Sri Maha Bodhi - Anuradhapuraya

Rich in historical value, the holy city of Anuradhapura is where the sacred tree Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya is found. It is revered for being the southern branch of the ancient Sri Maha Bodhiya at Bodhi Gaya in India , which provided shelter for Lord Buddha as he attained enlightenment.
The sacred bodhi tree is central to Anuradhapura in both a spiritual and physical sense. It was grown from a cutting brought from Buddhgaya in India and is said to be the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world; tended by an uninterrupted succession of guardians for over 2200 years, even during the periods of Indian occupation.

Today thousands of devotees come to make offerings, particularly on poya (full-moon) days and weekends. Sunset is a magical time to visit.

The faithful believe it was Princess Sangamitta, sister of Mahinda (who introduced the Buddha’s teachings to Sri Lanka) who brought the cutting from India and was planted by the then reigning monarch, King Devanampiyatissa so it has a connection to the geographical heart of the Sinhalese religion.
Following the arrival of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya to the island, the main Bodhi tree in India was destroyed by the queen of a king who was observing a different faith. Thus, surrounded by railings, the precious Bo tree lies on a high terrace of nearly 6.5 metres, worshipped by hordes of devotees who arrive here from all corners of the country.

There is not one but many bodhi trees here; the oldest and holiest stands on the top platform. Railing and other structures around the trees are festooned with prayer flags.

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