Thursday, September 6, 2018

Naga Pokuna, Mihintale

The Naga Pokuna at Mihintale, Sri Lanka
The Naga Pokuna (lit. the cobra pond) is one of ponds in the ancient Buddhist monastery complex of Mihintale in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

The cobra head of Naga Pokuna, Mihintale, Sri Lanka
The history of the Naga Pokuna runs back to the time of the arrival of Arahant Mahinda Thera in Sri Lanka who brought the Buddhism to the island in the 3rd century B.C. (Wikramagamage, 2004). It is mentioned in chronicles that the pond named Nagacatukka was used as a bathing tank by Mahinda Thera and the monks of the Vihara (Nicholas, 1963). Chronicles further record that King Aggabodhi I (575-608 A.D.) had built a bath at Cetiyagiri (modern Mihintale) by the name Nagasondi and supplied it with a continual stream of water (Wickremasinghe, 1912).

It is believed that both Nagacatukka and Nagasondi, refer to the same pond and the pond Nagasondi of King Aggabodhi I is a further development of the natural pond named Nagacatukka (Wikramagamage, 2004).

The pond is about 38.94 meters in length and it is filled by the rain water and supply water to the Sinha Pokuna (the lion pond) and the alms hall (Wikramagamage, 2004). A curved figure of cobra with five hoods can be seen at a point close to the central of the pond (Wikramagamage, 2004).

1) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.163.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp. 168-169.
3) Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). London. Archaeological survey of Ceylon. p.82.

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This page was last updated on 13 April 2021
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