Mihintale Ruins

The Ancient Cities

The sleepy ruins of Mihintale are closely associated with the earliest introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. A ceremonial staircase climbs past pools, monastery ruins and rock inscriptions to reach two large dagobas. As the climb takes 25 minutes, you may wish to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat. You can cut the walk in half by driving up the side Old Rd and starting near the Monk's Refectory.

Wannabe guides charge about Rs 800 for a two-hour tour. If the guide follows you up the steps, you’re committed, so make your decision clear before setting out.

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Nearby The Ancient Cities attractions

1. Assembly Hall

0.02 MILES

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…

2. Monks’ Refectory & Relic House

0.02 MILES

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

3. Naga Pokuna

0.08 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…

4. Sinha Pokuna

0.09 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…

5. Dagoba

0.09 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.

6. Kantaka Chetiya

0.11 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. Mahaseya Dagoba

0.12 MILES

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…

8. Stairway

0.13 MILES

In a series of flights, 1843 ancient granite slab steps lead majestically up the hillside, passing the occasional rock inscription and side trail. The…