Mihintale

Mihintale Sri Lanka

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Ambastalayala, Mihintale is a 1000 feet high mountain located in the Mihintale electorate in the Anuradhapura district.  Located 8 miles east of Anuradhapura on the Puttalam – Trincomalee (A12) road.  Also known as Chethiyagiriya or Sagiri, it is more popularly known as Mihintale.  Arahat Mahinda, who came from India, met King Devanampiyatissa and his entourage on Poson Poya Day and preached Buddhism in Mihintale

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According to the chronicles, in the first month of Jemita, which falls in 247 BC, on the fifteenth day of Poson, Arahant Mahinda, led by Arahant Ittiya, Uttiya, Sambala and Baddasala, ascends to the Massaka Rock from Dambadiva with the pure Dhamma message.The delegation met King Devanampiyatissa, then King of Lakdiva, at Mihintale.  Sri Lankan Buddhists pay homage to the place where this historic meeting took place.

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The delegation led by Arahant Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa and his delegation on the 15th of Poson.  Literary sources on the journey of Mihindu Thera to Ceylon can be gleaned from archeological sources as well.  According to the chronicles, two hundred and thirty six years after the passing of Buddha Pirinivi, the group led by Arahant Mahinda reached Mihintale in Ceylon.

There Mihindu Thero met King Devanam Piyatissa and a conversation ensued between the two in the form of a series of questions and answers.After realizing the wisdom of King Mahinda Thera, the King and his entourage were preached the first Dhamma Sermon, the Chullahattapadopama Sutta, on the top of the Mihintale hill.

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The Arahat Mahinda thero arrived in Mihintale on the eve of Poson and gave a new lease of life to the Sinhalese people.There was a new twist in Sinhala culture.  Every year during the Poson festival, Sinhalese and Buddhists gather to pay homage to Mihintale in remembrance of this great event.In this way Mihintale is a very sacred place for us Sinhala Buddhists.  Therefore,pilgrims to Mihintale during the month of Poson are in the habit of going there.

A large number of steps have been created to climb Mihintale since ancient times.  The construction was started by King Devanampiyatissa and a temple and 68 caves were built for the monks to live in.  Since then several temples have been built in the vicinity of Mihintale and they have the characteristics of that era.  Information about the history of Mihintale can be found in archeological evidences such as inscriptions, pamphlets, inscriptions and drip inscriptions.  An inscription containing information about the arrival of Mahinda Thera has been found. 

This inscription is broken and dilapidated.  According to the text “Mahida Therabhava, Bhadrasala Therabha, Ittaka Therabhava, Pathi Therabhava”, the information about the participants in this missionary movement is given.  The Mahinda Thera arrived in Sri Lanka and proceeded to Mihintale on the 27th to pay his respects.  There were 60 monks in Mihintale and the caves near the Kantaka Chethi were cleared and made their abode as there were no monks living there.  Articles on these caves provide information on the history of Mihintale.

Mihintale occupies a special place in the field of architecture.  The architecture of Mihintale is of great scientific importance.  Among the architectural designs were monasteries, dispensaries, Sannipatha halls, Poya houses, meditation halls, a hospital hall, a sima malaka and a sakmalu.

Maha Seya
The Great Stupa is a large stupa located on the top of the Mihintale hill.  It was made by King Mahadathitha Mahanaga and has a diameter of 136 feet.u

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