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Mihintale Forest Monastery

The birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka was Mihintale, a forested hill with scattered granite boulders and caves. In the third century, the Buddhist monk Great Mahinda and his followers arrived in Mihintale from India and proclaimed the Buddha’s message to King Devanampiyatissa. Then Buddhism swiftly became an important component of Sinhalese society, and the region was encircled by a monastery complex, a monks’ hospital, and Stupas. The monks’ first homes were surrounded by 68 caverns.

The grand stairway that leads up to the main terrace has 1840 stone steps.

Kantaka Stupa- one of the island’s earliest sacred structures, was created in the 2nd century BC. The stupa’s well-preserved Vahalkada, a projective front piece, is well-known.

Ambasthala Stupa – Ambastala Dagaba is said to have been erected in the first century BC on the site where the great Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa.

A newly constructed seated Buddha gazes down from a cliff above.

Kaludiya Pokuna- also known as the Black-water Pond, is an artificial pond located in a monastery complex where water is collected from the surroundings during the rainy season. The name Black Water Pond is claimed to be derived from the gloomy color of the water’s reflections of the granite boulders and surrounding trees.

Mihidu Guhawa cave was the dwelling cave of the great Mahinda.

The first hospital at Mihintale was built in the 9th century BC. The identification was based on an inscription written in the 10th century BC found at the site.

Additional information

Nearby Attractions

The most popular nearby attraction

  • Anuradapura Ancient City
  • One of the world’s greatest and oldest civilizations. According to written history, Anuradhapura Ancient City was the island’s first capital for nearly 1500 years, from the 5th to the 10th century BC. Buddhism was introduced to the island at the beginning of the Anuradhapura Ancient City Kingdom. After this most notable event, the king embraced Buddhism and established the order of monks in the country. It has flourished since then, until the kingdom’s fall, with temples, Buddhist monasteries, agricultural reservoirs, hospitals, and magnificently designed gardens.
    Anuradhapura Ancient City is today a live pilgrimage place for Buddhists from all over the globe, as well as a ruined city that may be explored. The Sacred City of Anuradhapura Ancient City was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
    Distance: 15 Km


Accommodation (within 10km)

  • Star Classified hotels- No
  • International Chain Hotels- No
  • Boutique Hotels- No
  • Resorts- No
  • Ayurvedic Hotels- No
  • Inns/Guest Houses- Yes
  • Hostels- Yes
  • Homestays- Yes
  • Eco Hotels- Yes

* You might still find preferred accommodation in nearby cities.


Distance from (estimate)

  • CMB Airport- 190km (travel time: 4hrs 30min)
  • Colombo City- 222km (travel time: 5hrs 15min)
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress- 70km (travel time: 1hrs 30min)
  • Anuradhapura Ancient City- 13km (travel time: 30min)
  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City- 98km (travel time: 2hrs)
  • Kandy City- 134km (travel time: 3hrs 45min)
  • Galle Dutch Fort- 318km (travel time: 6hrs 20min)

* The time and distance are only given to give you an idea. There are stopovers between the two locations. The cities listed above are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.

Best Time


  • February to October

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