Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya

Widely regarded as the oldest living tree in the world planted by humans, the 2200 year old tree is a significant relic associated with the Buddhist world as it is believed to be a sapling of the sacred bo tree in which Lord Buddha sat under during his time of enlightenment at Buddha Gaya in India. Due to its strong association with the main religion of Buddhism, the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhiya has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site signifying its status as one of the major sacred sites in not only the country, but the entire world.

Best Known For

Culture and Heritage:

  • Considered to be one of the few relics that symbolizes the living Buddha, the sacred bo tree is best known for it to be a place for offerings and pilgrimages, especially during full moon days (poya days).
  • The area in which the sacred bo tree is planted is known as the Maha Magha Vana Royal Park of Anuradhpura and considered to be one of the oldest parks in the world where a great variety of plant species thrive, making it a nature lover’s paradise too.

Interesting Facts

  • The sacred tree is believed to be the sapling of the bo tree in which Prince Siddarta or ‘Lord Buddha’ sat under and attained enlightenment in Buddha Gaya in India.
  • The sapling was ceremoniously brought from India by Emperor Asoka’s daughter and planted in 288 BC by King Devanampiya Tissa at the Maha Magha Vana Royal Park, also marking the time when Buddhism was first introduced to Sri Lanka.
  • Within a short period of bringing the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi sapling to Sri Lanka, the original Bodhi tree of India was destroyed by Queen Thishyarakkha, a queen of Emperor Dharmashoka observing a different faith.
  • This makes the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhiya of Anuradhapura the only remnant of the original tree in which the Buddha meditated making it a one of a kind artifact.
  • Many devotees claim that the sacred tree has improved their lives as a result of their offerings and rituals too.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya is opened all throughout the year not really having a season, however, the best experience can be obtained during the poya days of the months between April and December as pilgrims converge on the site for gnana puja (offerings or prayers).
  • The Sri Maha Bodhiya is opened from 6.00am to 12.00pm and then again from 2.00pm to 9.00pm as it is the auspicious times for offerings and rituals to be performed and will require you to donate LKR 200 for the preservation of the tree.
  • It is a religious place of worship after all, hence making it imperative to wear clothing that also covers your shoulders and legs in order to gain admittance.

In conclusion, the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya is, arguably, epitome of the Buddhist world due to its direct connection to Lord Buddha himself, making it the ideal place to understand the religion as well as the history of the country.

Title image by: Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau





Entrance Fee
LKR 200

Tickets At


Culture and Heritage

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