Sinha Pokuna of Mihintale (මිහින්තලේ සිංහ පොකුණ)

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– Naga pokuna, Sinha Pokuna and Kaludiya Pokuna : Ponds of Ethereal Beauty –

Sinha Pokuna of Mihintale
Sinha Pokuna of Mihintale

Amongst its serene, tranquil beautiful forest and bolder 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 longer the lifeline of the community of monks who 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 in hydraulic engineering blended with landscaping and the fine art of sculpture.

Sinha Pokuna (Lion Pond)

though it is called a pond, it is more of a water rail. It is an open-air bath that was probably used by the monks who were living in the caves of the neighborhood.

It is called a pond because of the water tank above the figure of the standing lion from whose mouth the water comes out. Half of it is cut out of the natural rock and the other half is constructed of monolithic blocks to form a square pond.

The two-meter-high raging lion has been classed as one of the best animal carvings of ancient Lanka.

The rampant lion as it has been described stands as part of an ornamental bathing spout. The pond appropriately named Sinha pokuna, is situated under shady trees on one of the middle terraces of Mihintale. And let’s not forget the sculptures in the form of a paneling on the tank. Here lively scenes of dancers, musicians, elephants, and some adorable-looking lions can be seen.

The water to this open-air bath is from a channel from the Naga Pokuna which is situated above it at a much higher elevation. The hydraulics of this system characterized the technological advances of ancient Lanka.

by Kishanie S. Fernando
Daily Mirror

Also See

Map of Sinha Pokuna of Mihintale

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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
Though : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance :231 km
Travel Time : 5.15 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Central Expressway – Badagamuwa – Dambulla
Distance : 223 km
Travel Time : 4.45 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to Mihintale Route from Anuradhapura to Mihintale
Though : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance : 232 km
Travel Time : 5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Distance :15 km
Travel Time : 30 minutes
Driving Directions : see on Google map


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