Wednesday 29 March 2017

Postcards from Sri Lanka : The ruins of Anuradhapura

During my office trip to Sri Lanka back in 2014, Anuradhapura was the first taste of a tourist destination for us. It was the 30th of November, and we reached Anuradhapura at around noon after an hour and half's drive from Dambula.

Anuradhapura was an ancient city, probably inhabited since the 10th century B.C., but it became a great city around the 3rd century B.C., when a branch of a Buddhist fig tree (Bodhi tree), or the 'tree of enlightenment' was introduced here. The city flourished around it for 1300 years, until an invasion in 993 A.D. led to its abandonment. The ruins lay hidden in thick jungles for centuries, till it was rediscovered in the 19th century.

During the span when Anuradhapura flourished, it saw a 'Golden Age of building', when some of the tallest buildings in the ancient world were built here. The Jetavanaramaya dagoba is still one of the tallest brick structures in the world. Apart from that, the Ruwanwelisaya stupa and the Abhayagiri dagoba are pretty big structures too, underlining the high level of architecture and engineering attained by the civilization, millennia from today. We also visited the Sri Maha Boodhi temple, where the part of the Bodhi tree still stands more than 2000 years after it was brought here. The place is flocked by pilgrims, most of them deep in meditation. 

Jetavanaramaya dagoba

Ruwanwelisaya stupa

Samadhi statue

Abhayagiri dagoba

A structure right next to the Abhayagiri dagoba  

To be honest, we did not quite enjoy Anuradhapura as much as it was hyped. I have been to the ruins of Mandu (Madhya Pradesh), Lothal (Gujarat), the former capital cities of Patan (Gujarat), Shivsagar (Assam), and the century-old structures of Delhi and Ahmedabad to name a few. Anuradhapura didn't seem much different either; ruins of an old city in a complex.

But after coming back home and reading up on it, Anuradhapura intrigues me more than ever before.
 Now that I know the story of what happened here so many years ago, I think I can relate to the place much better. I would not go just to look around at the ruins, but to stand and breathe in the same place, which was dwelled by learned men two millenia ago, gaining enlightenment under the sacred Bodhi tree. The ruins would not chunks of brick for me anymore, but it will have a story weaved in its patterns, of the life lived here so long ago.

How was your experience of Anuradhapura? If you haven't been there, would you like a trip to Anuradhapura? Feel free to comment below.

Hope you like the post. Have a great day. See you again on Saturday. Cheers!


  1. Beautiful captures, looks beautiful with all the green around.

  2. Great shots. I would love to visit this place.

  3. Thanks for recording this. All the best!