Lies 205 km north of Colombo, on the banks of historic Malvathu rive, Anuradhapura, was the first capital of Sri Lanka is uniquely acknowledged as the focal city of Theravada Buddhism. Its history trails back to thousands of years. Excavations conducted in the inner city have revealed evidence of human settlements of the prehistoric era. Potsherds having Brahmi script unearthed in excavations had revealed that the historic period of Anuradhapura could be traced back to the 8-7c. B.C.

Essential information
  • Travel distance – Anuradhapura is situated about 205 km from Colombo  (4 hours drive).
  • How to get to Anuradhapura  – The cheapest way to get from Colombo to Anuradhapura is to travel by train, which takes 4 hrs and the quickest way to get to Anuradhapura is to travel by taxi, takes 3 hrs. With our 3 Nights / 4 Days Mini Tour of Sri Lanka, you will visit the various sites from the right entrances and make the most efficient use of your time.

  • Where to stay in Anuradhapura  –  There are a good choices of tourist hotels in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
Visitors Information
  • Entrance Fees for Ruins in Anuradhapura – US$ 25 per foreign traveller, US$ 12.5 per foreign child age between 6 – 12 years. A special discount of 50% shall be applicable for visitors of SAARC countries. The site ticket is only valid for one day.

  • Opening hours: from 7:30 am onward and the ticket counter will be closed by 6:00 pm.
  • When is the best time to visit – You can visit the Anuradhapura all year round.
  • How much time do you need to schedule a visit to the ruins in Anuradhapura – You shall need around 3 hours to complete the site in leisurely peace. We would recommend you to plan your visit early morning or late-afternoon.

Extensive development of the city of Anuradhapura took place during the reigns of the kings such as Dutugemunu, Valagamba, Vasabha, Mahasen and Dhatusena. The rapid development which Anuradhapura was thus experiencing came to an abrupt setback with the invasion of the Pandyans in the 9th c. A.D. and the Colas from South India in the 10th c A.D.

The old Anuradhapura which was situated on the west bank of a tributary of Malvatuoya was bounded by the Bulankulama reservoir on its west, Basawakkulama ( Abhaya) reservoir on its south west, Tisawewa reservoir on its south and the Nuwara ( Jaya) reservoir on its East. From the spread of the ruins found in the ancient city of Anuradhapura it could be surmised that the city was divided in to two sections.

The Inner City comprised the buildings belonging to the royalty while the Outer City consisted of ecclesiastical buildings. The observation of the spatial arrangement of the monasteries reveals that Mahavihara, Jetavana, Abhayagiri, the three great monasteries and the peripheral monasteries together with the royal gardens are located as one complex in the outer city.

Attractions to see in Mahavihara
Sri Maha Bodhi_Anuradhapura

Sri Maha Bodhi

Ruwanveli Maha Seya_Anuradhapura

Ruvanveli Maha Seya

Thuparamaya_Anuradhapura

Thuparama

Attractions to see in Abhayagiriya
AbayagiriyaStupa_Anuradhapura

Abhayagiri Stupa

Samadhi_Buddha_Statue_Anuradhapura

Samadhi Buddha Statue

Moonstone_Anuradhapura

Moonstones

Asokaramaya_Anuradhapura

Asokarama

KuttamPokuna_Anuradhapura

Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Pond)

Ethpokuna_Anuradhapura

Eth Pokuna (Elephant Pond)

Rathnaprasada_Anuradhapura

Rathnaprasada

Vessagiri_Anuradhapura

Vessagiriya

vijayarama_Anuradhapura

Vijayarama

Attractions to see in Jethwanaramaya
Jethawanastupa_Anuradhapura

Jetavana Stupa

Potgul Vehera Statue of Polonnaruwa

Avukana Buddha Statue

Situated about 51 km south to the Anurahdapura, Avukana Buddha statue is one of the most magnificent standing Buddha image which has a height of 13 m and was carved out of a large granite rock face during the 5th century.

Isurumuni Lovers

Isurumuniya Rock Temple