Anuradhapura has been made royal capital by the king Pandukabhaya in 380 BC. It remained residence and royal capital for 119 successive Singhalese kings till the year 1000 AD when it was abandoned and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagoba of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment.
With the dawn of the second century BC, adventurers from across the Palk Strait had begun to settle down in the northern coast. One such intruder called Elara, became supreme in almost whole of the North and reigned from Anuradhapura. He was later challenged by the ruler Gemunu, son of King Kavantissa. Later this independent ruler, Gemunu of the South met in combat with Elara and the latter was killed. For the first time a single kingdom for the island arose.
Dutugemunu’s reign saw the culmination of Buddhism Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) contributed immensely for the religion of Buddhism. Anuradhapura Kingdom lasted one thousand and five hundred years. Despite the intrusions and clashes of South Indian Chola, Pandyan and Pallava, there prevailed stability in the continuity of the Anuradhapura civilisation.