Anuradhapura, possibly the most religious city in Sri Lanka, was once the center of Theravada Buddhism in the ancient days. Even now, it is considered a religious city and many pilgrims visit Anuradhapura. It is beloved by the locals and hundreds of people come to Anuradhapura often to worship the religious sites. Once a capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura is the home to many ancient ruins. The ruins are well preserved and protected by the authorities as well as the people of the city. Anuradhapura has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Located in the Mahamewna Gardens in Anuradhapura, the Sri Maha Bodhi is the longest living known human planted tree. The tree holds so much religious value to Buddhists as it is the southern branch of the tree that Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment under. The mother tree is situated in India at Buddha Gaya. The branch was brought to Sri Lanka by Sangamitta Theri and was planted by King Devanampiya Tissa in 288 BC. The Sri Maha Bodhi is one of the most sacred relics in Sri Lanka and is worshiped by Buddhists all over the world. Thousands of pilgrims come to Anuradhapura to pay their respect to the Sri Maha Bodhi.
Ruwanwelisaya Stupa was built by King Dutugemunu to enshrine relics of Lord Buddha. It has the biggest collection of Lord Buddha’s relics anywhere in the world. The Ruwanwelisaya is sacred to Buddhists all around the world and is worshiped by thousands of people.
Thuparamaya, Mirisaveti Stupa, Jetavanarama, Lankarama Stupa and Abhayagiri Dagaba are other stupas that you can visit while in Anuradhapura.
When visiting Anuradhapura, specially if you are visiting the cultural sites, it is advised to be dressed in modest clothing and not revealing clothes as these sites are religious and respected. Anuradhapura is definitely one of the places to visit near Dambulla, if you like to learn more about the Sri Lankan culture and Buddhism.