Hikkaduwa & Bentota
Anuradhapura the sacred city, famous for its well-preserved ruins and surrounding monasteries. Anuradhapura is Sri Lankas first capital from 4th century BC to AD 10th century and the center of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. It is the site for the worlds oldest human panted tree “Sri Maha Bodhi” , a branch of the tree in Bodgaya in north India under where Buddha attain enlightenment. The “Sri Maha Bodhi” leads the list of the main eight places to visit in Anuradhapura. Other places are Ruwanweliseya, Thuparama, Mirisawetiya, Jethwanarama, Abhayagiriya, Lankaramaya and Isurumuniya. They are mainly bell shaped structures call ‘Dagobas’ which enshrine sacred relics.
There are many other monuments and structures in Anuradhapura. Carving stones, bathing ponds and royal gardens. The limestone seated Samadhi Statue of Buddha in Anuradhapura is considered one of the finest statues of Samadhi posture (deep meditation in) of Buddha in the world.
Besides its architectural and sculptural constructions, Anuradhapura provides evidence of an advance irrigation systems. There are three main tanks or lakes, Tissawewa, Nuwarawewa and Basawakkulama helped the ancient civilization of the city.
South Indian invaders attracted by its success and attacked Anuradhapura in many occasions. The Chola invaders took control Anuradhapura and ruled a major part of Sri Lanka for many years, shifted the capital to Polonnaruwa which was a more secure location. Anuradhapura ancient city is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Sri Lanka.
Jayasri Maha Bodhi (Great Bodhi Tree)