Mahaseya Dagoba

The Ancient Cities

This dagoba (the largest at Mihintale) is thought to have been built to house relics of Mahinda. On the far side you'll find the original, smaller brick dagoba, one of the oldest in Sri Lanka and largely ignored by visitors. From here, there are views over the lakes and trees to Anuradhapura.

A small temple at the side of the dagoba has a reclining Buddha and Technicolor modern frescoes – donations are requested. A room at the side is a devale (a complex designed for worshipping a Hindu or local Sri Lankan deity) with statues of the gods Ganesh, Vishnu, Murugan (Skanda) and Saman.

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1. Dagoba

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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.

2. Bodhi Tree

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The bodhi tree to the left of the steps leading to the Mahaseya Dagoba is said to be one of the oldest surviving trees in Sri Lanka. The tree is…

3. Statue of the King

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This statue of king Devanampiya Tissa wearing traditional dress, situated next to the Ambasthale Dagoba, marks the spot where he met and was converted by…

4. Ambasthale Dagoba

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The main ceremonial stairway, lined with frangipani trees, leads to the Ambasthale Dagoba, built over the spot where Mahinda converted Devanampiya Tissa…

5. Buddha Statue


To the side of the Ambasthale Dagoba is a flight of rock-carved steps leading to this large white sitting-Buddha statue.

6. Naga Pokuna


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…

7. 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…

8. Monks’ Refectory & Relic House

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