Renovation of Mihindu Maha Seya, Mihindu Len Senasuna and Shrine House at the historic Mihintale Sacred site began under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
October 23rd marked the 2280th Mihindu Pura Atawaka Poya which commemorates the day Arahant Mahinda’s passing away. To coincide with this, the renovation work commenced yesterday (24) under the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and with the guidance of Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero, the Chief Incumbent of Maha Mewna Uyana Asapuwa.
Upon his arrival in Mihintale, the President paid homage to the Shrine House at the premises. The stone casket containing relics of the Buddha and Arahant Mahinda is believed to have a history dating back to the 3rd century BC. Renovation of the shrine where the relics are kept in order to provide facilities for the devotees is one of the components of the restoration program.
President unveiled the statue of Arahant Mahinda erected at the Sela Chaithya courtyard where the Arahant had said to have arrived for the first time.
According to Mahawamsa, King Uththiya, the brother of Devanampiyatissa who reigned between 200 – 210 BC, built the Mihindu Maha Seya placing ashes of Arahant Mahinda. The stupa is considered as one of the oldest stupas in the country. While preserving its ancient value, renovation of the Mihindu Maha Seya which was in a dilapidated condition for a long time commenced yesterday. Construction of the Audience Hall (Dharma Shala) commenced in 2014 but remained stalled since 2015, is now being carried out in parallel with the renovation program. Ven. Palpola Wipassi Thero provides assistance to this project. All constructions are scheduled to be completed before the upcoming Poson Poya.
Construction of stone steps on the way to reach Mihindu Guhawa or Mihindu Lena where Arahant Mahinda was believed to be meditating takes place under the reconstruction program. Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Navy provide labour power for this initiative.
After paying homage to the Mihinda Maha Seya President participated in the religious ceremony held in front of the Stupa. Delivering sermons Chief Incumbent of historic Mihindu Maha Viharaya Ven. Walawahangunawawe Dhammarathana Thero, Chief Sangha Nayaka of South East Asia including Japan Ven. Palpola Wipassi Thero and Anunayake of the Sri Kalyaniwansha Chapter of Sri Lanka Amarapura Nikaya Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero called on the public to support the President in order to build a developed country with freedom.
Theros pointing out that a great leader is now at the helm the country stressed the need to give up all ideologies and other differences and actively contribute to the building of the country irrespective of race, religion or party affiliation.
They also said that the commemoration of Mihindu Pura Atawaka Day with the participation of a Head of State after the era of ancient kings is a significant event.
Maha Sangha including Chief Sanga Nayaka in Taiwan Ven. Bodagama Chandima Thero, Minister S. M. Chandrasena, State Ministers Duminda Dissanayake, Shehan Semasinghe and Prof. Channa Jayasumana, Secretary Defence Kamal Gunaratne and Ministry Secretaries and defence chiefs were among the gathering.