Mihintale, 13km east of Anuradhapura, is where the Buddhist narrative of Sri Lanka began. Over 2000 years ago the Indian Emperor Asoka sent his emissary Mahinda to Lanka with the message of the Buddha. At Mihintale (which means the Mountain of Mahinda) Devanampiyatissa, the King of Sri Lanka encountered Mahinda, heard his story and converted to Buddhism. The rest as they say is history and for Mihintale it is that history that draws throngs of pilgrims to it. Considered a great monastic city of old, Mihintale commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the month of May with the Poson Full-moon festival. Mihintale is best experienced by climbing the rock and visiting the surrounding archeological sites. At the foot of the mountain are the ruins of an ancient hospital, while along the flight of stairs up the mountain is the 2nd century BC Kantaka Ceitya, the Mandapaya (pavillion), the Lion Bath, the Ambasthala Dagoba, the Aradhana Gala and at the pinnacle is the 1st Century BC Maha Seya dagoba.