and fertile land. The city was also buried deep in the jungle providing natural defence from invaders.
- Lower Early Historic period
The Lower Early Historic period, spanning from 500 to 250 BC, is studied on the lines of the chronicles. During this time King Pandukabhaya formally planned the city, with gates, quarters for traders etc. The city at the time would have covered an area of 1 square kilometre which makes it one of the largest in the continent at the time.
Sri Maha Bodiya
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is in Mahameuna park in Anuradhapura. It was planted in 249 BC, the regal period of king Devanampiyatissa. This the southern branch of the Sri Maha Bodhi at Boddagaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment. Theri Sangamitta brought Sri Maha Bodhi to Sri lanka. It happened in Esala full moon day in 249 BC. After that many kings built walls and gateways to protect the Sri Maha Bodhi. And also bodhi terrace and statues of Lord Buddha built by kings. Nowadays there are two golden fences around the Sri Maha Bodhi. This is the oldest surviving historical tree in the world.
|Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya|
|Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya|
|Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya|
Lovamahapaya is a building situated between Ruvanveliseya and Sri Mahabodiya in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is also known as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasadaya because the roof was covered with bronze tiles.In ancient times, the building included the refectory and the uposathagara (Uposatha house). There was also a simamalake where the Sangha assembled on Poya days to recite the sutra of the confessional. The famous Lohaprasada built by King Dutugemunu, described as an edifice of nine stories, was a building of this class. One side of the building was 400 ft (120 m) in length. There are 40 rows, each row consisting of 40 stone pillars, for a total of 1600 pillars. It is believed that it took six years for the construction of the building and the plan was brought from the heavens. The building was completely destroyed during the reign of King Saddhatissa. The small building in the center is late construction and is the Venue of Uposatha (chapter house)of the Maha Vihara even now.
The Ruwanwelisaya is a stupa in Sri Lanka, considered a marvel for its architectural qualities and sacred to many Buddhists all over the world. It was built by King Dutugemunu, who became lord of all Sri Lanka after a war in which the Chola King Elara, was defeated. It is also known as Mahathupa, Swarnamali Chaitya, Suvarnamali Mahaceti (in Pali) and Rathnamali Dagaba.
The stupa is also one of the Solosmasthana (the 16 places of veneration) and the Atamasthana (the 8 places of veneration in the ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura). The stupa is one of the world's tallest monuments, standing at 300 feet (91 m) and with a circumference of 950 ft (290 m).
The Kaunghmudaw Pagoda in Sagaing, Myanmar is modeled after this stupa.
More than 2100 years old, Mirisawetiya is one of the most ancient Dagabas in Sri Lanka . Built by the great king Dutugemunu, this Maginficant Structure is a must see for any visitor to the sacred city of Anuradhapura.
It is believed that the great king Dutugemunu made many wishes here that have come true during his lifetime.
King Dutugemunu built it as a Dagoba of the "Mahavihara" fraternity but as the monks started living there, it sees that Mirisawetiya developed as a separate monastery. However it is believed that it would have functioned as a monastery belonging to the Mahavihara Fraternity.
Several Kings, at different intervals made renovations to the Dagaba. Among them are King Gajabahu 1 (112-134 AC), and King Voharika Tissa (214-236 AC).
Thanthirimale is an old village in the Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka. It is located approximately 40km north west of the Anuradhapura city.
Thanthirimale is known for the ancient Buddhist temple situated in a nearby rock covered area. The temple and the junction appears to be most important centre in the village. This temple has historical value. When the Sri Maha Bodhi was brought from India to Sri Lanka, one night along the way the pot containing the sapling was kept at Thanthirimale. It is believed that there was one branch separately grew from the pot, was planted at that village to remember the incident. Hence, some believe that this may be the first Sri Maha Bhodi plant in Sri Lanka. The Bo Tree is placed on top of large stony layer which may protect the tree up to now.
This place was unidentified till the beginning of this 19th century and in 1960s the temple was reestablished by Buddhist monks. The temple and surrounding area are full of ruins, including two stone statues and several stone ponds. There is an archaeological museum at Thanthirimale.
This temple complex is located in and around 3 beautiful bolder formations spread across a large area in front of the Tissa Weva. On one these is a remains of a dagaba.Remains of 23 caves with drip ledges which the monks used can be seen on two of the rock formations. Remains of many buildings had been found from around the site, among which there were remains of an image house (pilima geya), dagoba and refectory (monk's dining room). Bricks recovered from the dagoba had Sinhalese characters belonging to the 10th and 11th centuries. Also there is a remains of a rate type of a circular building devoid of any statues or pedestals. Although the purpose of the this building is still a mystery, archaeologists have found seventy rare coins on excavating this building.
Made by king Valagambahu. Forth Son of King Saddathissa. Built in 1st century BC it stands at 74.98 metres to the tip of the damaged spire. It is the second largest stupa in the island today. According to the 5th century traveller Chinese monk Fa-Hsien's descriptions, this stupa has been 400 feet (122 metres) in height and has been decorated with gold and silver and studded with all kinds of jewels.
Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Ponds/Pools)
A garden was landscaped which separates the two ponds which long is 18½ ft. The larger pool of the two is 132 ft by 51 ft, while the smaller pool is 91 ft by 51 ft. The depths of the two pools is 14 ft and 18 ft for the smaller pool and the larger pool respectively.
The faces of the pools were cut granite slabs which includes the bottom and the sides of the pool. A wall was also built around the pool which encloses the compound. Flights of steps are seen on both ends of the pool decorated with punkalas, or pots of abundance and scroll design. Embankments were constructed to enable monks to bathe using pots or other utensils. Water to the pools were transferred through underground ducts and filtered before flowing to the pool and in a similar fashion the water was emptied.
Dr. Senerath Paranavithana was actively involved in the restoration of the ponds, in which small figures of fish, a conch, a crab and a dancing woman were found in the bottom.
|Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Ponds/Pools)|
|Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Ponds/Pools)|
|Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Ponds/Pools)|
Sandakada pahana, also known as Moonstone, is a unique feature of the Sinhalese architecture of ancient Sri Lanka.It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances. First seen in the latter stage of the Anuradhapura period, the sandakada pahana evolved through the Polonnaruwa, Gampola and Kandy periods. According to historians, the sandakada pahana symbolises the cycle of Samsara in Buddhism.
Thuparamaya is a dagoba in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist sacred place of veneration.Thera Mahinda, an envoy sent by King Ashoka himself introduced Theravada Buddhism and also chetiya worship to Sri Lanka. At his request King Devanampiyatissa built Thuparamaya in which was enshrined the collarbone of the Buddha. It is considered to be the first dagaba built in Sri Lanka following the introduction of Buddhism. This is considered the earliest monument, the construction of which was chronicled Sri Lanka. The name Thuparamaya comes from "stupa" and "aramaya" which is a residential complex for monks.
Thuparamaya dagoba has been built in the shape of a heap of paddy. This dagoba was destroyed from time to time. During the reign of King Agbo II it was completely destroyed and the King restored it. What is seen presently is the construction of the dagoba, done in 1862 AD. As of today, after several renovations, in the course of the centuries, the monument has a diameter of 59 ft (18 m), at the base. The dome is 11 feet 4 inches (3.45 m) in height from the ground, 164½ ft (50.1 m) in diameter. The compound is paved with granite and there are 2 rows of stone pillars round the dagaba. During the early periodvatadage was built round the dagoba.
The Jethawana stupa, the central ritual monument of the Jethawana monastery, had a diameter of 370 feet. Established in the 3rd century A.D., the monastery was the residence of 3,000 monks. Recent excavations confirm that the foundation of the stupa was 28 feet deep and rested on bedrock. This stupa, the tallest brick structure in the world, was built in keeping with engineering principles which are followed even today. At the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire, and counting this phase to be the end of the ancient world, this edifice was only second to two other taller structures - Pyramids 1 and 2 in Egypt, the taller of which was 483 feet. The Jethawena stupa is the tallest brick structure in the world.
|Jethawana Stupa Wahalkada|
The temple was built by King Devanampiyathissa who ruled in the ancient Sri Lankan capital of Anuradhapura. After 500 children of high-caste were ordained, Isurumuniya was built for them to reside. King Kasyapa I (473-491 AD) renovated this viharaya and named it as "Boupulvan, Kasubgiri Radmaha Vehera". This name is derived from names of his 2 daughters and his name. There is a viharaya connected to a cave and above is a cliff. A small stupa is built on it. It can be seen that the constructional work of this stupa belong to the present period. Lower down on both sides of a cleft, in a rock that appears to rise out of a pool, have been carved the figures of elephants. On the rock is carved the figure of a horse. The carving of Isurumuniya lovers on the slab has been brought from another place and placed it there. A few yards away from this vihara is the Ranmasu Uyana.
|Isurumuniya King's Family|
Lankarama is a stupa built by King Valagamba, in an ancient place at Galhebakada in the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Nothing is known about the ancient form of the stupa, and later this was renovated. The ruins show that there are rows of stone pillars and it is no doubt that there has been a house built encircling the stupa (vatadage) to cover it. The round courtyard of the stupa seems to be 10 feet (3 m) above the ground. The diameter of the stupa is 45 feet (14 m). The courtyard is circular in shape and the diameter is 1332 feet (406 m).