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Anuradhapura sri lanka

anuradhapura sri lankaFive centuries before the Christ, Sri Lanka was a land throbbing with vitality and a well-ordered civilization. Cities, Palaces, reservoirs and parks, temples, monasteries, monuments and works of art bore testament to the character, imagination, culture, philosophy and faith of the people of Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. Anuradhapura is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 kmē).

Planning the city

It is said that King Pandukabhaya made it his capital in the 4th century BC, and that he also laid out the town and its suburbs according to a well organized plan. He constructed a reservoir named Abhayavapi. He established shrines for Yakkhas such as Kalawela and Cittaraja. He housed the Yaksini-Cetiya in the form of a mare within the royal precincts and offerings were made to all these demi-gods every year. He chose the sites for the cemetery and for the place of execution, the Chapel of the Western Queen, the Pacchimarajini, the Vessavana Banyan Tree, and the Palm of the Vyadhadeva, the Yona Quarter and the House of the Great Sacrifice. The slaves or Chandalas were assigned their duties and a village was set apart for them. They build dwellings for Niganthas, for wandering ascetics and for Ajivakas and Brahmanas. He established the village boundaries. The tradition that King Pandukabhaya made Anuradhapura the capital city of Sri Lanka as early as the fourth century BC had been very important.

Parks were also provided in the city. The Ranmasu Uyana below the bund of Tissavapi or Tisa weva was one such, but it was strictly reserved for the members of the royal family. Health care and education were two other aspects to which the authorities paid attention. There were several hospitals in the city. In the fourth century King Upatissa II provided quarters and homes for the crippled and the blind. King Buddhadasa (337-365 AD), himself a physician of great repute, appointed a physician to be in charge of every ten villages. For the maintenance of these physicians, one tenth of the income from the fields was set apart. He also set up refuges for the sick in every village. Physicians were also appointed to look after the animals. Kassapa V (914-923 AD) founded a hospital close to the southern gate of Anuradhapura. General Sena in the tenth century is believed to have built a hospital close to the ceremonial street (Managala Veediya). The history of medical care began early, for in the fourth century BC King Pandukhabaya, in the course of sanitizing the town constructed a hospital. A large workforce was entrusted with the task of keeping the city clean.

Large lakes were also constructed by the city's rulers to irrigate paddy lands and also to supply water to the city. Nuwara wewa and Tissa wewa are among the best known lakes in the city.

Administration of Anuradhapura

The administrative and sanitary arrangements he made for the city and the shrines he provided indicate that over the years the city developed according to an original master plan. His son Mutasiva, succeeded to the throne. During his reign of sixty years, he maintained Anuradhapura as his capital and further laid out the Mahameghavana Garden which was to play an important role in the early history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It was in the period of his successor, his son Devanampiya Tissa that Buddhism was first introduced to the island 236 years after the passing away of the Buddha. Emperor Ashoka in India was a contemporary of Devanampiya Tissa. Historically this period is considered to extend from 250 to 210 BC. This is the point at which a kingship began and a civilization developed based on one of the most significant religions of South Asia, Buddhism.

Further expansion during the reign of King Vasabha

The city's popularity grew both as a ritual centre and as the administrative centre; a large population was attracted to the city for permanent settlement. Thus the living facilities were improved to accommodate the expanding population. King Vasabha constructed many ponds which were fed by a network of subterranean channels which were constructed to supply water to the city. Tissa and Abhayavapi tanks were built, the Nuwara weva was built and the Malwatu Oya was dammed to build the Nachchaduwa wewa which was 4408 acres (17.84 kmē) in size.

Parks were also provided in the city. The Ranmasu Uyana below the bund of Tissavapi or Tisa weva was one such, but it was strictly reserved for the members of the royal family. Health care and education were two other aspects to which the authorities paid attention. There were several hospitals in the city. In the fourth century King Upatissa II provided quarters and homes for the crippled and the blind. King Buddhadasa (337-365 AD), himself a physician of great repute, appointed a physician to be in charge of every ten villages. For the maintenance of these physicians, one tenth of the income from the fields was set apart. He also set up refuges for the sick in every village. Physicians were also appointed to look after the animals. Kassapa V (914-923 AD) founded a hospital close to the southern gate of Anuradhapura. General Sena in the tenth century is believed to have built a hospital close to the ceremonial street (Managala Veediya). The history of medical care began early, for in the fourth century BC King Pandukhabaya, in the course of sanitizing the town constructed a hospital. A large workforce was entrusted with the task of keeping the city clean.

Large lakes were also constructed by the city's rulers to irrigate paddy lands and also to supply water to the city. Nuwara wewa and Tissa wewa are among the best known lakes in the city.

The Resplendent Land Vestiges of this ancient civilization are abundantly extant today and may be reached from Colombo in a comfortable morning’s drive through verdant countryside, flourishing green paddy fields, acres of coconut palms and alongside deep jungle in which elephant and leopard roam.

How to visit Anuradhapura

We offer tours and excursions covering all archeological cities such as Anuradhapura. Please write us on the email address given above or call us to organize your holiday in Sri Lanka.