10 Amazing Places To Visit When You're In Anuradhapura Mihintale.

Mihintale 

The sacred mountain of Mihintale lies just 12 Kilometers away from Anuradhapura town. It is the site where Mahinda Thero first put his foot to preach the word of Buddha.
Ven. Mahinda Thero who is the son of emperor Asoka the ruler of India, converted king Devanampiyathissa to Buddhism.  Ven. Mahinda first met king  Devanampiyathissa in 247 BCE in Mihintale. Part of the mountain range 300 meters high, it is now a sacred site for pilgrims. From the ancient time at Mihintale there gradually grew a number of monasteries or vihara for bhikkus.

The great staircase

There are 1840 steps to the top of Mihintale monasteries and Sthupas. It is 122 meters long staircase. The steps are cut from granite. It is started king Devanampiyathissa constructed a vihara and 68 caves for the Bhikku to reside in. 

Aradanagala(the rock of invitation)

The rock of invitation is locally called Aradanagala. According to ancient books such as Mahawamsa  Ven. Mahinda and his companions landed on the rock after travelling through the area from India using physical power. People like climb the very top of the rock, because it gives a good view of the surrounding area. But during very windy weather pilgrims do not fail to visit this rock, It has an iron railing to help them to climb.

The Kantaka chethiya

The Kantaka chethiya is a small sthupa It is said that king soorathissa build this sthupa and it was renovated by king lajjithissa. Kantaka chethiya has four frontispieces in the four cardinal decorations. The frontispiece is called vahalkadha.it is decorated with carvings of elephant geese and dwarf .

 Kantaka chethiya is famous because of this vahalkadha decoration. There are different animals on the top of the square pillars of vahalkadha. The elephant on the east, the lion on the north, the horse on the west and the bull on the south. The ancient time Monk has lived in the nearby caves around the stupa. This small stupa is located a short distance away from the main pilgrimage area of Mihintale.


The Ambastala stupa 

 Ambastala is a stupa surrounded with stone pillars. It is on the plain close to the peak of the mountain. This stupa has been build by king Makalanthissa. According to tradition, this is the place of the first meeting between ven. Mahinda and king dewanampiyathissa. It is also said to enshrine some of Ven. Mahinda’s ashes in this Ambastala stupa.

The cave of Ven. Mahindha 

The cave of Ven. Mahindha  is called Mihindu Guhawa The eastern side of the mountain there is a path leading down to the forest. Ven. Mahindha resided in one of the cave along this path, which has the raised slab representing his foaled  robe. 

The maha seya stupa 

The maha seya stupa is built in 1 st century CE. It is huge bubble-shaped white stupa. It is 44 meters high. Right next to this stupa is a much smaller one called the mihidu stupa, where come of his remains are enshrined. 

The pond of Mihinthale 

There are three main ponds in Mihintale. The black water ponds, Naga pokuna pond and Sinha pokuna pond are very attractional ponds in Mihintale This pond is situated a short distance away from Mihintale.

The black Water pond

The black Water pond is locally called Kaludiyapokuna. It takes its name because the water appears to be black when seen by some angel.

The Naga pond 

The Naga pond is one of the most famous ponds in Mihintale. passing Ambastalaya on the western side is a flight of steps. When descending the steps the Naga pokuna is visible.  

The lion pond

The lion pond is called singha pokuna. The water was collected to this pond for the use of Bhikkus. (monk). The water is supplied from naga Pokuna

Mihintale map


Vesak Festival in sri Lanka

There are several religious festivals in Sri Lanka. Vesak festival is held in the month of May every year. It is celebrated three important events in the life of the Lord Buddha. They are the birth, the enlightenment and the passing away of the Lord Buddha. All Buddhist families go to the village temple and offer flowers and worship buddha on Vesak day.

Many religious activities are organized during the Vesak period such as Sil campaigns, Bodhi Pujas, Dansela (free given foods for people), Vesak songs, Vesak pandals (thoran), and Lanterns. Vesak is a busy day for the children. They make various shape of Vesak lanterns. Houses and roads are decorated with Vesak lanterns and flags. Vesak lanterns are illuminated with coloured bulbs. There are some competitions on this day by the society of Sri Lanka.

Sil Campaign

In Vesak day temples are filled with Atasil Devotees and pilgrims all over Sri Lanka to mark this great event. People observe Sil in this day. They wear white clothes to go to the temple. On this day people listen to sermons and other religious activities.

Vesak Pandals

 The Vesak pandals are erected at public places such as town and temple. It takes near two months to build. It used bamboo tree, colourful bulbs and coloured papers. These pandals depict illustration from the ‘Birt stories’ of Lord Buddha. The pandals are illuminated with a thousand coloured bulbs. We can listen to the Jathaka stories or Buddhist song near this pandal area.

Vesak Festival in sri Lanka 

Dansela

Dansela means free given foods. In Sri, Lanka Daniela is organized by youth. They serve food or drinks to the tired devotees with refreshment. Thousands of devotees go on pilgrimages to important religious places. Then dansela is very useful to them.    

Media on Vesak period

The sermons and other religious talks are telecast through all the channels of the T, V, and Radio in Sri Lanka. People rely on the value of leading a religious life on this day. So they read newspaper articles about Vesak. Some newspaper carries special supplements including articles of the Lord Buddha.  Liquor shops are closed on Vesak week and media help to do it correctly. The Sri Lankan government gives two public holidays for Vesak.                


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