Anuradhapura

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Anuradhapura may very well be the most important city in Theravada Buddhism, outside of India and perhaps Lumbini, Nepal (birthplace of Buddha). It is located to the North-West part of Sri Lanka.

Anuradhapura is the host of many famous events and places to Buddhism.

Anuradhapura was the capital of Sri Lanka for 1,400 years. It is slightly more than 200 kilometres from Colombo and a drive of around 6 hours. Anuradhapura gained much greater prominence with the advent of Buddhism on the island, after which many significant buildings and monasteries were constructed.

The three greatest monasteries of Sri Lanka, the Mahavihara, the Abhayagiri and the Jetavana, were all located in Anuradhapura. Visitors will see mainly the ruins of these monasteries and other structures associated with them.

All the other buildings have long since disappeared. Due to its vulnerability to attacks from South Indian raiders, Anuradhapura gradually lost its importance by the 9th century, and the political seat of the island shifted south-east to Polonnaruwa. It was abandoned by the 11th century and swallowed by the jungle, lost for almost a thousand years. The city and its important ruins were rediscovered only in the early 19th century with the help of the British.

The Ruwanwelisaya Great Stupa and the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi are also located in Anuradhapura.

The entire city of Anuradhapura has been designated a UN World Heritage Site.

Famous temples and sites in Anuradhapura