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Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka


One of Sri Lanka’s world heritage sites, Anuradhapura is home to the country’s tallest Dagoba. There are also remains of important ancient temples, monasteries, statues, ceremonial baths and much more. The temple of the holy Bo tree or Sri Maha Bodhi is one of the most vital places in Anuradhapura and for the entire faith of Buddhism. The sacred Bo tree is one of the branches of the original Bo tree in Bodhi Gaya, India where Lord Buddha obtained enlightenment at the foot of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi over 2500 years ago.Anuradhapura is home to many of the country’s earliest monuments. Since most of the constructions are of immense Buddhist value, this great city is also a renowned Buddhist pilgrimage site.
Some of the major constructions and developments took place during the periods of King Pandukabhaya, King Devanampiya Tissa, King Duttha Gamini, King Vattagamani Abhaya and King Mahasena.
The Anuradhapura period of the country is a testament to the architectural intelligence of the ancient Sinhalese civilisation. For instance, the Aukana Buddha, which is 13 metres in height, is carved completely out of rock. On rainy days droplets of water falling off the tip of the nose from the statue falls right between the toes of the Aukana Buddha.
Other main and striking constructions include Thuparama Temple and its guard stone, Isurumuniya temple, Ruwanveli Seya, Abhayagiri Stupa and Monastery, Jethawana Monastery and Ritigala.
The monuments that can be seen at present in Anuradhapura symbolize a rich period of heritage of almost fifteen centuries. Each King who ruled from this great city added their piece of art and expertise to make this ancient Kingdom a place that is visited even today by travellers and archaeologists from all across the world.
Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura
It is hard to believe - but there is no shadow of doubt at all - that this small tree with limbs so slender that they must be supported on iron crutches, is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world (2,250 years).
It has never since been without its hereditary attendants and the care, to the very end, of the country's kings. As lately as the reign of King Keerti Sri Rajasingha, a wall was built around the tree. In 1966 it was enclosed in a golden railing.
The great ancient Sinhalese Buddhist monuments of Anurdhapura are clustered around this Peepal tree (ficus religiosa) called Sri Maha Bodhi, a sapling of the Peepal Tree at Buddha Gaya, Northern India in whose shelter Gautama Buddha attained supreme enlightenment. 
The sapling was brought to Sri Lanka by Buddhist nun Sanghamitta, the daughter of King Asoka of India in the 3rd Century B.C. To the north of the well protected and well adorned tree are three great monasteries: the Mahavihara, the Abhayagiri and the Jetavana.

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