Siddhartha was believed to be born in Lumbini in Nepal and grew up in Kapilavastu in India. Siddhartha grew up in sheer luxury and was protected from all the sadness and sickness of this world. But as fate had it, one day he came across a sick person, an aged person, a corpse and realized that our world and lives are not devoid of pain and sufferings. He then renounced his Princely life and left his home and family in search of the eternal truth. He came to be known as Buddha, the ‘satyapurush’ or ‘man of truth’. Buddha attained Enlightenment under a Bodhi or Bo tree in Bihar, India. Buddha was a title given to him which in the literal sense of the word means ‘a person who is awake’. He always wanted a world free from sorrow. He died in Kushinagar, India.
Buddhism in Sri Lanka was introduced by Emperor Ashoka. King Tessa of Ceylon sent an envoy to India. Emperor Ashoka took this opportunity to send his son, Arahantha Mahinda who told his sister, Sangamitta to bring a sapling of the Bodhi Tree to Ceylon. This is how Buddhism arrived in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka beckons the Buddhists from all over the world as it is not only drenched in Buddhist history but also drips Buddhism. The Bona fide cultural tourism is a powerful magnet that has something deeply meaningful at its core.
The spiritualism and dedicated service of the Buddhist monks are hard to ignore. Sri Lanka has in fact, 6,000 Buddhist monasteries with nearly 15,000 monks. The environment all around comes alive with the chanting of the monks at sunrise.
Bodhi or Bo treein Anuradhapura – The ancient Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree or the Bodhi or Bo tree is a sacred fig tree in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. The sapling of this tree was brought from India by King Ashoka who was an ardent follower of Buddha. Scores of individuals visit this pious tree for paying homage to Gautam Buddha.
Gangaramaya Temple – Gangaramaya Temple is a veritable plethora of Buddhist goodness. The architecture is a blend of Sri Lankan, Indian, Thai and Chinese. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. The 120 year old temple is located near the scenic Beira Lake. This sacred place is much more than a temple. It is a learning and cultural centre as well as a place of worship and also a very popular tourist destination. This piece of architecture is an impressive work of craftsmanship.Gangaramaya Templeis run by GalbodaGnanissara Thera.
Polonnaruwa – Polonnaruwa is a city with several ancient ruins. The main point of attraction is Vatadage which is a round relic house built to safeguard a small stupa that’s placed in the centre of it. The place gives a clear picture of how it looked during its heyday.
Sri DaladaMaligawa or Temple of the Tooth – Located in Kandy, the Temple of the Tooth Relics is believed to house the Tooth of Buddha. This magnificent temple was constructed by king Vimaladharmasooriya 1st in 1592 AD. Sri DaladaMaligawa is the topmost reverent religious place enamoured with deep cultural heritage. Here visitors can pay homage. Traverse the museum to see the rich antiquities of the bygone era. Here one can also watch the Buddhist rituals in its full glory.
Dambulla Caves – Dambulla Caves is also called Jumbukola Vihara. Five main caves comprise the temple. Each of the five caves has a separate décor and motive. There are 157 statues of Buddha of varying sizes, adorned with indigenous hand painted frescoes depicting the life of Buddha. Despite the lack of light, the statues seem to be glowing. The locale is surrounded by forests. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mihintale – The cradle of Buddhism lies 11km east of Anuradhapura. Basically,Mihintaleis a mountain range comprising of three important hills. Mihintaleis the place where approximately 2,350 years ago, Arahath Mahinda Thero, the disciple of Lord Buddha gave sermons on Buddhist set of beliefs to the King “Dewanampiyatissa” of Sri Lanka. Mihintale is the seat where the earliest introduction of Buddhism was sowed.
Adam’s Peak or the Sri Pada – Adam’s Peak is a mountain range.There is a stone tablet which is believed to have the Holy footprint of Buddha. It is said that that the footprint was the result of the departing Buddha on his third trip to Sri Lanka.
Samadhi Buddha Statue – The Samadhi Buddha Statue is located at Mahamevnāwa Park in Anuradhapura.This is nearly an 8feet statue carved of granite in which Buddha is shown in the Dhyana Mudra position. This is a very well known position and in the Buddhist world holds great significance. Samadhi Buddha Statue is regarded as one of the best sculptures of the Anuradhapura era.