Lonely Planet review
The Sri Maha Bodhi, the sacred bodhi tree, is central to Anuradhapura in both a spiritual and physical sense. The huge tree has grown from a cutting brought from Bodhgaya in India by the Princess Sangamitta, sister of Mahinda (who introduced the Buddha’s teachings to Sri Lanka), so it has a connection to the geographical heart of the Sinhalese religion.
The sacred bodhi tree is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world; it has been tended by an uninterrupted succession of guardians for over 2000 years, even during the periods of Indian occupation. There is not one but many bodhi trees here; the oldest and holiest stands on the top platform. The steps leading up to the tree’s platform are very old, but the golden railing around it is quite modern. The railing and other structures around the trees are festooned with prayer flags. Thousands of devotees come to make offerings at weekends and particularly on poya (full-moon) days. April and December are particularly busy months as pilgrims converge on the site for snana puja (offerings or prayers).