Anuradhapura Sri Maha Bodhiya
Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka’s ancient capital, 4th century BC – beginning of 11th century AD and the centre of the island’s Buddhist civilization. Anuradhapura was once a very wealthy monastic city which created a unique culture and a great civilization. When the city was abondoned due to various reasons, this fell into ruins and covered with jungle till it was rediscovered during British rule in 19th century.
The island’s oldest Buddhist shrines are found here. Impressive white ‘dagabas’ (relic chambers) and monuments, embellished with handsome stone carvings and sculpture, the oldest documented tree on earth – The Sri Maha Bodhi (over 2000 years old) , pleasure gardens, beautifully executed stone baths and ponds, a superb irrigation system of reservoirs and canals are the attractions of Anuradhapura.Subsequent to the bringing of the Sri Maha Bodhi by Their Sangamitta the Bodhi become an indispensable object of homage in the Buddhist shrines. Holding a premier place in Atamasthana of Anuradhapura is circumscribed by ruins of Bodhigara built at occasional intervals.
Built by King Dutugemunu in the 1st century BC and given the final touches by his brother has been subjected to complete the renovation at the dawn of the century. Revered as the most scared Stupa by the Buddhists it is considered to be the first largest stupa in the ancient world.
Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Ponds)
Kuttam Pokuna or the twin ponds are another hydrologic engineering marvels of the ancient Sri Lanka. These two ponds belong to the Abayagiri aramic complex and probably been used by the monks for bathing. The origins of these ponds are not known but it is thought to have been built during the reign of King Aggabodhi I (575-608). The smaller pond (the northern) one has been constructed first and the larger one at a later stage. They are connected through a pipeline at the bottom. The northern pond is 91 feet (28 meters) long and the other 132 feet (40 meters) . Water to these ponds have been supplied through underground pipelines and the water is sent through several filtering chambers before it falls on the northern pond through a mouth of a dragon. The water from both ponds is drained from a small outlet in the smaller northern pond. Though the underground pipelines are no more, you can see 4 levels of filtering of the water before it enters the ponds.
Another UNESCO world heritage site, according to the chronicles, during the 12th century a prince of great metal and physical vigour hailing from the Rohana (Southern part of Sri Lanka) forced his way to the throne of Sri Lanka as King Prakrama Bahu the great. Establishing himself in Polonnaruwa, a capital worthy of authority and ambition of the ruler, he proceeded to show himself as a successful warrior and a great administrator, during which time he, through a medium of a dam nine miles long created the “The Sea of Parakrama” harvesting rain water to be used in the dry period of the year for cultivation purposes, carving the irrigation brilliance of Sri Lankan’s in stone, when most of Europe where still in darkness. In a period of prosperity with the objective of storing food many such projects were under taken some of which function even today. Today vast ruins stand sentinel bearing witness in Polonnaruwa to his power and glory. The Sinhalese chronicle “kualamwanse” says that his palace was furnished with thousand chambers and seven stories in all, today only the ruins of ground floor remains with ten feet thick walls to support the six stories built on top of it.