January 30, 2015
1427 SRI LANKA - Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka
The peak Mihintale (the plateau of Mihindu), located near the city of Anuradhapura, is the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures, but also a pilgrimage site, because it is believed by Sri Lankans to be the place of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda (the son of Emperor Ashoka of India) and King Devanampiyatissa, which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in the island. Its various shrines are connected by a total of some 1,840 steps, built in the reign of Bhathika Abhaya (22BC-7AD), that ultimately lead to the summit, steep enough to require deep breaths and a meditative pace.
Mihintale was neglected from the beginning of the 11th century and abandoned from the middle of the 13th century as a result of the collapse of the Rajarata civilization. Only in the beginning of the 20th century attention was again paid to this complex and the structures we see today have been restored. Among the important structures of the complex is Ambasthala Dagoba (Mango Tree Stupa), located on the highest terrace. The diminutive Ambasthala Dagoba marks the place where Mahinda surprised King Devanampiyatissa in mid-hunt.
The stupa is supposedly built over the exact spot where Mahinda stood, and a statue of the king is placed where he stood - a respectful distance away. A large seated Buddha (on the postcard) looks down from a rock above. The ruins show that there has been a house built encircling the stupa. The Dagoba itself is said to enshrine the relics of the great Apostle Mahinda. The traditional spot where this meeting took place is marked by the Ambasthala Dagaba.
About the stamps
The first stamp, issued on March 20, 2012, which marks the Sustainable Energy for All, illustrates wind mills harnessing sustainable energy in Sri Lanka.
The second stamp was issued in May 7, 2014, with the occasion of World Conference on Youth, which held from May 6 to 10 at Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall, Sri Lanka.
The third stamp was issued on February 2014 to celebrate the Deyata Kirula 2014 National Development Exhibition in Kuliyapitiya.
The fourth stamp, depicting Taurus, is part of the series Zodiac, issued on October 9, 2007. The fifth stamp is one of the two issued to celebrate Christmas 2013.
The last stamp, designed by Givantha Arthasad, was issued on June 29, 2014, to celebrate Bicentenary of the Methodist Church.
Mihintale - Wikipedia
Mihintale travel guide - Insight Guides
Sender: Amith Gamage
Sent from Homagama (Western Province / Sri Lanka), on 04.11.2014
Photo: Lasantha Lakmal