The sacred mountain of mihintale lies just 12 kilometers away from Anuradhapura and is the site where
Buddhism was first introduced to srilanka. Mihintale in the pali language means simply “Mahinda’s peach” denoting the location were Ven.mahinda first met king devanampiya tissa in 247 BCE before converting him and his followers to buddhism.part of a mountain range 300 meters high, it is now a sacred site for pilgrims with many stupa and other places of religious and historical significance.
The kantaka cetiya
Dating to around the 1st century BCE,this small stupa is located a short distance away from the main pilgrimage areas of mihintale.it is decorated with carvings of elephant, geese and dwarfs. Monks lived in the nearby caves around the stupa.
The remains of this dining area for monks is almost 19 meters long, and more than 7 meters wide there was an elaborate drainage system. With large stone rice troughs where monks collected their food before taking their meal else where to eat
The Great Staircase
A long 122 meter staircase with 1840 steps leads to several monasteries and stupas, and even tally to the main terraces at the top of mihintale; the steps are cut from granite, and nearby are the remains of ananciant hospital and medicinal booths meant for monks.
The Ambaththala Stupa
This small stupa is traditionally believed to mark the exact spot of the first meeting between ven.mahinda and king devanampiya tissa .it is also said to enshrine some of ven.mahinda’s ashes. Along its side is a stone with a symbol of the Buddha’s footprint nearby are some cares containing statues representing various scenes of the famous meeting.
The Mahaseya Stupa
Right at the summit of mihintale is a huge bubble staped white stupa built in the first century CE.it is 44 meters high with a diameter of 41 meter’s, and relics of the Buddha are believed to be enshrined within it. Right next to this stupa is a mach smaller one called the mahinda stupa.where some of his remains are enshrined.
The Rock of Invitation
Across from the mahaseya stupa is the “Rock of invitation” on which, according to tradition, ven.mahinda and his companions landed after travelling through the air from India using their psychic powers.
There is a panoramic and breath-taking view of the surrounding area from the top of the rock. It is also known as the “Aradhana gala”.
The Cave Ven.Mahinda
Back on the level ground is a path leading down to the forest along the eastern side of the mountain ven.mahinda resided in one of the caves along this path which has a raised slab representing his folded robe.
The “Black Water Pond”
One of the most beautiful and serene lakes in srilanka is a short distance away from mihintale it is locally called kaludiya pokuna and the lake is named because the water appears to be black when seen from some angles.