Mihintale is the cradle of Sri Lankan Buddhism. To climb the Mahinda mountain, a stone staircase made of 1,840 steps has been built. These steps lead to the summit in three phases. On the first plateau, the Kantaka Cetiya stands out by the simplicity of its structure, while on the second plateau, vestiges of monastery buildings have survived. Then comes the third plateau, the object of special veneration, for according to the legend it is here that the Buddha meditated. At this height (985 ft), the panorama of the region is stunning.
Mihintale is a mountain believed to be the birthplace of the Buddhist religion.© Vidu Gunaratna / 123RF
A Buddha awaits visitors and pilgrims at the top. He is seated in the vitarka position, also known as the teaching position.© Valery Shanin / 123RF
Buddha means awake, or in other words, one who is waiting for nirvana.© Fabio Lamanna / 123RF
This is the where the oldest stupa on the island is to be found. It commemorates the meeting of the Devanampiya Tissa and the emissaries of Ashoka.© Valery Shanin / 123RF
Mihintale was already considered to be one of the emblematic places of Buddhism in the 4th century, when it was home to more than 2,000 monks.© Joerg Hackemann / 123RF