Points of Interest - Anuradhapura


13 km from Anuradhapura , Mihintale is believed to be the place where in the year 247 BC the sinhalese King Devanampiyatissa was converted to Buddhism by Arahat Mahinda; the son of Ashoka, the last Mauryan Buddhist emperor of India. This event took place on the full moon day in the month of June. Known as the cradle of Buddhism, it is revered site Buddhist pilgrims from around the world.

The area of Mihintale surrounds with a jungle and there are rock boulders scattered around the mountainous area. There are many caves which were earlier used by monks for meditation in a quite surrounding away from the main city of Anuradhapura. There is abundance of ancient stone architecture surrounding the many Stupas, monastic complexes and other sacred places.

Asoka , the Emperor of India who became victorious after fighting a long war was disillusioned and sought Buddha's refuge to heal up his inner self. Becoming an ardent Buddhist, he let his son and the daughter be ordained as a Bhikku and a Bhikkuni (Buddhist priest and a nun named Mahinda and Sangamitta) whom later became Arhats. Arhath Mahinda and his companions came to Sri Lanka as a delegation sent by Arahath Moggali Putta Tissa with the patronage of Emperor Asoka on the 236th year of the Buddha parinirvana.

The Sinhalese architecture, paintings and sculpture were a result of the Buddhism which nourished these throughout the centuries that followed. Mihintale architectural feats are mainly visible in Kanthaka chetiya Vahalkada, Alms Hall, Ancient Stairway, Kalu Diya pokuna and at ancient Hospital. The way to Mihintale rock is through a wide stone steps here.

There are 1840 Stone steps to the middle terrace area and the second row of steps starts from there to the Ambastala Stupa at the upper terrace.

Kantaka Chetiya is one of the earliest Dagebas built in Sri Lanka and dates back to 2nd Century BC. Though the upper portion of the Dageba is now not there, it still has a height of 40 feet. It has a circumference of 425 feet and has four Vahalkadas. These Vahalkada designs are recognized as of earliest Sinhala sculpture techniques.

Kaludiya Pokuna is a monastic complex surrounding a water pond of 200 feet in length and 70 feet in width. It is situated away from the main complex along the main road proceeding about 500 mts.This is an artificial pond where the water is collected from the surroundings during the rainy season. The name Kalu Diya Pokuna or the Black Water Pond is said to be derived from the fact that the darkish colour of the reflections of the rock boulders and the surrounding trees appearing in the water.It is thought that the monks had mainly used this complex for meditation purposes. There is an inscription engraved which has Brahmi scripts belonging to B.C era.