Anuradhapura & Polonnaruwa - Sri Lanka
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
The Sri Maha Bodhi is said to the oldest and longest surviving tree in the world. It was planted in 288 BC during the reign of king Devanampiyatissa and brought from India by Princess Sangamitta. She was the daughter of Indian emperor Asoka, a Hindu who had converted to Buddhism.
This Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi grown from a branch of the very Bodhi Tree in Buddhagaya, India beneath which the Buddha found enlightment brought to Sri Lanka in the 3rd BC by theri Sangamitta, sister of Arahat Mahinda. Throughout the centuries the Sri Maha Bodhi has been venerated by Buddhist in Sri Lanka and all over the world. Today it is looked upon as a national treasure by botanists, appointed by the government. The gold guided fence is an offering made through public donations.
Ruwanweli Maha Seya
The Ruwanweli Maha Seya, also known as the Mahathupa (The Great Thupa) is a stupa in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Two quarts or one Drona of the stupa, making it the largest collection of his relics anywhere. It was built by Sinhalese King Dutugemunu in c.140BC who became king of Sri Lanka after a war in which the Chola King Elara was defeated. It is also known as Swarnamali Seya, Suvarnmai Mahaceti (in Pali) and Rathnamali Seya.
Samadhi Buddha Statue
The Samadhi Buddha is a famous statue situated at Mahamevnawa Park in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. The Buddha is depicted in the position of the Dhyana Mudra, the posture of meditation associated with his first Enlightenment. This statue is 7 feet 3 inches in height and carved from dolomite marble. It is similar to the Toluvila statue from the same period. It is similar to Gupta period Buddha images, it is believed that originally the image was gilded and had inlaid eyes made of precious gems. It is likely that it was one of the four statues around a sacred Bodhi tree shrine. This is the only one that has survived largely intact. Whether the Buddha’s Enlightenment was the experience technically called samadhi, or some other phenomenon, may depend upon the philosophical allegiance of the believer. In the Dhyana Mudra the Buddha sits cross-legged with his upturned palms placed one over the other on his lap. This position is universally known throughout the Buddhist world, and this statue is therefore one of the most typical pieces of Buddhist sculpture.
It is said that when you look at the face of the statue from three sides they show 3 different features. Looking at the profile of the face from left and right they show a slight sadness and a slightly smiling face on the other. Looking from the front, the face shows neutral features.
Twin ponds/pools is one of the best preserved examples of bathing tanks or ponds in Sri Lanka. This pair of ponds were built by the Sinhalese in the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura. They form part of the Abhayagiri vihara complex and are considered one of the significant achievements in the field of hydro-logical engineering and outstanding architectural and artistic creations of the ancient Sinhalese.
Othe places to visit in Anuradhapura
- Abayagiri and Jethavana stupas.-
This was buid by the warrior king Valagam Bahu in the Iv B.C and jethavana stupa build by king Mahasen in the 3c. A.D. were taller than the third pyramid of Giza and were the wonders of the world at the time,with the jethavana probably being the largest stupa in the whole Buddhist world. Abhayagiri Vihara was a major monastery site of Mahayana, Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism that was situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is one of the most extensive ruins in the world and one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage cities in the nation.
- Anuradhapura / Archaelogical Museum / Folk Museum.
- Avukana Buddha Statue – The Avukana statue is a standing statue of the Buddha near Kekirawa in North Central Sri Lanka. The statue, which has a height of more than 46 feet (14 m), was carved out of a large granite rock face during the 5th century. It depicts a variation of the Abhaya mudra, and the closely worn robe is elaborately carved.
Mihintale is only 12 Km away from the famous Anuradhapura city. The sacred forest mountain Missaka Pabbatha where King Devanampiya Tissa met Arhat Mahinda Thera and his companions is situated in Mihintale. Prior to that the Lord Gautama Buddha had visited this place on his Third visit which was called as Missaka Pabbatha then. Being one of the sixteen places (Solosmasthana) the Lord Buddha had visited in Sri Lanka, this is regarded as one of the most important sacred places by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The area of Mihintale surrounds with a jungle and there are rock boulders scattered around the mountainous area. There are many caves which were earlier used by monks for meditation in a quite surrounding away from the main city of Anuradhapura. There is abundance of ancient stone architecture surrounding the many Stupas, monastic complexes and other sacred places.
Polonnaruwa Sri Lanka is considered one of the best preserved historic cities in the world. This was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.
Places to Visit in Polonnaruwa
- Minneriya National Park
- Parakrama Samudra
- Giritale Wewa
- Lankatilaka Temple
- Gal Vihara
- Nissanka Latha Mandapaya
- Rankoth Vehera
- The Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu