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Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura

Sri Maha Bodhi

Sri Maha Bodhi

The world's oldest and most venerated tree, at 2625 years, the Sri Maha Bodhi is the southern branch of the Bo tree in Bodh Gaya, India under which the Buddha attained enlightenment during his time. It was planted as a cutting in the Mahameghavana park in Anuradhapura in 249BC, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. According to the historical literature it was brought to Sri Lanka from India via ship by Princess Sangamitta,the daughter of Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty, who at that time had become a Buddhist nun. Since then the Kings of Sri Lanka and the priests have kept uninterrupted watch over the sacred tree and thousands of devotees still visit the site today for pilgrimage.

The Bodhi tree stands on high terrace and is protected by a tent like structure. Metal structures have now been set up to help the tree with stand extreme weather conditions and the onslaught from rain. The gold railing surrounding the tree is decorated with colorful prayer flags and strips of cloth pilgrims have tied while seeking its blessings. The tree was planted in a high terrace of 6.5meters and guarded with a railing, mainly to help protect it from wild elephants during the time of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha. Since then many new railings, including a gold one, have been erected around it by the heads of the state. The Sri Maha Bodhi tree is one of the most sacred reaming relics for Buddhists and a site considered extremely holy among Sri Lankans and the world.

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