Assembly Hall of Mihintale (සන්නිපාත ශාලාව)

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An integral part of a Buddhist monastery is the Sannipata Salawa or the Assembly Hall where the Bhikkhus of the monastery met to discuss matters of common interest pertaining to the rules of discipline administration.

The most senior Bhikkhu of the Vihara and took the chair at such meetings. In the case of Mihintale, we see from the inscription in the neighborhood that the senior Bhikkhu of the Vihara was called the Naka balana himi meaning the chief Bhikkhu of the fraternity.

The elevated stone seat that you see in the middle of the hall was meant for him. From the building, it is quite clear that the Assembly Hall is situated in a central place in the huge monastic complex where monks could meet at short notice.

This building which was used for common purposes included the preaching of Dhamma. It is also interesting from an architectural point of view.

The Hall is square in plan with a side about 62 feet in length. It had no enclosing walls or rooms attached to it. The roof was carried by symmetrically arranged stone pillars that still survive though now without the roof.

There would have been about 64 (8×8) such pillars. The Hall had access from all four directions with a flight of steps. The open nature of the building would have been environmentally suitable for a place of the congregation in a dry climate.

Primary source : Mihintale – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Map of the Assembly Hall of Mihintale

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Driving Directions to The Assembly Hall of Mihintale

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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