How old is Anuradhapura

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Practical information about Anuradhapura

  • On-site encounters
  • Parks and gardens
  • in the countryside
  • lake
  • Religious places or monuments
  • Archeological sights
  • Historical places or monuments
  • World heritage
  • Indispensable
5 hours by bus from Colombo

Anuradhapura: Discover unforgettable experiences

Traveler experiences

Romain Beuvart Seasoned Traveler

Anuradhapura is a former capital of Sri Lanka, today still the "Holy City" and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

However, if you have already visited Polonnaruwa and have already had enough of "old stones", you can confidently do without paying the expensive entrance fee to visit the historical park. There are several free viewing

Another mythical city in Sri Lanka's cultural triangle is Anuradhapura, a place that has a lot of respect. In With most of the temples and huge stupas scattered around the valley surrounding the city, you will find many devotees who have come to make offerings and pray. Since my Buddhist wife was with me, the highlight of my visit to Anuradhapura was the temple of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. For Buddhists, the temple of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is one of the most sacred temples, because here is the Bodhi tree (a kind of fig tree), which descends directly from the original tree under which Buddha reached enlightenment. The tree is over 2000 years old and people crowd around it.

I was particularly impressed by the huge white stupa in Ruwanwelisaya, with its height of 103 m and its circumference of 290 m! Unfortunately, I couldn't stay here very long because the heat was stifling and my feet were easily burned because, as I said, this is a holy place and you have to take off your shoes. Bring a pair of socks (this will take some relief).

Don't forget the Isurumuniy Temple with its superimposed stupa that rises at the foot of a rock. It contains unique sculptures and includes the so-called "elephant pond". This entry fee temple can be visited independently of the historical site of Anuradhapura.

If you are interested in meeting the local population, I can only wish you to meet a TukTuk driver like ours, who invited us to his home to have lunch with his family! A very enriching experience!

One of the places I regret not to have visited is the royal garden of RanmasuUyana. The driver of our TukTuk drove us to the rear entrance, at the foot of the artificial water reservoir of Thissa Wewa. From there, the garden did not seem particularly interesting, and we did did not visit it due to lack of information. However, this gave us the opportunity to watch the farmers next door planting the rice with their bare hands.

David Debrincat Seasoned Traveler
408 written reviews

The 205 km north of Colombo Anuradhapura is the largest city of the beautiful cultural triangle. Even if the new part of the city doesn't have the slightest charm, you shouldn't miss the splendid sights of the old town.

The site is too extensive to explore on foot and the ruins are too poorly signposted to rent a bike. I recommend a guided tour with a tuk-tuk driver.

Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Anuradhapura is a holy city of Buddhism. Their undeniable beauty makes them a figurehead for tourism in Sri Lanka. To Polonnaruwa and Kandy is Anuradhapura the third gem of the cultural triangle.

When I arrived, I first discovered the new district. This is where the hotels, restaurants and shops are located, otherwise there is nothing amazing to report. Here I negotiated a tour of the old town with a tuk-tuk driver. It's vast and the sights are poorly signposted, so a tuk-tuk is definitely the best mode of transport in Anuradhapura. I advise you to leave early in the morning to avoid the usual crowd. There is so much to see and discover that it takes several days to tour the entire site. Among the holiest sites, I recommend the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree. It is the oldest tree in the world. The unmistakable Mahasena Temple and the magnificent Kuttam Pokuna Basin are also worth a visit. After all, there is still so much to discover. Contact a guide who will guide you through this particularly sacred site in Sri Lanka.

Emeline Mainy Seasoned Traveler

The inland located about 200 kilometers north of Colombo Anuradhapura was once the capital of Sri Lanka, in fact until the 11th century. The modern city now faces the old town, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Spend a full day visiting the archaeological site that takes us to the heart of Sri Lankan life. Set off early to enjoy the morning "freshness" (from 7 am). Pay particular attention to stealing monkeys!

I had a real taste for Anurhadapura during my stay in Sri Lanka. I felt like I was diving into the past: the fascinating power of this site mainly results from the fact that it is still a place of worship for many pilgrims who still use it for their religious customs. You can see many Sri Lankans in white (the color of Buddha) coming here with their families, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, and a few sacred cows roaming around in the maze of majestic ruins that stretches for dozens of kilometers and which nobody can dares to approach.

The most practical way to explore this place is by bike, stopping at each one to visit the temples, palaces, and majestic dagobas - dagoba is the Sri Lankan name for stupas - which, according to the custom, walk barefoot from left to right clockwise. As you approach the Bodhi Tree, the sacred tree under which Buddha received enlightenment, remember to take off your shoes and watch the pilgrims to get a feel for what they are doing and not doing here after you bought a fresh mango from one of the many street vendors (don't forget your pocket knife!).

Round trips and stays Anuradhapura