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Anuradhapura Ancient City Tour Excursion, Sri Lanka

Region: ancient-cities | Location: Anuradhapura
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura Ancient City Tour
 Other regions: capital-colombo | east-coast | hill-country | south-coast | west-coast
Anuradhapura ancient city in Sri Lanka is a magical place. Anuradhapura features some of the most ancient archaeological treasures in Sri Lanka. This vast heritage site is the most extensive of the Sri Lankan ancient cities and it is an impressive remainder of a thriving ancient civilisation.

Once one of the grandest monastic cities the world has ever seen, it was established in the 4th century BC, rising to prominence with the arrival of Buddhism, a pivotal event that saw Anuradhapura transformed into a major centre of Buddhism pilgrimage and learning. The great king of Anuradhapura oversaw a golden age in Sri Lanka’s island history, building colossal dagobas (stupa) that rivalled the pyramids of Egypt in scale. It was the national capital for over 1300 years up to the 10th Century AD when repeated innovations by Indians and a struggle for royal succession resulted in the capital being withdrawn to Polonnaruwa.

Today the monuments of Anuradhapura's heyday survive for you to visit surrounded by the solemn umbrage of trees and an ancient parkland. You will be overwhelmed at the scale of ancient Anuradhapura - it is essential viewing!

Mahavihara

At the centre of the city is the Mahavihara, the oldest of the city’s monasteries. It was founded by King Devanampiya Tissa (247 - 207 BC). In its heydays this monastery housed over 3000 monks from the writings found from a Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian, who journeyed to India and Sri Lanka in the early 5th century.

Sacred Bo Tree (Sri Maha Bodhi)

Thousands of worshippers every year around world come to worship at Sri Maha Bodhi - the sacred bo tree, grown from the original tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment in North India. It is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world.
  More on the Anuradhapura Ancient City Tour of Sri Lanka ☟

Dagobas of Anuradhapura

The Thuparam dagoba, erected in the 3rd century BC, was the first dagoba to be built in Sri Lanka and enshrines the Buddha’s right collarbone. Standing before the red-brick Jetavana dagoba - once the third tallest structure in the world – is an awesome site. The Abhayagiri dagoba is still covered in earth and vegetation, while the more famous Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba fully restored and it is the great white dagoba (Buddhist monument composed of a solid hemisphere containing relics of the Buddha). It is guarded by a wall of elephants standing shoulder to shoulder. The land around the dagoba is a pleasant park dotted with the remains of pools and ponds and columns and pillars.

Brazen Palace

The ruins of the Brazen Palace (so called because it once had a bronze roof) stand close to the scared bo tree. 1600 columns is all that remains of this huge palace which is said to have had nine storeys and accommodation for 1000 monks and attendants. It must have been a magnificent building when it was originally built by King Dutugemunu in the 2nd century BC

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was built in the 12th century AD. Close to the palace is the Mahapali refectory with its immense trough (nearly 3m by 2m) in which lay followers would fill with rice for the monks. Also at the Royal Palace site is Dalada Maligawa, a tooth relic temple which may have first housed Budda's tooth which came to Sri Lanka in 313 AD

Archaeological Museum

Anuradhapura's Archaeological Museum also houses a ticket office for the ancient city. It's worth visiting for the museum's gorgeous old building, let alone the exhibits inside. It has a restored relic chamber, as found during the excavation of the Kantaka Chetiya Dagoba at nearby Mihintale, and a large-scale model of Thuparama Dagoba's vatadage as it might have been if a wooden roof (for which there is no physical or epigraphic evidence) had existed.

Among the exhibits are carved squatting plates from Anuradhapura's Western Monasteries whose monks had forsaken the luxurious monasteries of their brothers and to show their contempt of the luxury loving monks squat style toilet seats were carved with their brother's monasteries represented on the bottom.

Many more

Anuradhapura contains many sites of ruins, far too to mention here. If there are any in particular you wish to visit that are not mentioned here please be sure to inform us when booking.

Tours to the Anuradhapura Region, Sri Lanka

 
Sri Lanka Mini Cultural Triangle and Wildlife Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Mini Cultural Triangle and Wildlife Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1219 
Discover the world renowned Cultural Triangle and the wild life of Sri Lanka in this tour while staying at some of the finest hotels. Tour includes Anuradhapura Ancient City Tour, Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Caves, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Peradeniya Botantical Gardens, Minneriya National Park, Negombo Village Tour, and Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage plus time on the beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Royal Kingdom Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Royal Kingdom Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1199 
Discover the cultural past that dates back to the 5th century BC and the proud history of Sri Lanka. This unique holiday will take you to the most prominent historical ancient royal kingdoms in Sri Lanka give time to experience Sri Lanka's charming people, culture and diverse landscape. You will be staying at some of the finest hotels that give the sprit of this holiday but still retaining the modern comforts.

Sri Lanka Luxury Cultural Triangle and Wildlife Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Luxury Cultural Triangle and Wildlife Tour and Beach Holidayfrom Call Us
Discover the world renowned Cultural Triangle and the wild life of Sri Lanka in this tour while staying at some of the finest hotels. Tour includes Anuradhapura Ancient City Tour, Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Caves, The

Sri Lanka Luxury Cultural Triangle Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Luxury Cultural Triangle Tour and Beach Holidayfrom Call Us
Discover the world renowned Cultural Triangle and the wild life of Sri Lanka in this tour while staying at some of the finest hotels. Tour includes Anuradhapura Ancient City Tour, Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Caves, The


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Excursions of the ancient-cities Region, Sri Lanka

 
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura Ancient City TourAnuradhapura Ancient City TourAnuradhapuraancient cities
 Anuradhapura ancient city in Sri Lanka is a magical place. Anuradhapura features some of the most ancient archaeological treasures in Sri Lanka dating back to the 4th century BC. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites that must be missed.
 

Sri Lanka Polonnaruwa Ancient City TourPolonnaruwa Ancient City TourPolonnaruwaancient cities
 Polonnaruwa ancient city remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
 

Sri Lanka Sigiriya Rock FortressSigiriya Rock FortressSigiriyaancient cities
 Sigiriya Rock Fortress is another fascinating World Heritage site dating back to the 5th century which was once a stronghold for a king who sought refuge. It remains on a 200 meter high rock with magnificent views of the surrounding jungle.
 

Sri Lanka Jungle TrekkingJungle Trekking ancient cities
  
 

Sri Lanka Hot Air Ballooning Sri LankaHot Air Ballooning Sri LankaDambullaancient cities
 Discover the ancient kingdoms and national parks in style. Hot air ballooning is now available in Sri Lanka.
 

Sri Lanka Dambulla Cave TourDambulla Cave TourDambullaancient cities
 Dambulla Cave Temple is the best preserved cave temple complex in the country with beautiful statues and paintings.
 

Sri Lanka Mihintale TourMihintale TourMihintaleancient cities
 Mihintale is a sacred mountain peak considered to be the location where Buddhism was first introduced to the island of Sri Lanka. The mountain peak is approached by a grand stairway of 1840 granite steps.
 

Sri Lanka Avukana Buddha statueAvukana Buddha statueKala Wewaancient cities
 The magnificent free-standing Avukana Buddha statue carved out of a single granite rock face during the 5th century is the tallest Buddha statue in existence today.
 

Sri Lanka Minneriya National Park SafariMinneriya National Park SafariPolonnaruwaancient cities
 Dominated by the ancient Minneriya Tank, Minneriya National Park has plenty of scrub and light forest in its 8890 hectares to provide shelter for its toque macaques, sambar deer, leopards and elephants – to name a few.
 

Sri Lanka Elephant Back SafariElephant Back SafariSigiriyaancient cities
 In the afternoon take an optional Elephant Back Safari through the forests and villages of Habarana/Sigiriya.
 

Sri Lanka Rathnapura Gem miningRathnapura Gem miningRatnapuraancient cities
 Sri Lanka is one of the top five gem-bearing nations in the world. The long-established gem mining area in Sri Lanka is Rathnapura, also known as the City of Gems. In between rich greenery and paddy fields, you will see locals gem mining.