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Monday, October 03, 2016

Mihintale: Anuradhapura’s Sunset Point and the Cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka

The North Central corridor of Sri Lanka is full of cultural riches. From Kandy to Dambulla and from Anuradhapura to Sigriya, this region of Sri Lanka is full of ancient civilizations, temples, ruins and so much more. One such important place in this culturally rich part of the country that you should visit is Mihintale.

Even the lady monk can't resist to capture the gorgeous Mihinthale sunset shot

There are 2 things that make Mihinthale a special attraction. First, it is believed to be one of the earliest sites of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Second, the Maha Stupa here is possibly the best place in the Anuradhapura region to catch a vibrant sunset.

Mihinthale - a famous sunset location near Anuradhapura, Srilanka

I visited this place on my recent exploration of the Sri Lankan North-Central cultural trail. The plan was to catch sunset here, but as I had a bit of time on my hand, I got to explore nearly all of Mihintale’s highlights that include Maha Stupa, Ambasthala Dagaba and Aradhana Gala. All these places require a bit of climbing, so it is best to go prepared.

The steps that lead to Mihinthale, one of Anuradhapura's highlights

Right from the moment I climbed the staircase lined with gorgeous flowering trees to the fun experience of climbing the rocky outcrop of Aradhana Gala with hundreds of kids, I absolutely enjoyed my Mihinthale experience. Watching the sunset from the Great Stupa while listening to the chants of many Buddhist monks was like the icing on the cake.

Buddhist monks offering a prayer next to the stupa at Mihinthale, Srilanka

One of the most revered Buddhist places in Sri Lanka, one can see a lot of monks, religious fervor and spirituality here. Nature here is also dense and one can see it in its full splendor from the top. For those interested in a bit of history, this was the place where Mahinda, the son of Emperor Asoka from India preached the doctrine of Buddhism to King Devanampiyatissa, the then king of Sri Lanka. Thus began the era of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and hence the name of this place ‘Mihintale’, which in Sinhala means ‘plateau of Mihindu (Mahinda)’.

The famous hill of Mahinda - Mihinthale near Anuradhapura, Srilanka

Go here for an interesting mix of culture, pristine nature and calm! I feel it is definitely one of the top highlights of a Anuradhapura cultural trail tour.

Tips: It is easy to explore Mihinthale in a couple of hours, but it is best to keep half a day to feel the sense of peace and to admire the sunset view from here. A half day trip also helps appreciate the historical connection amidst all these ruins. Carry some water, snacks and sun protection. A tripod will come in handy if you are a photographer. It is quite windy on the top and drones will be a bad idea.



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