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Anuradhapura


Anuradhapura Guardian Figure-Anuradhapura

The Ancient City of Buddhist Monasteries

 

Anuradhapura is situated in the North Central province of Sri Lanka. It can be reached from Colombo via Kurunegala -Dambulla -Anuradhapura road, or via Kandy-Dambulla- Anuradhapura road or from Puttalam along Trincomalee road.

Anuradhapura city became the Capital of Anuradhapura Kingdom in the 4th Century BC. It remained as the capital city for 15 centuries and was a prominent political and trade center in South Asia during this period.

According to the Chronicle Mahawanasa, Anuradhapura was called by that name after the minister Anuradha, who came along with Prince Vijaya and hundreds of followers from Dambadiva, India in the 6th Century BC and started the settlement by the side of Malwathu Oya (River Malwatu).

It is said that the Sinhala nation has originated from the natives of the island and the Indo aryans like Vijaya and followers, who came and settled in the island from around 6th Century BC and there onwards. The native clans were called as Yakshas and Nagas.

In the 4th century BC, King Pandukabhaya made Anuradhapura the capital of his Kingdom.

Around 250 BC , King Asoka became the Emperor of India and became a Buddhist. His son and the daughter were ordained as a Bhikku and a Bhikkuni (Buddhist priest and a nun named Mahinda and Sangamitta) and became Arhat.[Mahinda is called Mihindu in Sinhalese]

Emperor Asoka sent nine Buddhist delegations to nine countries and due to the close links with the King of Anuradhapura, Devanampiya Tissa , Emperor Asoka sent one of the deligations comprising Arhat Mahinda to Sri Lanka.

Arahath Mihidu met the King Devanampiyatissa at a place called Mihintale Rock about 12 kM from Anuradhapura on a Poson (June) Full Moon day and embraced Buddhism after a dialogue among the two.

Arahath Mahinda spent rest of his life in Sri Lanka and with the patronage of the King, started the Gauthama Buddha Sasanaya ( Buddhist order of the Lord Gauthama Buddha ) in Sri Lanka.

Then started an era of culture interwoven with Buddhist philosophy that created an agricultural based society.

The architectural remains can still be seen and gives a glimpse of what had been the country at that time.

 

 

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Abhayagiriya Stupa

 

Abayagiriya Dagoba - Stupa

 

 

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

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Abayagiriya stupa Abayagiriya stupa Abayagiriya stupa Abayagiriya stupa

Abayagiriya stupa

Abayagiri Stupa or the Abayagiri Dageba was constructed in 1 Century BC by King Vattagamini Abaya. The Abayagiri complex covers an area of 200 hectares.

The hight of the stupa is 235 feet and has a diameter of 310 feet at the base of the dome. It is built on a stone paved platform measuring 587 x 587 feet.

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Buddha Statues

 

Seated Buddha Stone Statue

 

 

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Buddha statues at various locations.

 

Buddha statue Buddha statue Buddha statue Buddha statue

Buddha statue

Samadhi Buddha Statue belonging to 4th Century AD. is considered as best of Sinhalese sculpture. Found at Abayagiriya Monastry complex in 1886.Sculptured out of dolomite marble, the statue is 7 feet 3 in. in height.

 

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Eth Pokuna, [Eth Pond]

 

Eth Pokuna image

 

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Elephant Pond Elephant Pond Elephant Pond Elephant Pond

Elephant Pond Elephant Pond Elephant Pond Elephant Pond

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Elephant Pond Elephant Pond Elephant Pond Elephant Pond

Elephant Pond Elephant Pond Elephant Pond Elephant Pond

The largest pond at Anuradhapura, this measures 500 feet x 150 feet

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Famous Architecture

 

Guardstone Figure

 

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Famous Architecture Famous Architecture

Remains of Rathnapasada , the Chapter House

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Stone Bridge

 

Stone Bridge image

 

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Famous Architecture Famous Architecture Famous Architecture Famous Architecture

Remains of ancient Stone Bridge over Malwatu Oya

 

Famous Architecture Famous Architecture Famous Architecture

Ancient toilette apparatus made of stone

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Jetavana Stupa

 

Jetavana Stupa image

 

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

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Built by King Mahasen (276-304 AD) , Jethavanarmaya Dageba presently is of 231 feet high. Earlier it is said to be 400 feet high. The diameter of the base of the dome is 370 feet. The dome and the stone paved terrace covers an area of 7 acres and this is the world's largest Dageba or the Stupa.

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Ruwanweli Stupa

 

Ruwanweli Seya Dagoba Image

 

 

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

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Ruwanweli Stupa

Ruwanweli Stupa [Dageba] or the Mahatupa [Great Stupa] is a Bubble shaped dome which covers the Relic Chamber of Lord Gauthama Buddha's bodily remains and is a very sacred place for the Buddhists. It was built during the period of 161-137 BC. It was built by King Dutugemunu and the cronicle Mahawansa describes how the Stupa was built, with minute details.

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Pancavasa with the Moonstone

 

Moonstone at Panchavasa

 

Bull and elephant figures of the Moonstone

 

 

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

Panchavasa Panchavasa Panchavasa Panchavasa

Panchavasa Panchavasa Panchavasa

 

The introduction plaque states that this is one of the exceptionally artistic moonstones found is Sri Lanka. The 'Pala Pethi' design or the inner most design with leave shapes around a half circle denotes the world being on fire. The beings going through Samsara by the quadrupeds, craving by the festoons, pious by the swans,attenuation of craving by small festoons,and the Lotus by the Enlightenment.

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Ratnapasada [ The Chapter House] with the Guardstone

 

Makara Korawakgala-Dragon Balustrade

 

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Ratnapasada Ratnapasada Ratnapasada Ratnapasada

Ratnapasada Ratnapasada Ratnapasada Ratnapasada

Ratnapasada Ratnapasada Ratnapasada Ratnapasada

Ratnapasada Ratnapasada

 

Ratnapasada was the Uposatagaraya or the Chapter House of the Abayagiriya Viharaya. It was constructed by King Kanittha Tissa (164-192 AC) . the Guardstone at the entrance is an architectural marvel of the Anuradhapura period. A Naga King holding the Pun Kalasa or the Vase of Plenty is sculptured here. A fine example of a Korawakgala or a Balustrade can also be found here.

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Statistics of the Ancient Bricks that were used to build Great Stupas at Anuradhapura

Name of Stupa

 

Ruwanweli seya

 

Abhayagiriya

 

Jetavana

 

Conjectured height from Foundation 331 feet 339 feet 360 feet
No. of ancient size bricks 30 million 54 million 62 million
Weight 403,908 Tons 571,000 Tons 657,000 Tons
Foundation on bed rock on bed rock on bed rock
Per sq.in. load in Lbs. at lowest course 64 lbs/sq.in 67 lbs/sq.in 72 lbs/sq.in
Average size of Bricks 18"x9"x2" 18"x9"x2" 18"x9"x2"
Motar clay clay clay
Shape of Dome Dhayanakara Dhayanakara Dhayanakara
Date constructed 3rd BC 157 BC 4th AD
Date of final restoration 1939 12th AD 12th AD
       
Source-Roland Silva- Men and Monuments- D.T. Devendra- A Centennial Tribute

 

Interactive Map of Anuradhapura Ancient City

Move mouse pointer over Yellow square areas and click.

Interactive Map of Anuradhapura Ancient City- size  273 kb

 

 

 

Thuparama Dagoba

Thuparama Stupa image

 

 

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya image

 

 

Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Pond )

Kuttam Pokuna-Twin Pond

 

 

Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Pond )

Kuttam Pokuna-Twin Pond during high raining period

 

 

Bath Oruwa (Rice Boat )

Gal oruwa- Stone Boat

 

 

Tisa Wewa

Tissa wewa image

 

 

Isurumuniya

Isurumuniya Temple

 

 

Isurumuniya - Man and Horse figure

Man and Horse figure- Isurumuniya

 

 

Ranmasu Uyana ( Pleasure Garden )

Ranmasu Uyana - pleasure garden elephant carving figures

 

 

 

Reference

Anuradha Senevirathne " Ancient Anuradhapura"

 

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Icon Anuradhapura

 

Anuradhapura Weather Now

Interactive Map of Anuradhapura

Abhayagiri Stupa

Buddha Statues

Eth Pokuna [Eth Pond]

Famous Architecture

Stone Bridge

Jetavana Stupa

Ruwanweli Stupa

Moonstone at Pancavasa

Guardstone at Ratna Pasada

Facts on Ancient Bricks

 

 


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