Two Million Expected In Anuradhapura For Poson

The Sunday Leader, June 24, 2010

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka -- The historical town of Anuradhapura and the nearby mountain peak Mihintale,  is set to receive some two million devotees tomorrow (25th) , in a peaceful commemoration of the day Arahat Mahinda brought the simple philosophy of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

It was on the Poson Poya Day, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa  in BC 247-207, that Arahat Mahinda Thera – son of the great Mayuran  Emperor King Asoka – brought from India to Sri Lanka the Dhamma, making the city of Anuradhapura the focus of Buddhist celebrations.

Government sources have said that they are ready to entertain the two million expected devotees to the area, with the Anuradhapura District Secretary and Municipal Council, as well as the North Central Provincial Council having made arrangements – together with the help of the Police and Armed Forces – to make all facilities available to the devotees.

The Poson Committee in Anuradhapura meanwhile has issued warnings that prohibit public bathing in either the Nuwara Weva or theTissa Weva areas. They have however , as a precautionary measure employed the 24 hour services of a team of lifeguards , in the case of a accidental drowning.

Minister for Water Supply and Drainage Dinesh Gunawardene too, has directed the National Water Supply and Drainage Board to be prepared to supply an uninterrupted flow of water to the area. Water bowsers will also be on standby at various places and alms halls.

With stable and peaceful conditions prevalent in the country, following the end of the war against the LTTE, devotees and other visitors have been encouraged to visit and pay homage to the sites and structures of veneration in Anuradhapura.

Among them are the Sri Maha Bodhiya – under which Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment, the Ruwanweliseya – a stupa built by King Dutugemunu, the Thuparamaya – which is considered the first dagaba built in Sri Lanka, the Lovampaya – also known as the Brazen Palace, the Abhayagiri Dagaba – considered one of the most extensive ruins in the world, the Lankaramaya – built by King Valagamba, the Jetavanaramaya and the Mirisaveti Stupaya.

Other places to visit in the area include the Isurumuniya, the Kiribath Vehera, the Dakhina Stupa, the Cela Setiya, the Naka Vihara, the Samadhi statue, the Toluwila statute, the Magul Uyana and the Kuttam Pokuna.

Alternate Routes

The Kurunegala OIC has urged pilgrims making the trip from areas in Colombo to Anuradhapura, to avoid travelling through Wariyapola and Paadeniya and instead travel through Dambulla and Kekirava because of extensive road repairs currently underway on the stretch between Padeniya and Mahava, leading to a heavy buildup of traffic.