Buddhist temple complex of Mihintale is situated on the plateau of the Missaka Mountain. The history of Mihintale and the Missaka mountains goes back to the reign of King Devanampiyatissa, 3rd Century BC. The most important incident that made Mihintale so important was the introduction of Buddhism. Mihintale is considered to be the cradle of Buddhism and it is visited by thousands of Buddhist every day. Tens of thousands of Buddhist in the island gather to Mihintale on the Full moon day of June in order to commemorate incident that led the introduction of Buddhism.
The monastery complex of Mihintale was initiated by Monk Mahinda, who was sent to Sri Lanka on a Buddhist mission by King Ashoka from India. King Devanampiyatissa met monk Mahinda and his companion who on the plateau, after a lengthy discussion between monk Mahinda and the King, the King was converted to Buddhism. Same time Buddhism became the national religion of the island. After the introduction of Buddhism monk, Mahinda lived for many years in the island, while helping the King to establish the religion firmly on his soil. On the other hand, King Devanampiyatissa had facilitated all physical requirements to spread the religion and the large monastery complex for the monks in Mihintale.
Some of the Attractions
Diva Guhawa (Cave of Mahinda) there are more than 60 granite caves within the borders of the monastery complex, they had been used by the Buddhist monks. There is some writing in some of the caves done in early days with Brahmi-letters.
Pokuna (bathing place)
After the Ambasthala Dagoba towards the western direction of it is the flight of steps which leads to the pond. It was used by the monks who were in the monastery in early days. The pool was cut into a solid rock and it is guarded by mythical five hooded cobra.
Large spacious hall intended to be used for dining and could accommodate a large number of monks. There are gruel boat and rice boat still in the spacious room that was used in early days.
Next to the dining hall is the assembly hall of the monastery complex. The building was in square shape and built using stone pillar. There are four entrances to the building North, East, West and South. The seat in the middle of the building located above the rest of the seats and intended to be used by senior monks.
This place is identified as the place, where the first sermon took place on the island in 3rd century BC. On top of the mountain is the Ardhana gala (invitation stone). Mountain which holds the Aradhanagala is located on the other side of the Dagoba. Mahasayais one of the main religious monuments of the Monastery that is built in the water bubble shape.