Believed to be one of the most sacred places on the island, Mihintale is a mountain peak in the Anuradhapura area that is said to have been the meeting point where Buddhism was inaugurated back in the day.
History and significance
Located approximately 12.5 km east of Anuradhapura, the Mihintale rock (also known as MissakaPabbata back in the day) was believed to be the place where Thera Mahinda flew down to from India to preach the doctrine of Buddhism to King Devanampiyatissa This was said to have taken place on the month of Poson in June, and even to this day, Poson is considered sacrad and many Buddhist monks make a pilgrimage to Mihintale on this day.
The climb is not too strenuous and may take around 15 – 20 mins to reach the top. However, the best time recommended starting the climb would be early morning or late afternoon so that you can catch a glimpse of one of the most fabulous sunsets. If you are holidaying on this part of the island and staying at one of the many luxury villas in Sri Lanka, such as the Ulagalla by Uga– make sure you allocate some time to check out this holy spot.
At the foot of the Mihintale rock, you will find the ruins of a hospital, medical bath – which was a stone canoe that patients immersed themselves in medical oils back then. You will also come across a large monastery between the hospital and the steps that lead to the top. This hospital is believed to be one of the oldest in the world.
Inside the monastery, you will come across the ancient stupa known as the KantakaCetiya that is famous for its ornamental frontispieces that are said to be the most ancient in the country. Here you will find ancient scriptures written in old Sinhalese (also known as Brahmi).