Table of Contents
Mihintale: Sri Lanka’s Original Buddhist Site
Sri Lanka is a stunning island with a wealth of religious and cultural places because of its historical past, which has made it a popular tourist destination. The most popular among them is Mihintale, which is a popular trekking and cultural destination. Tourists often make a halt in Mihintale on their way to the historic city of Anuradhapura.
Mihinthale is the name of four mountains, the highest of which is approximately 1,000 feet. These are the mountains of Rajagiri Lena, Anaikutti, Ath Vehera, and Mihinthalawa. Aradhana gala (Invitation Rock) and the well-known Mahaseya stupa are located atop the large mountain Mihinthalawa.
Location of Mihintale
Mihintale is located in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, in the north-central region of Sri Lanka, in the Anuradhapura district. The holy, historic city of Anuradhapura is not far away. Additionally, Anuradhapura served as ancient Sri Lanka’s first capital. It therefore functioned as the main hub for Buddhist history, culture, and religion on the island.
The distance between Anuradhapura and Mihintale is more than 10 kilometers. From the Mihintale settlement, it is possible to walk to the Mihintale rock. The rock is positioned about 311 meters (1019 feet) above sea level. Mihintale, a hamlet in the cultural triangle, is extremely significant both historically and religiously.
History of Mihintale: In the third century BC, the area around Mihintale was a deep rainforest home to various wild animals and a hunting ground set aside for the royal family. All of this changed in 250 BC, when Mahinda Maha Thero, the son of Indian Emperor Asoka, first saw King Devanampiyatissa at the Missaka Pauwa. Mahinda Maha Thero asked King Devanampiyatissa the famous questions to find out if he was intelligent enough to understand the teachings of the Buddha.
Considered the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Mihintale was initially home to Mahinda Maha Thero. Later on, it developed into a significant Theravada Buddhist establishment. It was constructed as a large monastery complex with hospitals for sick bhikkhus over millennia by multiple rulers.
As previously indicated, Minhintale, traditionally recognized as the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, is believed to have been the meeting place for the Buddhist monk Mahinda, a descendant of the Indian emperor Ashoka, and King Devanapiyatissa in the third century BC. Since Mahinda gave a lecture to the king and his subjects about the teachings of Lord Buddha on the June full moon (Poson), Sri Lankan Buddhists have observed all Poya (full moon) days as holy days.
Visitors should be advised that the island does not provide alcohol or meat on Poya days. Among the island’s ancient cultural riches are Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, and the Dambulla Cave Temple. Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka through this interaction, and it quickly blended with Sinhalese culture.
What ought to be observed?
The Alms Hall or the Refectory Hall of Dalada Ge Assembly Maha Seya of Mihintale Mihindu Guhawa (Cave), Sela Chaithya (Ambastala Dagoba), Gala Seya Aradhana Maninaga, Mandiraya, Pothgula, Cobra Pond, Eth Vehera, Kantaka, Chethiya Ancient Hospital Complex, etc.
Mihintale, a prominent Buddhist pilgrimage site in Sri Lanka, is home to a number of impressive religious buildings, one of which is a magnificent 40-foot stupa that dates back to the first century BC. After a short and easy 15-20 minute trek, you are free to explore the medieval remains of Mihintale for as long as you desire.
It remains relatively unexplored in comparison to some of the other places in the area. The ideal times to climb are early or late in the day, and it’s a beautiful place to explore at sunset. It is required that you dress respectfully, and there may be occasions when you must remove your shoes.