Not many tourists visit the very northern parts of Anuradhapura. There are indeed no major attractions to the north of the junction between Kuttam Pokuna (twin pond) and Samadhi Buddha. However, the seclusion of the sites in northern Anuradhapura contributes to their charm. And from a cultural-historical perspective they are quite special.
The first site you will reach when driving northwards from the Kuttam Pokuna, is a complex which once served as a women’s order. There are only few ruins of nuns‘ monasteries from the ancient Sinhalese civilization. Lankarama in the south of Anuradhapura’s large Abhayagiri complex could have been another one. The ruins to the north are called Ashokarama. Remarkably, a statue of a seated Buddha is still in situ, a rare sight in Sri Lanka’s ruins. At the entrance of this former image house there is one of the few large Anuradhapura moonstones.
Another hidden temple complex in ruins is the Vijayarama, further northwest. There is not much to see, but it’s alluring because the ancient site is overgrown by the jungle. The small stupa in the centre contained copper plates from the late Anuradhapura period. The inscriptions were Gathas praising the tantric goddess Tara. Tantrism is a form of Buddhism usually not practiced in Sri Lanka.
A quite arcadian site in northern Anuradhapura is a stone bridge, built of blocks up to 3 m in length. Though having the appearance of a megalithic monument, they are from the historical Anuradhapura period. Such stonebridges were safe to be passed by elephants. The stone bridge in Anuradhapura north was one of the largest in Sri Lanka, but only half of the structure has survived.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka