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 into 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 enclosed within a large wall. At the center is a square building which is presumed to be an image house. The balustrades and the guard stones which adorn the entrance of the building is elegantly carved. This could have been a two-storied building according to Dr. Senarath Disanayake.

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

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

Based on the archaeological evidence on this site, it can be seen that the ruins belong 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

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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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

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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