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Anuradhapura

Travel Guide Asia Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

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Introduction

Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura

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The second largest district of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura has several ancient ruins for the traveller to explore. The main city area is divided into two parts - the old city which is the sacred part of the district for Buddhists, as well as of more interest to the traveller and the new city, where the commercial hub is located.

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Sights and Activities

Sri Maha Bodiya

Of all the pilgrimage places in Anuradhapura, the Sri Maha Bodiya is the most important. This site is where an ancient Bo tree, believed to be from the sapling that Emperor Asoka's children brought to Sri Lanka when they came to spread the philosophy of Buddha in the island. Around the venerated tree are numerous other Bo trees said to have been planted in the past to confuse invading armies in their quest to destroy the tree. Today, this place is an essential pilgrimage point for Buddhists.

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Amongst the numerous ruins in the old, sacred city, some of the other pilgrimage sites are the Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanarama, Mirisaveti Stupa and Lankarama.

Mihintale

East of Anuradhapura city is another major Buddhist pilgrimage site in the country: Mihintale - the place where Mahinda, the Buddhist monk is said to have arrived from India on the June full moon day (Poson poya) and preached the Buddhist doctrine to King Devanampiya Tissa. As the starting point of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, the day and place is a pilgrimage point for Buddhists. The King subsequently built caves and temples for the Buddhist monks, which provides an interesting insight into the days past for the traveller today. There is also the ruins of a hospital complex, believed to be the oldest in the world, in Mihintale.

Other Ruins

  • Nuwara wewa, located at Thammanakulama, is one of the most important ancient tanks in Sri Lanka that has survived and is still in use.
  • Ritigala close to Mihintale is a nature reserve, where it is believed that an ancient jungle monastery was located. Several ruins from the 4th century B.C. are located here.

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Weather

Anuradhapura is in the dry zone of Sri Lanka so it can be very dry and hot in the district and one is advised to drink a lot of fluids while travelling around the district to avoid dehydration.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max29.6 °C31.7 °C33.8 °C34.3 °C32.9 °C32.7 °C33 °C33.2 °C33.1 °C32 °C30.3 °C29.1 °C
Avg Min20.9 °C21.3 °C22.9 °C24.1 °C24.8 °C24.9 °C24.5 °C24.4 °C24.1 °C23.3 °C22.5 °C21.9 °C
Rainfall79.2 mm55.4 mm68.7 mm151.6 mm84.3 mm9.4 mm27.1 mm39.8 mm74 mm254.5 mm229.7 mm210.9 mm
Rain Days6451262336141614

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Getting There

By Train

There is a daily train from Colombo to Anuradhapura and even further up to Medawachiya.

By Car

It is a 5 hour drive from Colombo to Anuradhapura on a private vehicle. From Polonnaruwa or Kandy, it is about 2 - 2 1/2 hour drive.

By Bus

Using the bus will take longer as the public bus stops at bus halts in the towns along the way as well as rest stops.

By Boat

Anuradhapura is land-locked

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Getting Around

By Car

Your hotel will probably be able to arrange a private vehicle for you. For sightseeing purposes, it is best to have your own vehicle. There is also a vehicle depot near the bus stand, where you can go directly in the morning and negotiate for a van to be rented for the day. This is cheaper.

By Public Transport

As the bus is the main mode of transport for the local population, there are numerous buses leaving the main depot to several places. If you are confident that you will be able to find the place you are going to, this may be adventurous.

By Foot

As Anuradhapura is a large district, it is quite difficult to navigate it on foot, except in the main town area where the offices, shops and eateries are located.

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Eat

There are not many places to chose from to eat in Anuradhapura especially as the bulk of the visitors to the district are pilgrims who cook their own food. There are a couple of cheap eateries in the new town. It is better to eat at the hotel where you are staying at as the places to eat are limited and not so great. Further, it is better not to be adventurous but to go for the simple and fresh Sri Lankan meals here.

  • Hotel Chintana is one of the common places for buying takeway meals which are under 3 dollars.
  • Hotel Grand is another grandiose sounding eatery, which serves decent food for around 10 dollars a person. The menu is limited but nice.

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Drink

The water in the North Central province is difficult to drink for those not used to it. It has a high acidic content due to the lime content in the water as it is the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Hence, it is advisable to drink bottled water.

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Sleep

Budget

  • CTC Reception Hall has airconditioned double rooms for around LKR 1500; restaurant available for meals.
  • Rathnamali Pilgrim's Rest has airconditioned double rooms for around LKR 1000; no restaurant.
  • Tourist Board Resthouse.
PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel Shalini41/388 Harischandra MawathaHostel73
Milano Tourist Rest596 /40 , Stage 01Hostel79
Hotel Randiya394/ 19A Mudhitha Mawatha AnuradhapuraHotel-
Little Paradise622/18, Godage Mawatha,Guesthouse-
Boa Vista142, Old Putlam Rd, TissawewaGuesthouse67
French Garden Tourist Rest.488/4, Maithreepala Senanayake Mawatha, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.GUESTHOUSE90
Gamodh Citadel ResortLolugaswewa ElayapaththuwaHotel89
Cottage Tourist Rest388/38 Harischandra MawathaGuesthouse-
Panorama RestMuditha Mawatha Stage one, AnuradhapuraGuesthouse-
Palm GardenPuttalam Road, PandulagamaHOTEL-
London PalaceMailagas JunctionHostel-
Shanthi GuesthouseNo:891,MailagashandiyaGUESTHOUSE-

Mid-Range

  • Galway Miridiya Hotel has airconditioned double rooms for around LKR 5500, on a bed and breakfast basis.
  • Nuwara Wewa Resthouse is part of the Government run Ceylon Hotels Corporation chain.
  • Tissa Wewa Resthouse.

Upscale

  • Palm Garden Village Hotel has rooms for around LKR 10,000 (the best available accommodation in Anuradhapura district).

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are a few internet cafes in town with minimal facilities. However, hotels like Galway Miridiya allow one to use their office computer with internet facilities for LKR 300 per 30 minutes.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The hotels in the mid-range and Palm village have phones with IDD connections in the rooms and the internet cafes in town have phone access as well.

Post

There is a main post office in town.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 8.3147
  • Longitude: 80.414703

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This is version 31. Last edited at 1:58 on May 24, 13 by sleepBot. 1 article links to this page.

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