The ruins of the so-called Western Monasteries of Anuradhapura are worth a visit, although they are not large monuments. Due to the large amount of famous destinations in Anuradhapura, only few travellers find their way to the smaller archaeological sites situated just west of the ancient tanks. The area, which is sometimes called Thapovana, was once a crematorial place. One reform movement within the Buddhist Sangha lived a more austere live than the majority of Buddhist monks. One of their additional rules, which are otherwise not mandatory in the Buddhist order, was to accept no robes as gifts but to collect the wrecked clothes of the deceased left behind before the cremations took place. The reform monks are named after this practice, Pansukulikas. They remained attached to the large monasteries in the core of Anuradhapura but settled down outside the busy town centre. There monastic buildings were without built of large and precisely hewn blocks of stone, but remained without ornamental works of art, with one odd exception: the toilets of Anuradhapura's Western Monasteries were richly decorated with carvings, as another symbol of contempt for art.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka