Et Vihara

The Ancient Cities

At an even higher elevation (309m) than the Mahaseya Dagoba is the little-visited and modest Et Vihara (literally, ‘Elephant Monastery’) stupa, which offers excellent views over the valley. It's a fine place to watch the sun set.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Ancient Cities attractions

1. Sinha Pokuna

0.21 MILES

Just below the monks’ refectory on the second landing, and near the entrance if you are coming via Old Rd, is a small pool surmounted by a 2m-high rampant…

2. Naga Pokuna

0.26 MILES

Halfway back down the steep flight of steps from the Ambasthale Dagoba, a path leads to the left, around the base of the hill topped by the Mahaseya…

3. Kaludiya Pokuna

0.29 MILES

On the southwest outskirts of Mihintale is the lovely Kaludiya Pokuna, an artificial pool that features a rock-carved bathhouse and the ruins of a small…

4. Mihintale Ruins


The sleepy ruins of Mihintale are closely associated with the earliest introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. A ceremonial staircase climbs past pools,…

5. Assembly Hall


On the same level as the relic house, this hall, also known as the convocation hall, is where monks met to discuss matters of common interest. The raised…

6. Kantaka Chetiya

0.31 MILES

At the first landing, a side flight of 100 steps branches right to this partly ruined dagoba, one of the oldest at Mihintale. It’s 12m high (originally…

7. Dagoba

0.32 MILES

To the side of the Mahaseya Dagoba is this older, smaller brick dagoba, one of the oldest in Sri Lanka and yet largely ignored by visitors.

8. Monks’ Refectory & Relic House

0.32 MILES

On the second landing is the monks’ refectory with huge stone troughs that the lay followers kept filled with rice for the monks.