Aradhanagala, The Rock of Invitation
The single rock on the eastern side of the Ambastala which is called Aradhana gala is believed to be the place where Mahinda Mahathera and his companions stood after arriving from Dambadiva or India bringing the message of the Buddha.
It was on this spot that the Elder addressed the ruling King Devanampiyatissa. The place where the king stood is covered by a Moon Stone and guarded by a golden railing.
However, there is yet another theory that the single rock now known as Aradhanagala was the place where the novice Sumana climbed to invite the gods and deities to come and listen to the first sermon of Mahinda Mahathera.
The place where the great Elder stood to meet the king is now covered with a Chandrakantapasana or Moon Stone. This is also a place worshipped by the pilgrims.
Mihindu guhawa, The Cave of the Elder Mahinda
When one climbs down about three hundred yards on to the eastern side passing the site of the Sila Cetiya one reaches a stone slab sheltered by another rock.
This is supposed to be the place where the great Arahant sat and meditated. His seat is carved into the rock.
When one returns to the Maluwa or the plateau. the Mahasaya, great Stupa and the Mihindu Saya are there on the summit of the mountain to the south.
The rock which has about 110 inbuilt steps besides the steps cut into the rock. Each step is about 12 feet long, 1 feet wide and about 6 inches high.
Maha Saya, The Great Stupa
The largest and the most conspicuous thupa on the summit of Mihintale, the sacred mountain, visible to the far distant land like a white bubble, is the great thupa known as Mahathupa.
This great historical monument is the symbol of Mihintale. The story of this Stupa built by King Mahadathika Mahanaga (7-19 A.D.) is given in the great Chronicle Mahavamsa.
According to popular beliefs of pious devotees, the urnaroma of Buddha is enshrined in this Stupa. The thirteenth century Sinhalese literary work Pujavaliya and the Slab Inscription of Mahinda IV at Mihintale refers to this Stupa as Ambulu dagaba.
What is indicated by the description of Mahavamsa above given is that the king realised that the limited space on the summit with a sharp steep incline on all the sides of the mountain will not bear up the heavy weight of the Stupa and made a firm determination to hold it on.
This Mahathupa has a diameter of 136 feet at the base but the location of the monument must have made its completion a work entailing as much expense as one of the larte monuments at the capital. The height is estimated to be about 45 feet.
The Stupa is characterised by the low basal platform in which the tiers form wide steps of about 4 feet tread. It has three terraces. In 1890, it was found that the entire pinnacle of the Stupa had collapsed.
Treasure hunters too have entered the place and done much damage. Several attempts were made to renovate the Stupa once with the help of a prince from Thailand, but these failed.
Under the direction of the Department of Archaeology the renovation of the Stupa to the present state was completed only a few years ago.
The dagaba beside the great thupa on to the western side is identified as the Mihindu Saya, one of the three Stupas at Cetiyapabbata.