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Top 4 Things To Do In Anuradhapura With Your Friends

If you’ve added Anuradhapura to your bucket list when travelling with your pals to Sri Lanka – we applaud you. If you haven’t, take this as a sign that you should. This ancient kingdom is ripe with history and culture. Dating to the 10th century, the city is a key site for Buddhists from around the world, due to its religious significance. Here are some things you can do in Anuradhapura with your friends.

1. Ruwanwelisaya

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 Dutugemunu 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. Do keep in mind that you should be modestly dressed, covering knees and shoulders before entering the premises.

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

A visit to Ritigala is one of the best things to do as a group. This ancient Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Sri Lanka, requires you to hike for a bit in order to reach the granite steps of the monastery. The landscape is unique to the island, as there are some plants which can only be found in certain parts of India; legend has it that as Hanuman was looking for certain herbs to cure Rama’s brother, he dropped a chunk of the Himalayan Mountain as he flew over the area. An hour’s drive from Anuradhapura, visit this reserve with your friends.

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 at the Minneriya National Park during the dry season is between April and October – so plan your holiday accordingly as you don’t want to miss this! The elephants, in search of water, emerge from the thick jungles out into the open plains; creating the perfect opportunity for you to spot these gentle giants without much effort.

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