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Anuradhapura and Mihintale

Pond in Anuradhapura

The city of Anuradhapura is more than 2400 years old and was the royal capital of the Singhalese kings for 1400 years.

In the year 250 BC, King Devanampiya Tissa converted to Buddhism and spread the belief throughout Sri Lanka.

Monk sitting in front of the Thuparama Dagoba

A sapling of the Bo Tree (Ficus Religiosa), under which Prince Siddharta (Buddha) received enlightenment, was planted in Anuradhapura. This tree is 2,250 years old and is the oldest tree on record in the world. Considering its age, it is surprisingly small.

The Tooth Relic (one of Buddha's teeth), which is now kept in Kandy, was first preserved here.

The city is still considered holy and is visited by tens of thousands of pilgrims every year.

The Thuparama Dagoba

In Anuradhapura's heyday the city covered an area of more than 600 square km, which is roughly the present-day size of Munich. An ingenious, far-reaching drainage system supplied the city and surrounding fields with water.

The end of Anuradhapura as a royal city came in 993 AD when the Cholas from India devastated the city and the royal residence was returned to Polonnaruwa.

Near the Thuparama Dagoba

Due to the sheer size of historical Anuradhapura the sights are spread over a large area. You should plan a full day or two days if you can for your visit.

Dagoba in Mihintale

Mihintale is the cradle of Ceylon Buddhism. It was here that King Devanampiya Tissa converted to Buddhism.

You reach the temple area by going up a vast staircase with 340 steps. A further series of staircases take you up to a rock with a Buddha statue, another rock with a Dagoba, and a third rock which gives you a wonderful sight of the surrounding countryside and the two big Dagobas in Anuradhapura, which is 10 km distance.

City Map of Anuradhapura

City Map of Anuradhapura

City Map of Mihintale

City Map of Mihintale