In the North Central province of the island paradise of Sri Lanka lays the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Home to over 850,000 people, this city is rich in history, culture, religion and innovation. Declared as a world heritage site in 1982, the great city was once the stronghold fit for kings. It is written and widely believed that the first king to set his eyes on the land of Anuradhapura was Pandukabhaya (437-367 BC). The king decided to make this area his capital as he strategically planned out the whole land. He was responsible in the creation of the great reservoir named Abhayavapi which has now been renamed Basawakkulama as well as many shrines and temples alike. His lineages maintained the great city as their stronghold and were even the ones who first welcomed Buddhism to this nation.
It is further documented that the southern branch of the great ‘Bo’ tree (Sri Maha Bodhi) that sheltered the Buddha as he reached enlightenment was planted on the soils of Anuradhapura in 288BC. While the tree (known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi) itself is not a magnificent specimen like its mother, it is been guarded and tended to day and night to this very day.
The architectural remains of the great Abhayagiri Stupa provides us with just a glimpse of what the ancient city might have looked like. The planning and construction with the limited technology available, marvels scholars worldwide.
It is definitely a highly recommended place of interest in Sri Lanka. All visitors are encouraged to glimpse the once citadel and thriving metropolis, which is Anuradhapura.