Archaeological Museum, Anuradhapura

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Timings : 8:30 am to 4:30 pm except for Sunday

Entry Fee : Entry tickets to all the sites for 3600 LKR per person and another 3000 LKR for a private guide

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Archaeological Museum, Anuradhapura Overview

Established in the year 1947 by the efforts of Dr Senarath Paranavithana, the archaeological museum or Puravidu Bhavana of Anuradhapura holds some exciting artefacts, carvings and ancient everyday items found after excavations in Anuradhapura and other historical sites around Sri Lanka. It is a rich source of information on the heritage and culture of the place. The museum displays artefacts connected with ancient capital located at Polonnaruwa which are worth watching, especially the miniature models of buildings, which are currently in ruins at Polonnaruwa. Many objects kept in the Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum date back to the pre-Christian period and reflect the grandeur of a bygone era when Sinhalese civilization was at its peak. Apart from that, the museum has some precious Buddha statues, inscriptions, coins, drawings and antiques. Both the interior and exterior parts of the museum display historical items.

Not only does the museum have some valuable artefacts, but it also gives you knowledge about the rural lifestyle and how their habitats were changed from time to time. There is a restored relic chamber and a large-scale model of Thuparama Dagoba's vatadage (circular relic house). Many of the exhibits depict Buddhist themes such as the vast limestone Buddha images from Maradankadawala dating back to the 6th century A.D, a standing Buddha image made of granite from Mannar dated to the 8th century A.D and a coral Buddha statue.

The museum also has many bronze statues of Hindu gods like Ganesha, Parvathi and Shiva along with miniature figures made of ivory. Apart from that, you will find jewellery and medieval coins belonging to the reigns of Parakrama-Bahu, Nissanka-Malla and Lilavati. The museum, in short, gives you an overview, knowledge and experience which will make your visit to the archaeological sites more enjoyable as you will then be able to connect with the past when you see the ruins and other sites on your own.

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History of Archaeological Museum

Anuradhapura served as the capital of the Sinhalese kingdom in the days of King Pandukabhaya and served as the seat of Sinhalese royalty for over a thousand years from about the fifth century B.C. to the tenth century A.D.
Due to the excavation of this site in the modern time, a lot of ancient artefacts belonging to the Singhalese kingdom were found. In 1932 all the exhibits were arranged in one hall, and the archaeology department felt the need of establishing a museum in Anuradhapura. Until then, the most valuable artefacts were kept in National museum while others were under the archaeology laboratory. In 1947, under the pioneered efforts of Dr Senarath Paranavithana, Archeological Museum of Anuradhapura was established.

Tips while Visiting Archaeological Museum

  • Photography is not allowed in the museum.
  • The museum is located near Heritage Site Entry Ticket counter and can be visited before visiting the archaeological sites in Sri Lanka. The information that you accumulate in the museum can act as a guide for one's future travels.

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