Being the cradle of Buddhism, Mihintale has been cited a key pilgrimage site for Buddhists in Sri Lanka and the world. Aside from pilgrims, tourists visit this site and climb its hill to witness the several monastic religious shrines including a grandiose 40 feet stupa which was built in the 1st century BC, paying homage to its significance. It is recommended to climb early in the morning to avoid the hot sun or if you’d like to see the beautiful sunset, it’s best to climb late afternoon. Dress code should be modest ensuring that your elbows and knees are covered and at certain points, you will have to remove your footwear, therefore, carrying socks would be handy and practical since walking barefoot on the hot sandy surfaces could be difficult.
At the base of the steps, there are ancient ruins on the roadway which are a ruined hospital and the remains of a complex of buildings. After a short flight of steps at the first landing, there is a partly ruined dagoba called Kantaka Chetiya that was built in 60 BC. This dagoba is revered for the altar piece panels with brilliant scriptures of dwarfs, geese and other figures. The Monks’ Refectory and two 10th century AD stone slabs which have the inscriptions of the rules and regulations of the monastery that is located on the second landing. Just below the refectory, a small pool crowned by a raging lion called Sinha Pokuna was revered to be one of the best pieces of carving in the country.
The final precipitous stairway leads to the Ambasthale dagoba. This dagoba was built over the spot where Mahinda met the king. There is a path from this spot leading to a higher dagoba, the Mahaseya dagoba that was believed to contain relics of Mahinda. Facing the Mahaseya on the summit of the hill is the rock called Aradhana Gala, the location of first sermon in the island by Mahinda. .At the foot of the hill topped by the Mahaseya dagoba is the Naga Pokuna or ‘snake pool’, so named because of the five-headed cobra carved on the rock face of the pool.
Surrounding the site are other ruins of a monastery, Rajagiri caves and Kaludiya Pokuna, black water pond, a complex located in the western slope of Mihintale is a fine testimony to the advanced hydraulic civilisation of ancient Sri Lanka. This complex was built by King Kassapa IV and consists of a stupa; uposathaghara or Poya Ge, where the Buddhist monks met at regular intervals to carry out rituals.
No matter what faith is, the stunning stupas, shrines and rock caves set in enchanting landscapes make Mihintale unforgettable.
Mihintale is approximately 25 minutes away from Anuradhapura in which there are several options of travel. There are express trains twice daily from Anuradhapura town to Mihintale junction. You could also hire a taxi or rent a car in which our tour consultants at Epic Sri Lanka Holidays could provide arrangements for you.
The entrance ticket to Mihintale site for Foreign Nationals is LKR 500/-.
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