Anuradhapura

By Vinita Agrawal [email protected] | 2013

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U see Jetavana Monastery in Anuradhapura. The monastery is 2000 years old and was a thriving centre of Buddhist learning in those times. The stupa is undergoing restoration work. Everyday I saw a number of locals who came to lend a helping hand with the restoration - a form of kar sewa. They formed long human chains and helped to pass bricks, stones etc.

A close up of the highest point of the stupa which is third tallest ancient structure in the world. Anuradhapura is a five hours drive from Colombo by road. It is a World Heritage site. The city of Anuradhapura is a world heritage city as declared by UNESCO.

Huge crains were installed to carry out the restoration work right at the top of the stupa. I had the good fortune to be transported to the top level of the stupa where the stones are original and date back to the time when the stupa was first constructed.

A close up of the stones which were a part of the original stupa.

A Ganesha made from a serpent. Such images line the base of the stupa all around. Very interesting. Since am from India the Guide specifically pointed this image to me.

A step-well in the ruins of the Jetavana Monastery. The water from the step-wells was used for cooking and drinking in ancient times.

A comparative picture of a step-well from Bundi in the state of Rajasthan India built in 1699. To see pics of Bundi step-well Click here

This is the long bowl. When monks returned to the monastery after begging for food all the food was put into this long bowl. The monks were then served collectively from this bowl. The bowl is made of stone.

Another stupa in the Jetawana Monastery.

This structure is known as the Moonstone. They are found all over Anuradhapura at the entrance of monasteries. They represent the movement from the secular to the sacred world. They are also impressive artifacts of decoration.

This structure for lighting lamps is on the left side of the gate leading to the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura. Devotees light butter lamps as an offering to the Bodhi Tree.

A monk offering prayers to the butter lamps which have been lit at twilight.

The tree branch, supported by the brass bracket, is the actual offshoot of the original Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya India under which Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. The tree in Anuradhapura was transported by Ashoka''s son and daughter Mahendra and Sanghamitra in the 3rd century B.C.

A close up of the Bodhi tree. The tree has been guarded for over 2,000 years and has now sprouted many new branches. The Bodhi tree is encircled by a brass railing and only very special monks are allowed inside. The actual branch is supported by two vertical brass brackets as u can see.

The Buddha temple inside the Bodhi tree compound. Every evening devotees offer fresh lotus flowers to the image of the Buddha.

At the entrance of all the stupas devotees tie red and white ribbons representing their wishes to the Buddha.

An image of the Buddha in the state of Mahaparinirvana i.e. death. Above this image you can see Gods and Goddesses looking down from the sky and paying homage to the body of the Buddha.

Image of Sleeping Buddha at Ayuthhaya Thailand. To see more pics Click here

Another image of Buddha at Wat Pho or Temple of Reclining Buddha Bangkok. To see more picsClick here

A close up of the serene expression as Buddha gave up his body. Devotees offer flowers to the image, sometimes the flowers are made of colorful cloth appliqued together. This is unique to Sri Lankan culture.

The guide explained to me that the unique position of the thumb indicates whether the Buddha image is in the state of sleep or parinirvana. A slightly uplifted thumb as is shown in the image here is indicative of the parinirvana state.

A rare image of Buddha''s closest attendant and cousin ANANDA.

The White Dagoba of Anuradhapura. It is also known as Ruwanwelisaya and is the oldest stupa of Anuradhapura now fully restored and painted white. Dagoba in Sinhalese means stupa.

Pic shows an open air gathering of Sri Lankan pilgrims chanting under the guidance of a monk. It is customary in Sri Lanka culture to wear white when visiting a monastery or performing puja.

A gathering of Sri Lankan devotees at Bodh Gaya.

A special image of the Buddha which bears three different expressions - of peace, sorrow and joy in the same image. When the image is looked at from the front one sees the image of peace on the Buddha''s face.

Viewed from the left side the Buddha is smiling.

Viewed from the right his face wears a sad expression.

The Golden Temple of Damdula which has gigantic external statue of the Buddha. The temple is very picturesque and surrounded by beautiful flowers and garden.

Image of the Buddha that greets you as you land at the Colombo airport. To see pics of Bodh Gaya Temple Click here