Anuradhapura


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Anuradhapura

(əno͞o`rädəpo͞o`rə) or

Anarajapura

(ənä`räjə–), city (1995 est. pop. 40,000), N central Sri Lanka, on the Aruvi River. Rice plantations and vegetable gardens surround the city, which is famous chiefly for its vast Buddhist ruins and as a pilgrimage center. Founded in 437 B.C., it was the capital of a Sinhalese kingdom and a Buddhist center until the 8th cent. A.D., when, after a Tamil invasion, it was abandoned in favor of Pollonarrua. Ruins include several colossal stupas (some larger than the pyramids of Egypt), a temple hewn from rock, and the Brazen Palace (so called from its metal roof). A sacred bo tree at Anuradhapura was grown from a slip of the tree at Bodh Gaya, India, under which Buddha reputedly attained enlightenment. The Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka has its headquarters in the city.

Anuradhapura

 

city in Ceylon and administrative center of North Central Province. The population of Anuradhapura was 29,400 in 1963. It has a railway station and is situated at a highway junction. It is the center of an important rice-growing region and also a site of Buddhist pilgrimages.

Ancient Anuradhapura (fifth century B.C. to the early 11th century A.D.) was the capital of the first Sinhalese state. At the beginning of the 11th century it was destroyed by the rulers of the southern Indian Tamil state of Chola, who seized Ceylon. Many monuments from the ancient city have been preserved in the center and environs of modern Anuradhapura. These are the remains of the oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries in Ceylon—the bell-shaped stupas (dago-bas) of Thuparama (third century B.C.) and Ruanvelli (second to first centuries B.C.) with stone statues of the Buddha (fifth century A.D.), Issurumuniya (a monastery carved in the rocks with remarkable reliefs on its outer walls; fifth to eighth centuries A.D.), palaces, reservoirs, and so forth. A natural preserve has been established in Anuradhapura. Several ancient monuments are being restored.

REFERENCES

Prokofev, O. Iskusstvo lugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1967.
Gave, H. W. The Ruined Cities of Ceylon, [3rd ed.]. London, 1905.
Anuradhapura, Greatest of Ceylon’s Ancient Cities. Ceylon, 1954.

Anuradhapura

a town in Sri Lanka: ancient capital of Ceylon; site of the sacred bo tree and place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. Pop.: 42 600 (1995 est.)
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