Idea #372 – Exploring the ancient and sacred capital of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka
The city appears towards 550 BC, and takes the name of his governor, Anuradha, Secretary of Indian king Vijaya who reigned at that time over this territory. Anuradha is also the name of a constellation of stars auspicieuse which is a part of the Indian tradition. The sacred city of Anurâdhapura became established around a cutting of the ” tree of the awakening ” (“Bodhi Tree”), Buddha’s fig tree, the cutting of which was brought to the IIIth century BC by Sanghamitta, founder of a feminine Buddhist order.
In the year 25 BC., an important council is kept there to unify the faith that is the Buddhism theravada in Sri Lanka. A few centuries later, it is still to Anuradhapura that we bring the relic of the Tooth of the Buddha, kept today for Kandy in the Temple of the same name. The city will pull its prosperity of the construction of a big system of irrigation, allowing to cultivate immense territories of a naturally dry zone, which in it turn will generate a surplus of wealth, used for the construction of temples and monuments to the glory of Buddha. Anuradhapura, political and religious capital of Ceylon during 1 300 years, was abandoned in 993 following invasions.
For a long time buried under a thick jungle, the site contains another three visible monastic groups : Mahavihara (IIIth century BC) with Thuparama, the oldest stupa of Sri Lanka, which would contain Buddha’s collarbone, built towards 250 BC during the reign of Devanampiyatissa; Abhayagirivihara (IIth and Ie siècle BC) The biggest monastery of the kingdom of Anuradhapura, established by king Valagamba to celebrate his victory against Tamil leaders of India.
On this site, the stupa of Jethawanaramaya, built by king Mahasena, of a height of 120 m, was the biggest third monument of the world to the roman time. It is considered for being the biggest to the world. It was recently restored to eliminate the intrusive vegetation. We can also see there the temple Ruvanveli Seya, stupa the most popular and probably the most known by all those of the island, builds by king Dutugamunu in the IIth century BC and supposed to have a perfect shape of round bubble. Finally, it is possible to contemplate the granite statue of Samadhi Buddha, considered as the most beautiful of the region; Jetanavihara (IIIth century AD) As well as vestiges of palace, and other monuments. The site of Anurâdhapura is classified in the UNESCO world heritage, and was relatively well restored.
Where is it ?
Archaeological site of Anuradhapura, Province of North Central, Sri Lanka