This tour takes you the oldest city of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura. Feel the weight of two millennia in the ruins of the city, which was grand in its heydey ... More info ›
This tour takes you the oldest city of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura. Feel the weight of two millennia in the ruins of the city, which was grand in its heydey. Hear the local legends and stories about Anuradhapura. Cycle by the beautiful Tissawewa reservoir. View the majestic Jetavanaramaya, which was one of the tallest monuments in the Ancient World. See Anuradhapura as you have never seen it before.
Your tour will be starting at the embankment of Tissa Wewa, at 8:00 am. You will be met by your cycling guide and provided with bicycles and helmets as well as refreshments for the ride. The artificial reservoirs were created in the 3rd century BC by King Devanampiyatissa and are the third oldest manmade reservoir in Sri Lanka. The embankment of Tissa Wewa is 2 miles long and 25 feet tall. You will be able to cycle along the embankment enjoying the view.
From Tissa Wewa you will be biking to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Anuradhapura City, where all the ancient monuments and ruins are. Your guide will tell you many native stories and legends about Anuradhapura along the way. En route to the city, you will be stopping by the Isurumuniya Temple which was also built by King Devanampiyatissa in the 3rd century BC. This temple is the location of many famous stone carvings that you will get to see; including the Isurumuniya Lovers, the Royal Family, and the Elephant Bathing carving by the pond outside. The carvings range from various centuries, showing this to have been a place where art and religion combined.
Once you get to the Anuradhapura Ruins you will first view the Abhayagiri Stupa, which was part of massive Abhayagiri Monastery.The Stupa was the second largest brick structure in the world after Jetavanaramaya. You will be able to see the elaborate moonstones and the reclining buddha. You will also be able to see the famous giant Samadhi Buddha statue and the beautifully designed Twin Ponds (Kuttam Pokuna) which were also part of the Abhayagiri Monastery.
Another important part of the Abhayagiri Monastery that you will be seeing is the Lankarama Stupa. The ancient ruins show that it would have been a vatadage, based on the evidence of pillars and a stupa house. Nothing else is known about this stupa that was built in the 1st century BC. You will see the site marked by a small stupa built fairly recently.
After the Abhayagiri monastery area, you will be visiting Jetavana Pagoda. Jetavanaramaya was built in the 4th century AD and was the largest brick structure of the ancient world. Jetavana remains an impressive sight with carved bas-reliefs, high arches and beautifully shaped lotus pedestals.
The next sight to see is the Ruwanwelisaya Pagoda which was built in the end century BC. It was the second largest stupa after the above mentioned two stupas. The pagoda is the oldest that is still in use, and you can see pilgrims worshipping here. You will see plenty of elephant sculptures here; from the full sized elephant sculptures in the outer wall to the old stone elephants in the bas of the stupa.
There are also many other monuments that you may visit in Anuradhapura based on time constraints. Your tour will be concluded outside the ancient city by 12 pm.