Anuradhapura World Heritage Site


The ruins of Anuradhapura are one of South Asia’s most evocative sights. The sprawling complex contains a rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders: enormous dagobas (brick stupas), ancient pools and crumbling temples, built during Anuradhapura’s thousand years as capital of Sri Lanka.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Anuradhapura attractions

1. Jetavanarama Dagoba

0.02 MILES

The Jetavanarama Dagoba’s massive dome rises above the entire eastern part of Anuradhapura. Built in the 3rd century by King Mahasena, it may have…

2. Jetavanarama Museum


A 1937 British colonial building provides a suitably regal venue for some of the treasures found at Jetavanarama. The objects displayed here range from…

3. Buddhist Railing

0.24 MILES

A little south of the Jetavanarama Dagoba, on the other side of the road, there is a stone railing built in imitation of a log wall. It encloses a site…

4. Mahapali Refectory

0.51 MILES

The Mahapali refectory, or alms hall, is notable mainly for its immense trough (nearly 3m long and 2m wide) that the lay followers filled with rice for…

5. Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba

0.52 MILES

This magnificent white dagoba is guarded by a wall with a frieze of 344 elephants standing shoulder to shoulder. Apart from a few beside the western…

6. Royal Palace

0.54 MILES

Built in 1070 (some 12 centuries after Anuradhapura’s heyday), this palace was an attempt by King Vijayabahu I to link his reign with the glories of the…

7. Lowamahapaya

0.55 MILES

So called because it once had a bronze-tiled roof, the ruins of the 'Brazen Palace' stand close to the bodhi tree. The remains of 1600 columns are all…

8. Dalada Maligawa

0.56 MILES

In the Royal Palace area you can also find the Dalada Maligawa. The central relic chamber of this ruined temple may have been the first Temple of the…