If you have missed the first part of this Sri Lanka series, checkout the first part and come back to read this!
After having enjoyed our first day in Chaaya Village relaxing and enjoying delicious food, we set out our journey for a new day to Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum. The museum is located near Heritage Site Entry Ticket counter and can be visited before visiting the archaeological sites in Sri Lanka. All the places are nearby and visiting them by car or tuk tuk are ideal as you will be able to see the ruins much faster and much more comfortably.
The museum was established in 1947, this is situated in the old kachcheri building, between the Brazen palace and Ruwanwelisaya. The Brazen Palace also called as Lovamahapaya is a 2000-year-old palace constructed by King Dutugemunu in 2nd century B.C which has 1600 stone columns that supported nine stories reaching 150 feet and sides of 400 feet length with 1000 rooms. It is also known as the Brazen Place because of the bronze tiles that were used on its roof. The Ruwanweliseya stupa is one of the largest stupas or dagobas, which is in the heart of the beautiful heritage city of Anuradhapura.
The Brazen Palace
The museum exhibits antiquities found from various regions of Sri Lanka, such as Buddha statues, inscriptions, drawings, puppets, coins, jewelries, beads and other miscellaneous things. Among these antiquities, there is a model of the Thuparamaya Vatadage, the first Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, located in the sacred area of Mahamewna park. The Thuparamaya Stupa is the earliest Dagoba to be constructed in the island, dating back to the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (247-207 BC). There is a relic chamber called Kantaka Chetiya Dagoba, a stupa located at ancient Buddhist monastery of Mihintale.
Kantaka Chetiya Dagoba
We discovered many interesting facts about this place. The symbol of Sri Lanka is a pot, also called as Punyakasa. After viewing a few paintings, we went on to see the precious gems in the museum. Something very interesting caught our eye, a small piece of gold had 14 flowers carved on it, it was such a shocker to view that. This museum was filled with various pots of different sizes and had great history behind each one of them.
The museum also has many bronze statues of Hindu gods like Ganesha, Parvathi and Shiva along with miniature figures made of ivory. Apart from that, you will find jewellery and medieval coins belonging to the reigns of Parakrama-Bahu, Nissanka-Malla and Lilavati. The museum, in short, gives you an overview, knowledge and experience which will make your visit to the archaeological sites more enjoyable as you will then be able to connect with the past when you see the ruins and other sites on your own.
We had a guide who explained us everything about this place. From the museum we progressed ahead to the next destination. We got to know about the three main institutions namely Abhayagiri, Jetavana and Mahavihara situated there. A new university was to be added to the list called Bhiksu university.
Then we went to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, one of the most ancient trees which are living even today standing tall in the Mahamewna Gardens in Anuradhapura. This tree is believed to have sprouted from a cutting brought from Bodh Gaya in India, where Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment. The tree is an authentic and living link to Gautama Buddha and is often respected as the oldest tree in history which has a recorded date of the plantation.
Later we saw a carving called moonstone. It is a unique feature of the Sinhalese architecture of ancient Sri Lanka. It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances.
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Did you know, till 3rd century there were no statues, instead there were only symbols and this place has over 437 types of birds.
Finally, we came to a meditation tomb. It was a place designed for the people to do spiritual exercises. Then we went to see a place where 33 man made water tanks were built. We even saw an elephant pond there. This place was spread across 500 acres of land and in that there were 65 ponds. Interesting right!
Important Information to note :
The museum is open from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM and is closed on Tuesday and every public Holidays.
Transportation around the place
Tuk Tuks, buses and walking are the favored means of commuting
Best time to visit
July-September and December-January is the best time to visit Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.
- $25 for Foreigners
- $12 for SAARC Nationals
This fee includes entry to all the historical sites except Maha Bodhi & Isurumuniya)
After a long day we went back to our hotel and had a nice meal. We were done for the day and our tour of Anuradhapura ended here! If you are a culture and history lover, you won’t regret adding Anuradhapura to your itinerary in Sri Lanka.
Let me know in the comments section below about your trip & experiences in Sri Lanka. See you guys in the next part until then Bye folks! Stay tuned for more…..