Temples in Anuradhapura For A Journey Through Sri Lanka’s History

Sri Lanka is one of the most popular countries for travelling when it comes to spirituality because of its beautiful temples in Anuradhapura. It is popularly known as the birthplace of Sinhalese Culture and has a rich culture and history. This major city is home to many sacred holy places and heritage sites. The establishment of Anuradhapura can be traced back to the 5th century BC. The scenic beauty of nature, amazing activities, and mesmerising temples that are centuries old make this city a dream destination to travel to.

List Of Must-Visit Temples In Anuradhapura

Plan your trip to Anuradhapura and visit these temples for an unforgettable experience. Follow this guide to learn more about the history of famous temples along with the times and other important details necessary to avoid facing any problems in the future.

1. Sri Maha Bodhi Temple: A Sacred Pilgrimage Site

View of the oldest living tree in bodhi temples in anuradhapura

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The Sri Maha Bodhi Temple is a sacred pilgrimage site home to the most ancient living tree worldwide. This ancient tree is linked to the Great Gautam Buddha and is deeply respected by the people of Sri Lanka and worldwide. On this site, monks can be seen performing daily rituals and giving offerings in respect to Buddha on this sacred tree. Beautiful statues and water canals also surround the holy tree for protection, which only increases the area’s beauty and landscape. It is strongly believed among Sri Lankans people that this tree can grant the wishes of whoever comes to visit and pray sincerely.

Entry at Sri Maha Bodhi Temple is free of cost for everyone. Still, to reach there, one would have to book private transport like a cab or ride a tuk-tuk, which is a public transport that is similar to an auto rickshaw and is not expensive and considered a budget-friendly option used by the locals on a daily basis. This holy place also organises four annual festivals where devotees from all over the world gather and offer food and prayers to the bodhi tree to pay respect. The names of some of the most popular annual festivals are Duruthu Mangalle, which is celebrated on the first full moon of January, and Parana Avurudu Mangalle, which is celebrated one week before the Sinhalese New Year.

Must Read: Places To Visit In Anuradhapura

2. Jetavanaramaya: Visit The Majestic Stupa

The mesmerizing view of the entrance of Jetavanaramaya Stupa a famous temple in Anuradhapura

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Jetavanaramaya is considered the world’s third largest wonderful ancient structure which was established in around the 3rd century by King Mahasena after the destruction of Mahavihara. It is believed that Buddha’s belt was preserved there in this stupa, and therefore, it is considered a holy place that is deeply respected by the people. This mesmerising place is a home for over 10,000 monks and people from all over the world come there to pay their respects to those monks and Buddha. There are also many things to do in Jetavanaramaya. Anyone can visit the Jetavanaramaya Museum which treasures old artefacts and ancient sculptures considered as old as 2 BCE.

There’s also an amazing Buddhist Railing just behind the museum which is rectangular and is known as another wonderful architectural site. Nature is full of wonders like history is full of surprises. Both never fail to impress people with their timeless beauty and unimaginable facts. Nobody should miss visiting the chapter house at Jetavanaramaya while on their trip to this holy place. It is where the monks do their spiritual duties and rituals. They offer their daily prayers, meditate, and often hold meaningful discussions related to spirituality and sacred texts. Anyone can meditate on their own with the monks and indulge in discussions with them to understand the importance of religion and life.

2. Abhayagiri Monastery: Famous Historical Monastery

Beautiful front view of the Abhayagiri Monastery

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Abhayagiri Monastery, better known as Abayagiri Vihara, is a complex known for its wonderful structural design and is therefore famous among tourists for this reason. It is believed that it was established in the 2nd century BCE by the Great King Valagamabau. This monastery is a popular tourist place where people from all over the world come to witness this second-largest stupa in Anuradhapura, which was built in the footsteps of the Great Gautam Buddha, who is deeply respected by the people all over the globe.

This monastery remains open from 7 am to 5:30 pm daily. No entry will be allowed after closing time, so make sure to reach there before closing time at the gate. This place is a must-visit site for anyone who wants to travel back in time, as this monastery preserves traditions and traditional life ways. Its breathtaking view of the area’s landscape gives a memorable heavenly experience. A trip to this place would also work as a natural stress. This place is a must-visit destination and should be on top of the list in the list of temples to visit in Anuradhapura.

Suggested Read: Things To Do In Anuradhapurat

3. Isurumuniya: The Famous Rock Buddhist Temple

Isurumiya is one of the top Buddhist temples in anuradhapura offering serene view

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Isurumuniya is a famous Buddhist temple in Anuradhapura. It is a popular destination among tourists and locals due to its unique rock carvings over the outer structure, making it different and unique from other popular historical sites. The lotus pond near it just enhances the beauty and serenity of this serene location. It is believed that this temple was built by King Devanampiya to promote religious education and was home to around 500 kids. The main purpose of this place back in time was to give shelter to kids. This temple is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The entry ticket is LKR 500 per head, which can be purchased at the ticket counter. It is advised to carry water bottles to stay hydrated and avoid visiting during the afternoon. Wear comfortable clothes according to the weather and carry umbrellas in case of unexpected rain.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Temples In Anuradhapura

Do we have to purchase tickets to enter temples in Anuradhapura?

No, you do not have to purchase tickets to visit temples. But in some monasteries of Anuradhapura, it will be required to purchase an entry ticket.

How many temples are there in Anuradhapura?

There are around 10 temples in Anuradhapura. This city is popularly known as the sacred city of Sri Lanka and is famous all over the globe.

Does the monastery remain open every day for 24 hours?

No, the monastery does not remain open for 24 hours and mostly many monasteries usually stay open seven days a week and anyone can visit any day.

How many days will be required to cover all the temples in Anuradhapura?

2-3 days would be enough to cover all the temples in Anuradhapura. But if you want to visit other famous historical places as well then a trip of 5-6 days would be more than enough for an enjoyable trip.

When would be the best time to visit the temple in Anuradhapura during the day?

The best time to visit the temple in Anuradhapura would be early in the morning or at noon before the closing time. If you want to avoid the crowd there consider visiting temples during the noon.

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