In Anuradhapura, you’ll find an incredible Archaeological wonders, Wild life and nature , Irrigation wonders and ancient rich cultures . Here are some impressive Anuradhapura  wonders to add to your Pinterest travel board and get you dreaming of your next great adventure.



Where: Anuradhapura City limit 

The sacred city of Anuradhapura has been nominated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage. The main reason for the historical city of Anuradhapura to become a sacred city was the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.

This sacred tree has been planted in the historical Maha Megha Vana Royal Park in Anuradhapura in the month of ‘Unduvap’ (December), 236 BC, according to the written facts. The sacred Bodhi sapling has been ceremonially brought here by Arahant Sanghamitta Maha Theree, under instructions of Arahant Mihindu Maha Thero. King Devanampiyatissa who ruled Sri Lanka in this period has planted this Bodhi tree with great pageantry in the Maha Megha Vana Royal Park dedicated to the venerable bhikkhus. The present age of the Anuradhapura Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is 2,247 years.

Accordingly, the oldest tree of the whole world with a written history is the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi of Anuradhapura.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit  

While many of these buildings get their share of attention, and strenuous efforts have been made to unravel the mysteries hidden in their stones or bricks, others do not. A small crumbling structure made of bricks, situated east of the Temple of the Tooth Relic and north east of King Vijayabahu’s palace, lies decrepit, reduced to a pathetic pile of cracked blocks. Even though its position within the citadel – close to the palace and the Temple of the Tooth – should have aroused interest, no one knows its history. No one knows who made it. No one knows when it was built or for what. And no one seems to care.

Archaeologists had trouble identifying this building as a Gedige, a word derived from Pali Ginkhakavastha, which means a brick house used to shelter images.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit  

About 2 km from Anuradhapura city on the old sacred city road, you can see the ruins of Vessagiriya at the base of Isurumuniya paddy field and Tissawewa. This place is popularly known as Vessagiriya as there were five hundred buddhist “Arahants” belonging to the “Vaishya”  who lived here. Ruins of the Anuradhapura era can be seen at this place.


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)


Where: 15Km from Anuradhapura City 

Haththikuchchi Temple is a another historic place with a fascinating and beautiful environment that you must visit when visiting the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage City. Haththikuchchi Temple is located about 3.5 km west of Mahagalkadawala on the Anuradhapura-Kurunegala-Padeniya main road, bordering the Rajanganaya and Giribawa Divisional Secretariats adjacent to the Anuradhapura District. This stone temple complex was built during the reign of King Devanam Piyatissa and it can be seen amidst beautiful ponds and flora as well as lush greenery and natural rocks. 


Where: Anuradhapura City limit 

Isurumuni Rajamaha Viharaya is a special place that comes to mind when we talk about the sacred city of Anuradhapura. Isurumuniya Rajamaha Viharaya is located about 2.5 km from the old railway station in Anuradhapura, below the Tissa Lake, on the left side of the Ranmasu Uyana facing a beautiful paddy field. 


Where: Anuradhapura City limit 

The “Ranmasu Uyana” (Royal Garden) which is another archeological site that has added another historical value to Anuradhapura. This Ranmasu uyana  is located at the foot of Tissa Lake, east of Isurumuniya Rajamaha Viharaya on the way from the main city to sacred city of Anuradhapura. This Royal park covers an area of ​​about forty acres and is an example of the ancient horticultural art and fine water management technology of Sri  Lanka. Inside the Royal Garden, there are two beautiful stone ponds, baths and the ruins of many of the features found in a royal garden, as well as a number of natural stone slabs.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit 

Famous for its beautifully carved stone structures, the Rathna Prasada is the Uposatha house (a place for the cleansing of the defiled mind) of the Abhayagiri Viharaya. It holds great importance to Buddhists and is a historical landmark in Anuradhapura. Built-in 192-194 AD by King Kanitta Tissa who ruled Ceylon, Rathna Prasada or Gem palace was originally a seven storey ed skyscraper with tiered roof, had beautiful guard stones (Mura Gal) and a statue of Buddha made of gold.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit

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.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit

When the Tooth Relic was brought to Sri Lanka in the reign of King Keerthi Sri Megha Varna (301-328 A.D.) the King housed it in the shrine called Dharmachakka, constructed by King Devanampiyatissa and thereafter the shrine came to know as the Daladage.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit

This is the first stupa to be built in the country after the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Built in the time of king Devamnampiyatissa (250BC – 210BC) this was a stupa as well as an Aramic complex (monastery). Today ruins of this complex covers nearly 3 ½ acres. The stupa was built on the instructions of Mahinda Thero who brought Buddhism to the island to enshrine the right collar-bone of Lord Buddha.

On this stupa you can see a unique architectural feature called vatadage, a stupa-house. This building completely housed the stupa. At present four concentric circles of stone pillars are found around the stupa. They diminish in height from inner most circle and at one time carried the weight of a dome-shaped roof over the stupa. There has been 176 pillars which supported this stupa house and in 1896, 31 complete pillars with capitals has been standing. This vatadage has been built in the 1st century AC.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit

The Samadhi Buddha statue at Anuradhapura’s Mahamewna Park is among the best-preserved statues in the country, and is famous for setting the bar against which all other statues of its kind are judged.  In age, the Samadhi Buddha statue dates back to either the 3rd or 4th Centuries AD albeit its creator and sponsor are unknown. The park of Mahamewna though dates back to the 3rd Century BC, and was among the earliest large parks in the country, sponsored by King Mutasiva. The park remained as a major landmark of the city, and even became the site of the orthodox Buddhist fraternity of the country, the Theravada school; this chief Theravada center was referred to as the Mahavihara Fraternity.

Toluvila Aramic Complex

Where: Anuradhapura City limit

Toluvila Aramic Complex lies in the outer circle of the ancient Anuradhapura city, close to the Anuradhapura railway station. It has been identified as the place where the Great Mahinda Thero took shelter on their way from Chethiya Pabbatha to Maha Viharaya in the 3rd century BC.

The monastery is appears to be belonging to the late Anuradhapura period (7-9th centuries). The original name of this site has not been discovered and it is now known as Toluvila, the name of the  village.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit

Of the stupas built in Sri Lanka Ruvanveli Seya is the first stupa that is worshipped with great reverence. Hence it is known as ‘Mahathupa’ (Great Stupa) and Ratnamali, Mahaseya and Swarnamali Seya in various literary works. This stupa was built by King Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) Bubble-shaped in form; a large number of bricks had been used for the foundation.  It is about 150 ft in height. It is mentioned that paintings had been done in the relic chamber. After King Saddhatissa, most of the rulers who became kings not only in Anuradhapura but also in the entire country had contributed towards it restoration.


Where: Anuradhapura City limit

During the reign of king Gothabhaya (253-266 AC) a disagreement took place between the monks of Maha Vihara Monastery and the Abhayagiri Monastery regarding a certain doctrine. The king Gothabhaya took the side of the Maha Vihara and took severe measures against the monks of the Abhayagiri Monastery. During this time the monks of this monastery had to seek sanctuary in India.


Where: 15km from Anuradhapura City 

Awkana Buddha statue is the tallest ancient Buddha statue of Sri Lanka 12 meters height Standing posture sculpture built in 5th Cent. AD. As consider as a master piece of Sri Lankan ancient iconography which carved out of a natural rock boulder. On route to Awkana you will pass the drive along the bunt of Kala wewa (Tank water reserve) Awkana Buddha statue is located about 180 kilometers to north from Colombo, or 30 km northwest of Dambulla,close to the Kala wewa (Tank). It can be reached from Dambulla, Anuradapura via Kekirawa road.


Where: 15km from Anuradhapura City 

Some 11km west of Aukana Buddha statue on a rocky hillside with a pathway of 300 steps, lies another standing Buddha statue (13 meters). Apparently it isn’t completed. As at Aukana statue, Sasseruwa too was once sheltered in an image house, as shown by the holes for beams cut into the rock around it. This housing structure & all other buildings were destroyed by marauding Dravidian invaders from South India.
There are incomplete works from the very head to toe of the statue: the ornament above the head, “Siraspata” wasn’t craved into the rock; one of the ears is unfinished; the final finishes to the robe of the Buddha were not done; the pedestal is simply an undercoated square block of stone.

ELEPHANT POND ( ඇත් පොකුණ )

Where: Anuradhapura City limit

This gigantic man-made pond is situated close to Lankaramaya. This is 159 meters in length 52.7 meters across and 9.5 meters in-depth with the holding capacity of 75,000 cubic meters of water.

The water to this pond has been supplied from the Periyamkulama Tank through a network of underground canals, and you still can see part of the water lines made out of stone blocks.


Where: 25 km from Anuradhapura City 

Tantirimale is situated halfway between Anuradhapura and the island of Mannar, at the river Malwattu Oya which is connecting the ancient Sinhalese capital with Mantota near Mannar. Mantota, then known as Mahathitta, was the principal port for the Anuradhapura kingdom. This area also had also been the landing place of the first Sinhalese settlers, the followers of Prince Vijaya, who arrived on the islan which he called Thambapanni about 500 B.C.E. Thanthirimale, located upstream, definitely became one of the first Sinhalese villages on the island. Some believe it to be the ancient Upatthissagama mentioned in the chronicles. When Prince Vijaya ordered his followers to establish settlements in different areas, Upathisssa was one of his ministers. The village named after him was the first Sinhalese village and became a commercial city later on and it played an important role in early Sinhalese history.


Where: 15 km from Anuradhapura City

Vedahala – the Hospital at the foot of the mountain at #Mihintale
With the growth of the community of monks and the pious laymen, there arose the inevitable need of a hospital. The first hospital at Mihintale was founded by King Sena the second (853-887 AC) at Mihintale. The identification was based on a tenth-century inscription found at the site.



Where: Anuradhapura City limit

Anuradhapura Folk Museum was established in 22nd August 1971 as a provincial Museum under the Department of National Museums. The aim of this museum is to collect, conserve and exhibit the cultural and religious objects used by the folk community in Nuwara-Kalaviya area.

In 12-13 A.D. the kingdom was shifted to the South-west because of the foreign invasions. Several families remained and they lived in a little hamlets surrounded by the thick forest. They were unable to communicate with the outer world and had to product all the things needed in their day- today life. The objects they used in daily life illustrate their traditional knowledge. Anuradhapura Folk Museum has a good collection of traditional objects used by the folk community in Nuwara Kalaviya.



Kalawewa National Park declared a National Park in 2015, it embraces the imposing Kalãwewa and Balaluwewa water tanks, built by King Dhatusena in the 5th century. This Park of over 6000 hectares, is home to elephants but with a notable feature – the herd has a great concentration of tuckers; male elephants with tusks (which are ivory). Roughly only about seven percent of the male elephant population have them, making tuckers a magnificent sight to see.


The main topographical feature in this park is the concentration of “villus” or “lakes” within it. The striking feature, though confined to a certain sector of the park, is copper red, loamy soils extremely varied. The western sector of the park with deeply forested areas and thorny bushes in reminiscent of Yala National Park in southern Sri Lanka. Characterized by inter monsoon rains in March and April an extensive drought from May until early September and a major rainy season (Northern Monsoon) from September until December. Mean annual temperature is 27.2 ° C and total annual precipitations approximately 1000mm based on long term records.



Thissa Wewa is an ancient irrigation tank was built by King Devanampiya Thissa (250-210 BC). Only Panda Wewa and Abhaya Wewa are considered to be older than Thissa Wewa. The embankment of Thissa Wewa is 11,000 feet long (Two miles) and 25 feet high. The width of the top of the reservoir was found to be 12 feet to 18 feet. Base of the embankment is 160 feet. Thissa Wewa has an area of approximately 550 acres.

Mahawansa reports that King Bhatikabaya  (20 BC-9 AC) pumped water using a machine up to Ruwanweli Seya and sprayed water to flowers which covered the full stupa. Further, water from this reservoir was also used to fill the tanks of Ranmasu Uyana, the Royal water garden next to the Isurumuniya Viharaya.


Kala Wewa is situated in the North Central Province. You can reach here on your way to Anuradhapura (via Dambulla) by turning off at Kekirawa town.

Kala wewa was built by the King Dhatusena in the 5th century AD. In fact the King built another tank (Balalu) adjacent to this one and the two tanks are joined to form one of the biggest tanks in Sri Lanka (Kala – Balalu wewa)

There are many interesting places to visit close to this area. Some of the key places are mentioned below.
Aukana buddha statue – A standing buddha statue date back to the same period as the tank. The statue is situated by the side of the tank
Jaya Ganga – An ancient canal that link Kala Wewa and Thissa Wewa of Anuradhapuara.



The area called “Nuwara Kalaviya” which is in Anuradhapura district got its name as it was nourished by the three lakes: Nuwara Wewa, Kala Wewa & Padaviya where the concept of traditional village doctrine was highly expanded in an early epoch of the 19th century.

The lake (Wewa), Pagoda (degeba), Village (gama) and the Buddhist temple (Pansala) were considered as the inheritance of Sinhalese. The villagers honored monks offering them the greatest respect. As the ancient village was originated centering the lake and the paddy field, livelihood of the dwellers was farming. The paddy fields were given a godly respect by the village folk, thus the rituals and prohibitive precepts were highly considered and practiced without fail. They considered it as paying their gratitude to the fields for nourishing and keeping them alive.

The inhabitants of “Nuwara Kalaviya” considered even “nature” a godhead and followed several rituals that are called “Kem Pahan” which means a sort of magic like conduct. Offering Gods for different purposes and special events of the paddy fields and their own lives was also a habituation. A prominence was especially given to the Gods like “Ganesh” “Ayyanayake” and Kadawara”.



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