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Although Anuradhapura dates from the 4th century BC, Sri Lanka’s first Buddhist capital is not merely an ancient relic.

The Sacred Bodhi Tree

It remains a devout holy city centred round the Sacred Bodhi Tree, believed to be grown from a cutting taken from the original Bodhi tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment.

Pilgrims dressed in white mingle with brightly-robed Buddhist monks, while irreverent langur monkeys play amongst the ruins. The site is scattered over a couple of square miles, punctuated by immense bell-shaped dagobas housing Buddhist relics.

Other treasures

The city’s other treasures include the elaborately carved moonstone of Mahasen’s Palace, ancient bathing pools and the serene Samadhi Buddha.

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who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Matt

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Anuradhapura by calling one of our Sri Lanka specialists on 1 800 817 945

Suggested Anuradhapura itinerary

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Anuradhapura, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Anuradhapura

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Anuradhapura

    Accommodation choices for Anuradhapura

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Anuradhapura. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.