Śrī Maha Bodhi
The Sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura

Annual and Daily Rituals

The Maha Sangha headed by the chief priest of the Atamasthana continued to stay in Anuradhapura to look after the Maha Bodhi and to conduct the age old rituals associated with it. It is amazing that inspite of the fact that Anuradhapura was invaded, plundered, destroyed and occupied for a considerable period of time by South Indian invaders no harm was done to the Maha Bodhi while heavy damage was caused to other edifices.

Even today, four annual rituals are performed in honour of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi:

  1. The Aluth Sahal Mangalaya is performed on Duruthu Full Moon Poya day in December or January when the first portion of the new harvest is offered to the Maha Bodhi.
  2. The Nanumura Mangalaya is performed prior to Wesak Full Moon Poya Day in May wherein the Maha Bodhi is decorated with ornaments and milk rice is offered not only to the Maha Bodhi but to the Atamasthana or the eight sacred places.
  3. A deva puja is offered to gods headed by Kalu Devata Bandara, the deity supposed to protect the Śrī Maha Bodhi.
  4. The Karti Mangalaya is performed in July or August during the annual pilgrim season.

Daily Rituals

There are several daily rituals performed at the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi by the special staff designated for the purpose. They start early in the morning with the cleaning of the premises. According to tradition, the official Buddha puja is brought to the accompaniment of drums and offered to the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi. Gilanpasa is offered in the evening. The beating of drums called teva hevisi is done three times a day in the morning, noon and evening.

The Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi is under the care of the Director of the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. The Sri Lanka Army has been entrusted with its security.

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