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This is a well known pilgrimage where Buddhism was first introduced in Sri Lanka. Since the discovery of ruins in Mihintale in 1934 from a deep jungle, many pilgrims visit this holy place and climb up a mountain peak. There are 1,840 stairs to the top.

In 247 BC, the full moon day in June, the King of Anuradhapura, Devanampiyatissa, came to the Mihintale hill for a deer hunting and was approached by Mahinda Thera, a buddhist monk, the son of the great Indian buddhist Emperor, Ashoka. The incident lead to inaugurate the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Following this incident, about 8,500 people in the King’s vassal and residents, became Buddhists in just seven days and the religions spread all over Sri Lanka. The King sent Mahinda Thera to 68 cave shrines and monasteries to show his appreciations. The name Mihintale was given in honor to Mahinda Thera.

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  • approx. 225km North East of Colombo
  • approx. 17 Km from Anuradhapura
  • From Columbo, approx. 6 hours by car


  • Province
    North Central
  • District

Key Point

  • The oldest Buddhism and holy site in Sri Lanka
To do and see
  • Mihintale Archaeological Museum

    It is a good place to learn about this site and its history before climbing up the hill. You get to learn in detail how and why Buddhism was introduced. There are also exhibitions of remands including china and statue of elephants as well as ancient ruins of hospital.

  • Mihintale

    The sacred place

    Kanthaka Cetiya:
    It is a stupa with 12m high and 130m around built in approximately 60 BC. The dorm was used to be 30 m high in 2000 BC. There are moon stones, ancient carvings, and hard stones. It was discovered in 1930.

    Shinha Pokuna & Naga Pokuna:
    Pokuna means an ancient bath ruin. Shinha pokuna is known as Rampant Lion. The bath was used by monks. Naga Pokuna is known for five heads of carved cobras.

    Monk’s Refectory & The Assembly Hall:
    The ruin of Monk’s cafeteria and meeting place. You get to see big stones where rice and curry was placed.

    Ambasthale Dagoba:
    It’s a big white dagoba where King Devanampiya Tiss and Mahinda met. Beyound this dagoba, it becomes a secret place.

    Maha Seya Dagoba:
    This is the largest dagoba on the top of the hill in Mihintale where Buddha’s hair is worshiped. The view is spectacular from here. The South part of dagoba has Mahinda’s Tomb.

    Entrance fee: Rs.500

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