About 10 kilometers from Anuradhapura, in the Cultural Triangle, it stands 300 meters high and we find the ruins of the monastery.
It is one of the pilgrimage sites of Sri Lankan Buddhists.
The legend says that Mahinda Thero decided to meet King Devanampiyatissa on this mountain and then spread the word of Buddha, thus implanting Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
No matter what your faith is, the beautiful sanctuaries, the Stupa (dagobas), the rocky caves enhanced by the wonderful setting, make Mihintale unforgettable.
Although the modern Mihintale is still mainly a large village, the site is extensive on a scale, enchanting for the environment, spiritually illuminating and immensely culturally significant, it has been deeply loved by Sinhalese Buddhists.
It is divided into various terraces, where we will find the ruins of the hospital, refectory, Stupa and caves.
In evidence, the imposing granite staircase of 1840 steps,
wrapped in wonderful frangipani.
It all started in the fifth decade of the second century BC. when King Asoka held a large council in his capital Pataliputra.
Disputes over the points of Dhamma were resolved, corrupt monks were expelled from the sangha, and the decision was made to send missionary monks to different regions and beyond.
Mahinda, the son of King Asoka, was chosen to direct a mission in the southern regions.
The princely monk and his companions left Pataliputra for Videsha where they stayed for a while, probably in the large monastery of Sanchi.
Legend has it that Mahinda flew from there to Sri Lanka, but an ancient tradition of southern India attributes the introduction of Buddhism to that region in Mahinda,
so it was likely that he had been active there for some time before going to Sri Lanka.
In any case, the mission probably landed in Gokanna (ancient Trincomalee) and eventually stopped on a mountain just outside Anuradhapura.
King Devanampiya Tissa together with some of his courtiers were hunting on the mountain when suddenly they saw the strangers dressed in yellow, surprised by the monks but Mahinda reassured him saying;
‘Oh great King, we are monks, disciples of the King of Truth. We came from India out of compassion for you. “
Having made the King comfortable, Mahinda asked him a series of questions to test his understanding powers.
After passing this test, Mahinda then taught the Dhamma to the King and his entourage.
He invited the monks to come to Anuradhapura the next day, the King returned to the city to prepare for their arrival.
The following day Mahinda preached to the royal family, but ordinary people who obviously had no access to the palace clamored for the new teaching.
Large crowds gathered in the stables of the elephants and Mahinda taught them the Dhamma (the way of working of all things).
Mahintale’s original name was Missaka Pabbata,
so it was called Cetiyagiri (The Mountain of Stupas) and its current name obviously derives from Mahinda.
When Fa Hsien, a Chinese pilgrim, visited Mihintale in the early fifth century AD, he met 2,000 monks who lived on the mountain.
At least a thousand years the Mihintale monasteries were affiliated to the Abhayagiri.
Most of the time one of the monks he met was particularly revered.
A mouse and a snake shared his cave with him but lived in harmony with each other because they were influenced by the great Metta monks.
Mahinda spent the remaining years of his life in Mihintale and died there in 202 and after a great funeral his ashes were kept in stupas across the country,
including one on Mihintale himself.
The King prepared 68 caves on the mountain.
This is confirmed by an inscription on one of the caves near the Kantaka Stupa which states that it was prepared by those who are known to have been one of the King’s brothers.
Sri Lanka is indeed the perfect place for children and for people who like animals and nature.
This country is incredibly green.
It is impossible not to find elephant herds on safari or even on the same road traveling.
It is also very easy to see leopards, macaques and other types of monkeys, giant squirrels, jackals, etc. etc
Furthermore, walking with children and adults through the Peradeniya Botanical Garden is a delight. Along with the giant trees and millions of plants, we will also find monkeys and other animals in this immense place.