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Climb the 'Mountain of Mahinda'
Mihintale, most often visited after a day or two at Anuradhapura, came as a delightful surprise to me. Just 11 kilometers from Sri Lanka's first capital, Mihintale is known as the 'Cradle of Buddhism", a monastic city sprawling across a rock-strewn landscape. It was at Mihintale that the Buddhist sage Mahinda preached Buddhist doctrine to King Devanampiyatissa, who declared the surrounding forest a sanctuary.

Today, a climb of almost 2,000 wide granite steps will bring you to the three peaks atop the 'mountain of Mahinda', which taken together, provide a 360˚ view of the countryside below. The Ambasthale Dagoba nestled in a sandy basin below the three peaks is an active pilgrimage site, and the sounds of trumpets, bells and intoning voices may follow you as you climb up for the views.

Mihintale, Sri Lanka