The first kingdom of ancient Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura is home to the most sacred city that unrolls the glory of ancient Sri Lanka with its range of historical sites. Anuradhapura is also the cradle of Sinhala medicine. As the history of Sri Lanka unfolds, the uniqueness of the medical treatments in the era during a period with least technological devices.
Contribution of ancient kings
The monarchy of the Anuradhapura era played a major role in health and in providing medicinal services to the community. King Buddadhasa who himself was a reputed physician, surgeon and veterinary specialist. The Sri Lankan chronicles even speaks of him curing a large snake from acute pain and suffering to which in return, the snake offered him an invaluable gem in gratitude that the king presented to the Abhayagiri Viharaya and to be fixed as an ornament in the eye of Buddha.
King Kassapa V and King Pandukabhaya also contributed by building hospitals and Ranmasu Uyana too was maintained by Anuradhapura Kings that consisted of unique medicinal herbs.
Ruins of medical equipment
The archaeological evidence proves that there were four types of hospitals during Anuradhapura era including hospitals for monks, laymen, maternity homes and hospitals for outdoor treatments. The ruins of one such hospital still remains at the foot of the Mihinthale Rock. You would be able to see a stone canoe, in which patients were immersed in medicinal oil. The hospital itself is a large complex with waiting areas, patient examining rooms and in-house treatment rooms. The archaeological evidence proves of hospitals in the vicinity of Thuparama Stupa and Ruwanweli stupa,
The archaeologists declare the architecture of the hospitals in the era were designed taking into consideration many aspects. Some of which included providing ventilation and free circulation of air. Toilets and baths were also attached to the living quarters.
Excavations of the ruins of ancient hospitals have uncovered several surgical instruments like forceps, scalpels and scissors as well as spoons that are believed to be used to mix or administer medicine. Further medicinal troughs were found at hospital premises near Thuparama and Ruwanweli Maha Saaya.
If you are planning to stay overnight in Anuradhapura after sightseeing and museum-hopping (there are many!) there is plenty of comfortable accommodation at reasonable costs that provide ease of access to the Sacred City.