Mihintale, a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, holds profound significance in the country’s Buddhist heritage. According to local belief, it marks the sacred site where the Buddhist monk Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa, heralding the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Today, Mihintale stands as a revered pilgrimage destination, adorned with religious monuments and vestiges of ancient structures.

Situated approximately eight miles east of Anuradhapura along the Anuradhapura-Trincomalee Road, Mihintale encompasses the “Missaka Pabbata,” a mountainous range featuring the Ambastala Plateau of the Mango and Rajagiri, the Mountain of the King. According to ancient chronicles, Thera Mahinda arrived in Sri Lanka from India on the full moon day of Poson (June) and imparted the Buddhist doctrine to King Devanampiyatissa and his people at this sacred location, which has since been revered by Sri Lankan Buddhists.

Throughout history, Mihintale has been adorned with numerous Buddhist viharas and dependent buildings, reflecting the flourishing monastic culture of the period. Among these structures are the ruins of a hospital, a medical bath, and a large monastery, bearing witness to the site’s historical importance.

Ascending Mihintale involves navigating a grand staircase consisting of 1840 granite steps leading to the summit. Along the way, visitors encounter notable landmarks such as the Kantaka Cetiya, a circular stupa adorned with intricately carved sculptures depicting various deities and motifs.

At the summit lies the Maha Saya, a large stupa constructed by King Mahadathika Mahanaga, which stands as a testament to the enduring spiritual legacy of Mihintale. Nearby, Naga Pokuna, a pond adorned with figures of snakes, and Kaludiya Pokuna, known for its dark-colored water, add to the site’s mystical ambiance.

Mihintale’s rich history, breathtaking scenery, and spiritual ambiance make it a cherished destination for pilgrims and tourists alike, offering a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s ancient Buddhist heritage.