Abayagiri Monastery – The Main Refectory (අභයගිරි ප්‍රධාන දාන ශාලාව)

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Located close to the Uttara Mula this is considered the main refectory of the Abayagiri  Monastery. This is a square building with 42.7m on one side. Four stages of construction from early as the 1st century BC have been found during the excavation of the site.

The famous Chinese traveler monk Fa-Hien who visited the monastery in the 5th century stated that the monastery housed up to 5,000 monks at that time. All the meals of these monks would have been prepared and served at this location.

The ‘Bath Oruwa’ or the Rice Canoe carved out of stone which served the rice to the monks is 19 meters long. It is estimated that this canoe would hold over 5,000 rice plates. Another smaller stone canoe beside this would have probably been used to serve the curries.

On the courtyard between the Rice Canoe and a centre dining area, a sun-dial has been discovered. This has been removed and is now on display in the Abhayagiri Monastery. A replica made out of cement has been kept in place. The original has been preserved at the Abayagiri Museum.

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Map of Main Refectory of Abayagiri Monastery

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Traveling Directions to Main Refectory of Abayagiri Monastery (Anuradhapura)

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Bus

Anuradhapura is easily reached by bus, train or private transport. Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses start at the Colombo Fort Main Bus Station. There are luxury busses which start from various places in Colomb travelling past Anuradhapura, to Vavuniya and Jaffna. However, you need to search the web and book a seat. These luxury buses mostly travel at night reaching their final destination early in the morning.

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Train

5 daily trains are starting from Fort Railway Station to Anuradhapura. Generally, the first train leaves at 9.40 am and the last train at 8.30 pm. Travel time is 4-5 hours depending on the number of stops of the particular train.

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Car or Van

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and through Kurunegala. Travelling from Puttalam, you will pass the scenic Wilpattu area. There are two main routes to Anuradhapura from Kurunegala. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is through Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the most commonly used is the Kurunegala-Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo : 210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 223 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Narammala – Wariyapola – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :203 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel Time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map

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