Anuradhapura

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Anuradhapura

අනුරාධපුර
அனுராதபுரம்
SL Anuradhapura asv2020-01 img11 Ruwanwelisaya Stupa.jpg
Sri Lanka adm-2 location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Anuradhapura
Location in Sri Lanka
Coordinates: 8°21′0″N80°23′7″E / 8.35000°N 80.38528°E / 8.35000; 80.38528 Coordinates: 8°21′0″N80°23′7″E / 8.35000°N 80.38528°E / 8.35000; 80.38528
CountrySri Lanka
Province North Central Province
District Anuradhapura
Established5th century BC
Government
  Type Municipal Council
Area
   City 7,179 km2 (2,772 sq mi)
  Urban
36 km2 (14 sq mi)
Elevation
81 m (266 ft)
Population
 (2012)
   City 50,595
  Density2,314/km2 (5,990/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Anuradhians
Time zone UTC+5:30 (Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone)
Postal code
50000
Official nameSacred City of Anuradhapura
Criteria Cultural: ii, iii, vi
Reference 200
Inscription1982 (6th session)

Anuradhapura (Sinhala : අනුරාධපුරය, romanized: Anurādhapuraya; Tamil : அனுராதபுரம், romanized: Aṉurātapuram) is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sinhala civilization. It was the third capital of the kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara.

Contents

The city, now a World Heritage site, was the centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies 205 km (127 mi) north of the current capital of Colombo in the North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu River. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

Urban Area

Iron Age

Although according to historical records the city was founded in the 5th century BC, the archaeological data put the date as far back as the 10th century BC. [1]

Buddhism and Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura was a major intellectual centre for early Theravāda Buddhism, home to revered Buddhist philosophers including Buddhaghosa. [2]

During the reign of Dhatusena (455-473) a redaction of the Theravada Buddhist canon took place while at the same time 18 new vihara (temple complexes) where built and a statue erected for Mahinda, the Indian prince-monk who introduced Buddhism to the island. [3]

During the late Anuradhapura period, the royal family and nobility of Sri Lanka strongly supported Buddhism. As such, they frequently commissioned works of art and donated these items to Buddhist temples. In return, the temple and local Buddhist community supported the king's rule. Art works featuring depictions of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion, became increasing popular. [4]

Modern era

European discovery

The area was uninhabited for many centuries, but the local population remained aware of the ruins. In Robert Knox's 1681 An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon , he wrote: "At this City of Anurodgburro is a Watch kept, beyond which are no more people that yield obedience to the King of Candy". [5] In 1821, John Davy wrote that: "Anooradapoora, so long the capital of Ceylon, is now a small mean village, in the midst of a desert. A large tank, numerous stone pillars, two or three immense tumuli, (probably old dagobahs,) are its principal remains. It is still considered a sacred spot; and is a place of pilgrimage." [6]

Excavations

Abhayagiri Dagoba in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka Abhayagiri Dagoba in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.jpg
Abhayagiri Dagoba in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Various excavations have taken place at the site, beginning in 1884-86 by Stephen Montagu Burrows. [7]

Places of veneration

Other structures

Abhayagiriya Monastery with Samadhi Statue, Kuttam Pokuna (twin pond) and moonstone. Abhayagiriya Monastery-EN.svg
Abhayagiriya Monastery with Samadhi Statue, Kuttam Pokuna (twin pond) and moonstone.

Demographics

EthnicityPopulation% Of Total
Sinhalese 51,77591.42
Sri Lankan Moors 3,8256.75
Sri Lankan Tamils 8501.50
Indian Tamils 450.08
Other (including Burgher, Malay)1370.24
Total56,632100

Source: www.statistics.gov.lk - Census 2001

Transportation

Anuradhapura is served by railway and highways. The Northern railway line connects Anuradhapura with Colombo, Jaffna, and Kankesanthurai. Anuradhapura railway station is the city's rail gateway, with major services, such as the Yal Devi, Uttara Devi stopping there.

There are number of bus routes passing through Anuradhapura from Colombo to northern province . Some of them are 04, 15, 57, 87 etc.

Anuradhapura is a central city in Sri Lanka. It is directly connected by road to a large number of major cities and towns on the island. By road, it is connected to Vavuniya, Dambulla, Matale, Puttalam, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Kurunegala and Kandy.

Further reading

Related Research Articles

<i>Mahāvaṃsa</i> Historical chronicle of Sri Lanka written in Pali language

The Mahavamsa is the meticulously kept historical chronicle of Sri Lanka written in the style of an epic poem written in the Pali language. It relates the history of Sri Lanka from its legendary beginnings up to the reign of Mahasena of Anuradhapura covering the period between the arrival of Prince Vijaya from India in 543 BCE to his reign and later updated by different writers. It was composed by a Buddhist monk at the Mahavihara temple in Anuradhapura about the fifth century A.D. In 2021, a petition was made to declare the original leaf book a UNESCO heritage.

Mahinda (Buddhist monk) First-born son of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka from his wife Devi and the elder brother of Sanghamitra

Arahat Mahinda was a Buddhist monk depicted in Buddhist sources as bringing Buddhism to Sri Lanka. He was the first-born son of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka from his wife Devi and the elder brother of Sanghamitra.

Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya

The Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya was an important mahavihara or large Buddhist monastery for Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka. King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura founded it in his capital city of Anuradhapura. Monks such as Buddhaghosa and Dhammapala, who wrote commentaries on the Tipitaka and texts such as the Visuddhimagga, which are central to Theravada Buddhist doctrine, established Theravada Mahaviharan orthodoxy here. Monks living at the Mahavihara were referred to as Mahaviharavasins.

Buddhism in Sri Lanka History and demographics of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon

Theravada Buddhism is the largest and official religion of Sri Lanka, practiced by 70.2 percent of the population as of 2012.

Mihintale

Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is now a pilgrimage site, and the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures.

Jetavanaramaya

The Jetavanaramaya is a stupa, or Buddhist reliquary monument, located in the ruins of Jetavana monastery in the world heritage city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. At 122 metres it was the world's tallest stupa and the third tallest structure in the world when it was built by King Mahasena of Anuradhapura (273–301). He initiated the construction of the stupa following the destruction of the Mahavihara. His son Maghavanna I completed the construction of the stupa. A part of a sash or belt tied by the Buddha is believed to be the relic that is enshrined here.

Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura King of Anuradhapura

Tissa, later Devanampiya Tissa was one of the earliest kings of Sri Lanka based at the ancient capital of Anuradhapura from 247 BC to 207 BC. His reign was notable for the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka under the aegis of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The primary source for his reign is the Mahavamsa, which in turn is based on the more ancient Dipavamsa.

<i>Dīpavaṃsa</i>

The Dīpavaṃsa is the oldest historical record of Sri Lanka. The chronicle is believed to be compiled from Atthakatha and other sources around the 3rd to 4th century CE. Together with the Mahavamsa, it is the source of many accounts of ancient history of Sri Lanka and India. Its importance resides not only as a source of history and legend, but also as an important early work in Buddhist and Pali literature.

Thuparamaya

Thuparamaya is the first Buddhist temple that was constructed, after the arrival of mahinda thero(mahindagamanaya) in Sri Lanka. Located in the sacred area of Mahamewna park, the Thuparamaya Stupa is the earliest Dagoba to be constructed in the island, dating back to the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa. The temple has been formally recognised by the Government as an archaeological site in Sri Lanka.

Abhayagiri vihāra Historical Buddhist monastery site in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Abhayagiri Vihāra was a major monastery site of Mahayana, Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism that was situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is one of the most extensive ruins in the world and one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage cities in the nation. Historically it was a great monastic centre as well as a royal capital, with magnificent monasteries rising to many stories, roofed with gilt bronze or tiles of burnt clay glazed in brilliant colors. To the north of the city, encircled by great walls and containing elaborate bathing ponds, carved balustrades and moonstones, stood "Abhayagiri", one of seventeen such religious units in Anuradhapura and the largest of its five major viharas. One of the focal points of the complex is an ancient stupa, the Abhayagiri Dagaba. Surrounding the humped dagaba, Abhayagiri Vihara was a seat of the Northern Monastery, or Uttara Vihara and the original custodian of the Tooth relic in the island.

Atamasthana (අටමස්ථාන) or Eight sacred places are a series of locations in Sri Lanka where the Buddha had visited during his three visits to the country. The sacred places are known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanarama, Mirisaveti Stupa and Lankarama. They are situated in Anuradhapura, the capital of the ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom.

The ancient Sinhalese excelled in the construction of tanks (Wevas) or reservoirs, dagobas and palaces in Sri Lanka, as evident from the ruins which displays a rich variety of architectural forms.

Stupas in Sri Lanka

Stupas, also called dagebas and cetiyas, are considered an outstanding type of architectural creation of ancient Sri Lanka. Under the influence of Buddhism, there were several changes in the field of architecture in Sri Lanka. The stupa commands a prominent place among these changes. The Stupa is also known by synonymous names such as Chaithya, Dagaba, Thupa, Seya and Vehera. Stupas designed and constructed in Sri Lanka are the largest brick structures known to the pre-modern world.

Kingdom of Polonnaruwa

The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was the Sinhalese kingdom that ruled the island of Sri Lanka and some other territories, from 1055 until 1232. Polonnaruwa as the capital, unified the island following the Kalinga-Arya war which led to the ascension of Parakramabahu I beginning the Polonnaruwa period.

Anuradhapura period

The Anuradhapura period was a period in the history of Sri Lanka of the Anuradhapura Kingdom from 377 BC to 1017 AD. The period begins when Pandukabhaya, King of Upatissa Nuwara moved the administration to Anuradhapura, becoming the kingdom's first monarch. Anuradhapura is heralded as an ancient cosmopolitan citadel with diverse populations.

Walisinghe Harischandra

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Statue of Tara Statue of Bodhisattva Tara

The Statue of Tara is a gilt-bronze sculpture of the Tara that dates from the 7th-8th century AD in Sri Lanka. Looted from the last King of Kandy when the British annexed Kandy in the early nineteenth century, it was given to the British Museum in 1830 by the former British Governor of Ceylon, Robert Brownrigg.

Kadurugoda Viharaya

Kadurugoda Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Chunnakam, Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. The temple is located in a small hamlet called Kandarodai and it is one of the few Buddhist temples remaining in Jaffna today. Currently this temple has been declared as an archaeological site in Sri Lanka and is maintained by the Sri Lankan army.

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References

  1. Deraniyagala, SU. The Prehistory of Sri Lanka, Vol II, Department of Archaeological Survey, Colombo: 1992. p435.
  2. Buddhaghosa. (1999). The path of purification : Visuddhimagga. Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu, -1960. (1st BPE Pariyatti ed.). Seattle, WA: BPE Pariyatti Editions. ISBN   1928706002. OCLC   44927676.
  3. Culavamsa, tr. W.Geiger, London PTS 1971, pp.31-41.
  4. Birmingham Museum of Art (2010). Birmingham Museum of Art : guide to the collection. [Birmingham, Ala]: Birmingham Museum of Art. p. 57. ISBN   978-1-904832-77-5.
  5. Robert Knox (1681), Historical Relation chapter 2, full quote "There are besides these already mentioned, several other ruinous places that do still retain the name of Cities, where Kings have Reigned, tho now little Foot steps remaining of them. At the North end of this Kings Dominions is one of these Ruinous Cities, called Anurodgburro, where they say Ninety Kings have Reigned, the Spirits of whom they hold now to be Saints in Glory, having merited it by making Pagoda’s and Stone Pillars and Images to the honour of their Gods, whereof there are many yet remaining: which the Chingulayes count very meritorious to worship, and the next way to Heaven. Near by is a River, by which we came when we made our escape: all along which is abundance of hewed stones, some long for Pillars, some broad for paving. Over this River there have been three Stone Bridges built upon Stone Pillars, but now are fallen down; and the Countrey all desolate without Inhabitants. At this City of Anurodgburro is a Watch kept, beyond which are no more people that yield obedience to the King of Candy. This place is above Ninety miles to the Northward of the City of Candy. In these Northern Parts there are no Hills, nor but two or three Springs of running water, so that their Corn ripeneth with the help of Rain."
  6. John Davy (1821), An Account, full quote: "Anooradapoora, so long the capital of Ceylon, is now a small mean village, in the midst of a desert. A large tank, numerous stone pillars, two or three immense tumuli, (probably old dagobahs,) are its principal remains. It is still considered a sacred spot; and is a place of pilgrimage. This information was collected partly from the natives, and partly from an officer who visited it during the rebellion."
  7. Department of Archaeology - Sri Lanka: "The first methodical excavation of the Department of Archaeology had been carried out by Mr. S.M. Burrows in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa during 1884 to 1886. Subsequently, the exploration and excavation activities were undertaken mainly in Anuradhapura and Sigiriya with the guidance of Mr. H.C.P. Bell in 1890. Similarly, archaeological excavations in Anuradhapura and other areas of the island were carried out under the supervision of Mr. E.M. Ayrton (1912-1914) and Mr Raja De Silva (1983). Mr. E.M. Hocart who was appointed as the Commissioner of Archaeology in Sri Lanka in 1926, carried out excavations using the method of stratification, in places such as Mathota, Pomparippu, Anuradhapura inner city and Ambalantota."