Saturday, January 19, 2019

Ata Seta Len

Ata Seta Len
Ata Seta Len (the Sixty-eight caves) is a cave complex located in the ancient Buddhist monastery Mihintale in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
The chronicle Mahavamsa states that King Devanampiyatissa (247-207 B.C.) had prepared 68 caves as dwellings for Bhikkhus headed by Arahant Mahinda Thera (Seneviratna, 1994). The early-Brahmi inscriptions presenting below the drip-ledges of these caves confirm that they had been prepared for the use of the Buddhist monks during the pre-Christian era. 

According to Mahavamsa (Mahavamsa, Chap: XXXV, vv: 9-12), King Kanirajanutissa (31-34 A.D.) imprisoned sixty monks who were engaged in a conspiracy against him and finally he had commanded these monks to be flung into the caves called Kanira (Wickremasinghe, 1912). It is believed that the mountain which forms the Ataseta Len complex could be that place mentioned in the Mahawamsa.

References
1) Geiger, W., 1986. The Mahāvaṃsa, or, The Great Chronicle of Ceylon. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi. p.247. 
2) Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura: the monastic city. Archaeological Survey Department. p.236.
3) Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). London. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. pp.75-113.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 12 April 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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