Sri Lanka Heritage

Embed Size (px)


The Ancient of Anuradhapura

Text of Sri Lanka Heritage

  • 1. Anuradhapura (3rd BC - 10th AD) The Ancient City of Anuradhapura "Anuradhapura The Birthplace of Sinhala Civilization" [email_address]


  • Anuradhapura
  • The largest and oldest of all Sri Lanka's ancient cities, Anuradhapura is a fitting climax to any tour of the Cultural Triangle. Arguably, it takes a bit more effort to imagine it as it was more than 2000 years ago, with palaces and huge dagobas standing up to nine storeys high, a main processional avenue 24km (16 miles) long, and the richly decorated, ostentatious mansions of Sinhalese nobles and wealthy foreign merchants. Founded by King Pandukhabaya in 437BC, by the mid-3rd century BC Anuradhapura's fame had spread as far as the Roman-Hellenistic world of the Mediterranean and by the 1st century AD it had established trade and diplomatic links with China. The Jetavana treasures, unearthed over the past 20 years (some are now displayed in the partially completed Jetavanarama Museum, on site) show evidence of these links to east and west. Anuradhapura was the royal seat of more than 250 Buddhist and Hindu kings recorded in the royal genealogies, and the preeminent city on the island for some 1400 years.

3. .

  • Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's most sacred town. From origins as a settlement in the 6th century BC, it was made capital in 377 BC by King Pandukabhaya (437-367 BC) who started the great irrigation works on which it depended, and named it after the constellationAnuradha
  • Anuradha was the first general of the king Vijaya: the legendary ancestor of the Sinhalese race. The city measured 52 square kilometers' and was maintained by at least 500 scavengers.The city was divided into several quarters.Foreign traders lived in one quarter. Their houses were of 2 or 3 stories. Artisans occupied some avenues.

Anuradhapura (3rd BC - 10th AD) 4. Dagoba or Stupa:

  • Thuparamayais adagabainAnuradhapura ,Sri Lanka .
  • Thera Mahinda himself introducedTheravadaBuddhism and alsochetiyaworship toSri Lanka . At his request King Devanampiyatissa built Thuparamaya in which was enshrined the collarbone of theBuddhaand is considered as the first dagaba built inSri Lanka , after the introduction of Buddhism. This is considered the earliest monument of chronicled Sri Lanka. The name Thuparamaya comes from "stupa" and "aramaya" which is a residential complex for monks.
  • This chetiya was built in the shape of a heap of paddy. This dagaba was destroyed from time to time. During the reign ofKingAgboIIit was completely destroyed and the King restored it. What we have today is the construction of the dagaba, done in 1862 AD. As it is today, after several renovations, in the course of the centuries, the monument has a diameter of 59 ft (18 m), at the base. The dome is 11 feet 4 inches (3.45 m) in height from the ground, 164 ft (50.1 m) in diameter. The compound is paved with granite and there are 2 rows of stone pillars round the dagaba. During the early periodvatadagewas built round the dagaba.

Thuparamadagoba 5. Anuradhapura - ThuparamayaThe first Stupa built enshrining the relics of the Buddha 6.

  • TheJetavanarama , a marvel of the heretic King Mahasena, is the biggest dagoba in the world, currently only a little smaller than the Great Pyramid of Egypt. The massive monument covers 8 acres of land and originally rose to over 400 feet. It is estimated to have housed about 3000 monks. After finishing the reconstruction it is said that the crystal top will shine 152 m above the spectator. In other words the construction will be higher than the pyramid of Cheops in Gizeh.

7. Jetavana pagoda, Anuradhapura 8. Abayagiri Stupa 9. 10. This white dagoba TheRuwanweli Seya(also known as theMaha Thupaor Great Stupa) was constructed in the 2nd century B.C. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

  • Samadhi Buddha statueis the depiction of Lord Buddha in the meditative pose. Samadhi is the state of deep meditation, and the Lord Buddha is represented in this position after attaining enlightenment. And this was carved on limestone. It probably dates to the 3rd or 4th century, but the nose is a modern restoration. The Indian nationalist leader, Nehru, derived strength from contemplating this statue, during his imprisonment by the British. The weathered limestone statue ofSamadhi B uddha, now under a protective canopy in a park-like setting, is the first important relic the visitor comes accross in the Abhayagiri complex.

16. 17. 18. Sandakada Pahana (moonstone) 19.

  • The elaborate moonstone at its base is in itself a distinctive element of ancient sculpture in the island. These semi-circular slabs of granite or gneiss acquired increasingly complex bands of decorations over the years. They range from the near abstract tongues of fire and bands of creeper vines - to symbolic interpretations of the four perils of life. The latter consists of the elephant, a symbol of birth, the bull indicative of decay; the lion, resent in disease. and the geese, a symbol of death. Some also band of geese, which represents the dist between good, and evil. To some, the moon-stone is symbolic of transcending worldly temptations and achieving nib bane.

20. 21. Isurumuniya

  • This small group of striking black rocks is one of the most attractive and peaceful places in town. It also has some outstanding sculpture. The temple carved out of solid rock, houses a large statue of the seated Buddha. You can climb up steps to the top of the rock above the temple to get a good view of the countryside. There is a cleft in the rock which is full of bats; they are fascination to watch. On the terraces outside is a small square pool; they are also some beautifully carved elephants, showing great individual character. Note the carving beside the main entrance just above the water level.

22. [email_address] 23.

  • Isurumuni Lovers 6th Century Gupta style carving. The woman, seated on the man's lap, lifts a warning finger, probably as a manifestation of her coyness; but the man carries on regardless." The figures may represent Dutugemunu's son Saliya and the law caste (Sadol Kula) maiden Asokamala whom he loved. It's known that he gave up the throne for her

24. 25. 26.

  • Korawak Gala (Balustrades)
  • The Korawak gala lies on the sides of the steps leading to the door or the entrance of the building. This is sometimes called the Makara Gala (Dragon Stone) as this stone represent an imaginary animal. This animal, some times referred to as a dragon is made up of body parts of six animals. Each of this body part is the strongest feature of each animal. In addition to these, this imaginary animal is seen breathing a long flame of fire from the mouth. Trunk of the Elephant Jaws of the Crocodile Ears of the mouse (some call it the ears of the Monkey) The extruding teeth of the Wild boar The tail feathers of the Peacock Feet of a Lion

27. 28. 29.

  • Guardstones (Mura Gal)
  • The guardstones or "muragal" were one of an association of three aspects of sculpture that adorned the entrance to buildings in ancient times, the other two being themoonstone ( Sandakada Pahana )andbalustrade ( KorawakGala).
  • The guardstones, which provided a support to the heavy stonebalustrade , were plain in the beginning. Later they came to be sculptured with symbols significant of prosperity and protection.


  • Naga-RajaGuardstone at
  • Rathna Prasada (Jewel Palace)
  • The cobra was considered the guardian of water and treasure. Zoomorphic sculptures of multi headed cobras have been found at the sluices of reservoirs, and at the four corners of relic chambers enshrined in "dagabas"
  • The concept of protection could have arisen out of popular belief that when people die they are reincarnated as cobras to protect the treasures they had buried in their previous lives.
  • This idea of protection could have been incorporated in the third and final stage of development not as a zoomorphic symbol, but as an anthropomorphic one of a cobra-king or naga-raja.


  • Punkalasa
  • There were three major stages of development. It was the custom on important occasions for pots of water with flowers (usually of the coconut palm) and budded twigs to be placed in front of a building.
  • Known as the punkalasa the local equivalent of the western cornucopia - this symbol, incised on the guardstone, was the first stage of development.
  • Examples of carved punkalasa guardstones may be seen in the archaeological museum in Anuradhapura. The "pots of plenty" in these specimens are placed on a lotus - moulded pedestal.

32. 33.

  • The 'Bo' ( 'Bodhi') tree or Pipal ( ficus religiosa)was planted as a cutting brought from India by by emperor Ashoka's daughter, the Princess Sangamitta, at some point after 236 BC. Guardians have kept uninterrupted watch over the tree ever since. There are other Bo trees around the Sir Maha Bodhi which stands on the highest terrace. In April a large number of pilgrims arrive to make offering during theSnana Pooja,and to bathe the tree with milk. Every 12th year the ceremony is particularly auspicious.The branches of this sacred "Bo" tree, with a recorded history of more than 2,100 years,

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya 34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

  • The pair of Ponds ( kuttam pokuna)are in the Abhayagiri compound and were used as ritual baths by the monk