The Ancient City of Buddhist Monasteries

Anuradhapura is situated in the North Central province of Sri Lanka. It can be reached from Colombo via Kurunegala -Dambulla -Anuradhapura road, or via Kandy-Dambulla- Anuradhapura road or from Puttalam along Trincomalee road.

Anuradhapura city became the Capital of Anuradhapura Kingdom in the 4th Century BC. It remained as the capital city for 15 centuries and was a prominent political and trade center in South Asia during this period.

According to the Chronicle Mahawanasa, Anuradhapura was called by that name after the minister Anuradha, who came along with Prince Vijaya and hundreds of followers from Dambadiva, India in the 6th Century BC and started the settlement by the side of Malwathu Oya (River Malwatu).

It is said that the Sinhala nation has originated from the natives of the island and the Indo aryans like Vijaya and followers, who came and settled in the island from around 6th Century BC and there onwards. The native clans were called as Yakshas and Nagas.

In the 4th century BC, King Pandukabhaya made Anuradhapura the capital of his Kingdom.

Around 250 BC , King Asoka became the Emperor of India and became a Buddhist. His son and the daughter were ordained as a Bhikku and a Bhikkuni (Buddhist priest and a nun named Mahinda and Sangamitta) and became Arhat.[Mahinda is called Mihindu in Sinhalese]

Emperor Asoka sent nine Buddhist delegations to nine countries and due to the close links with the King of Anuradhapura, Devanampiya Tissa , Emperor Asoka sent one of the deligations comprising Arhat Mahinda to Sri Lanka.

Arahath Mihidu met the King Devanampiyatissa at a place called Mihintale Rock about 12 kM from Anuradhapura on a Poson (June) Full Moon day and embraced Buddhism after a dialogue among the two.

Arahath Mahinda spent rest of his life in Sri Lanka and with the patronage of the King, started the Gauthama Buddha Sasanaya ( Buddhist order of the Lord Gauthama Buddha ) in Sri Lanka.

Then started an era of culture interwoven with Buddhist philosophy that created an agricultural based society.

The architectural remains can still be seen and gives a glimpse of what had been the country at that time.


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