Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ancient hospital, Mihinthale, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

A 'Beheth Oruwa' S - 'Medicine boat'. The patient was immersed in medicinal oils in this bath carved out of granite.

1. Heinz E Müller-Dietz (Historia Hospitalium 1975) describes Mihintale Hospital as being perhaps the oldest in the world.(Wikipedia).

2. Vedahala - the Hospital at the foot of the mountain at Mihintale

With the growth of the community of monks and the pious laymen, there arose the inevitable need of a hospital. The first hospital at Mihintale was founded by King Sena the second (853-887 AC) at Mihintale. The identification was based on a tenth century inscription found at the site.

Today, the ruins of a hospital with its layout restored can be seen at the entrance to the site of Mihintale. At the entrance to the hospital is the outer courtyard that consists of four rooms: consulting room; room for preparation and storage of medicine; room for hot water baths. At the end of the outer courtyard, to the north is the main building: the quadrangular courtyard having a small shrine in the center. The rooms are arranged on a two high platforms on all four sides of the Central Courtyard. The rooms face the shrine which is in the Courtyard. The area of each room is about 100 square feet. The rooms open onto an inner Verandha making all cells accessible.

Archeological excavations have unearthed clay wares and blue colored jars. These jars are another evidence of the cultural and trade connections with Iran and Sri Lanka at such an ancient time.