Ancient Maninaga Mandiraya Monastery of Mihintale – මිහින්තලේ මණිනාග මන්දිරය ආරාමික නටබුන්

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Maninaga Mandiraya Monastery of Mihintale - මිහින්තලේ මණිනාග මන්දිරය  ආරාමික නටබුන්
Maninaga Mandiraya Monastery of Mihintale – මිහින්තලේ මණිනාග මන්දිරය ආරාමික නටබුන්

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 divided in to smaller sections for easy administration.

This is a small ruined monastic complex within the larger Mihintale Monastery which lies at the base of the main stairs in Mihintale. Five rectangular buildings are are enclosed within a large wall. At the center is a square building which is presumed to be a image house. The balustrades and the guard stones which adorn the entrance of the building is elegantly carved. This could have been two storied building according to Dr. Senarath Disanayake.

On the four corners are ruins of four buildings at equidistance from the center building. These are thought to be living quarters of the monks. The balustrades and the guard stones found at these buildings are unsophisticated artifacts. The positioning of the buildings are similar to the panchavasa architecture where 5 buildings are built as a cluster.

On northern boundary towards the eastern end, there is ruins of a small structure believed to be a Tampita Viharya. The six stone steps rises up to the level of the pillars indicating a platform built on top of the pillars and the stairs providing access to this raised platform.

Based on the archaeological evidence on this site, it can be seen that the ruins belongs to at least 2 separate eras.

All pilgrims pass this monastery but really stop and turn to visit these ruins. You can see stone carved Nagaraja Guard Stones, Balustrades and moonstones among the conserved ruins.

References

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

Also See

Map of the Ancient Maninaga Mandiraya Monastery

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Driving Directions to Ancient Maninaga Mandiraya Monastery

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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