Mihintale, famously known as ‘Cradle of Buddhism’, is a mountain peak located close to the religious center of the country, Anuradhapura. It holds great importance for Buddhists, especially for the Sri Lankans as this place marks the origination of Buddhism in the country. Mihintale in Sinhalese means' the plateau of Mihinda'. Mihinda, son of Mauryan King Ashoka, first landed on this site of the Lanka Island, on his father’s orders, to spread the awareness and preaching of Lord Buddha. It was the reign of king Devanampiyatissa in Sri Lanka then, and the story goes that the king was approached by Mihinda when he was hunting on this mountain. The king and Sinhalese people were then converted to Buddhism and thus started the journey of the religion in Sri Lanka, which is today an established Buddhist nation. This famous pilgrimage site becomes jam crowded in the month of June when the festival, ‘Posan Poya', is held to celebrate the advent of Mihinda and Buddhism.
Before one reaches the summit, the Maha Stupa, there are many noteworthy places that are attention grabbers. At the foot of this hill, you will find Vedahala, an ancient type of hospital, which is perhaps the oldest in the world. There is also Kantaka Cetiya of 1st century BC, a circular Stupa, which displays the elegant art of its time. Close to the peak is Ambasthala Dagaba, that enshrines the relic of Mihinda and it is believed as the exact place of the meeting and the sermons were preached here. Walking along this way will lead to the Mihindu Guhawa, where Mihinda resided. Aradhana Gala is the landing place of Mihinda. There are three ponds, one is Kaludiya Pokuna, near which Kalu Buddha Rakkhita Thera preached. Another is Naga Pokuna, which supplied water to the monks of the monastery in the earlier days and the third is lion pond. There are precisely 1840 rock cut steps to reach the Maha Stupa. A guide or a guide book is necessary to discover the roots of various buildings and ruins at this place.
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Historical, Heritage, Trekking
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