Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sri Lanka - Part 4 - Anuradhapura Stupas and Caves

Anuradhapura is the most important archaeological site on Sri Lanka. It has many important Buddhist sites dating from the arrival of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE. Many of these sites are still active "viharas" (monastery complexes).

I'll start with the most noticeable feature of Anuradhapura -- the massive stupas found in the area.

The Jetavana Dagoba is the oldest and largest stupa in Sri Lanka. It is the largest masonry structure in the world. Massive. The stairs/scaffolding on the left is part of restoration efforts.
Another massive stupa is the Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba.
Not all stupas are huge. Here is a little stupa nestled in a glen at Mihinthale.
Not to be outdone by the ancients, a new stupa is under construction. When completed, it will be the largest stupa at Anuradhapura.
A "cave" in the context of a Sri Lankan Buddhist vihara is a rock shelter that monks would use in the monsoon. Usually a "drip ledge" was created to keep rainfall from following the boulder to the ground.

A cave at Vessagiri.
Cave at Mihinthale.
This cave at Kaludiya Pokuna had a facade placed in front of it.

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