Historical Background of Anuradhapura City
Indo- Aruyan invaders form North India came with king Vijaya to Sri Lanka in the late sixth century B.
C. One of his ministers, anuradha, founded a city called Anuradhagama. It became an important
centre, and when king pandukabhaya ascended the throne in the fourth century B.C., he established his
capital there under the constellation “Anuradha” at the auspicious hour.
It was necessary to construct large reservoirs for the burgeoning population and for times of drought.
Water rates were charged. The King was the absolute ruler and govemed with his ministers. There was
a system of land taxes, paid to the state or to monasteries, and toll-gates to enter the City. Customs
duties were levied at sea ports. Many embassies went to Rome and Roman copper coins were in
In ther later period, the Chola Dynasty threatened form the North Polonnaruwa, standing athwart the
road to Ruhuna, emerged as the chosen capitlal. In 993 A. D. the Cholas conquered the island,
plundreing and looting. Gradually the royal and administrative capital shifted South.
The tide of events passed, leaving the City once more in virgin jungle.
Anuradhapura was the greatest monastic city of the ancient world. Despite the many hundreds of years
that it was hidden in the jungles of the Dry Zone, it was always a living entity to the people of Sri
Lanka. Historical records kept alive the memory of the city which outlived the reign of 113 kings. The
Sacred Bodhi Tree, a sapling of that under which the Buddha attained enlightenment, survied under the
care of its hereditary guardians. The religion and teachings of the Buddha, implanted by Mahinda, had
taken root and flourished and the Order of Buddhist Monks (Sangha) kept the faith.