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Anuradhapura Travel Guide

Sri Lanka's first capital founded in the 5th century B.C. is situated 206 km. from Colombo. According to the Mahavansa, the ancient Sinhala chronicle, this city was a model of Anuradhapura Cityplanning with precincts set aside for huntsmen, scavengers, heretics as well as for foreigners. There were separate cemeteries for high and low castes, hostels and hospitals, and water supply was assured by the construction of 'tanks' (reservoirs).

The Sacred Bo Tree: The world's oldest authenticated tree. A branch of the very Bo Tree beneath which the Buddha himself found Enlightenment. It was brought to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C. by Theri Sangamitta, sister of Arahat Mahinda.

Abhayagiri Dagaba: (meaning mountain of fearlessness) built by King Valagam Bahu in the Ist century B.C. when he won back the kingdom after 14 years of foreign rule.

Jetavanaramaya: The tallest of Sri Lanka's dagabas, was built by King Mahasen at the end of the 3rd century A.D.

The Brazen Palace: (Lovamahapaya)- a roof of copper bestowed the name given to this building which burned down only 15 years after its construction in the 2nd century B.C. The 1.600 pillars, in 40 rows, that now mark the site are ascribed to King Parakrama Bahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) The original building of nine graded stories is said to have been 100 cubits square at ground level and 100 cubits high.

The Thuparama Dagaba: This is the most ancient of Sri Lanka's dagabas and was built by King Devanamplya Tissa to enshrine the Buddha's collar bone. Its present 'bell' shape dates to reconstruction in the 1840s.

The Samadhi Buddha: This 4th century A.D. statue of the Buddha in the meditative pose is acknowledged worldwide as a masterpiece.

The Kuttam Pokuna: These twin ponds, which have been recently restored, are among the handsomest works of Anuradhapura ashlar.

The Mirisavati Dagaba: King Dutugemunu planted his spear containing a Relic of the Buddha and his clothes on the shore of the Tissa tank after celebrating his victory with a water festival. Here he built his first Dagaba, enshrining in it his spear with its relic.