Mihintale

Mihintale Mountain

Mihintale Mountain, with the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, began to serve as a residential area for the venerable monks headed by Arahath Mahinda Mahathera. But soon, with the royal patronage, the sanctuary housed a multitude of with monastic buildings-stupas, uposathgharas, bodhigharas- to serve the monks. Sixty eight cave dwellings provided the monks shade and shelter. Mihintale, the sanctuary for many thousands of laymen as well as holy men, had all the facilities and amenities for basic living.

Vedahala – the Hospital at the foot of the mountain at Mihintale

With the growth of the community of monks and the pious laymen, there arose the inevitable need of a hospital. The first hospital at Mihintale was founded by King Sena the second (853-887 AC) at Mihintale. The identification was based on a tenth century inscription found at the site.

Today, the ruins of a hospital with its layout restored can be seen at the entrance to the site of Mihintale. At the entrance to the hospital is the outer courtyard that consists of four rooms: consulting room; room for preparation and storage of medicine; room for hot water baths. At the end of the outer courtyard, to the north is the main building: the quadrangular courtyard having a small shrine in the center. The rooms are arranged on a two high platforms on all four sides of the Central Courtyard. The rooms face the shrine which is in the Courtyard. The area of each room is about 100 square feet. The rooms open onto an inner Verandha making all cells accessible.

Archeological excavations have unearthed clay wares and blue colored jars. These jars are another evidence of the cultural and trade connections with Iran and Sri Lanka at such an ancient time.