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 more the life line of the community of monks that 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 of 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
photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s - from
photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s – from

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Driving Directions to 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 from colombo :211 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Dambulla
distance from Colombo : 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 from colombo :220 km
Travel time : 3.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
distance from colombo :15 km
Travel time : 40 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


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