Saturday, January 19, 2019

Ata Seta Len

Ata Seta Len
Ata Seta Len (lit: Sixty eight caves) is a cave complex located in the ancient Buddhist monastery Mihintale.

History
The great chronicle Mahavamsa states that King Devanampiya Tissa (250-210 B.C.) had prepared 68 caves as dwellings for Bhikkhus headed by Arhant Mahinda Thera (Seneviratna, 1994). The early Brahmi cave inscriptions presenting below the drip-ledges of these caves confirm that the caves had been prepared for the use of the Buddhist monks during the pre-Christian era. 

The Mahavamsa further mentions that during the reign of King Kanirajanutissa (31-34 C.E.), 60 heretic monks who planned to kill the king were put to death by pushing them in to a chasm named "Kanira". It is believed that the mountain which form the Ata Seta Len complex could be that place mentioned in the Mahawamsa.

References
1) Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura: the monastic city. Archaeological Survey Department. p.236.

Location Map

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