Mihintale is only 12 kM away from the famous Anuradhapura city. The sacred forest mountain Missaka Pabbatha where King Devanampiya Tissa met Arhat Mahinda Thera and his companions is situated in Mihintale. Prior to that the Lord Gautama Buddha had visited this place on his Third visit which was called as Missaka Pabbatha then. Being one of the sixteen places (Solosmasthana) the Lord Buddha had visited in Sri Lanka, this is regarded as one of the most important sacred places by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The area of Mihintale surrounds with a jungle and there are rock boulders scattered around the mountainous area. There are many caves which were earlier used by monks for meditation in a quite surrounding away from the main city of Anuradhapura. There is abundance of ancient stone architecture surrounding the many Stupas, monastic complexes and other sacred places.
Asoka , the Emperor of India who became victorious after fighting a long war was disillusioned and sought Buddha's refuge to heal up his inner self. Becoming an ardent Buddhist, he let his son and the daughter be ordained as a Bhikku and a Bhikkuni (Buddhist priest and a nun named Mahinda and Sangamitta) whom later became Arhats.
Arhath Mahinda and his companions came to Sri Lanka as a delegation sent by Arahath Moggali Putta Tissa with the patronage of Emperor Asoka on the 236 th year of the Buddha parinirvana.The Sinhalese architecture, paintings and sculpture were a result of the Buddhism which nourished these throughout the centuries that followed.