Mihintale with its Mahaseya at Sri Lanka
Yesterday, we visited the Ancient Ruins of Anuradhapura so this morning, we went to Mihintale by taking the bus 835/5 Anuradhapura - Kahatagasdigiliya for 35 rupees each (0,25 euros - in fact, there are many buses 835, it seems that all pass by Mihintale) from the new bus station of Anuradhapura (from our hotel, it is about 12 minutes walk).
After about 50 minutes, we reached Mihintale. Once off the bus, we saw at the top of a mountain the white dome of a dagoba, it should be the famous Mahaseya (the shrine containing relics of Mahinda, son of the great Indian Buddhist emperor) so we headed toward it.
While we walked serenely, a man came out from the archaeological museum to see us asking the typical questions, we took advantage to ask him if we headed to the right direction. Answering yes, he invited us to enter into the museum, although we told him that we wanted to reach the stupa before that it would start to be very hot, he insisted telling us that there is a scale model of the whole city. Since we were intrigued, we accepted. After 5 minutes, we told him that we had to go but before, he asked a donation, we gave him 25 rupees (0,15 euros - not sure if it will go for the museum or in his pocket).
After walking 13 minutes, we reached the foot of the mountain, here stands before us the steps, just looking at them, we were already tied but we had to climb them up. Taking all shades that we could, we arrived to the first big area where there are some ruins and where we bought our ticket for 500 rupees each (3,10 euros).
We decided to keep up and to visit this area later. The goal is to reach the summit before that the heat became terrible since we had to walk naked feet the top area (at 10ham, it was starting to be hot already). Before to enter in the second big area, we had to take off our shoes.
Walking naked feet on hot stones and sand, I will say that it was not like walking at the beach. My wife brought sockets, in my case, I did also but I didn't put them (how idiot I was you may think !!!).
In this area, the most interesting is the meeting representation between the King Devanampiya Tissa (the only statue) and Mahinda (the dagoba called Ambasthale, just in front of the king). Now there are 3 choices, we went (by order):
- Up until the main dagoba called Mahaseya with 360 degrees splendid views. There are also a small temple with a reclining Buddha, a small dagoba in its original state and a track going towards an unknown place to the other side of the mountain (unknown because it was too hot walking on the ground with naked feet)
- Up until the top of a rock with 360 degrees great views called Aradhana Gala. Alike steps are carved on the rock.
- And up until the Buddha. There are better views from the other 2 places, although there are small tracks leading you to some view points.
Once done, we took more time to visit the first area. A lot of ruins, in fact, a lot of columns, seeing one is seeing all then we went to look for the lion statue, which is part of a small pool called Sinha Pokuna (it is located at the opposite side of the parking).
We took again the bus to return at our hotel, going back to where the bus dropped us, at the other side, there is the bus stop to go to Anuradhapura (we stopped any bus and we asked the driver if he will stop there). The next morning, our trip leaded us to Jaffna with its Hindu temples.