According to the chronicles during the 12th century, a prince forced his way to the throne of Sri Lanka as King Prakrama Bahu the Great. He established himself in Polonnaruwa – today a Unesco world heritage site – where he proved to be both a great warrior and administrator. During his reign, through a 9-mile dam, he created the so-called “Sea of Parakrama” to collect rainwater for cultivation purposes through irrigation in dry periods, enabling the people to store foodstuffs in hard times too.
Today many ruins bear witness to his power and glory in Polonnaruwa. Just like his seven-storied Palace, furnished with thousand chambers according to a local legend – nowadays, unfortunately, the ruins of the ground floor surrounded by ten-feet thick walls are all we can see.
Between the Palace and the garden once lay the pool and towards the north the pavilion of the council chamber, where presumably the king and his councillors would plan sea trips and military expeditions. The entrance to the building was decorated with magnificent and elaborate carvings of elephants, horses and lotus flowers engraved in stone.
Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of the majority of Sri Lanka practised by 70% of Sri Lanka’s population. Theravada Buddhism and religion have long influenced culture is particularly strong in the southern and central regions of the country. Before Visit, find out about these practical label tips.
Never touch or pat the top of a Buddhist monk’s head, including small children in temples. This seen as disrespectful.
Don’t take selfies with a statue of a Buddha.
Don’t turn your back on any figure of the Buddha.
Don’t share appropriate clothes when you are going to religious sites or temples.
Keep in mind that on full moon days, Poya (monthly) is not possible to serve or sell alcohol. Even in these days, no meat is sold in the markets.
If you have Buddha tattoos on your body, you must take care to hide them because it is considered disrespectful to have a Buddha image on your body.
Buddhism in Sri Lanka
A Short History:
Wonderful 15-day spiritual tour in Sri Lanka, bursting with cultural richness, many stunning historical landscapes and fabulous sacred sites with intriguing history. Commencing from Negombo, you will explore the former capital cities and discover more than 9 amazing ancient monuments and temples, such as: The Sacred City of Anuradhapura (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Sigiriya rock fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the incredible stone cave temple in Dambulla, the Ancient Kingdom of Yapahuwa, Arankele Ancient Monastery and the Mysterious Forest Monastery of Ritigala.
What type of Buddhism is practised in Sri Lanka? Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Sri Lanka, with about 70% of the country’s population as followers.
There are around 6,000 Buddhist monasteries on Sri Lanka with approximately 15,000 monks.
The Siddhartha Gautama’s (Buddha) first visit was in the ninth month after Buddhahood on Duruthu (January) Full Moon Day.(1 B.E. or 528 B.C.)
How did Buddhism spread to Sri Lanka?
Buddhism came to Sri Lanka in the third century BCE. After the Third Buddhist council by Arhanthà Mahinda Thero, son of Emperor Ashoka, during the reign of Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura.
The religion is 2,500 years old and is followed by 350 million Buddhists worldwide.