Anuradhapura City

History of Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura has a proud history which runs to 543 BC. The prince Vijaya (543–505 BC) arrived to Thambapanni (Old Name of Sri Lanka) and he finally brought the island under his control and established himself as king. Gradually there are communities developed and villages are established all over the country. King Vijaya nominates his subordinates to control those villages and one of the ministers called Anuradha established his village named Anuradha - gama. “Gama” is the sinhala name for village.

Later, King Pandukabhaya made it as his capital and developed it into a prosperous city in 377 BC. He brought a large portion of the country under the control of the Anuradhapura Kingdom. However, it was not until the time in power of Dutthagamani (161–137 BC) that the whole country was unified under the Anuradhapura Kingdom. He defeated 32 rulers in different parts of the country before he killed Elara, the South Indian ruler who was occupying Anuradhapura, and ascended to the throne. The chronicle Mahavamsa describes his reign with much praise, and devotes 11 chapters out of 37 for his reign. He is described as both a warrior king and a devout Buddhist. After unifying the country, he helped establish Buddhism on a firm and secure base, and built several monasteries and shrines including the Ruwanweli Seya and Lovamahapaya

Arrival of Buddhism

One of the most notable events during the Anuradhapura Kingdom was the introduction ofBuddhism to the country. One of the major events for the duration of Anuradhapura kingdom was the beginning of Buddhism to the country. At the time of King Devanampiya Tissa (250–210 BC) and Empire Ashoka of India, who sent Arahat Mahinda, four monks, and a beginner being sent to Sri Lanka. They met King Devanampiyatissa at Mihintale.

Devanampiyatissa, guided by Arahat Mahinda, took steps to firmly establish Buddhism & to administer the country peacefully. Since, there was a requirement to start Bhikkuni Sasanaya in the country. Sanghamitta theraniya arrived to Sri Lanka & she brought along with her a plantlet from the Sri Maha Bodhi, the tree under which the Load Buddha attained enlightenment. With the arrival of Buddhism to the country, there are other technological areas got developed and Anuradhapura was the most developed city and discipline society started spreading all around the country.


Economy of Anuradhapura

Agriculture is the main job of the people that lives in Anuradhapura. From the older days, there was a concept built “Lake,Stupa,Village & Temple” which helps a lot to build not only a wealthy country, but also to develop respective society. The main agricultural product is rice, the cultivation of which was supported by an complex irrigation network. Rice was produced in two main seasons named Yala and Maha. Due to the extensive production of rice, the country was mostly self-sufficient. Sugarcane, Sesame & Vegetables were also grown and they are being distributed to urban areas of the country. Further, there are milk production & related products developed and it is one of the most prosperity cities in the country.


Creation of big scale tanks began in the 1st century AD under king Vasabha. The Alahara canal, constructed by damming the Amban river to divert water to the west for 30 miles (48 km), was built during this period. During the reign of Mahasen, the Alahara canal was widened and lengthened to supply water to the newly constructed Minneriya tank. The creation of stupas was noticeable throughout the history of Sri Lanka. Stupas were built preserving an object of worship. The stupa of Thuparamaya, built by Devanampiya Tissa, is one of the earliest built and was constructed immediately after the arrival of Buddhism. The construction of large stupas was begun by Dutthagamani(King Dutugamunu) with the construction of the Ruwanweli Seya, standing 300 feet (91 m) high.

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New bus station 2 km
Old bus station 1.5 km

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