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Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Anuradhapura
Written by Deekshitha Reddy on November 16, 2022 Share on

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Sri Lanka: The Sacred and Oldest Tree!

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation in the South of Asia and is a tourist hotspot. The country has a plethora of things to offer to tourists, ranging from the breathtaking landscapes to the cultural diversity. There are a number of divine temples as well that hold religious significance in the country. Sri Lanka is also home to a few of the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One such place in Sri Lanka is Anuradhapura. This town, is considered to be sacred for Buddhists as the famous Bodhi tree is housed in the temple of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Anuradhapura. What could be more perfect than visiting a serene yet notable attraction on your vacation? Read on to know more about the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi temple.


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A Little bit About Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi:

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Image Credits: Unsplash

The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi temple is situated in the Mahamewna garden in the city of Anuradhapura. It is one of the major attractions in Sri Lanka, that draws a large number of tourists as well as locals on an every day basis. The Bodhi Tree is housed within this temple and is protected by golden coloured fence on all sides. Another interesting fact about the Bodhi Tree is that it is a Fig tree that was planted almost 2,600 years ago.

Buddhists from all over the world pay a visit to this shrine that holds a precious relic of Buddha. They pray to the Bodhi Tree as they believe that it has the power to grant wishes as it is connected with Buddha. The place is flooded with pilgrims during the festive seasons. It is also crowded on full moon days and in the months of December and January which is essentially the pilgrimage season. People immerse themselves into the spirituality and divinity of the shrine. This sacred place has an essence of calmness and peacefulness and is felt just when you step in.

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Diving into the History:

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Image Credits: Unsplash

Dating back to nearly 2,600 years ago, Gautama Buddha was in Bodhgaya, India. One day, he happened to walk up to the bank of the Neranjana river to unwound himself. He gently rested again the Esathu tree and it was then, that it is believed that Buddha achieved enlightenment. Along with that, the tree against which he sat gained venerated status in the eyes of people. Buddhists from near and far, went all the way to see the tree.

Post that, in the 236 BC, Emperor Ashoka sent Sanghamitra, a Buddhist nun from India, to present a branch of the Bodhi Tree to the Devanampiya Tissa King of Sri Lanka. The king, then planted the branch in Anuradhapura, in his imperial garden, which is still standing strong.

There were a lot of threats to this sacred tree in the earlier days. The wild elephants, a vandal and the Tamil Tiger separatists tried to attack the tree. The Tamil Tiger separatists movement went on for a while, but none could destroy the tree. Buddhists in Sri Lanka have always gone an extra mile to protect their sacred tree.

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Other Things You Must Know:

  • How to get to Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi: Reaching the temple is very easy as it is located in the city centre of Anuradhapura. You could take a tuk tuk or a cab to reach the temple. As for reaching Anuradhapura, you can take a train from Kandy or Colombo that takes about 3-5 hours respectively. You could also take a cab from Colombo or Kandy to reach the city.
  • Best time to visit the Temple: This temple is opened throughout the year. The best time to visit in order to avoid crowd, would be the non-festive and the peak pilgrimage season – December and January.
  • Operating hours: 6 AM – 12:00 PM; 2:00 PM – 9 PM on all days. You could expect the temple to be busy on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Entry Fee: There is no entry fee for the temple. However, if you wish to take a tour to the nearby museums and other attractions, a top could purchase a ticket of approximately Rs. 3,500.
  • Dress Code: Considering this is a religious temple, it is recommended to were appropriate full length clothes. If you want to feel the sense of belongingness, you could also wear white coloured clothes. Buddhists prefer wearing white as it symbolises peace.

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Nearby Attractions:

  1. Ruwanwelisaya – Buddhist stupa
  2. Abhayagiri Monastry
  3. Isurumuniya – Buddhist temple
  4. Archeological Museum, Anuradhapura
  5. Lovamahapaya/ Brazen Palace – Ancient palace
  6. Mirisaweti Daboga – Buddhist stupa
  7. Thuparama Daboga – Buddhist stupa
  8. Jetavanaramaya Daboga – Buddhist stupa

Also Read: Top 10 Islands in Sri Lanka

Why would anyone want to miss out on the most famous UNESCO World Heritage site? Pack your bags and head on your trip to this beautiful island. Visit Pickyourtrail for some interesting Sri Lanka tourism or you could also customise your own trip. Happy holidaying!

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