Friday, December 13, 2013

Abhayagiri Vihara, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

Abhayagiri Vihara is the ruins of a monastery on the northern part of the ancient city of Anuradhapura. It was formerly known as Uttaravihara, or Northern Monastery, during the ancient times. Usually known simply as Abhayagiri, the monastery grew to almost became a city of its own rivalling Anuradhapura.

Abhayagiri Vihara is one of the eight sacred sites for Buddhists in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. For about 600 years, it was the largest monastery in Sri Lanka, housing 5000 monks on its grounds which covered over 500 acres (235 hectares). The focalpoint of the Abhayagiri Vihara is the Abhayagiri Dagoba and the Ratna Prasada, or chapter house of the Dhammaruci Order.

The Abhayagiri Dagoba is the second biggest brick structure in the world after the Jetavana Dagoba. It was built by King Gajabahu (114-136AD) and reaches a height of 370 feet (115m).

According to local belief, the Abhayagiri Dagoba was built over the footprint of the Buddha. The Buddha is said to have come to Lanka and by his supernatural powers placed one foot in the north of Anuradhapura with the other on top of Adam's Peak.

Within the Abhayagiri complex is the Samadhi Buddha, which depicts the Buddha in the serene state of samadhi, or deepmeditation. A little further north are the twin ponds or Kuttam Pokuna. Beyond the Samadhi Buddha is one of the most outstanding moonstone in Anuradhapura. This moonstone located at the threshold of the queen's pavilion of King Mahasen's Palace.