Naga Pokuna of Mihintale(නාග පොකුණ)

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– Naga pokuna, Sinha Pokuna and Kaludiya Pokuna : Ponds of Ethereal Beauty –
Naga Pokuna of  Mihintale - නාග පොකුණ
Naga Pokuna of Mihintale – නාග පොකුණ

Amongst its serene, tranquil beautiful forest and boulder-clad environs, we find some of the earliest examples of Sinhalese hydraulic civilization in Mihintale. The monastic establishment in fact brought about an ideal motive for the development of an impressive network of irrigation channels with the use of both natural and artificial ponds and waterways.

Out of the many ponds and waterways that have graced this area three ponds and bathing places can be identified even today;

  1. Naga Pokuna
  2. Sinha Pokuna and
  3. Kaludiya Pokuna

They are no longer the lifeline of the community of monks who may have depended on them for their daily chores. Yet today they have more of a historic value. It stands witness to our forefathers’ skills in hydraulic engineering blended with landscaping and the fine art of sculpture.

Naga Pokuna

Naga Pokuna boasts of one of the main sources of natural water at Mihintale. It is situated on an elevated plateau on the side of a hill just below the Mahathupa and Mihindusaya.

Naga Pokuna literally translated as Cobra pond takes its name from the five hooded cobra cut in low relief on the rock surface above the pond. The tail of this cobra sculpture is said to reach the bottom of the pond.

It was connected in one hand with the Sinha Pokuna or the Pond of the lion and on the other with the Bat-ge or Refectory by means of channels and spouts made of stone. The spouts on pillars at the Bat-ge site can still be seen. As such the water required for bathing at the Sinha Pokuna and the water required for the alms hall was supplied by the Naga Pokuna.

The Naga Pokuna has been identified by scholars as the Nagasondi of the ancient inscriptions. The great chronicle Mahawamsa referring to this pond says that Elder Mahinda when he re-visited the Cetiyapabbata mountain to spend the retreat first entered the place after having a bath at this pond.

by Kishanie S. Fernando
Daily Mirror

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Driving Directions to Mihintale

Mihintale can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and through Kurunegala. Traveling from Puttalam you will pass the scenic Wilpattu area. From Kurunegala, there are two main routes to Mihintale. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is through Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the most commonly used is the Kurunegala – Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to Mihintale (A3)Route 02 from Colombo to Mihintale
Through : Central Expressway – Badagamuwa – Dambulla
Distance: 223 km
Travel Time: 4.45 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google maps
Distance:15 km
Travel Time: 30 minutes
Driving Directions: see on Google map
Route 03 from Colombo to Mihintale Route from Anuradhapura to Mihintale
Through: Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance: 231 km
Travel Time: 5.15 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map
Through: Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance: 231 km
Travel Time: 5.15 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map

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