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Thursday, July 1, 2010



The Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced beginning in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty seized power in the north and established a Tamil kingdom. Occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century, the island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Currently Sri Lanka is engaged in a negotiated process aimed at addressing some of the country's internal issues.



Anu-radha-pura Kingdom lasted one thousand and five hundred years from 380BC. This city is home to many of the earliest grandest monuments of Sri Lanka. A popular destination of Sinhalese Buddhist's prilgimages because of its many ancient Buddhist monuments.

Anuradhapura has been made royal capital by the king Pandukabhaya in 380 BC. It remained residence and royal capital for 119 successive Singhalese kings till the year 1000 AD when it was abandoned and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagoba of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment.

Ruwanveli Seya

Ruwanveli Seya

Popularly regarded as the greatest, and certainly the most popular among the Buddhists, of the stupas at Anuradhapura, Ruwanveli Seya, is the pride of the Great Emperor Dutugamunu. Raised in the 2nd century B.C. this dagoba is supposed to have the perfect water bubble shape. Among the many statues in the courtyard there is one that is of a larger-than-life man. This is considered to be the king himself watching his work from a respectable distance.

Aukana Buddha

Aukana Buddha

The 13 meter high statue carved out of solid granite, goes back to the 5th century, to the reign of King Dathusena. (about 50km south of Anuradhapura)

On a rainy day, it is said, that one can see droplets of water falling off the tip of the statue's nose hitting the ground exactly between the toes.- a testament to the architectural accuracy of the sculptor. The brick enclosure around and above was built recently to protect it from weather.


Isurumuniya Lovers

Isurumuniya temple built in the 3rd century B.C. is noted for its rock carvings. The best known among these is the "Lovers". Many a poet and song writer has taken inspiration from this carving to write their masterpieces. It is believed that the carving may represent Saliya the son of the great king Dutugamunu and the low-caste maiden whom he loved.



The temple of Mihintale is where Thero Mahinda, the son of Great Indian Emperor Asoka introduced Buddihism to the king of Sri Lanka Thissa.
Mahinda's sister Theri Sangamitta carried a off shoot of the the ', the holy Bo tree that gave shelter to Buddha to attain Nibbana. Sri Maha Bodhi' The Bo tree was planted at Anuradhapura, where it still grows as the oldest tree with a recorded history in the world.


Jethawana Monastery

The monastery complex is built where it is believed to be the cremation grounds of the Mahinda Thera who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Founded by King Mahasena (276-303AD) the stupa at 120m high was the third tallest monument in the world at the time of the fall of Roman Empire.