Things to do in Anuradhapura

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The Anuradhapura is located in Northern Province of Sri Lanka and well known for it’s historical and cultural importance. It has several historic temples and stupas on the UNESCO World Heritage List. If anyone interested in seeing some of Sri Lanka’s historic treasures, they must visit to Anuradhapura. To help you plan your vacation, we’ll include Anuradhapura’s top sights, restaurants, and pubs.

Things to do in Anuradhapura – Historical sites

Anuradhapura’s historic monuments show Sri Lanka’s previous glory. between 4th century BCE to 11th century CE, it was capital in Sri Lanka. These are Anuradhapura’s most significant historical sites.
The world’s oldest recorded tree is the Sri Maha Bodhiya fig tree, planted in 288 BCE. Buddhists revere it because it sprang from a twig of the tree where the Buddha attained enlightenment.
King Dutugemunu built the Ruwanwelisaya Stupa in the second century BCE. Buddhists visit because they think it has Buddha’s relics.
Thuparamaya, Sri Lanka’s first dagoba, is a Buddhist stupa. Its unusual design stems from its third-century BCE construction. The Jetavanaramaya is another third-century CE stupa built by King Mahasena. This 122-meter stupa dominates Sri Lanka. Abhayagiri, a 1st-century BCE Buddhist monastery, was a center of Buddhist learning and education. It was also a Buddhist shrine.

The Stupa of Ruwanwelisaya

Anyone visiting Anuradhapura with an interest in history or culture should make a point of seeing the Ruwanwelisaya Stupa. It is one of the tallest in Sri Lanka, with a height of 103 meters. King Dutugemunu commissioned its construction in the second century BCE so that he might house Buddha relics there.
Visitors may wander around Ruwanwelisaya Stupa’s white barrier with colorful prayer flags. In the evening, when it is completely lit up, the stupa is a sight to see.

Sri Maha Bodhiya

The Sri Maha Bodhiya, a sacred fig tree in Anuradhapura, was planted from the Buddha’s enlightenment tree. which is one of the world’s oldest historical tree dates back to 288 BCE
The Sri Maha Bodhiya is visible from afar thanks to the protective golden fence surrounding the sacred tree. Pilgrims and believers pay their respects by leaving flowers and candles and settling in for some quiet reflection.
Other important cultural and historical sites in Anuradhapura are the Thuparamaya Temple, the Jetavanaramaya Temple, and the Abhayagiri Monastery.

Things to do in Anuradhapura – Cultural experiences

Anuradhapura’s rich past offers many opportunities to learn about Sri Lanka’s culture. Cultural events in Anuradhapura include the following.
Anuradhapura’s Poya Day Ceremonies: Anuradhapura hosts several Poya Day events for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The local populace worships at the city’s various temples and monasteries.
Cultural Show Traditional Sri Lankan dance and music events are available in Anuradhapura. Attend an evening play to experience local culture and history.
To gain a sense for Anuradhapura and its people, meander around its local markets. Tourists may buy real souvenirs, spices, and clothes at markets.
Take a Class: Learn to prepare Sri Lankan cuisine for its unusual spices and tastes. Anuradhapura chefs teach tourists how to prepare native meals.
Explore rural Sri Lankan culture in Anuradhapura’s villages. Village tours show tourists how goods are grown and created.

Things to do in Anuradhapura – Local Markets

Several vibrant markets can be found in Anuradhapura, each one providing a glimpse into the local culture. The brightly colored stalls, unusual spices, and local produce have made the markets famous. Tourists may purchase souvenirs, sample local cuisine, and experience local culture at the markets.

Puja Ceremonies

Sri Lankan Buddhist tradition includes monthly puja rites in Anuradhapura. Visit these one of the city’s multipal temples or monasteries to watch the people worship and ritualize. Colorful processions, chanting, and the lighting of oil lamps are commonplace at the ceremonies.

Cultural Shows

Several cultural performances can be seen in Anuradhapura that feature traditional Sri Lankan dance and music. When you attend these one of the performances, you always get value of the local culture and history. Tourists can enjoy live music and dance performances by professional artists while sampling regional specialties.

Village Tours

The villages close to Anuradhapura provide a glimpse into traditional Sri Lankan culture. Village tours may show visitors how food is farmed, rural life, and local customs. The tours frequently incorporate stops at local temples and opportunities to mingle with rural residents.

Cooking Classes

There is nothing quite like the exotic flavors and spices of traditional Sri Lankan fare. Anuradhapura chefs teach tourists how to prepare native meals. These lessons include a trip to the local market to buy goods and a hands-on demonstration of traditional cooking techniques.

Things to do in Anuradhapura – Outdoor activities

Anuradhapura has several activities for active travelers. Anuradhapura’s outdoor activities:


Anuradhapura’s bike routes attract cyclists. Renting bicycles allows visitors to explore the city’s gardens, ruins, and temples at their own pace. Biking to Anuradhapura is fun and healthy.


hiking trails around Anuradhapura. Wilpattu National Park, Mihintale Mountain, and Ritigala Forest Reserve await hikers. The scenery and wildlife on these hikes are stunning.


Sail Tissa Wewa and Nuwara Wewa lakes are in Anuradhapura. Cruise the lakes in a boat and see local fishermen. Sunset boat rides are popular for their spectacular views of the hills and temples.

Bird watching

Wetland and bird reserves in Anuradhapura attract birdwatchers. Mihintale and Thalakotewewa bird sanctuaries have Sri Lankan junglefowl.


Wilpattu National Park features leopards, elephants, and deer. Safaris show guests the park’s animals and surroundings.

Things to do in Anuradhapura – Cycling through the City

The ancient city of Anuradhapura is easily navigable by bicycle. Street sellers rent bicycles so visitors may explore the city’s parks, historic attractions, and religious structures at their own leisure. By pedaling around the city, one can take in the vibrant atmosphere as well as the peaceful scenery.

Wilpattu National Park Safari Tour

About 30 kilometers from Anuradhapura, you’ll find Wilpattu National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s largest. Safari tours in the park may observe elephants, leopards, and deer. There are wide variety bird species in the park, and one of best destination for birdwatchers to visit.

Trekking in Mihintale Mountain

Mihintale Mountain is one of the holiest spots in Sri Lanka, and it’s only about 12 kilometers from Anuradhapura. Hikers can access the mountain’s peak to find many ancient Buddhist temples and stupas. The climb offers stunning views and an opportunity to learn about the country’s rich history.

Boating in Nuwara Wewa Lake

Nuwara Wewa Lake is a popular place for boating within Anuradhapura’s city limits. Visitors may hire a boat and cruise around the lake at their own leisure to see the local fisherman. Sunset boat tours are popular because they provide a stunning view of the hills and temples.

Ritigala Forest Reserve Hike

About 40 kilometers from Anuradhapura, the Ritigala Forest Reserve is a favorite of hikers. The forest is full of vegetation, animals, and old ruins. Hikers at the reserve can pick up some knowledge about herbal remedies from locals along the trail.

Things to do in Anuradhapura – Food and drink

Kottu Roti

Sri Lankans fry shredded roti with veggies, eggs, meat, and spices on a griddle. It’s a full and tasty dinner that’s often served with a spicy sauce.


Watalappam is made with coconut milk, jaggery, and spices like cardamom and nutmeg. It is a food must try by every dessert lover, and it’s oftenly served for special events.

Drinking the Water of the King Coconut

The young coconut water used to create king coconut water is a delicious and healthy beverage. Hydrating and good for you, this beverage is widely consumed in Sri Lanka.

Tea produced in Ceylon

Anuradhapura, like the rest of Sri Lanka, produces some excellent tea. Sri Lankans grow black Ceylon tea, which visitors may drink hot. For true tea connoisseurs, you must try it with milk and sugar.

Things to do in Anuradhapura – Conclusion

Being a city with great in history and culture, Anuradhapura gives tourists to unique picture about Sri Lankan history. In this lively city, you may see temples, ruins, ceremonies, and native cuisine. Cycling and hiking are fantastic methods to explore Anuradhapura’s diverse landscapes. Anuradhapura is a must-see for any traveler interested in culture, cuisine, or outdoor activities.

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