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Anuradhapura

You can’t come to this paradise without knowing how the ancients brought Sri Lanka to life and Anuradhapura’s well preserved ruins of the island’s ancient civilizations become a definite stop over on your tour of paradise.  

While modern day Anuradhapura has become quite a pleasant and sprawling city, the ruins here are easily some of the most splendid specimens in all of South Asia, with a rich collections of structural and architectural masterpieces that are second to none in the region. Giant dagobas, sky-high towers, semi-ruined temples and waterways combine to tell the story of an advanced and creative civilization that built lasting evidence of their time on the earth.  

Anuradhapura was once the country’s capital from the 4th century BC until the 11th century CE and is said to have been a centre for politics and national power. Anuradhapura is home to some of the country’s most ancient relics and treasures including the Sri Maha Bodhi – the Bo Tree brought to the island with the message of the Buddha from ancient times. It also houses three massive stupas said to be placed-apart in a similar patent to the pyramids at Giza – the Ruwanweliseya, Lovamahapaya and Jetavanaramaya are best viewed from a distance and height so you get a sense of this significant placement.
 
Anuradhapura’s signature style can be clearly seen by its sculpted moonstones that you step on with your bare feet as you enter the most of ancient buildings. Another must visit place, among the dozens of other ancient places you will see while you are is the Isuruminiya temple holding 4 sculptured stones of special interest. One of them - the Isurumuniya Lovers created in a 6th century Gupta style shows King Dutugemunu’s son Saliya with his low caste lover Asokamala, for whom he abdicated the throne. It is one of the island great love stories that you have to visit.

The great Pali epic, the Mahavamsa describes this and many other illustrious and vibrant stories  of this place from the city’s great kings to wars and conquests that paint an incredibly unbelievable story – one that makes you want to transport back in time and experience for yourself.

 
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