Ruins of the Mihintale Puvarasankulama Anula Devi Chethiya

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There is no doubt that those of you who go to Mihintale have visited places like Mihintale Aradhana Rock and its surroundings like Kaludiya Pokuna Pond and Rajagiri Caves. However, many people may not know Anula Devi Chaitya, which is considered an old nunnery located very close to the Mihintale in Puvarasankulama (Puvarasankulam) holy site.

The board installed by the Department of Archeology mentions that the ruins in this archaeological site are believed to be the ruins of a temple built by Queen Viharamaha Devi in the 2nd century BCE and that Queen Anula, the first Buddhist nun of Sri Lanka, lived here.

“Queen Anula Devi was the chief queen of sub-king Mahanaga, the brother of king Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BCE). After the arrival of Mihindu Maha Thero with the message of Buddha to this island, Queen Anula Devi, along with 500 ladies “Queen Anula Devi was the chief queen of sub-king Mahanaga, the brother of king Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BCE). After the arrival of Mihindu Maha Thero with the message of Buddha to this island, Queen Anula Devi, along with 500 ladies reached the state of “Sowan” by listening to Mahinda Thero and wished to become Buddhist nuns.

Mahinda Thero was unable to carry out the necessary rituals for females and his sister, Theri Sanghamitta arrived on the island along with a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi in India to establish the priesthood of Buddhist nuns in 249 BCE.

The ruins of Mihintale Puvarasankulama Anula Devi Chethiya is spread across an area of approximately 4 acres centered around a rocky plateau spreading from south to north. At this site, you find ruins of a medium-sized stupa, a rock inscription, and ruins of other buildings including a rock pond.

The stupa lies 246 meters from the start of the rock from the south. The stupa is built on a raised platform filling the uneven concave surface of the rock. It has 2 entrances from south and west and has a circumference of 118 meters. Excavation and Conservation of the stupa began in December 2021 and until now a significant haul of relics has been discovered. Among them is a crystal casket with relics.

The rock inscription is 4.2m x 4.2m in size. It reads ;

The great king Ramanayaka who is the son-in-law of the great king Malutisa, son of the great king Naga, and who is the son of king Tissa, (granted) on account of expenses for oil and offerings to the Caitya for spreading carpets and for provisions to the great Refectory in the royal monastery of Anula-Tissa-pabbata, attached to the great monastery of Abhayagiri, the categories of revenue from (the tract of fields named) Vadamanaketa, situated in the area irrigated by Nakaravavi; the karisas dedicated to the Caitya in the fields irrigated by Badakaraba tank, and Vatanakaraka. tank, the revenue estimated (sari) from Salivaya. Mahakabaragama, Badarakadara tank, Palanakaraka and Salagala tank, the income derived by him from Patagamaka-nakaraka tank, Balaka tank (the karisas dedicated to the caitya in these) and the income due to him from Malaka tank, he donated.

The income from Nakaravavi, …………………… Viharavataka …………………… the four karisas which are the karisas dedicated to the caitya in Citanakaraka, in the tract of fields named Barajaka in (the area coming under) Barajaka dam ……………. the karisas dedicated to the caitya in ………………….. .nakaraka and in the tract of fields named Digala, the karisas dedicated to the caitya in Palonakaraka in …………………… kubara, …………………… the income as detailed above has been granted.

(Paranavitana, 2001)

It is believed that this inscription was made by King Kanittha Tissa (164-192 CE) and the inscription also confirms its new name Anula with the ancient name of Anula Tissa Viharaya (Samarathunga, 2019).

Travelling 38 meters to the North, you will come across the first building. This is 14.4×11.0 meters in size and lies east of the stupa. The second building lies west of the rock pond. This is 11×8 meters in size. Ruins of another building are found walking to the north of the second building.

The rock pond lies 58 meters away from the Anula Stupa. The pond is built by building a 2-meter-high bunt on a natural slope on the rock.


  • Samarathunga, P.N.M. (2019) ‘මිහින්තලය පුවරසන්කුලම පුරාවිද්‍යා පරිශ්‍රයේ පුරාවිද්‍යා වටිනාකම පිළිබදව විමර්ශනාත්මක අධ්‍යයනයක්’, URSARU – 2019, pp. 214–216.
  • Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka.
  • Paranavitana, S. (2001) Inscriptions of Ceylon | Volume II | Part II | Containing Rock and Other Inscriptions From the Reign of Kanitthatissa (164-192, A. D.) to Mahasena (276-303, A. D .) Vol II (part II). Edited by M. Mendis. Colombo: Department of Archaeology.

Also See

Map of Mihintale Puvarasankulama Anula Devi Chethiya

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Directions to Mihintale Puvarasankulama Anula Devi Chethiya

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Bus

Anuradhapura is easily reached by bus, train or private transport. Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses start at the Colombo Fort Main Bus Station. There are luxury busses which start from various places in Colomb travelling past Anuradhapura, to Vavuniya and Jaffna. However, you need to search the web and book a seat. These luxury buses mostly travel at night reaching their final destination early in the morning.

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Train

5 daily trains are starting from Fort Railway Station to Anuradhapura. Generally, the first train leaves at 9.40 am and the last train at 8.30 pm. Travel time is 4-5 hours depending on the number of stops of the particular train.

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Car or Van

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and through Kurunegala. Travelling from Puttalam, you will pass the scenic Wilpattu area. There are two main routes to Anuradhapura from Kurunegala. 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 AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo : 210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 223 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Narammala – Wariyapola – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :203 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel Time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
From Anuradhapura to Anula Devi Stupa at Mihintale
Via : Mihintale
Total Distance : 16 Kms
Duration : ½ Hour
Time To spend : Between 1-1 ½ Hours
Driving Directions :  View on Google Map


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