Grand Stairway at Mihintale
Photo and Text by Siri
About 7 miles (11 km) east of Anuradhapura, the rocky hill of Mihintale is the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. For, in the year 247 B.C. it was here that King Devanampiyatissa had his encounter with Mahinda, the first Buddhist missionary, and was converted to the new religion. Mihintale, the Hill of Mahinda, soon became a center of Buddhist learning. To get to the summit of this, slightly over 1000 foot hill, pilgrim and visitor must climb over 1800 shallow steps. The staircase, now flanked by flowering frangipani trees, dates back to the reign of King Bhathika Abhaya (22 B.C. to 7 A.D.). During the Poson, full moon in May / June the hill and the stairway gets transformed into a mass of white, as the Buddhists from all over the country make a pilgrimage to Mihintale.

||- Next -||- Previous -||- Page One -||