To Sri Lankan Buddhists, there is no place more significant than this serene mountain peak – for here, is deemed the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. One of the island’s earliest monarchs – King Devanampiyatissa who reigned from 307 BC to 267 BC was on a hunting trip when he encountered Venerable Mahinda Thera, a Buddhist emissary from India. This meeting is one of the most important legends of Sri Lanka’s history and today Mihintale continues to be a holy pilgrimage site. Back then, with royal patronage, it served as a complex sanctuary for a multitude of monks, believers and workers with monastic buildings, monuments and facilities for their day to day lives. The remnants left today, still speak of their past grandeur. Apart from the impressive sight of the outcrop 500 metres tall, there are beautiful Stupas – old and restored, a stone hewed stairway, 68 cave dwellings, refectories, hospitals, resting places, ancient ponds and more: sites of historical, archaeological and aesthetic interest that seem endless. Each, still evoke a sense of reverence upon pilgrims and visitors alike.

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