Top 4 Things To Do In Anuradhapura With Your Friends
Full of history and culture, Anuradhapura is a must-visit on a trip to Sri Lanka. It is one of the country’s ancient capital cities which can be dated back to the 10th century BC. The city is an important site for Buddhists, but apart from that Anuradhapura has so much to offer and makes for a great destination for your next group holiday.
Ruwanwelisaya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s most iconic temple; built by the warrior king, Dutugemmunu c.140 after his victory against the invading Chola king, Elara, the stupa reaches up to 180ft high with the circumference of 951ft. The structure is amazing and towers over its surroundings, making it hard to believe that this was built nearly 2500 years ago. King Dutugemmunu sadly never saw the completion of the temple, instead, his brother covered the dome in a white cloth and constructed the upper part with bamboo which was painted gold to show the king what his temple would look like for the years to come.
2. Sri Maha Bodhi
This temple is dedicated to Jaya Sri Bodhi tree, one of the oldest trees in the world. Emperor Ashoka of India had sent a mission, led by his son, to preach a Buddhist sermon to the Sri Lankan King Tissa who was residing in Anuradhapura, eventually leading to the country’s adoption of Buddhism. Ashoka also sent his daughter with a sapling of the original Bodhi tree under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment. The tree is now a sacred site for Buddhists around the world and it is surrounded by statues, gold fences and Buddhist flags hang from its branches.
3. Ritigala Forest Monastery
Ritigala is one of the best things to do as a group. It is an ancient Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Sri Lanka, and you have to somewhat hike to get there, but there is a trail made out of granite steps that lead to the monastery. The landscape is different to its surroundings as there are some plants which can only be found in certain parts of India; legend has it that Hanuman was looking for three herbs to cure Rama’s brother, worrying that he didn’t have enough time to search for the specific herbs, he uprooted a whole mountain range and one of these mountains fell as he was flying over Sri Lanka!
4. Minneriya & Kaudulla National Parks
The world’s largest gathering of wild Asian elephants occurs here, making it a must when you’re in Sri Lanka. The gathering is during the dry season which is between April and October; the elephants are forced out of the shrubbery and into open plains to drink water, so you are sure to see many wild elephants just a few feet away from you.