There is a rock temple just beyond the last checkpoint to the north. It’s one of the most beautiful and serene temples I’ve ever been to, and I’d say one of my favorites. It’s quiet at night and everyone just passes through. On top of the tallest, widest rock they’ve built a tasteful and well-maintained temple. I climbed up next to an Army soldier trudging up after his shift, in fatigues and t-shirt, carrying a rifle. There were monks at the bottom of the hill and as I left a busload of locals came to see.
After having my head on the ground the whole day it was a wonder to get up there and see the Mihintale Buddha like a beacon in the distance. The Medavachchiya Buddha was facing it. You could see for miles and it was quiet as the checkpoint traffic dimmed in the dusk. Pretty verdant and deserted.
Unlike many temples with their hallucinogenic toreadors, the symbols were minimal and austere. An arch, a stupa, a Buddha statue, a king. All on an ancient, mammoth rock. Really a beautiful place.