Mihintale is an archaeological ancient site that consists of a temple, a large stupa and statues. It is situated near Anuradhapura and located in the Cultural Triangle of the North Central Province.
It is generally believed that this was where Buddhism started in Sri Lanka and one of the 16 places that Lord Buddha visited. It is regarded as a sacred place to visit in Sri Lanka and a pilgrimage site that offers many wonderful statues and other religious artefacts to see.
Due to the advancement of Buddhism in Mihintale, it grew into a veritable town with monks and religious folk, this lead to the development of the town and based on tenth century inscriptions found at the site would intimate the first hospital built in Sri Lank by King Sena the 2nd (853-887 AC). Additional Archaeological finds have produced earthenware from that period.
Mihintale has a substantial amount of stairs cut into rock and some carved into granite, there are some 1800 steps, it’s wide steps are a unique feature to Mihintale. You will note a Refectory that serviced a large number of monks with inscriptions that mention the amount of cooks and service providers. Its main shrine is at about the same elevation of the refectory. Interesting to note that King Mahinda (956-972AD) has inscribed a formidable inscription on a polished granite slab of rock that depicts detailed information of the Monastery.
The Kantaka Chethiya is a stupa that was supposedly built by King Lankatissa (119-109BC), this is based on the knowledge that this King built the stone mantel for this Stupa. The present Stupa that was renovated circa 1930 stands about 40 feet high (about 12 meter) and its diameter is about 400mtr (129Mtr). On the four sides of the mantle are found the Vahalkada (front pieces) that abuts the stupa, these are ornamented with creepy sculptors and reflects some of Sri Lanka History.
When reaching the top of the Rock the views of paddy fields, lakes and distant vistas are spectacular.