Naga Pokuna | Cobra Pond at Mihintale

Naga Pokuna, Mihintale
The Naga Pokuna (lit. the Cobra Pond; Sinhala: නාග පොකුණ) is one of the ponds in the ancient Buddhist monastery complex of Mihintale in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

Naga Pokuna
The history of the Naga Pokuna runs back to the time of the arrival of Arhat Mahinda Thera in Sri Lanka who brought Buddhism to the island in the 3rd century B.C. (Wikramagamage, 2004). It is mentioned in the 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. Filled with rainwater, it supplies water to the Sinha Pokuna (the lion pond) and the Alms Hall on the lower terrace (Dhammika, 2008; Wikramagamage, 2004). A curved figure of a cobra with five hoods can be seen at a point close to the centre of the pond (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Naga Pokuna, Mihintale.
1) Dhammika, B. S., 2008. Sacred Island; A Buddhist pilgrim’s guide to Sri Lanka. Buddhist Publication Society. ISBN: 978-955-24-0271-5. pp.92-93.
2) 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.
3) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp. 168-169.
4) 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 22 May 2023

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