The epicentre of Sinhalese civilization dating back to 4th century BC, Anuradhapura was the first historical capital of Sri Lanka, and its marvels still radiate greatness. Reigning for over a millennium, the kingdom had 117 rulers who built magnificent palaces, great reservoirs and irrigation systems, pleasure gardens, and Buddhist temples - some, amongst the biggest architectural creations of the ancient world, smaller in size only to the pyramids of Giza.
The surviving ruins, and the restored temples and stupas are just a few of the places to visit in the sacred city of Anuradhapura.
Things to see
Sri Maha Bodhiya
Considered to be the oldest planted tree in the world with a recorded history, this sacred Bo tree dates back to 245 BC.
Ruwanweli Maha Seya
Built by King Dutugemunu around 140 BC, this giant stupa contains the largest collection of relics of Lord Buddha, and is highly venerated.
Deemed the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, this 500m tall outcrop features ancient stupas, a stone hewed stairway, and 68 cave dwellings.
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Witness one of the oldest and biggest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka as the Sacred city of Kandy hosts an annual pageant which is an explosion of color and light, during the period of the Full Moon in August in which the Tooth Relic is paraded on an elephant back heralded by traditional instruments and troupes of dancers.