Sinha Pokuna

Top choice in The Ancient Cities

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 lion, reckoned to be one of the best pieces of animal carving in the country. Anyone placing one hand on each paw would be right in line for the stream of water from the lion’s mouth. There are some fine friezes around this pool.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Ancient Cities attractions

1. Mihintale Ruins

0.09 MILES

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

2. 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…

3. 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…

4. Monks’ Refectory & Relic House

0.12 MILES

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

5. Kantaka Chetiya

0.12 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…

6. Dagoba

0.15 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.

7. Stairway

0.17 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…

8. Mahaseya Dagoba

0.19 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…