The Bodhi tree originates from Bodh Gaya, India and is said to have provided shade for Lord Buddha during meditation to attain Enlightenment. Later on in the 3rd century BC, the southern branch of the tree was brought to Sri Lanka by Sangamitta Theri, daughter of Emperor Asoka. She was also the founder of the practise of Buddhist nuns in Sri Lanka. The branch was planted in Mahamewna Gardens, Anuradapura by King Devanampiyatissa giving the opportunity for all Sri Lankan Buddhists, to pay homage to this sacred natural relic. It was the duty of the kings that followed to take immense care of the Tree and also to develop the surrounding infrastructure for the visitors and religious programs.
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is also the oldest human planted tree in the world with a tracked planting date and a history that goes back to 288 BC.
Buddhists believe that offerings made to the Bodhi can shower blessings upon them and cease the miseries and pain in their lives. Therefore, people from all over the world visit this sacred venue to worship, pray and make contributions and also to spend a peaceful time, practise meditation bonding with nature away from the hassle of the city. It is also a must-visit location and an important stop during the Anuradapura pilgrimage tour.