When you’re in Sri Lanka, you must make sure you visit the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle which stretches from medieval Kandy to the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura to the north and Polonnaruwa to the east is a repository of some of the finest ancient monuments and artefacts of the island. Anuradhapura, out of the lot, is definitely a must visit, and we will tell you exactly why;
Photo Credits: livovintours
Why is Anuradhapura special?
Anuradhapura is one of the 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka and it’s not surprising why considering the cultural importance of the ancient city of Anuradhapura. The city is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the country which has been continuously inhabited and is believed to have served as the capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata in the distant past. Anuradhapura is home to many a cultural monuments and historical artefacts making it a treasure trove for history-lovers and enthusiasts. There are so many places to see in Anuradhapura and it’s definitely a must-visit.
Photo Credits: rdanusha
How to get to Anuradhapura?
You can get to Anuradhapura by using public transportation such as by train or bus. Alternatively, you can also travel in luxury and comfort by hiring your own private cab. We suggest you hop on a train to enjoy, scenery, views and the overall unique experience it offers. You can book your tickets in advance for a price of around USD 10 and the train ride from Colombo to Anuradhapura last for approximately 5 hours.
If you wish to travel by a private car, you can always speak to our staff at Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts properties in Colombo and we will be glad to organize a comfortable trip to Anuradhapura for you!
How to travel within the city?
The best and most popular method of transportation within the city is by bicycle. Bicycles can be hired all over the city of Anuradhapura for a cost of about USD 5-7. Cycling around the city park is one the most popular things to do in Anuradhapura and you must try it out! Although you might prefer to do your Anuradhapura sightseeing by foot, we would not recommend it as the city may be too large to completely explore within the day.
What are the must see sites?
When you’re in Anuradhapura, you must visit the Sacred Bodhi Tree Temple also called the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya considered to be the second most sacred place in Sri Lanka after the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. It is widely believed that this tree came from the seed of the original tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. The tree has been maintained for over 2000 years making it the oldest authenticated tree in world history.
Photo Credits: Buddhika Dilshan
Visiting the Abhayagiri Monastery which homes the twin ponds (Kuttam Pokuna) is also a must visit. The ingeniously designed twin ponds are over 1500 years old and the irrigation technology used in its creation is way beyond its era. It’s famed to be among the most advanced examples of hydraulic engineering that existed at the time.
The Abhayagiri Monastery also homes an ancient moonstone (Sandakadapahana) dating back to the 1st century BCE. A moonstone is a slab of stone cut into the shape of a semi-circle and bears intricate carvings. During the ancient times, almost all Buddhist temples had a carved moonstone at its entrance. All the layers of carvings on the moonstone depicts various symbols and other depictions.
Photo Credits: nivasalk
Where to stay?
You can book your stay at either Cinnamon Lodge Habarana or Habarana Village by Cinnamon and make a day trip to the ancient city of Anuradhapura to enjoy all the historic and cultural artefacts which are world renowned for its aesthetic beauty and cultural significance. Anuradhapura is approximately 60km (1 hour-drive) away from our hotels and whilst you enjoy your break and relish in our plush, comfortable and luxurious rooms, we will plan your day trip to Anuradhapura to perfection.
Author: Shenella Fonseka