Ruins of the Ancient Hospital Complex of Mihintale – මිහින්තලා ආරාමයේ පැරණි වෙදහල නටබුන්

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Hospital Complex of Mihintale - වෙද සල
Hospital Complex of Mihintale – වෙද සල

It was reported by Chinese Mahayana Buddhist priest “Fa- Hsien” who visited the cave in the 5th century that Mihintale was home to over 2000 Buddhist monks at that time. To support that number of monks, Mihintale should have been a complete monastery with all facilities for the resident monks.

The complete Veda Sala or the hospital complex is one of these support facilities which can be still seen today.

The ruins of the present hospital is attributed to King Sena II (853-887 AD). But it is believed that there was a hospital at Mihintale long before this building. The inner Chamber of the hospital is centered around a Buddha Shrine.

The entrance to the hospital complex lies on the southern side. The entrance opens up to a square open air area. A square tank made of stone slabs is found on the room on the right side which indicates that it has been the Janthagharaya (hot water and steam bath) of the hospital. There are 2 rooms on the left. The first and the smaller room is identified as the medicine store and the larger room as the Dana Shalawa (refectory). In the open area of the outer court, a large grinding stone is found similar to Kurahan Gala (quern) but much larger. This would have been used to grind medicine fro patients.

Waking past this open outer court, you reach the main hospital building. At the center on an open court lies the image house. There had been two standing Buddha statues at the center. However these statues are missing today and the only the bases of the statues carved in stone in form of a lotus are found at the site. Around it are the rooms for the patients. Each room entrance face the shrine and is about 10×10 feet in size. There are 31 rooms and roughly 2 patients can occupy a room. Therefore the capacity of this hospital would have been about 60 patients. The corners have larger rooms and the medicinal trough is on the North-Eastern eastern room.

map of hospital complex at Mihintale
map of hospital complex at Mihintale

References

  1. දිසානායක, සෙ. (2017). අසිරිමත් මිහින්තලය.

Also See

Map of the Ancient Hospital Complex of Mihintale.

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Driving Directions to Ancient Hospital Complex of Mihintale

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

Route 01 from Colombo to Mihintale (A3)

Route 02 from Colombo to Mihintale

Though : Negambo - Chillaw - Puthlam
Distance :211 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Dambulla
Distance : 213 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

Route 03 from Colombo to Mihintale

Route from Anuradhapura to Mihintale

Though : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Padeniya - Thambuthegama
Distance :220 km
Travel time : 3.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Distance :15 km
Travel time : 40 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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