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The Ceylon Press Companion to Sri Lankan History

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Abhaya Naga, King of Anuradhapura

The eleventh monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 56th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 237 – 245 CE. By any standards, Abhaya Naga was the sort of king a country might best avoid. Despite having both cuckolded and murdered his brother Voharika Tissa, the previous king, he still managed to last for eight years before dying a wholly undeserved natural death – just the 26th reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have so died. His gaining of the throne with the help of a mercenary Tamil army suggests also just how close the links were between the Anuradhapuran kings and the monarchs of south India – the Pallavas, Cholas, Cheras and Pandiyans.

Illustration: A Lakshmi Plaque coin showing on the obverse the Goddess Lakshmi facing, being showered by two mini elephants atop of poles; and on the reverse: a clockwise revolving Swastika tree. The coin was in circulation in Anuradhapura from 20 BCE to 297 CE, including during the reign of Abhaya Naga, King of Anuradhapura. Image courtesy of CoinTalk.

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Abhaya, King of Upatissa Nuwara

The fourth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), reigning from 474 – 454 BCE.

Abhaya, King Panduvasdeva’s eldest son, inherited the Vijayan throne from his father in 474 BCE. It is impossible to discern at this distance quite what passed for war and peace among his nine male siblings during his rule but clearly there was a rising dispute that only ended (for him) when in 454 BCE he had abdicated in favour of his bother Tissa. It is unlikely that Abhaya’s ousting took the pressure of what had become an incipient civil war as Panduvasdeva’s sons continued to vie for prominence, and survival. Spared his life, Abhaya retreated into a wise obscurity, sensibly declining his nephew’s later offer to retake the crown, settling instead for the far less pressured job of running the freshly minted city of Anuradhapura.

Illustration: The earliest known version of the Vijayan Flag, with the Lion shown. Courtsey of Narlaka Unleashed.

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Acomodesan

A historical Sinhala term for land that is granted to someone for the duties they render or the office they hold.

Illustration: A Sketch map of Kandy and environ in1815. Public Domain.

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Adam

A Buddhist country with deep Muslim and Hindu traditions, Sri Lanka could never be accused of minimalizing religion. It is no surprise to learn that this was also said to be the country to which Adam fled when exiled from the Garden of Eden. If so, he may have experienced a sharp sense of déjà vu upon arrival - for if ever there is a natural environment akin to that described in Genesis, it must surely be Sri Lanka. Archaeological or documentary corroboration of the Adam-in-Sri-Lanka myths are, at best, elusive; but it is believed that he left a foot print on the top of the sacred mountain of Sri Pada (Adam's Peak). This is disputed by Buddhists who claim the footlike depression belongs to Lord Buddha. Hindus argue that it was left there by Hanuman or Shiva; whilst other Christians state it is actual a mark made by St Thomas.

But if his eponymous mountain has because a mildly litigious landmark, Adam can also claim the remarkable Adam’s Bridge, the causeway that links Sri Lanka to the rest of the Asian landmass. His association, post expulsion, with super large things is not surprising given that one of Allah’s hadiths have him at sixty cubits tall – some 27 metres high.

Illustration: The Angel of Revelation by William Blake.

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Adam’s Bridge

Until a cyclone hit it in 1470 you could just about walk - at low tide - from India to Sri Lanka. Today, you will need scuba gear – to glimpse the shattered path that still remains on 48 kilometres of partially sunken limestone banks stretching in salty shallows between the two countries. Named for the Biblical Adam, this thread of 103 coral reefs separates the Gulf of Mannar in the south from Palk Bay in the north, and connects Rameswaram, a modest fishing town in India’s Tamil Nadu to Thalaimannar, a still smaller fishing settlement on the tip of Sri Lanka’s Mannar Island. These salty stretches of reef platforms, sandy beaches and mangroves offer a unique home to thousands of species of fauna and flora – fish, lobsters, shrimps, crabs; and the now highly endangered dugon, a marine mammal heralded as the original mermaid by ancient sailors; and closely – if unexpectedly - related to elephants. The very shallowness of the waters means that sea faring traffic finds the aera almost impossible to sail through; and various schemes have, since the 18th century, suggested dredging the watery gaps to create a shipping throughfare. The most recent of these nakedly destructive and environmentally vandalistic schemes, the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, sits atop on a dusty shelf policed by the governments of India and Sri Lanka - an on-off Plan that has been discussed since the mid-1950s and, thankfully, with a price tag of several billion US dollars, one that is unlikely to undergo a malign hatching.

Illustration Courtsey of Google Maps.

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Adam’s Peak

Few Sri Lankans, and fewer still visitors, have not taken the trouble to ascend Adam’s Peak, a 7,359 foot mountain in the south of the island, flanked by forest, home to elephants and leopards, glinting with rubies, and sapphires, and the source of three major rivers. So it is unsurprising that no less a tourist than Alexander the Great is said to have made a journey up the sacred mountain. It holds at its top a depression that is claimed by Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and Hindus, as – respectively - the footprint of the Buddha, Adam, and Siva.

Albeit somewhat late in the day, Ashraff, a 15th century Persian poet describes the royal visit, proceeded, he says, by obligatory orgies and partying, in his poem “Zaffer Namah Skendari”. A century before, the sweetly-named Arab explorer, Ibn Batuta (“son of the duckling”) describes coming across a grotto at the foot of the mountain inscribed with the word "Iskander," an Asian variant of the name “Alexander.” Fa Hein, a Chinese explorer, describes his trip uphill in 412 CE. and the Italian merchant Marco Polo mentions it in his Travels of 1298 CE. But long before this many a Sri Lankan king has made the ascent, starting with King Valagambahu who apparently discovered the famous footprint in around 100 BCE.

Despite being the country’s second highest mountain, its unique teardrop shape leaves it standing out from the surrounding mountains like a giraffe among a zebra herd, its distinctive shape immortalized in the “Sixth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor” in Scheherazade’s “Thousand and One Nights”. The engaging royal storyteller wrote of “marvels which are indescribable” and that “the mountain is conspicuous from a distance of three days, and it contains many rubies and other minerals, and spice trees of all sorts.” But perhaps what makes it most remarkable is the fact that it is respected as a place of pilgrimage for all the important religions on the island; and has been trouble-free for nearly its entire history.

Three paths lead to the top – the Ratnapura route, the Kuruwita route and the Hatton route. The pilgrim climb, regarded by all as exceptionally meritorious, takes several long hours, and is usually scheduled between December to April, a reliably dry period. More reckless pilgrims visit it out of season, battling heavy rain, extreme wind, and thick mist, more in search of rescue parties than God. The aim of all pilgrims to get to the top just before daybreak so as to witness a glorious sunrise prior to carrying out an variety of religious rites. It is not place for hermits: on weekends it is estimated that 20,000 people make the challenging ascent and up to five people a season die on the journey.

Illustration: A photograph by Unbekannt of Adam's Peak taken in 1926. Public Domain.

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Adigar

A Sinhala term for the chief officer in the Kandyan kingdom. The official was referred to as the first adigar or mahadigar, and took precedence over all other chiefs in the kingdom.

Illustration courtsey of Todd White Art Photography.

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Adisham Hall

A comforting cross between the architectural outreaches of Kent’s Leeds Castle; and a cosy Cotswold Cottage, Adisham Hall overlooks the tea plantations around Haputale. Built in 1931, and standing proudly in a gentle time warp created by its architects R. Booth and F. Webster, it is as if the hit song of that year, Noël Coward’s "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" could still be heard drifting down its long green driveway. The house was built by Sir Thomas Villiers, a descendant of Lord John Russell, one of Britain’s most reforming prime ministers - but commerce not social enterprise ran in Villers’ veins – and he was to go onto become one of the principal businessmen of the colony. He retired in 1949, selling up and sailing back to England for the last ten years of his life. By 1963 his home had passed into the hands of The Benedictine Order and the house became Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Within its granite walls, many of the old rooms have been preserved, a Chapel created to house a chip of St Benedict himself; a shop set up to sell jams, cordials, and jellies; and inspirational quotations such as ”Lost time is never found again” dotted optimistically around its grounds and gardens.

Illustration: Adisham Hall courtsey of Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka.

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Administrative Structures

A country’s structural divisions are rarely able to inspire even the merest flicker of excitement, but even so, it helps one’s basic orientation to have some sort of semblance of order. During the time of the Anuradhapura kings, the country was divided into 3 areas, but time has inflated this to 9 provinces. The quickest way to envisage them is:

Three Gaze Seaward;
Three Gaze over Hills;
Two are Very Flat;
One is tiny but busy.

The largest, the North Central Province, ranges over 10,000 square kilometres of dry evergreen forest and, though centred on the old capital of Anuradhapura itself, supports a modest population. At just under 10,000 square kilometres, is the long Eastern seaboard province, dominated by Tamils and Sri Lankan Moors and managed from Trincomalee. The sparsely populated Northern Province, run from Jaffna and dominated by Tamils stretches over nearly 9,000 square kilometres – similar in size and population to Uva Province, though Uva, centred on Badulla, with its massive lakes and reservoirs and mighty mountains is as different to the flat dry north as it is possible to be. At just under 8,000 square kilometres is the North Eastern Province, paddy and coconut rich flat lands that stretch from the capital at Kurunegala to the lagoons of Puttalam and supporting a population nudging 3 million. Next door, smaller in size and larger in population is the lush tea-rich Central Province, centred on Kandy - similar in size and population to the long seaboard Southern Province, centred on Galle. At just under 5000 square kilometres is Sabaragamuwa Province, sparsely populated and centred around the gem-rich town of Ratnapura, leaving the Colombo-dominated Western Province as the smallest in size (under 4,000 square kilometres) and the largest in population. For the determinately bureaucratic these 9 administrative divisions open out onto yet more complexity – 25 districts that are split again into 331 Divisional Secretary's Divisions, under which come 14,022 Grama Niladhari Divisions, centred around villages. Order is the greatest grace, as John Dryden remarked; and it is to be found all across Sri Lanka, should you wish to find it.

Illustration courtsey of DigiAtlas.

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Amandagamani Abhaya, King of Anuradhapura

The thirty eighth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 21 CE – 30 CE.

Succeeding to the Anuradhapuran throne on the death of his brother, Mahadatika Mahanaga, King Amandagamani Abhaya’s rule ended abruptly when he was murdered by his brother, Kanirajanu Tissa. This seems - in retrospect - to be the tipping point for the Vijayan dynasty. The regicide unleased a murderous plenitude of competing ambitious amongst other family members, and within the wider nobility around the throne. Thereafter, murdering the sitting king because something of a dynastic craze. It was to take a further 29 years of feuding, assassination, and civil war for the once great dynasty to finally unseat themselves.

Illustration: The Ridi Viharaya, said to have been extended by Amandagamani Abhaya, King of Anuradhapura. Image courtsey of Time Out.

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Amiens, Treaty of

Illustration: "The plumb-pudding in danger," by James Gillray published in 1805. The satirical cartoon has Britain's Pitt and France's Napoleon facing each other at a round dinner-table on which, in a dish, is a terrestrial globe in the form of a steaming plum-pudding. The two men are caving up the world, and in the negociations, Dutch Ceylon is surrendered to the British. Public Domain

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Amulets

As in most nations, magic and superstition are alive and well on the island, though perhaps not quite as strong as once they were. Integral to this are amulets – those varied charms that keep misfortune at bay. All too easily, demons are thought to manipulate weather, raise storms, direct lightening; determine droughts, or even a woman’s fertility.

The amulet is often a shell or a boar’s tusk enclosed in a case and containing a charm, engraved, or written out on a copper or gold plate or an ola leaf. It is worn as a bracelet or necklace – or even around the waist. The charm is weaponized by incantations. And in such a deeply Buddhist country as this, most children wear a 'Panchauda,' a gold or silver pendant decorated with the symbols associated with Lord Buddha’s life, with the charm incanted over an altar of flowers with incense burning all about. In Tamil Sri Lanka, many wear the Pottu – a mark on the forehead in red or black to protect the wear against the evil eye, a tradition which has also spread into many Buddhist families too. Similarly, the malign effects of the evil eye are also dissipated by animal teeth, cobra hood rings or horseshoes above doors. Prosperity and good fortune is more likely if you wear rings or bangles that enclose elephant hair.

But best of all – for protection against all life’s travails – is the Navaratna ring, made up of 9 types of gems:
Ruby (Sun);
Pearl (Moon);
Emerald (Mercury);
Red Coral (Mars);
Yellow Sapphire (Jupiter);
Diamond (Venus);
Blue Sapphire (Saturn);
Hessonite (Rahu, the ascending lunar position in astrology);
Cat’s Eye (Ketu, the descending lunar position).

And there are also a host of other more specific protection that can be turned to including shark’s teeth, to prevent muscular cramps when swimming; and a piece of iron in a child’s lunchbox to block evil spirits getting at the food.

Image courtsey of The British Museum.

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Anula, Queen of Anuradhapura

The thirty fourth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of her reign being sometime around 44 BCE – 42 BCE.

Anula, Queen of Anuradhapura was to leave a mark on queenship that would the office centuries to recover from. She began her royal career in 50 BCE by poisoning her Vijayan husband, Choura Naga, King of Anuradhapura. She was to repeat the same tried and trusted trick in 47 BCE by poisoning his successor, Kuda Thissa. Choosing at this point to rule from a distance, she appointed her lover Siva, as ex palace guard, to be king in 47 BCE before having him poisoned. Thereafter the pattern was set. Siva I was himself poisoned within a year and replaced by a new lover, Vatuka, who had till then being living the probably blameless life of a Tamil carpenter. The following year the carpenter was replaced in similar fashion by Darubhatika Tissa, a wood carrier – who also failed to measure up. Her last throw of the love dice was Niliya, a palace priest who she installed as king in 44 BCE before feeding him something he ought not to have eaten.

At this point Anula must have reached the logical conclusion: if you want something done well, do it yourself. And so, from 43 to 42 BCE she ruled in her own name, the country’s first female head of state, beating President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga by well over two thousand years. Anula’s own reign ended at the hands of her brother-in-law, Kutakanna Tissa, who, having sensibly become a Buddhist monk during Anula’s rocky reign, remained alive and so able to rescue the monarchy. He did so by burning the queen alive in her own palace in 42 BCE, bringing down the curtains on a royal career that eclipsed that of the entire Borgia clan put together.

Illustration courtsey of Journo.lk.

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Asala Perahara

A Sinhala term for a religious ceremonial procession or important ritual.

Illustration courtsey of kandyperherabookings.com.

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Asela, King of Anuradhapura

The fourteenth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 215 BCE – 205 BCE.

The son Mutasiva, the Vijayan king of Anuradhapura, Asela took refuge in his cousin’s southern kingdom of Ruhuna when the Anuradhapuran Kingdom was overrun in 237 BCE by Sena and Guttik, a couple of opportunistic Tamil horse traders. It took 22 years of continual warfare before Asela was able to dislodge and kill them in 215 BCE. But his inheritance was a plundered and deeply weakened kingdom. He himself would have been worn down by decades of internecine warfare. He was to rule his newly acquired domain for just ten years, before losing both it and his own life in 205 BCE to yet another invader – this time to a prince of the Tamil Chola dynasty in Southern India – Ellalan.

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Avissawella

Had Andy Warhol ever taken the trouble to visit Avissawella, some 50 kilometres east of Colombo, he might have rephrased his famous quip to read “In the past, everywhere was famous for at least 15 minutes.” For Avissawella, sleepy town that it is today, was once the seething capital of a nascent and short lived kingdom, forged at the fulcrum of the island’s fightback against its first European colonial invaders. Briefly did Avissawella glitter as the capital of the Kingdom of Sitawaka, a realm ruled from 1521 to 1593 by King Mayadunne and his son Rajasinghe the First. A younger son and later brother of the more senior King of Kotte, Mayadunne had carved out his own kingdom in protest at his family’s collaboration with the Portuguese who had first arrived on the island in 1505. Endless battles against the Iberian invaders followed; and when the old king died, his son continued the fight, despite an avalanche of patricide allegations that set him and the Buddhist religious establishment at odds just when unity might have been a more helpful position.

Rajasinghe’s death - of a festering wound in March 1592 - effectively ended his kingdom’s fight and Avissawella returned slowly back into the background. The opening up of the interior of Sir Lanka in the early 1900s by trains and train track gave the area a new jolt of life Today, it is best visited for being a stone’s throw from Seethawaka Botanical Garden, which specialises in conserving the most threatened endemic plants found in Sinharaja Rain Forest.

Illustration: A sketch by Edward Lear of Avisavella in 1874. Public Domain.

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Avukana

Past the occasional roadside shop, barber salon and office for Birth, Deaths, and Marriages, and almost lost in the jungle many miles north of Dambulla, the tiny village of Avukana hints at a more glorious past with its stunning 14 metre statue of Lord Buddha. Academics (as they do) argue about whether the statue is 5th or 8th century - but whomsoever wins that fringe debate, there is no argument about the sheer beauty of the piece.

The lofty standing Buddha is captured by his unknown sculptor making a gesture of blessing - but the way in which his delicate pleated clothing clings with astonishing realism to his body indicates that the sculptor was familiar with two key regional art movements - the naturalistic Hellenistic Gandhara school, and the more sensuous Amaravati school. There is - in such records as do exist – a tantalising hint as to its creator. A mere 15 kilometres away, at Sasseruwa, stands an almost exact copy of this statue – almost, but not quite as good; and one fatally left unfinished. The local villagers tell of a competition between a master sculptor and his pupil to finish the commission first; and the master won. Sadly, as the two statues are at least 400 years apart in age, this lovely tale could only have some residual truth in a parallel universe – but it amply shows how rich and ready are local folk tales to help fill in the many gaps in the island’s long and sometimes impenetrable history.

Illustration: the Avukana Buddha statue courtsey of en.advisor.travel.

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Badda

An historical Sinhala term for tax.

Illustration: The Hammillava Rock Inscription No 144 Inscriptions of Ceylon Vol II- S Paranavitane during the period of King Mahasen (277-304 CE). This early record ends with the sentence ‘ This is a legal enactment has been promulgated and recorded, having had it written on stone’. The line of this inscription mentions a Maha[ Ka]laka nakara [A revenue agency]. The lines regulate briefly an accounting system. Image courtsey of sirimunasiha.files.

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Bahiya, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty-third (invader) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 100 BCE – 98 BCE.

One of 7 Dravidian chiefs from the Indian Pandyan Dynasty that forcibly took the Anuradhapuran Kingdom from its barely-established new ruler King Valagamba in 103 BCE, Bahiya became king of Anuradhapura by the simple expedient of murdering his Dravidian master, Pulahatta. Until then he had previously served him as chief minster. Much of his own short rule was spent dealing with threats to his own safety – from the avenging Valagamba - busy waging an ever more successful guerrilla war from the south - and from his own Dravidian colleagues, one of whom, Panya Mara, was to murder him.

Illustration of a Pandyan Kingdom coin depicting a temple between hill symbols and elephant, from Sri Lanka, 1st century CE. Public Domain.

Balana Fort

“Balana” was never a place name to find favour with the Portuguese settlers of Sri Lanka. Since 1505 they had been annexing large parts of the island with little difficulty - Kotte, Sitawaka and Jaffna. But Kandy was to prove the nut that broke their teeth. Repeated attempts in 1594, 1603 and 1630 proved disastrous – and all because of the Balanna Fort - ‘look out’ post that more than did its duty. From its tower all Portuguese machinations could be seen – and stopped. Their last great attempt fetched up against the then Kandyan King, Rajasinghe II, then in secret negotiations with the Dutch to enlist their help to evict the Portuguese. Alerted to this by their spy network, the Portuguese Captain General in Colombo, Dego de Mello Castro frogmarched his army to Kandy, taking Balana as he went, and brushed aside attempts by Rajasinghe to negotiate. He gained the city – but found it abandoned for the king and his army had melted into the surrounding hills. As the Portuguese retuned to Balana on March 28, 1638, the Kandyan army struck. The Battle of Gannoruwa, as the moment came to be known, was a catastrophe for the colonial forces. Just thirty eight soldiers survived; the heads of their slaughtered comrades left in heaps before the king. The battle broke the Portuguese, and they were soon to leave the island altogether, Balana carved on their heart. Today only a few walls and steps remain.

Image courtsey of Amazing Lanka.

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Basnayaka Nilame

An Sinhala term for the most important lay officer in a devela, a shrine of gods.

Illustration of Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devale Basnayake Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dhala Bandara, courtesy of kataragama.org.

Batticaloa Fort

If ever there was a fort to convert into your dream home, it is the old fort in Batticaloa, built on one of the many small islands of Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka. The fort faces Batticaloa, the Batticaloa Lagoon and the ocean, its ramparts dotted with ancient cannons still bearing the arms of the Dutch East India Company. From its walls the keener hearing can sometimes catch the sound of singing fish from April to September. The original fort was built by the Portuguese in 1628 in a fit of pique when Constantino de Sa de Noronha took exception to a Dutch fleet that landed there in 1603, with the blessing of the King of Kandy, to try and oust the Portuguese. Sadly, the Portuguese were to enjoy the fort for just ten years./ By 1638 the Dutch had pushed them off the island, and with the not inconsiderable help of soldiers from King Rajasinghe’s army, the Dutch-Kandyan forces took the fort on 18 May 1638. The Dutch immediately set about improving its structure,, with four bastions protected by the sea from two sides and with a moat from the other two sides. However, the site itself dates back much further than the sixteenth century, with a first century BCE stupa marking far earlier times – and the lost Kingdom of Ruhuna. Love though, and some sympathetic builder-restorers, is what the fort most needs now. The isolating and deteriorating conditions the fort ensuring during the long civil war were considerably worsened by the impact of the 2004 tsunami.

Image of Batticaloa Fort by Baldaeus, 1672. Public Domain.

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Bawa, Geoffrey

One of Asian’s most influential architects, Bawa’s buildings radically changed the way in which people lived and worked, his creativity inspiring generations of new architects throughout the region to challenge and transform the built environment.

The Guardian puts it best: "Bawa's portfolio of work included religious, social, cultural, educational, governmental, commercial and residential buildings, and in each of these areas he established a canon of new prototypes. Early experiments in what was known as tropical modernism were tempered by a growing interest in the traditional architecture and building materials of Sri Lanka. This led to the development of an architecture that was a blend of both modern and traditional, of east and west, of formal and picturesque, that broke down the barriers between inside and outside, between building and landscape, and that offered a blueprint for new ways to live and work in a tropical city."

Whilst this observation sets out well the context for his achievements, it has yet to capture the liberating experience of moving about within one of his buildings. His city houses most typically centred around an inner courtyard, one wisely constructed to keep the focus personal - all the better to keep the foolish world at bay. Within its cool quite spaces, there is intimacy, peace; the space to think and live with minimal interruptions. The homes he built in the countryside, not least for himself at Lunuganga, enlist fields, plantations, hills and valleys as extra rooms, the built landscape opening out onto the natural one, a series of interconnected rooms that sometime only seem to end on the horizon. His public buildings were clean massive confident occupations of space, rooms opening into one another, breathing together like a single organic city, a lofty forest of light cement, glass, wood and plants.

A lawyer, who retrained as an architect, Bawa spent much of his younger years partying or studying in Europe, especially the UK. Independence in 1948 brought him more firmly back to the country of his birth. A Burgher mix of Sinhalese, German and Scottish, he came from that slim, rich impossibly lavish section of society that flared briefly with barely a care in the world until the ethic and political demons caught up on the country’s daily life enmeshing it in civil war and economic chaos.

As many of his contemporaries fled, Bawa stayed put, building first his own home in Lunuganga; and then an architectural practice that promoted his new vision of architecture - not just in Sri Lanka but in India, Indonesia, Mauritius, Japan, Pakistan, Fiji, Egypt and Singapore too. His homes in Bentota and Colombo magnetised all who had talent and originality, local or traveller; and his parties and gift for hospitality are still talked about today.

His parents must have done something right for both Bawa and his brother were not just both gay – but also hugely talented landscape gardeners too; and their adjoining country house gardens would put to shame anything better known in Florence, Oxfordshire or the South of France.

Should your week ahead look a little pedestrian, give it some purpose and take a trip round all his surviving Sri Lankan buildings.

The easiest ones to visit are his old office – now the Gallery Café which offers a heart-warming menu of martinis; his old home in Colombo - Number 11; 33rd Lane, Bagatelle Road, Colombo 03 – now a museum, but one you can spend the night at; and his country house, Lunuganga in Bentota; also now a museum cum hotel. The balance of his surviving architecture is:

1948–97 LUNUGANGA GARDEN, Bentota. Open to the public.

1958–62 CLASSROOMS FOR ST. THOMAS’ SCHOOL, Galle Road, Colombo.

1960–61 HOUSE & SURGERY FOR DR ASH DE SILVA In Galle; a private residence.

1960–62 ESTATE BUNGALOW, Strathspey Estate, Maskeliya. By appointment only.

1959–60 OFFICES FOR AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION, Sir Marcan Markar Maw, Colombo.

1960–69 BAWA’S OWN TOWNHOUSE, 33rd Lane, Bagatelle Road, Colombo 3. Admission by ticket.

1961–63 BARTHOLOMEUSZ HOUSE, 2 Alfred House Gardens, Colombo 3, now The Gallery Café.

1961–62 NAZARETH CHAPEL FOR GOOD SHEPHERD CONVENT, Bandarawela. Open by permission.

1961–63 FLATS FOR MRS. AF WIJEMANNA on Ananda Coomaraswamy Maw., Colombo 7. Private residences.

1962–64 HOUSE FOR CHRIS & CARMEL RAFFEL, Ward Place, Colombo 7. A private residence.

1963–65 HOUSE FOR LEELA DIAS BANDARANAYAKE, Mount Lavinia. A private residence.

1963–64 MONTESSORI SCHOOL FOR ST. BRIDGET’S CONVENT, Maitland Crescent, Colombo 7. By appointment only.

1963–65 ESTATE BUNGALOW FOR BAUR & CO., Polontalawa, By appointment only.

1965–66 CLASSROOM BLOCK FOR LADIES COLLEGE, Ernest de Silva Mawatha, Colombo 7. By appointment only.

1965–66 YWCA BUILDING, Rotunda Gardens, Colombo. A public building.

1966–69 STEEL CORPORATION, offices, & staff housing in Oruwela. By appointment only.

1967–69 HOUSE FOR PIETER KEUNEMAN, now a beauty salon, Inner Flower Road, Colombo 3. Access by permission.

1967–69 BENTOTA RESORT, Railway Station & Tourist Village, Bentota. All public buildings.

1967–73 BENTOTA BEACH HOTEL, Bentota. A public building.

1967–74 SERENDIB HOTEL, Bentota. A public building.

1969–70 PUBLIC LIBRARY, Kalutara. A public building.

1969–71 OFFICE DEVELOPMENT opposite Matara Bus Station. A public building.

1970–72 4 ROW HOUSES FOR FC DE SARAM, 5th Lane Colombo 3. Only two remain, both private residences.

1971–73 HOUSE FOR STANLEY DE SARAM, Cambridge Place, Colombo 7. A private residence.

1972–74 HOUSE CONVERSION FOR MR & MRS H.E TENNAKOON in Bagatelle Road. A private residence.

1973–76 NEPTUNE HOTEL, Beruwala. A public building.

1974–76 AGRARIAN RESEARCH & TRAINING INSTITUTE, Wijerama Maw., Colombo 7. Access by permission.

1975–77 NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR MANAGEMENT STUDIES, Vidya Maw., Colombo. Access by permission.

1975–79 OFFICES FOR STATE MORTGAGE BANK, Hyde Park Corner, Darley Road, Colombo. A public building.

1976–78 SEEMA MALAKA ORDINATION TEMPLE, Beira Lake, Colombo. A public building.

1978–80 INTEGRAL EDUCATION CENTRE, Subodhi, Bolgoda Lake. Access by permission.

1978–80 HOUSE FOR LIDIA GUNASEKERA, 87, Galle Road, Bentota. Now a guest house.

1978–79 TOURIST POLICE STATION, Galle Road, Beruwala. A public building.

1978–81 HERITANCE TRITON HOTEL, Ahungalla. A public building.

1978–80 STAFF HOUSING FOR THE MINISTRY OF POWER, Sarana Rd, Colombo 7. Private residences.

1979 THE RATNASIVARATNAM HOUSE, Bhaudaloka Mawatha, Geoffrey Bawa, Colombo .

1979–82 NEW SRI LANKA PARLIAMENT, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte. Access by special permission.

1980–88 RUHUNU UNIVERSITY CAMPUS, Matara. Access by appointment.

1982–83 VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTRE, Ladies College, Inner Flower Road, Colombo 3. Access by appointment.

1982–83 PILGRIMS’ REST HOUSE, Anuradhapura. A public building.

1984–86 STABLE CONVERSION FOR SUNETHRA, Bandaranaike Horagolla. A private residence.

1985–86 HOUSE FOR RICHARD FITZHERBERT, Dikwella, Tangalle. Now a guest house.

1985–91 House for Cecil & Chloe de Soysa. Off Dharmapala Maw., Colombo 3. A private residence.

1990 REMODELLING & EXTENSION TO SINBAD HOTEL, Kalutara. A public building.

1991–94 KANDALAMA HERITANCE HOTEL, Dambulla. A public building.

1991–95 HOUSE FOR ROHAN & DULANJALEE JAYAKODY, Park Street, Colombo 2. A private residence.

1995–97 LIGHTHOUSE HOTEL, Galle. A public building.

1996–98 BLUE WATER HOTEL, Waduwa. A public building.

1997-98 HOUSE FOR PRADEEP JAYAWARDENE, Red Cliffs, Mirissa. A private residence.

1997–98 HOUSE FOR DAVID SPENCER, Rosemead Place, Colombo 7. A private residence.

Illustration courtsey of David Robson.

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Bhathika Abhaya, King of Anuradhapura

The thirty sixth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 20 BCE – 9 CE.

Succeeding to the Anuradhapuran throne on the death of his father, Kutakanna Tissa, Bhathika Abhaya’s 29-year rule goes almost unmentioned in the chronicles. Given the turmoil of the previous decades caused by the regicide of six kings in a row, such silence was probably a blessing and Bhathika Abhaya appears to have died peaceably in 9 CE, which, when looked at from the dynasty’s later years (let alone its former ones), was an achievement to be celebrated.

Illustration of a stone statue of King Bathikabhaya facing the Ruwanweli Dágoba in Anuradhapura. Public Domain.

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Bhatika Tissa, King of Anuradhapura

The fifth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 50th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 141 – 165 CE.

Inheriting the throne from his father, Mahallaka Naga, little is known about Bhatika Tissa’s relatively long 24 year reign, But if, as Thomas Carlyle noted, “silence is golden,” the kingdom’ s golden years continued; and the monarch, though obscure, must have a much deserved place amongst the dynasty’s more successful rulers. He natural death earnt him a place as just the 23rd reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have died in this way – no bad feat given that he was the 50th recorded monarch in the island’s history.

Illustration of the Anuradhapura Thuparamaya Chapter House said to have been built by Bhatika Tissa, King of Anuradhapura, image courtsey of AmazingLanka.

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Boer War

An illustration by Henry Charles Seppings Wright of the opening of the first church for British troops guarding the Boer Prisoners Camp at Diyatalawa. Public Domain

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Buddhadasa, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty first monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 66th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 341 – 370 CE.

A blessedly peaceful succession saw Buddhadasa take the throne from his father Jettha Tissa II – and a twenty-eight-year reign beckoned. The Mahavaṃsa has nothing but praise for this king, characterized as a "Mind of Virtue and an Ocean of Gems." Unusually though, the new king preferred medicine to wars, stupas, temples, monasteries and plotting, and his reign was noted for the exceptional medical care he extended to his subjects. He wrote a medical handbook, the "Sarartha Sangraha,” built hospitals, appointed Medical Officers, and established infirmaries and asylums for the benefit of the blind, and the lame. Stories abound of his role as doctor to various ailing subjects who he came across. He even took care of animals, including, it is said, a snake with a stomach-ache.

Perhaps his interest in medicine can also help explain the eighty sons The Mahavaṃsa credits him with creating, each one, the chronicle approvingly states, named after a disciple of Buddha. Two were to reign after his natural death in 370 CE. For 116 years the Lambakarna dynasty, recovering from its earlier subversive bout of regicide, had settled down to govern well, fostering a prosperous and growing state. They had, in the words of John Lennon, given peace a chance. In the reigns that were to follow, it was, alas, soon to be time again for bloodletting.

Illustration Credit: Ancient palm-leaf medical manuscripts with diagrams of the kind that would be familiar to Buddhadasa, King of Anuradhapura. Picture courtesy of Sunday Observer.

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Capital Punishment

An illustration from Robert Knox's book "A Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon" of an execution by an elephant, published in 1681. Public Domain.

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Chandra Mukha Siva, King of Anuradhapura

The forty-third monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 44 CE – 52 CE.

The son of the Vijayan king, Ilanaga, and the penultimate kosher Vijayan king , Chandra Mukha Siva took the throne on his father’s death. His reign, about which almost nothing is known, is unlikely to have been much of a source of pleasure and strength to him though, for by 52 CE he had been murdered by his own brother, Yassalalaka Thissa.

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Chattagahaka Jantu, Queen of Anuradhapura

The twenty fifth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 70th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE) the dates of her reign being 434 - 435 CE.

Chattagahaka Jantu is one of the island’s few transgender mysteries. Some chronicles mark her as a Queen; others as a King. A stepsister or stepbrother to King Soththisena, this gender defying monarch was to rule for less than a year, the reign entangled in the now lost tentacles of Lambakanna dynastic rivalries and alliances that were strangling both the dynasty and the country with a civil war it could ill afford. His/her death in 435 CE at the hands of a chief minister intent on putting in place a more pliable monarch had regicidal palace politics once again singing a song that would challenge any modern-day soap opera scriptwriter.

Illustration Credit: A Maneless Lion Copper coin. On one side, there is an image of a lion. On the other side, there are three or sometimes four dots. It is likely that these dots indicate the value of the coin. The diameter of this coin is between ½ - ¾ inches and it weighs between 15-40 grains. These coins were used from 3-4 A.D - including during the short reign of Chattagahaka Jantu, Queen of Anuradhapura. The coins have been found during excavations in Anuradhapura and the Northern regions of the island. Image credit: Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Chilaw Fort

Just one year after they had taken control of all the Portuguese territories in Sri Lanka, the Dutch, under Governor van der Meyden, set about building a fort at Chilaw to protect the cinnamon trade. The Portuguese had already constructed one, probably on the foundations of an earlier fort made by the Kings of Kandy, which the Dutch had also adopted. Nothing of either fort remains visible today, except possibly a mildly disputed tunnel. Observers at the time were scathing in their commentary of the fort, which was built of mud walls, with a house for the commander, a powder magazine, hospital, two churches and a collection of “low, ill-built houses.” Lord Valetia writing in 1803 noted what was probably its most famous siege: “the Fort of Chilaw is the most trifling thing I ever beheld under that name, It consists of a ditch , in some parts three feet deep, with a rampart of earth that slopes equally both ways, and is about ten feet high on the top of which is a row of hedge stakes driven in close to each other. In the front of this, on the edge of the ditch is a range of trees with their branches placed outwards. This is a late addition; yet without this it stood a siege against a the Second Adigar and three thousand Cingalese. They carried their approaches very regularly and at length brought their batteries so near the fort that they conversed with the garrison. Mr Campbell, who commanded, though a Civil Servant, had with him but sixty Sepoys and Malays; yet the enemy who could see everything never attempted to storm the place. He had not shot, and only a barrel and half of powder. He was obliged to use pice, of which he had six thousand rix-dollars in the place, and to manage his fire sparingly, as he did not know when he might be relieved. He had not great occasion to fear in other respects for not a man was killed on his side, His havildar told him there was no use in loading with the ball: ‘Put in powder enough’ said he ‘and the noise will be sufficient to keep them off’ . Repeated offers of reward were made to the garrison if they would give him up, but without effort. At length Captain Blackwall with forty men came to his assistance by water from Negombo, and the Candy army retreated with the utmost expedition.”

Image: Public Domain.

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Choura Naga, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty-eighth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 62 BCE – 50 BCE.

Inheriting the throne in from his stepbrother Mahakuli Mahatissa, Choura Naga, was the son of the Vijayan King Valagamba – that luckless but plucky monarch who had been ousted by the very Dravidians he then ousted himself after years of interminable warfare. Chora Naga’s reign appears to have been a tale of woe from the start. By virtue of not being a whole-hearwted follower of the dominant Theravada Mahavihara Buddhist sect, his popularity and support was ever in question; and his real loyalties probably laid more with the Buddhist monks who broke away and formed the Abhayagiri-vihara in the 1st century BCE . His most enduring (and fatal) decision, as it turned out, was his choice of wife - Anula, who had him poisoned by 50 BCE, an act which cut through all and any doctrinal disputes with a crude finality.

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Chulabhaya, King of Anuradhapura

The fortieth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 33 CE – 35 CE.

Son of the assassinated Vijayan king, Amandagamani Abhaya, Chulabhaya succeeded to the throne on the death of his uncle Kanirajanu Tissa after a relatively brief reign of 3 years. Brief – and suspicious. Quite whether his predecessor died naturally or not, remains one of the many Vijayan mysteries unlikely ever to be cleared up. Three years later Chulabhaya too was dead (causes unknown), and his sister Sivali took the throne. Whatever it was that promoted Chulabhaya’s own departure from this good earth, was clearly as strong a signal as could be made that the Vijayan dynasty was edging ever closer to the chasm and civil insurrection that would all too soon entomb them all.

Colombo Fort

As the Metropolitan Museum of Arts was being erected on side of the world, on the other, in Sri Lanka, the British set about destroying those parts of Colombo, known then, as they are still today, as Fort. This act of vandalism, conducted in the interests (as ever) of urban improvement, stripped the city of much of its most tangible history, leaving behind mere street patterns, engravings and the odd wall or building to tell of an area first developed sometime between 1505 and 1528 by the Portuguese. Sailing in, green dragons blazing on the flags of their stout galleons, the Portuguese set about building themselves a small fort on the “Hook of Colombo” (which the Dutch called Point of St. Lawrence), on the southern boundary of the harbour of Colombo. It was soon upgraded and given three bastions, with stone and mortar replacing mud walls; and was christened “Our Lady of Victories.” A town, complete with Franciscan friars grew around it - but by 1554 everything was once again upgraded. This time the Portuguese moved the fort to the area now known as “Fort,” adding to it regularly so that by 1630 it boasted fourteen bastions, residences, churches, and many of the facilities of a small and busy town. When, in 1656, the fort and the island fell to the Dutch, the new colonialists proved no less enthusiastic for military improvements. The fort was restructured to better sit astride the natural defences offered by the lake and the sea, and a moat dug on the landward side and stocked with crocodiles. It was separated out from the old town or Pettah, and given nine bastions and two batteries. The fort became a walled city with storehouses, residential buildings, churches, shops, a parade ground, stables for horses and elephants and streets lined with shady trees. When, in 1796 betrayal rather than military prowess saw the fort fall to the British, life continued with little structural change until the 1870s when the British then began to systematically destroy large sections of the fort to expand the space for money-making operations. The city soon expanded beyond the boundaries of the fort - for example into Cinnamon Gardens, a fashionable address for diplomats, bankers, administrators, and tycoons. What remained was a melting pot of cultures – Sinhalese; Parses, Moors, Malays, Tamils; and Portuguese and Dutch who had stayed behind, or inter married, becoming known as Burgers. It was not until the disastrous ‘Sinhala only’ policy in the late 1950s that these families finally disappeared, migrating to Australia, Canada, and the UK. . An Englishman writing in 1803 noted of Colombo that: “there is no part in the world where so many languages are spoken, or which contains such a mixture of nations, manners, and religions.” Hints of the old fort can still be glimpsed in several places:
1. Kayman’s Gate Bell Tower – an entrance to the Fort located at the foot of the Wolvendaal Hill in Pettah.
2. Delf Gateway – one of the main entrances to the Colombo fort, now part of the premises of the Commercial Bank.
3. Fortified Dutch Warehouse – now the Maritime Museum of Colombo Ports Authority, built in 1676.
4. The Battenburg battery – a 50 metre sliver of wall inside the Harbour.
5. The Enkhuysen bastion / Dan Briel bastion Wall – a section of wall now located beside the Junior Police Officers Mess.
6. Dan Briel Bastian – built in 1751 and now inside the Navy Headquarters.
7. The Slave Entrance - now found within the Navy Headquarters, this entrance was built in 1676 to access the land between the sea and the fort where the Dutch kept their ill-stared Kaffir slaves.

Image of the oldest known map of Colombo Fort by J. L. K. van Dort: Public Domain.

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Commandement

An historical term for an administrative division under Dutch rule; sometimes known as a commandery.

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Cula Naga, King of Anuradhapura

The seventh monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 52nd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya; the dates of his reign being 193 – 195 CE.

The son of King Kanittha Tissa, Cula Naga was to enjoy his throne for a mere two years before being assassinated by his brother, Kuda Naga - the 27th reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have been so murdered. This single act of regicide would have far reached consequences for it ushered in a period of deeply unstable government that was to last until 254 CE – 59 years.

Illustration Credit: The tusker and swastika is a small Copper coin. On one side of the coin, there is an image of a walking tusker, a stupa drawn using three half-moons, a swastika and a Bo tree with three branches inscribed in a square. On the flipside, there is a swastika, a trident, and a stupa. The coin would have been in circulation through the early Anuradhapura era including during the reign of Cula Naga, King of Anuradhapura. Photo credit: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

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Dakapathi

An historical Sinhala term for the levy paid on water to the king or to other offices or people who owned the water.

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Dambulla

A watercolour by Clive Wilson of Dambulla. Image courtsesy of the artist.

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Darubhatika Tissa, King of Anuradhapura

The thirty second (interloper) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being sometime around 47 to 44 BCE.

A forester or wood carrier by some accounts, Darubhatika Tissa was placed on the throne of Anuradhapura in 47 BCE by his terrifying lover, the widowed Vijayan Queen, Anula. Anula had come into her inheritance by murdering four earlier monarchs: her husband Choura Naga, the twenty-eighth King of Anuradhapura; his successor, Choura Naga, the twenty-ninth monarch; and her last two lovers, Siva I, the thirtieth monarch, and Vatuka, the thirty first monarch. Within a year Anula had Darubhatika Tissa poisoned too.

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Dathika, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty-sixth (invader) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 90 BCE – 89 BCE.

One of 7 Dravidian chiefs from the Indian Pandyan Dynasty that forcibly took the Anuradhapuran Kingdom from its barely-established new ruler, King Valagamba in 103 BCE, Dathika became king of Anuradhapura in 90 BCE. It is likely that he achieved this by the simple expedient of murdering his Dravidian master, Pilaya Mara, who he had previously served as chief minister, although some stories credit Valagamba’s military campaign for his death. Much of Dathika’s own short rule was spent in an ultimately vain attempt to protect his crown from the avenging ex King, Valagamba, who was busy waging an ever more successful guerrilla war from the south. This was to culminate in Dathika’s own death on the battlefield.

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Dathiya, King of Anuradhapura

The 5th of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India; and the 76th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE).

Dathiya’s relationship to the previous king, Tiritara, is unknown; but his reign (447 – 450 CE) would have been troublesome and turbulent, extending over an ever-shrinking area as the Sri Lankan Moriyan rebel leader, Dhatusena, gained more and more of a foothold on Pandiyan-held territory. Dathiya was to die in battle against Dhatusena, the 10th reigning Sri Lankan monarch known to have died in this way.

Illustration Credit: Pandyian fish relief courtsey of Quora.

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Devanampiya Tissa, King of Anuradhapura

The ninth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 307 BCE – 267 BCE.

It was fortunate that when Sri Lanka’s paramount defining moment occurred, it had a king talented enough to make best sense of it. Devanampiya Tissa, second son of the Vijayan King, Mutasiva, is described by The Mahavamsa as being "foremost among all his brothers in virtue and intelligence". To get anywhere close to this remarkable leader head to the mountain of Mihintale, 16 kilometres east of Anuradhapura. There stands a modest, much weathered, armless stone statute of Devanampiya Tissa. Six feet high, he stands, gazing out across the grand ruins and remains of his religious citadel. It marks the spot where Sri Lanka became Buddhist. Gaze into his eyes – and note that, unlike so much other statutory and art, this one, argue the scholars, actually dates from very close to the death of this outstanding monarch.

Like the Vijayans, Buddhism also came from India - but it naturalised so completely across the island that it is impossible grasp any aspect of the country’s past or present, without first comprehending the centrality of this, its main religion. It arrived through a series of intimate stories in which faith follows friendship – for King Devanampiya Tissa had struck up a pen-pal relationship with the celebrated Indian Buddhist emperor, Ashoka. Gifts followed letters, and a missionary followed the gifts when Ashoka despatched his own son, Mahinda, to Sri Lanka. The young missionary prince was to live on the island for 48 years, out-living Devanampiya Tissa, and dying, aged 80 after a lifetime spent promoting Buddhism, the beneficiary of a state funeral at which his relics were interred in a stupa in Mihintale.

For it was at Mihintale that Mahinda first met Devanampiya Tissa. The king, it was said, was out hunting. Expecting a stag, the ruler instead found himself a missionary. A testing exchange on the nature of things followed, and then a sutra was preached. The rest, as they say, is history. The conversions began, and the country’s history took the most definitive turn in its long journey, becoming - and remaining to this day - a Buddhist country first and foremost, with all that this entailed. So great were the number of conversions that the king especially built the Maha Vihare (The Great Monastery) in the pleasure gardens of Anuradhapura to house the growing number of Buddhist monks; and for centuries after the building was to become the centre of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

The evidence for all this comes of course from The Mahāvaṃsa Chronicle, but it is likely that Buddhism penetrated the island much earlier. Even so, it took the backing of a king to ensure that the religion became so dominant so fast. And as it did so, it carried along with it some of the many rituals and ceremonies of the pre Buddhist cults, especially those associated with agriculture and demons. It also helped spread a common language and script, and with it, the power of the centre - for the king was also the formal guardian of the Sanga, the religious organization.

Clearly, Mahinda, the young missionary had painted a compelling picture of his new island home in his letters home. He was soon joined by his sister, the nun, Sanghamittā. She brought with her a golden vase in which grew a sapling of Bodhi-Tree taken from the very one under which Buddha himself is said to have attained enlightenment. Accompanied by a number of other nuns, Sanghamittā landed in the north of the island. She was met by King Devanampiya Tissa himself. The party were ceremonially escorted to Anuradhapura along a road softened with white sand. The Bodhi sapling was planted in the Mahāmeghavana Grove in Anuradhapura, where it still grows. Saṅghamittā later ordained Queen Anula and the women of the court in Buddhism and stayed on in the island, promoting the religion. She died in 203 BCE aged 79, her death prompting national mourning. A stupa was erected over her cremation site in front of the Bodhi-Tree in Anuradhapura.

Devanampiya Tissa built a monastery and temple caves at Mihintale, a site that over successive years grew and grew. Indeed temple caves rapidly became the architectural hit of the time with ordinary people funding a stone mason to do all the necessary work. Between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st century CE nearly 3,000 such caves were recorded. Other notable buildings followed: monasteries, palaces, the 550-acre Tissa Wewa water tank, still in use today; and the Thuparamaya of Anuradhapura, the county’s first stupa - which enshrined the right collarbone of Lord Buddha and whose remains today stretch out over 3 ½ acres. Devanampiya Tissa’s death after a long reign brought to a gradual end a golden period of Vijayan peace and prosperity.

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Disavanti

A Sinhala term for the provinces of the old Kandyan kingdom, governed by a Disave.

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Disave

A Sinhala term for the governor of a province belonging to the old Kandyan kingdom. The term was adopted by the Dutch for their maritime provinces; and was later used within the administrative hierarchy for native officials under British rule.

Illustration of A Kandyan Dissava and Priest of Boodhoo, John Davy (1821). Public Domain.

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Divel

A Sinhala term for property that is granted to individuals employed by the state or its monasteries.

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Dravidians, The Six

In 436 CE the Anuradhapura Kingdom was invaded and conquered by six Dravidian chiefs. It was the fourth such invasion from its mighty northern neighbour that Sri Lanka had experienced; and was not to be the last. These particular chiefs originated from within the Pandyan dynasty, centred around Madurai - one of the four great families that were to vie with one other for centuries over control of Southern India – the other three being the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Cheras. Little is known about the cadet branch that invaded Sri Lanka – whether they were all related or all acted in unison or relay. It is thought that they were Buddhist rather than Hindu, and the few ancient sources that refer to them note their obliging donations to Buddhist establishments. Even so, they amply demonstrated their divergence from those Buddhist teachings that strongly opposed the use of violence, to show that they were not above its expedient application to win themselves a kingdom. They were to rule the Anuradhapura Kingdom for sixteen turbulent years. Two were to die apparently natural deaths; one was murdered by a rival and the last three were all killed in battle or skirmishes with Dhatusena, the leader of the gathering Sri Lankan resistance and a member of the emergent Moriyan dynasty. The order of these invader kings is as follows:

1. Pandu. The first of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India and the 72nd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his five year reign being 436 – 441 CE.

2. Parindu, the son of King Pandu; the 2nd of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India and the 73rd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE). He was to rule for under a year in 441 CE, being killed by his brother and successor. His assassination trod a familiar path amidst Anuradhapuran kingship, Sri Lankan or otherwise – for he is the 35th reigning Sri Lankan monarch known to have been murdered for the succession.

3. Khudda Parinda. The Brother of King Parindu and son of King Pandu; the 3rd of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India; and the 74th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE). He is presumed to have died a natural death following an (albeit suspiciously short) six year reign (441 – 447 CE).

4. Tiritara, the 4th of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India and the 75th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE). His relationship with the previous kings, Pandu, Parindu and Khudda Parinda remains opaque, but not so the length of his reign, which was to last under a year (447 CE). He was to die in battle against the future Sri Lankan rebel king, Dhatusena.

5. Dathiya, the 5th of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India; and the 76th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE). Like his predecessor, Dathiya, his kinship with the other Dravidian chiefs is unknown. His reign was to last just three years (447 – 450 CE), ending with his defeat and death at the hands of Dhatusena.

6. Pithiya, the last of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India; and the 77th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE). As with his two immediate predecessors, Pithiya’s reign ended with his defeat and death at the hands of Dhatusena. He reign had lasted barely two years (450 – 452 CE), and with his death the country plunged into deeper anarchy until eventually, Dhatusena, was to quell all other opposition and be crowed King of Anuradhapura himself.

Illustration Credit: Gold coin of Alupas, showing the fish symbol of the Pandyian Dynasty

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Durava Elu

A Sinhala term for the Singhalese caste of toddy tapper.

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Durbar, Kandy

Illustration by Henry Payne of The Duke of York and Cornwall at the Durbar in Kandy in 1901. Public Domain.

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Dutugemunu, King of Anuradhapura

The sixteenth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 161 BCE – 137 BCE.

The son of King Kavantissa of Ruhuna, a southern kingdom established earlier by a cadet branch of the Anuradhapura’s Vijayan kings, Dutugemunu was able to benefit from his father’s lasting achievement in strengthening and enlarging Ruhuna. This he did not just to defend himself against the Ellalan, the Chola Tamil conqueror of Anuradhapuran – but also to see off the many more modest challenges that came his way from the many other fiefdoms that bordered his lands. King Kavantissa bequeathed to his son Dutugemunu a battle-ready country, but Dutugemunu was unable to focuses its powers beyond its existing borders until he had seen off a challenge to his own inheritance from his younger brother, Tissa. Living up to his various nicknames (rowdy, fearless, disobedient), Dutugemunu eventually defeated his brother but rather than putting him to death, the traditional punishment for such temerity, he promoted him to be one of his own generals.

With an army of chariots, monks, horses, a lucky spear, his favourite elephant (Kandula) and, states The Mahāvaṃsa, Ten Giant Warriors (Nandhimitra, Suranimala, Mahasena, Theraputtabhya, Gotaimbara, Bharana, Vasabha, Khanjadeva, Velusamanna, and Phussadeva), the new king of Ruhuna set off north to reclaim the family’s senior kingdom – Anuradhapura . Composed, as was normal of four units – elephants, horses, chariots, and infantry – Dutugemunu’s army was spectacularly successful, first mopping up the splintered Tamil statelets in the north before arriving outside the walls of Anuradhapura. King Ellalan, mounted on his elephant Mahapabbata, faced his younger rival, mounted on his elephant, Kandula.

The ancient texts report that the deadly combat was honourable but decisive, a spear thrust finally ending Ellalan’s life in 161 BCE. The records state that "the water in the tank there was dyed red with the blood of the slain'. And perhaps in acknowledgment of Ellalan’s fine reputation, Dutugemunu had his victim cremated properly and a stupa constructed over the pyre. “Even to this day,” comments The Mahāvaṃsa, “the princes of Lanka, when they draw near to this place, are wont to silence their music'.

For a glorious, albeit extended moment, it seems as if the Vijayan dynasty’s good times had returned. Dutugemunu's victory left him ruling nearly the whole of the island, from Anuradhapura to Ruhuna, and much in between. And as if to confirm the return of Vijayan hegemony, the construction of more buildings commenced. Anuradhapura expanded exponentially, its infrastructure, utilities, water resources so upgraded as to ensure that it would flourish for centuries to come, the longest surviving capital city of the Indian sub-continent. Still more spectacular was the building of many of its most celebrated structures. A large monastery, the Maricavatti, was erected, together with a nine-story chapter house for monks, with a bright copper-tiled roof; and most famous of all, what is today called the Ruwanweliseya, the Great Stupa which housed Buddha’s begging bowl. The building programme was not restricted to the capital alone – 89 other temples are said to have been constructed in the kingdom, along with hospitals and smaller tanks. Trade opened up with the west, the ports busy with merchants from Arabia, Persia and possibly even Rome.

But back at the palace, events were going less smoothly. Dutugemunu's heir, Saliya, having fallen for a girl from one of the lowest castes, was disinherited. The ailing king, dying before his eye-catching Stupa was finished, ensured the throne passed instead to his own brother, Saddha Tissa in 137 BCE.

Image courtsery of Lankapura.

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Ellalan, King of Anuradhapura

The fifteenth (invader) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 205 BCE – 161 BCE.

King Ellalan is a striking and positive figure in Sri Lankan history, his Tamilness eliciting not even a scintilla of condemnation in The Mahavaṃsa, which notes instead “a Damila of noble descent, named Elara, who came hither from the Cola-country to seize on the kingdom, ruled when he had overpowered king Asela, forty-four years, with even justice toward friend and foe, on occasions of disputes at law.” Despite having taken the throne, Ellalan’s authority probably reached little further than the Rajarata, the traditional territory of the first Anuradhapuran kings stretching just north of the Mahaweli River. The Mahavaṃsa makes a special point to illuminate Ellalan’s many acts of justice and generosity. Just, to the point of terrifying, he is said to have even executed his own son for transgressing the law.

Virtuous though he was, Ellalan was, all the same, a dynastic footnote - for the Vijayans were not yet finished with their rule. The main line of succession had been destroyed with the death of King Asela, but a cadet branch existed in the southern Kingdom of Ruhuna. This Vijayan redoubt was ruled over by descendants of King Devanampiya Tissa’s brother, King Mahanaga. Ruhuna had never really been part of the Anuradhapura domain. Indeed, since at least the reign of King Surathissa the Anuradhapura Kingdom itself had begun to fracture, The Mahavamsa pointing out the presence of 32 semi-independent Tamil states coexisting alongside King Ellalan’s Anuradhapura.

At the time King Ellalan conquered Anuradhapura, Ruhana was fortunate enough to be ruled by the King Kavantissa, who pursued an implacable strategy of soaking up the little would-be challenging kingships the boarded his land. By the time of his death he had created a powerful southern state, one that was perfectly poised to help the family regain control of Anuradhapura itself. After a predictable sibling spat around the succession of King Kavantissa, his older son Dutugemunu emerged victorious following a series of trials involving elephants, the kidnapping of the dowager queen, and set-piece battles. With an army of chariots, monks, horses, a lucky spear, his favourite elephant (Kandula) and, states The Mahāvaṃsa, Ten Giant Warriors (Nandhimitra, Suranimala, Mahasena, Theraputtabhya, Gotaimbara, Bharana, Vasabha, Khanjadeva, Velusamanna, and Phussadeva), the new king of Ruhuna set off north to reclaim the family’s senior kingdom – Anuradhapura .

Composed, as was normal of four units – elephants, horses, chariots, and infantry – Dutugemunu’s army was spectacularly successful, first mopping up the splintered Tamil statelets in the north before arriving outside the walls of Anuradhapura. King Ellalan, mounted on his elephant Mahäpabbata, faced his younger rival, mounted on his elephant, Kandula. The ancient texts report that the deadly combat was honourable but decisive, a spear thrust finally ending Ellalan’s life in 161 BCE. The records state that "the water in the tank there was dyed red with the blood of the slain'. And perhaps in acknowledgment of Ellalan’s fine reputation, Dutugemunu had his victim cremated properly and a stupa constructed over the pyre. “Even to this day,” comments The Mahāvaṃsa, “the princes of Lanka, when they draw near to this place, are wont to silence their music'.

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Emblem of Ceylon, The British

A variety of designs, mostly linked to the crown coat of arms, were used by the British in their government of Ceylon, before they eventually settled, close to the end of their occupation of the island, on a symbol unique to the country – that of an elephant, walking, as it had done since 1505 on the Portuguese Emblem, through coconut palms with mountains in the background.

Illustration: Public Domain.

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Emblem of Ceylon, The Dutch

The emblem used by the Dutch to administer Ceylon was almost identical to that of of the Portuguese – featuring an elephant walking though palm trees with mountains behind. But they added a key new detail, one that fitted very nearly with their entire economic purpose of being on the island at all – a few bales of the ultra-valuable cinnamon crop that they harvested across the island. More interesting each sub district they governed had its own version of the heraldic arms. In Trincomalee a mercenary soldier from Java is included. In Mannar a plant, hedyotis puberula, cherished for its dyes, was adopted. A fort and a bridge dominate the shield of Matara; and a single fort the shield of Kalpitiya. Ships features on the symbols of Chilaw and Puttalam; and a clay pitcher for Negombo.

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Emblem of Ceylon, The Portuguse

From 1505 to 1658 the flag that fluttered over Portuguese Ceylon was identical to the one that flew over Portugal itself, featuring 7 gold castles and 5 blue shields within a red shield surmounted by a crown. But the emblem they used to rule the country was very different, displaying and elephant walking though palm trees with mountains behind.

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Emblem of Sri Lanka, The

National emblems differ from national flags in as much as they are used by the state to validate their administration of the country. Sri Lanka’s colonial overlords adopted emblems for the island featuring elephants that they ran alongside their national flags (or in the case of the Dutch, the arms of the VOC). But by 1972 the country has developed an entirely new Emblem, which is still in use today. It was designed by the Venerable Mapalagama Wipulasara Maha Thera, a Buddhist monk and artist and features the traditional lion of the national flag. The lion sits within a round frame of lotus leaves and rice grains, the Wheel of Dharma above his head and Sinhalese sun and moon symbols beneath him.

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Fourteen Seventy CE

1470 was for Sri Lanka, the year a great storm fell across Adam’s Bridge and the Palk Straights, that modest sea channel that separates India from Sri Lanka. Running like a vertebra across the Palk Straights, Adam’s Bridge is comprised today of a series of are low islands and submerged reefs. But until 1470, at moments of extreme low tide, it was possible to practically walk across. Once this had been the main route south - until sea levels rose and storms wore away at the limestone islands.

The 1470 storm shattered much of the remaining limestone – leaving behind just a few islands and a watery thoroughfare that is still, to this day, too treacherously shallow for most ships to dare a crossing. Adam’s Bridge was a bridge no more. From 1470 onwards you would have to swim, or sail across. Emblematic of what was or might have been, but is no longer, the Bridge sits between the two countries, hinting at a unity that had already, hundreds of years before, fragmented so completely as to be missed by the earliest founding myths of both cultures. Its destruction made symbolically plain what was already nakedly obvious. Despite their proximity, their shared history and even their similarities, the two lands were wholly different. As the lost magnetic pull of the sub-continent become more remote, Sri Lanka continued on its journey forward, one in which it would continue to put down its own unique roots, to create a history to dwarf that of most other countries, ten times larger.

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Gabadagam

A Sinhala term for the Kandyan kingdom’s royal villages.

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Gajabahu I, King of Anuradhapura

The third monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 48th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 113 - 135 CE.

Gajabahu was to rule for 22 years,. His governance is remembered for its predictable religious sensibility – and its military might, the two not often going hand in hand. He built monasteries (in Matuvihara and Rumika) and a stupa (Abhayuttara). More remarkably, he also co-opted the Hindu goddess Pattini to Sri Lanka. Several of her temples remain on the island, and she is still worshipped, the Buddhist patron goddess of fertility and health, an iconic ancient link that evokes deep and pacific links between the island’s two main religions that are often overlooked. She is even one of just five figures honoured in the annual Kandy Perehera, the country’s supreme Buddhist festival – which some historians date to around the reign of King Gajabahu himself. The king also managed to find her sacred anklet, said still to be hidden in the Hanguranketha Temple near Nuwara Aylia. This move which did not stop him also liberating the alms bowl of Buddha from India to Sri Lanka, a vessel with a history and provenance now every bit as complex as that of the Holy Grail.

But it is his military capabilities that are most honoured today, not least in the Sri Lanka Army’s infantry regiment, The Gajaba Regiment, or the country’s Navy with its ship the SLNS Gajabahu. For Gajabahu did that rarest of things: he took the fight with the Cholas, to the Cholas, leading an army to southern India to liberate the 12,000 thousand Sinhalese prisoners seized in his father's reign. Ancient sources also mention other visits to Tamil kings, this time more peaceful. Trade too seems to have flourished. Excavations at the ancient (now partially underwater) port of Godavaya in the far south have unearthed his regulations regarding custom tolls – as well as a collection of seventy five thousand Roman coins. Almost little is known of his personal life, and nothing to explain why he was succeeded in 135 CE by his father or son-in-law, Mahallaka Naga.

Illustration Credit: The Sri Lanka Navy Ship SLNS Gajabahu courtsey of The Sri Lankan Navy

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Gal Vihara

A photograph by an unknown English Photographer of the Gal Vihara Standing Buddhist Statue dating from 1870-90 . Public Domain.

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Ganatissa, King of Anuradhapura

The seventh monarch (possibly) of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being wholly unclear.

Ganatissa is but a shadow in the list of Sri Lanaka’s early Vijayan kings. The odds on his very existence are about evens for most of the early documents omit his life altogether. However, scholars, worrying about the improbable length of King Pandu Kabhaya’s reign (437 to 367 BCE), have suggested that Ganatissa filled in the royal register between kings Pandu Kabhaya and Mutasiva.

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Ganninanse

An historical Sinhala term dating back to the earliest period of the Kandyan kingdom to denote a monk who had been admitted to a monastic order, but was not yet celibate.

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Gansabhava

A Sinhala term for a village council.

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Gothabhaya, King of Anuradhapura

The sixteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 61st recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 254 – 267 CE.

One of three plotters (the other two being Sangha Tissa I and Siri Sangha Bodhi), Gothabhaya had conspired to kill the reigning king, Vijaya Kumara in 248 CE. Like his co-conspirators, he came from a more modest cadet branch of the Lambakanna Dynasty but was made of stern stuff. As the first of his murderous partners, Sangha Tissa I, was killed by the second, Siri Sangha Bodhi I, Gothabhaya set out to gain the crown in just the same tried and trusted way.

According to The Mahavaṃsa, he needn’t have bothered for Sangha Bodhi I killed himself in a manner that was both anatomically impossible and socially impressive. Quite how he really met his death remains a mystery. The important thing was that the king was dead, leaving Gothabhaya to rule. What the new king lacked in charm, charity, and religious tolerance, he made up for with the sort of firm government that took the fizz out of regicide. For 14 years he ruled it with the proverbial rod of iron. A man of deeply conservative religious beliefs, he was unimpressed by the Vajrayana movement, a form of tantric Buddhism that was making slim but noticeable appearances into his kingdom. The movement was closely aligned with Mahayana Buddhism and seen by many as incompatible with the Theravāda Buddhism that had been practiced on the island since the 3rd century BCE.

The king did all he could to thwart it, even banishing 60 monks for such beliefs. But what he kept out with one door slammed shut, he inadvertently let in with another. For he entrusted his son’s education to an Indian monk named Sanghamitta, a follower of Vaitulya Buddhism. This doctrinal strand was even more radical than the Vajrayana doctrine the king was so busy trying to eradicate. Like a time bomb, the impact of this private religious education on his successor, was set to go off the moment Gotabhaya died. His death, in 267 CE, left behind a divided country. Several ministers refused to participate in his funeral rites and his son and heir, Jetta Tissa I, a chip off the monstrous old block, had sixty of them rounded up, staking their impaled heads in a mournful circle around the old king’s body.

Illustration Credit: The Abhayagiri Monastery, whose monks King Gothabhaya banished for embracing the Vetulya doctrine. Photo credit: courtesy of Alchetron and taken before the stupa was restored.

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Govikula

A Sinhala term for a caste of farmers, sometimes also known as Goyigama.

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Hakmana Fort

One of the long forgotten and vanished Dutch forts of Sri Lanka, Hakmana Fort was probably built a little before 1650 by the Dutch Governor, Joan Maetsuycker, to help secure the cinnamon lands on the frontier between the Dutch controlled areas and the Kandyan Kingdom. The fort was to become a casualty in the internecine wars between these parties, and was destroyed on February 10, 1761, by the army of the Kandyan king. Nothing now remains – except a sketch of the fort in the National Archives of Netherlands.

Image: Public Domain.

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Hammenhiel Fort

An illustration by Cornelis Steiger of Hammenhiel Fort. Public Domain.

Hunnasgiriya Fort

Thirty three kilometres east of Kandy are fragments of stone walls and structures – the remains of a fort and village that provided the stage for what was probably the last act of the Kandyan Kingdom. Atop a mountain once known as Medamahanuwara Mountain and today more familiarly as Hunnasgiriya Mountain, these are the remains of a fort palace, possibly built by King Senarath who rule ruled the Kandyan kingdom until his death in 1635. Linked to it is a village called Bombure; and it was to here that hapless King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha fled with his wives and a few allies as he attempted to evade the pursuing British. In 1815. Deciding that the village offered insufficient protection, the party attempted to find the hidden passage that connected the village to the fort palace. The tunnel entrance lay behind a waterfall. But repeated attempts to probe the water with sticks revealed nothing but hard rock. The king remained where he was, soon to be captured and exiled to Vellore in southern India where he was to die of dropsy. Villagers today state that the waterfall long since dried yup but point also to a place called Dora-Bombure (Door of Bombure), which they claim was the entrance the doomed king failed to find.

Image courtsey of Niroshan Edirsinghe.

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Ilanaga, King of Anuradhapura

The forty-second monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 35 CE – 35 CE; and then, after an interregnum, 38 CE – 44 CE.

Nephew of the slain Vijayan King, Amandagamani Abhaya, Ilanaga managed to dethrone the sitting monarch, Sivali, King, Amandagamani Abhaya’s daughter in 35 CE. In so doing he turbo-charged the unrest and insurrection that was beginning to terminally eat away at the kingdom. Within months Ilanaga had fallen out with the Lambakarna clan, a most significant noble family within his court. In the consequent turmoil he had to flee the country, leaving the Lambakarna in nominal and no doubt, fluctuating charge. Hunted somewhat ineptly, Ilanaga managed to hide in hill country, before catching a ship to south India. He was to return 3 years later at the head of a borrowed Chola army to take back his throne in 38 CE. His reign lasted another 7 years ending with his surprisingly natural death in 44 CE.

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Issurumuniya, The

An illustration of The Issurumuniya by Felse taken in 1926. Public Domain.

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Jaffna Fort

An illustration by Cornelis_Steiger of Jaffna Fort. Public Domain.

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Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

An early 20th century French illustration of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, the sacred Bo tree in Anuradhapura. Public Domain.

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Jettha Tissa I, King of Anuradhapura

The seventeenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 62nd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 267 – 277 CE.

Jetta Tissa I was the son of the previous king, Gothabhaya, and something of a chip off the monstrous old block. To deal with unruly minsters at his father’s funeral, he had sixty of them rounded up, staking their impaled heads in a mournful circle around the old king’s body in 267 CE. This display of strong-armed governance under yet another king was probably precisely what was needed to help keep at bay the lurking regicidal tendencies inherent in the Lambakanna dynasty.

Jetta Tissa’s decade long rule is unlikely to have been a comfortable ride for those around him. Indeed, states the Mahavamsa Chronicle “he came by the surname: the Cruel” It then elaborates, with evident dismay, the steps he took to move patronage and resource from the orbit of Theravada Buddhism to Vaitulya Buddhism. Even so, he was to die in 277 CE, just the 29th reigning Sri Lankan monarch out of a list of 62 to have died a natural death. Modest as this rounds, it was still something of a major achievement.

Illustration Credit: Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara in Badulla town which was renovated by Jettha Tissa I, King of Anuradhapura. Image courtesy of Lankapura.

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Jettha Tissa I, King of Anuradhapura

The seventeenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 62nd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 267 – 277 CE.

Jetta Tissa I was the son of the previous king, Gothabhaya, and something of a chip off the monstrous old block. To deal with unruly minsters at his father’s funeral, he had sixty of them rounded up, staking their impaled heads in a mournful circle around the old king’s body in 267 CE. This display of strong-armed governance under yet another king was probably precisely what was needed to help keep at bay the lurking regicidal tendencies inherent in the Lambakanna dynasty.

Jetta Tissa’s decade long rule is unlikely to have been a comfortable ride for those around him. Indeed, states the Mahavamsa Chronicle “he came by the surname: the Cruel” It then elaborates, with evident dismay, the steps he took to move patronage and resource from the orbit of Theravada Buddhism to Vaitulya Buddhism. Even so, he was to die in 277 CE, just the 29th reigning Sri Lankan monarch out of a list of 62 to have died a natural death. Modest as this rounds, it was still something of a major achievement.

Illustration Credit: A reconstruction of the Lohapasada Brazen Palace Lowamahapaya whihc was restored by Jettha Tissa I, King of Anuradhapura; image courtsey of 3D Warehouse

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Jettha Tissa II, King of Anuradhapura

The twentieth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 65th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 332 – 341 CE.

Jettha Tissa II inherited a secure throne and a prosperous country from his brother, King Sirimeghavanna. Little is known of his reign except that it is likely that he was able to extend the dynasty’s reputation for good governance over his entire reign. He was to die after a nine year reign, the 32nd reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have died a natural death.

The Ruwanweli Stupa in Anuradhapura that was built in 140 BCE and would have been a deeply familiar sight to Jettha Tissa II, King of Anuradhapura. Photo courtesy of Hand Luggage Only.

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Jews

A 19th century French engraving of Jewish women in Ceylon. Public Domain.

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Kachcheri Mudaliyar

A Sinhala term for a governmental assistant who helps or supports a government agent or the provincial secretariat.

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Kadugannawa

Snug within its mountainous walls, the kingdom of Kandy resisted colonial occupation until the British tricked their way inside, in February 1815. An ancient Singhalese prophesy had foretold that no foreigner would ever rule the kingdom if it was unable to piece its mountains. And so, when constructing the 1820 road from Colombo to Kandy, the British did just that, choosing, it is said, to include a tunnel on the road – the Kadugannawa Pass, a small section of pierced rock for which the little village of Kadugannawa claims its gentle fame. Many dispute the veracity of the story, but it has a wily charm about it and so deserves to be true even if it is not.

The construction of the road itself, a mere five years after capturing the kingdom and the country, was something of an engineering feat – and one carried out by the relatively junior Captain William Dawson. Although he never saw the completion of his work, being bitten by a poisonous snake three years before it was completed, his memory lives on in the village’s Dawson Tower, erected in his honour, and still standing. A wayside Ambalama, or resting place for weary travellers, was also erected in the village which has, since the opening of the National Railway Museum in 2009 also become a favoured place for ferroequinologists, eager to photograph old motors, trains, rail autos, trolleys, carriages, and other railway memorabilia not still used on the current railway grid.

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Kahavanu

A Sinhala term for the standard coins issued in the 1st and 2nd century CE by the Anuradhapuran kingdom. Also known as kahapana, they were made of various metals and so differed significantly in their weight.

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Kalpitiya

On the edge of the vast Puttalam Lagoon, running up the island’s western seaboard, and facing inland is the coastal town of Kalpitiya. Once a beneficial participant in the pre and early Medieval maritime trade that ran from SE Asia to the Horn of Africa by way of India, the town became a notable part of Portuguese Ceylon in the early 17th CE before passing into Dutch hands and equipped with a star fort in 1667.

Almost all this early history-in-stone is now a wreck, fragile archaeological lines demarking the boundaries of barracks, a prison, warehouses, a Jesuit chapel, a commander’s, house, and a graveyard. The church font stands there still, surrounded by a few forsaken gravestones. Though of little value as a harbour, Kalpitiya nevertheless commanded the entrance to Puttalam harbour which bestowed on it a certain modest authority, later exploited by the Dutch to help maintain their monopoly on cinnamon. The coconut groves and salted fish that provided it with its basic economy linger on, though today the area is being rediscovered by tourists lured by the prospect of kitesurfing and scuba diving, dolphin and whale watching. Parts of it have even been declared a marine sanctuary, from whose reefs, and swamps, mangrove and dunes live a wide variety of marine life – including the elusive and almost extinct. Dugong.

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Kanganies

A Sinhala term for the self-selected or appointed headman of a group of labourers in the plantation sector.

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Kanirajanu Tissa, King of Anuradhapura

The thirty ninth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 30 CE – 33 CE.

Succeeding to the Anuradhapuran throne by (doubtful) virtue of murdering his brother, Amandagamani Abhaya, Kanirajanu Tissa’s own reign terminated after just 3 suspiciously short and turbulent years when in 33 CE, Chulabhaya, Amandagamani Abhaya’s son suddenly became king. For all but the very short sighted, Kanirajanu Tissa’s abrupt death made it abundantly clear that the Vijayan dynasty were more focused on forwarding their own self-destruction than they were on ruling their country.

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Kanittha Tissa, King of Anuradhapura

The sixth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 51st recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 165 - 193.

The reliable historical record is mute on the reign of Kanittha Tissa, except to say that he was the brother of the late king, Bhatika Tissa, and the son of King Mahallaka Naga. The reign was apparently calm and uneventful, and was to last 4 years longer than that of Bhatika Tissa’s. “No news is good news,” noted a later English king renowned for being “the 'wisest fool in Christendom.” And so one might assume of this indistinct reign. Certainly, in the years that followed, the administration would have looked – along with 4 of the 5 previous ones, as the lush salad days of the Lambakarnas. Kanittha Tissa’s successor, Cula Naga, was not so fortunate.

Illustration Credit: The Abayagiriya Rathna Prasada said to have built by Kanittha Tissa, King of Anuradhapura; image courtsey of Theeshya Dulmini

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Karainagar

A small island and harbour town north east of Jaffna, Karainagar has seen cross border footfall since before records began. To the north stands a lighthouse built by the British in 1916; and to the south Fort Hammenhiel, a Portuguese-cum-Dutch fort that guarded the entrance to the Jaffna peninsula until repositioned by the British as a maximum security prison; a hospital for infectious diseases and finally a base for Special Operations. After Independence, it was used a prison for JVP prisoners, including (in 1971) Rohana Wijeweera, before being taken over by the Sri Lankan Navy as a place to detain errant sailors. It has now become a luxury hotel, where, its management claim, “a feeling of exclusivity is rampart;” and where guests “can experience real time living and sleeping within an actual cell.”

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Karava

A Sinhala term for the Sinhalese caste of fishermen.

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Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya

An illustration of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya taken by an unknown photographer in 1880. Public Domain.

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Khallata Naga, King of Anuradhapura

The twentieth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 109 BCE – 103 BCE.

Inheriting the throne from his Vijayan brother, Lanja Tissa, in 109 BCE, Khallata Naga’s reign was a textbook of misery from its rebellious start to its abrupt and homicidal finish just 6 years later. From the outset he found himself unexpectedly busy quelling rebellions initiated by his own family – but to no avail. He was killed by his own chief general just 6 years later, his death doing much to normalize the treason, regicide, and rebellion that was to later bring down the Vijayan dynasty itself.

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Khudda Parinda, King of Anuradhapura

The 3rd of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India and the 74th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE).

Acquiring the throne by dint of assassination, Khudda Parinda terminated his bother Parindu’s reign before it was even a year old. He himself was to reign for a suspiciously short six years, though there is no mention in the ancient chronicles that his own death was anything but natural. It is highly probable that his actual rule would have extended over a very foreshortened version of the original Anuradhapura Kingdom’s boundaries for by now the island had become enflamed by anti-Pandiyan resistance, led by Sri Lankan Moriyan rebel leader, Dhatusena, from his base in the south of the island.

Illustration credit: Pandyian Emblam courtsey of Quora

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Korale

An historical Sinhala term for the administrative unit of a province of the Kandyan kingdom. It was later used under British rule to describe a revenue district, overseen by a Mudaliyar in low country districts or a or Korale Mahaththaya in upcountry districts.

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Kotikabadda

A Sinhala term for the tax applied to erica nuts.

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Kruys Kerk

An illustration by Cornelis Steiger of the interior of the church in Jaffna Fort, seen from the South side. Public Domain.

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Kuda Naga, King of Anuradhapura

The eighth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 53rd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 195 -196 CE.

Kuda Naga was to gain his throne by murdering his brother, Cula Naga. By so doing, he ushered in a period of deeply unstable government that was to last until 254 CE – 59 years - and was to count himself as one of the greatest losers. His act of regicide must have earned some considerable censure for he himself was murdered after barely a year by his own brother-in-law, Siri Naga I.

Illustration Credit: The tusker and swastika is a small Copper coin. On one side of the coin, there is an image of a walking tusker, a stupa drawn using three half-moons, a swastika and a Bo tree with three branches inscribed in a square. On the flipside, there is a swastika, a trident, and a stupa. The coin would have been in circulation through the early Anuradhapura era including during the reign of Kuda Naga, King of Anuradhapura. Photo credit: The Central Bank of Dri Lanka.

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Kuda Thissa, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty-ninth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 50 BCE – 47 BCE.

Kuda Thissa, step nephew to the previous king, Choura Naga, and his now-widowed queen ,Anula, was to enjoy his throne for just a few years. His uncle, Choura Naga, had met his end from a draft of poison administered by Queen Anula, and the very same was to happen to Kuda Thissa, who departed this earth from a surfeit of poison in 47 BCE.

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Kumarihaami

In the blandest of terms, a Kumarihaami might be cautiously described as an elderly lady who enjoys considerable influence within her family and community. But this in no way captures the degree of social richness, and power - shot through with often obstinate and glittering eccentricity - that is a proper Kumarihaami. A cross between a dowager duchess and an exiled Queen, her word is law and her recommendations ignored at your very considerable peril. Nancy Aster, the Empress Dowager Cixi or the fictional Dowager Countess of Grantham in “Downtown Abby” are all good foreign examples. Sri Lankan examples today can be found in any town or village on the island. Or, better still, on the pages of many a contemporary Sri Lankan novel, not least Ashok Ferrey’s “The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons.”

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Kumbelamas

A Sinhala term for dried fish, most typically sourced historically and in the present day from the Maldives as Maldive fish, and used as a key ingredient in many Sri Lankan dishes.

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Kutakanna Tissa, King of Anuradhapura

The thirty fifth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of her reign being 42 BCE – 20 BCE.

With the ascension of the monkish Kutakanna Tissa to the Vijayan throne a modicum of stability returned to Anuradhapuran politics. Having had his murderous predecessor, Queen Anula, burned alive in her own palace, Kutakanna Tissa settled down for 18 apparently uneventful years before dying, peaceably, in 20 BCE.

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Lambakarna Dynasty (First Period), The

Governing from 66 CE to 436 CE, the Lambakarna were Sri Lanka’s second recorded royal dynasty, carrying the country into what historians call “the common era” and helping to more deeply embed a unique Singhalese culture across the entire island.

Originating possibly in India, it is likely that the Lambakarnas claimed descent from Sumitta - a prince who formed part of the escort that had brought the Bodhi-tree from India in 250 CE. From this botanical pilgrimage, they would go on to become one of the island’s great barons, alongside other such families as Moriyan, Taracchas and Balibhojak. The Lambakarnas’ own power derived from their position as hereditary guardians or secretaries to the king. They took a prominent part in religious ceremonies. But there was more to them than merely carrying coronation parasols and flags. They were connected to the military, to weapon manufacture and, as writers, must have been involved in much of the important administration of the kingdom.

The Lambakarnas managed the transition from one of several aristocratic families to ruling family with what at first appeared to be consummate ease. After the ruinous excesses of the last Vijayans, the new dynasty seemed to grip the one fundamental axiom of successful kingship: govern well, live long. They were to rule all or much of the island (depending on the period) over two distinct periods.

The first of these (The First Period) was to last for 369 years, through the reigns of 26 monarchs, from 67 CE to 436 CE.

It took the dynasty a blissfully long 126 years before regicide, that most corrosive of leadership viruses, to catch up with it in 193 CE. The sickness lasted for six decades, during which time being a king most typically meant an early and random appointment with reincarnation.

Matters appeared to stabilised from 254 CE. For 116 more years kings came and went with calm succession. But then, once more, the regicide virus reappeared - this time with a more comprehensively malign impact. For six more decades the country drifted as kings most typically succeeded one another at the point of a sword or a draft of poison. The invasion, when it came in 436 CE, put a one-year sell by date on the Lambakarna’s last king. King Mittasena was to enjoy his crown for just a year. Decades of focusing on the succession rather the defence or betterment of the country had left the kingdom so insufficiently capable as to be the perfect sitting target for the country’s fourth invasion from Tamil Nadu. It was the first serious Tamil invasion the Lambakarna dynasty had to face – the previous three being catastrophes that the previous Vijayan rulers had endured. But it was to be their last too. Facing an implacable Tamil army, the dynasty imploded, ceding the kingdom to seventeen years of foreign occupation and several more years of interregnal anarchy.

The Lambakarnas had ruled their kingdom for just over half the length of the Vijayans - and their 369 year innings was no small achievement. But it was a troubled epoch. Just under half the Lambakarna monarchs were to die at the hands of their successors, victims to a predilection for assassination that ran as a malign monomeric thread through their DNA. Even so, the nation they left behind was bigger, richer, more complex, developed and built out that it had been on its inheritance by them back in 67 CE. Stupas, monasteries, reservoirs, canals, temples, and dwellings filled out the land. The mores of society progressed. Agriculture flourished and technical advances from construction through to medicine bestowed its benefits on the kingdom. It was strong enough to weather repeated religious schisms, as well as succession crises; and – ultimately – its 16 year occupation by Tamil kings to enable the country to bounce back, albeit this time under yet another new dynasty. The order and run of its monarchs is as follows:

1. Vasabha. The first monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 46th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 67 - 111 CE.

2. Vankanasika Tissa. The second monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 47th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 111 - 113 CE.

3. Gajabahu I. The third monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 48th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 113 - 135 CE.

4. Mahallaka Naga. The fourth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 49th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 135 - 141 CE.

5. Bhatika Tissa. The fifth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 50th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 141 – 165 CE.

6. Kanittha Tissa. The sixth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 51st recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 165 - 193.

7. Cula Naga. The seventh monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 52nd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya; the dates of his reign being 193 – 195 CE.

8. Kuda Naga. The eighth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 53rd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 195 -196 CE.

9. Siri Naga. The ninth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 54th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 196 – 215 CE.

10. Voharika Tissa. The tenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 55th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijay (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 215 – 237 CE.

11. Abhaya Naga. The eleventh monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 56th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 237 – 245 CE.

12. Siri Naga II. The twelfth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 57th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 245 – 247 CE.

13. Vijaya Kumara. The thirteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 58th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 247 – 248 CE.

14. Sangha Tissa I. The fourteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 59th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 248 – 252 CE.

15. Siri Sangha Bodhi I. The fifteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 60th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 252 – 254 CE.

16. Gothabhaya. The sixteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 61st recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 254 – 267 CE.

17. Jettha Tissa I. The seventeenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 62nd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 267 – 277 CE.

18. Mahasena. The eighteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 63rd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 277 - 304 CE

19. Sirimeghavanna. The nineteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 64th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 304 - 332 CE

20. Jettha Tissa II. The twentieth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 65th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 332 – 341 CE.

21. Buddhadasa. The twenty first monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 66th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 341 – 370 CE.

22. Upatissa I. The twenty second monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 67th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being: 370 – 412 CE.

23. Mahanama. The twenty third monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 68th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 412 – 434 CE.

24. Soththisena. The twenty fourth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 69th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the date of his reign being 434 CE.

25. Chattagahaka Jantu. The twenty fifth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 70th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE) the dates of her reign being 434 - 435 CE.

26. Mittasena. The twenty sixth and last monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 71st recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 435 – 436 CE.

Illustration of the Mahavilachchiya Wewa constructed by the first king, Vasabha. Photo courtesy of Dr. Ashan Geeganage

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Landraads

A Dutch term for the civil courts authorised by the VOC to rule over all land disputes.

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Lanja Tissa, King of Anuradhapura

The nineteenth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 118 BCE – 109 BCE.

Lanja Tissa gained his crown by murdering his younger Vijayan brother Thulatthana who had quite possibly stolen the throne from him on the death of their father Saddha Tissa in 119 BCE. Leading an army up from his own base in Ruhana, Lanja Tissa took back what he clearly regarded as his own in the first place, and seems to have met little obvious resistance. Even so, it is said that, in penance, he then spent the ten years that his reign was to encompass appeasing the Buddhist monks’ disapproval of fratricide by devoting himself to the betterment of Buddhism. He died, peacefully it seems, in 109 BCE.

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Lascarins

A Portuguese term used in Sri Lanka to mean soldier or guard, and later adapted by the Dutch as lascorijn; and by the British as lascariin or lascar. In its original Portuguese sense it referred specifically to the local soldiers they recruited to overcome their chronic manpower shortages as they fought for control of the Kotte and Kandyan kingdom. Most lascarins were Catholic converts and they made up, numerically, the vast bulk of the Portuguese colonial army. They were notorious for abruptly changing sides, most sensationally at the Battle of Gannoruwa in 1638, a defining moment in the Portuguese withdrawal from the island which left just 33 soldiers alive from an initial force of 4,000. Under Dutch rule these soldiers were organised into groups of 24 led by two or three native headmen. Under British rule these soldiers morphed into ceremonial roles though some were retained as bodyguards for Mudaliyars, the most powerful native families.

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Lighthouse, Galle

Illustration by Wilhelm Joseph Heine of the Light House at Point de Galle in1855. Public Domain.

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Lunuganga

Country houses with large, attached, specially landscaped gardens are two a penny in the West; but in Sri Lanka they are a rarity. One example is Lunuganga, an ex-rubber estate bought by the architect Geoffrey Bawa. The purchase was a form of alternative compensation, for not having settled on the shores of Lake Garda in Italy when faced with his mother’s illness and the choice of returning to Sri Lanka or not.

Walkways and copses of large ancient trees lead to carefully designed outdoor spaces. A Pavilion overlooks a heart-shaped pond, providing the architect with a place of shelter for his morning read. A Blue Pavilion looks out over jars and a pond; a hen house provides an impossibly luxurious space for pampered poultry. A riverside bench is shaded by trees and hung with bells - each sound linked to a different need (cup of tea, gin, and tonic) that the architect and his friends would sound as required.

“He made no attempt, wrote Michael Ondaatje, “to turn it into a pompous estate. Each vista, each location feels like another elegy or another voice—the first person, then the third person, the vernacular, then the classical. You discover you wish to be at one location at noon, another at twilight, some when you are young, others later in life.” The estate stretches across a peninsula, the lagoon water of Dedduwa Lake on both sides; and views of water dominating the gardens as much as the many statues do - classical and animal, urns, pots, and follies. The house itself – one of several that Bawa built there with unrivalled easy elegance, gazes out through the branches of a massive frangipani tree onto its sequestered landscape. It is not surprising that, of his many homes, this is where Bawa chose to lay his own ashes. And as the house now takes in guests, you can book in to enjoy a little bit of the lingering magic for yourself.

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M, m

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Maha Mudaliyar

A British Sinhala term to denote the highest position in the native hierarchy of officials; most typically the chief aide to the Govenor.

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Mahadatika Mahanaga, King of Anuradhapura

The thirty seventh monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 9 CE – 21 CE.

Succeeding to the Anuradhapuran throne in 9 CE on the death of his brother, Bhathika Abhaya, Mahadatika Mahanaga was to rule with evident obscurity until his death, natural or otherwise, in 21 CE.

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Mahakuli Mahatissa, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty-seventh monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 77 BCE – 62 BCE.

Mahakuli Mahatissa, who became King of Anuradhapura in 76 BCE, was the adopted son of the previous Vijayan king, Valagamba. His paternal inheritance was something of a baited hook. His own (blood) father, the general Kammaharattaka, had been murdered by Valagamba for having killed the previous king, Valagamba’s brother, Khallata Naga. As was so often the case the with the early Anuradhapuran kings, if ever there was an opportunity to complicate already dangerously tortuously family matters, it was one they typically took with alacrity. In an act of reckless trust Valagamba adopted Mahakuli Mahatissa, the general’s son and married his wife. Unsurprisingly, there are hints in the ancient chronicles that Valagamba’s succession may not have been entirely orderly; if so, then Valagamba’s earlier trust in adopting Mahakuli Mahatissa can be read as an extended suicide note. But however he came to the throne, Mahakuli Mahatissa stayed the course, though whether he did anything constructive remains a niggling historical curiosity. He died, quite possibly peaceably, in 62 BCE.

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Mahallaka Naga, King of Anuradhapura

The fourth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 49th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 135 - 141 CE.

Said to be the wrong side of late middle age at the time of his ascension, Mahallaka Naga, the new king, still managed to live on until 141 CE before handing things onto his son with the sort of blameless succession choreography that more modern leaders like Mugabe or Trump might have learnt much from. He was said to be the father-in-law of the pervious King Gajabahu I; if so, then the succession would have run down a less travelled thoroughfare, but this did not imply it was anything but orderly. Little is known about his reign, but it can be assumed that it took its rightful place amongst that period of calm governance that characterised the reigns of all the early Lambakanna - from 67 CE to 195 CE.

Illustration Credit: The smaller stupa of the Mahiyanganaya Ancient Nagadeepa Viharaya where Mahallaka Naga, King of Anuradhapura is said to have built a monastery. Image courtsey of AmazingLanka.com

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Mahanaduva

A Sinhala term used in the Kandyan kingdom to name the Great Court of Justice.

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Mahanama, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty third monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 68th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 412 – 434 CE.

The son of King Buddhadasa, Mahanama was a Buddhist monk – but the kind of monk with more than a few extracurricular interests. Chief among these was his brother’s wife, the Queen, with whom he was to cuckold King Upatissa I, bringing his otherwise long reign to an unscheduled end by murdering him in 412 CE. Although the new king was to enjoy dying a natural death in 434 CE, the manor of his ascension legitimised regicide once again and set in train a chain of events that was to destroy both the dynasty and – for a time – the country. .

Illustration Credit: A Lakshmi Plaque coin with a female figure carved into the face It is believed that the woman on the coin is the goddess, Lakshmi. The coins were either plated or engraved pieces of Copper. They also came in different sizes. The plated kind were 1 ¼ inches in length and ½ inch in width. The coins are a mixture of approximately 60 percent Lead and 15 percent Copper. On the coin face, the goddess Lakshmi is standing on a lotus flower grasping two lotus stems that are protruding from either side of the flower. The stems, which reach her shoulders, each carry a blossomed lotus flower upon which stands a tusker holding a clay water vase. The image depicts the goddess bathing in the water pouring out of the vases held by the two tuskers. In some versions of this coin, goddess Lakshmi is shown seated on a lotus flower. The Lakshmi coins have been found is such places as Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Wallipuram and Thirukethiswaram as well as Kantharoda, Mannar, Mulativu, Chilaw and Thissamaharama; and were in circulation from 3 BCE to 8 CE – including during the reign of Mahanama, King of Anuradhapura. Picture courtesy of The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

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Mahasena, King of Anuradhapura

The eighteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 63rd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 277 - 304 CE.

The son of King Gothabhaya and brother of King Jettha Tissa I, Mahasen took the throne in 277 CE, a succession notable for being natural. Like his brother, Mahasen had been educated by the radical monk Sanghamitta; and so, from the perspective of the majority Theravāda Buddhists, life got still worse as the religious schisms that continued to ravage the country worsened. A twenty-seven-year reign lay ahead of the new king, who got off to a good start commissioning what would include sixteen massive reservoirs (the largest covering an area of nearly twenty square kilometres) and two big irrigation canals.

But this did little to defray the resentment his pro-Mahayana religious policies caused, which prompted a rash of insurrections opposing his own opposition to Theravada Buddhism. Mahasen set about building what would become the country’s largest stupa, the Jethavanaramaya – which was, until the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the second tallest building in the world. To help, he ordered the plundering of the Mahavihara, the greatest Theravada Buddhist monastery in the land. Monks that resisted his Mahayana policies were pressured by many means, including attempted starvation.

Soon enough the trickle of monks fleeing to the safely of Ruhuna in the south became a flood. Ominously they were also joined by Meghavannabaya, the king’s chief minister, who raised an army in their defence. With surprising wisdom, the king drew back from the confrontation, saving his throne, making peace with the disgruntled Theravada Buddhists, and enabling him to settle down to enjoy a long and apparently prosperous reign. This came to a natural end in 303 CE earning him the kudos of being just the 30th reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have died a natural death.

Illustration Credit: Jetavanarama stupa built by Mahasena, King of Anuradhapura - image courtsey of A.Savin, WikiCommons

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Mahasiwa, King of Anuradhapura

The eleventh monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 257 BCE – 247 BCE.

Inheriting the Vijayan throne from his brother, Uththiya in 257 BCE, Mahasiwa’s reign is a model of almost total obscurity. Most historians agree on the fact that he probably constructed the Nagarangana Monastery in Anuradhapura; and they also largely agree on the date of his death – in 247 BCE.

Mapagala Fortress

To enjoy a fulfilling and ambitious professional life as a builder in the fifth century BCE, you would need to relocated to Wu, where one of the more ambitious Chinese kings was constructing the Han Canal. Or to one of the many Anatolian palaces of the infamously wealthy Croesus. Or the temples of Delphi. Or Sri Lanka. Either way, pursuing your profession in, say Watford, Versailles, Swindon, Dundee, or the Baltic, would soon have you pressed bored and hard against the modest limits of the wattle and dab that defined European construction technology. The great rock fortress of Sigiriya is proof enough of this – yet there exists, just seven hundred and fifty metres south of Sigiriya the remains of a fortress that may predate the Lion Rock fort itself. A great deal of imagination is needed to reconstruct it – should a visitor ever get to the top, for there is no regular path cut. What remains is a space bordered by immense granitite boulders enveloping once substantial buildings, now just traces on the ground. Excavations have also uncovered traces of iron tools that would have been all but essential to prepare the stones from which it was built.

Image courtsey of https://justaboutev3rything.

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Marala

A Sinhala term for death duties.

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Mihintale

A photogrpah from 1926 (photographer unknown) of the beginning of the stone steps at Mihintale. Public Domain.

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Mittasena, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty sixth and last monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 71st recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 435 – 436 CE.

Mittasena was a distant relative of the previous monarch, Chattagahaka Jantu, who had been murdered by a chief minister intent on finding a more pliable boss. The move did neither any good. Mittasena, preoccupied by religious devotions, was wholly unprepared for the fourth Tamil invasion of the realm in 436 CE. That the state was so unable to defend itself was no great surprise. For the past few extreme decades family politics would have pushed good governance into a back seat. The eye, as Ford Frick, the famous basketball player might have observed, was firmly off the ball. The regime fell with minimal resistance.

It was a shocking and sudden end. For 369 years the dynasty had ruled, its two periods of firm and effective guardianship tragically balanced by two other periods of regicidal insanity and power vacuums. This last Lambakarna king was slain in battle in 436 CE and a Tamil king, Pandu, took over his rule. Quite what this meant or how far his rule extended is hard to estimate. But for sixteen years the Six Dravidians, as history would come to know them, were to rule what was left of the once great Anuradhapura Kingdom,.

Illustration Credit: A story told of King Mittasena in Chapter 38 of the Mahawamsa states: “There was a feast (and) the people cried: “If a king is there, let him come with us.” When the Lord of men heard that, he, arrayed in all his ornaments, said to those who led forth the royal elephant: “this befits me not”, and indicated the elephant made of stucco at the temple of the Tooth Relic1. At the words: “’it is the King’s command”, the elephant began to move. The (King) mounted it, rode round the town with his right side towards it and when he reached the eastern gate by the Pathamacetiya, he restored it to the Relic Temple. At the elephant wall of the three great cetiyas he had a gateway constructed. After doing many meritorious works Mittasena died in a year.

The image, of the Elephant wall, Ruvanelraya Dagoba in Anuradhapura, is courtesy of Monkey’s Tales.

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Monuments, Protected

This exhaustive register – albeit it one that is sadly not nearly exhaustive enough – may interest only some half dozen people, but as this Companion aims to record all notable Sri Lankan items, be they endemic birds, presidents, works of contemporary fiction, or the hand gestures of Lord Buddha, it would be recklessly discriminatory to exclude protected monuments on the grounds that there are too many. The list that follows, which itemizes protected monuments by location, is not in the least bit comprehensive. There remain many, many more monuments, plain, dazzling, known, unknown, cherished, trashed – but sadly not on the slender list maintained by the relevant authorities.

That there is a list at all, incomplete and eccentric as it is, is an achievement in its own right. For over 1,000 years, since the Chola invasion from Southern India broke across the island, to the raising of the flag of Independence in 1948, the island’s many changing foreign masters have casually, but very extensively, removed to other countries the more portable items of historic importance. But the buildings have of course remained. It would be a work of loving kindness and a life well spent if someone might opt to enlarge, correct, and republish such a list to help the task of preserving structures that are disappearing fast – and taking with it the precious history they encompass. Monuments they may be – but protected they are – in nearly all cases – not at all.

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1. ABIDIGALA: Mahatulagala Rock Cave
2. AETHAGAMA: Sumanarama Maha Vihara
3. AGALAWATTA: Prathiraja Piriven Vihara
4. AGRAHERA: Naigala Raja Maha Vihara
5. AKARANDENIYA SOUTH: Mahagoda Tapodhanarama Vihara
6. AKARAWITA: Raja Maha Vihara
7. AKKARAYAN: Akkarayan Ruins
8. AKWATTA: Pattini Devalaya Kahawanugoda
9. ALAPALADENIYA: Yatidola Pahala Purana Vihara
10. ALAWALA: Ethabendalena
11. ALUKETIYAWA: Senasungala Aranyagiri Vihara
12. ALUPATGALA: Wawlugala Mountain; Fort; Vihara
13. ALUTHGAMA: St Mary's Church
14. ALUTHNUWARA: Uggal Kataragama Devalaya
15. ALUTWEWA: Kotawehera Ruins
16. ALUYATAWELA: Purana Vihara; Sri Shylathalarama Vihara Madapatha
17. AMADULA: Ihala Kade Asmadala Ruins
18. AMBADANDARAGAMAL: Bullena Aranya Senasana
19. AMBAGAHAWATTA: Dimbulana Vihara
20. AMBAGASPITIYA: Ambalama; Gallinda Watta Ambalama; Kandumulla Rock Caves
21. AMBAKAMAM: Udiyakuruppukulam Lake Ruins
22. AMBALAKANDA: Sri Sunandarama Vihara
23. AMBALANGODA: Sunandarama Maha Vihara
24. AMBALANTOTA: Udarotapallerota Archaeological Ruins
25. AMBANA: Sri Sangharaja Indurugirilen Vihara
26. AMBEPUSSA: Devagiri Raja Maha Vihara; Pattini Devalaya
27. AMBULUGALA: Sri Danthapaya Raja Maha Vihara
28. AMITIYAGODA: Sri Suwisuddharama Purana Vihara; Wijeyaratne Walauwa
29. AMPAKAMAM KULAMOTTAI: Kulamottai Ruins
30. Ampavila: Sri Vijaya Sundararama Purana Vihara
31. AMUGODA: Ihalagoda Siri Vijeyarama Vihara
32. AMUNUDOVA: Kirioruwa Ambalama
33. ANAPALLEGAMA: Thunkemhela Ruins
34. ANDAWELAYAYA: Andawelayaya Ruins
35. ANDURANGODA: Kuligoda Vanavasa Purana Vihara
36. ANDURAPOTHA: Sadarthodaya Pirivena
37. ANGWARAGAMA: Sri Mahaboodhi Piriven Vihara
38. ANHETTIGAMA: Sri Jinendrarama Purana Vihara
39. ANJALIGAMA: Anjalee Vihara
40. ARALAGANWILA: Silumina Seya
41. ARAMBEGAMA: Sri Sudassanarama Vihara
42. ARISAPURAM: Allirani Kotuwa
43. ASGIRIYA GAMPAHA: Asgiriya Rajamaha Vihara
44. ASMADALA: Boduralla Henwatta Ruins; Galgoda Henawatta Ruins; Lunumidella Reservation; Asmadala Vihara; Purana Vihara; Emaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara
45. ATAKALAMPANNA: Ammamuwa Kataragama Devalaya Anpattini Devalaya; Veheragoda Purana Vihara
46. ATALUGAMA: Thumbomaluwa Vihara
47. ATAWAKWELA: Sugatharama Vihara
48. ATHALA: Weheragoda Purana Vihara
49. ATHTHALAWATTA: Purana Vihara
50. ATHURALIYA: Rajjura Bandara Devalaya
51. ATHURUPANA: Degalathiriya Galaudathanna Vihara
52. ATTANAGALLA: Raja Maha Vihara
53. ATTANAYALAEAST: Attanayala Sri Vihara
54. ATTHANAGODA: Tempita Vihara
55. ATUGODA WEWE KANDA: Walagamba Forest Hermitage
56. ATUPOTHDENIYA: Pothgul Vihara
57. AWARIYAWALA: Ambalama


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1. BADAGIRIYA: Raja Maha Vihara
2. BADULLA: Andeniya Bridge; Assistant Government Agent's Office; Base Hospital Complex; Badulla Building Complex & Ambalama; Badulla Building Material Corporation Building; Badulla Court Building; District Secretary's Bungalow; Official Kachcheri Residences; Government Agent's Bungalow; Governor's Secretary Bungalow; Health Director's Office Building; Health Education Unit Building; Irrigation Quarters; Judge's Bungalow; Kataragama Devalaya; Municipal Council Garden; Municipal Council Building; Paddy Marketing Board Building; Pillar Inscription; Prison Building; Provincial Council Building; Race Course Tank; Railway Station; Rose Bank Building; Salusala Building; SP Bungalow; Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara; Pattini Devalaya; Rideepana Evaluation Building; St Mark’s Church; Badulla Gammana: Gal Oya Amuna; Gammana Purana Vihara; Tomb Of Thisahami
3. BAGURUWELA: Walagamba Raja Maha Vihara
4. BALAGALLA: Saraswathi Pirivena; Walawwa
5. BALAPITIYA: Sri Sudharmarama Purana Vihara; Subadrarama Purana Vihara; Welikanda Shri Sudharshanarama Vihara
6. BALGOLLA: Alankaragobe Purana Vihara
7. BAMBRENDA: Galkanda Purana Vihara
8. BAMUNUGAMA: Raja Maha Vihara
9. BANDARAWELA: Bandarawela Hotel; Broughton Estate; Jayakontarama Vihara
10. BARAGAMA: Vilgam Raja Maha Vihara
11. BATADUWA:Tankiyawaththa Stone Pond
12. BATATOTA: Batatotalena Cave; Kukuluwa Vihara; Manellena Cave; Batticaloa Fort
13. BATTAMGODA: Iddamalgoda Walawwa
14. BEHINJANAKAPURA: Janakapura Ruins
15. BELIATTA: Sri Sunandarama Vihara
16. BELIGALA: Mountain Ruins; Beligala Rock Ruins; Vijayasundararama Vihara; Galgemulahena Land Ruins
17. BELIGALLENAGAMA: Beligallena Cave
18. BELIGAMMANA: Raja Maha Vihara
19. BELIMALIYEDDA: Lendora Raja Maha Vihara
20. BELLAGASWEWA: Karuwalagala Purana Vihara
21. BENDHIYAWA: Kamhathadhmulla Purana Vihara
22. BENDIYAMULLA: Bandiyamulla Tombstone
23. BENTARA: Yathramulla Vanavasa Raja Maha Vihara
24. BENTOTA: Dope Ganekanda Vihara
25. BHIKKADUWA: Jananandanarama Vihara
26. BIBILEMULLA: Raja Maha Vihara
27. BISO KOTUWA: Veherabindayaya Ruins
28. BISOWELA: Purana Gallen Vihara
29. BMELLAGAMA: Thimbiriya Raja Maha Vihara
30. BNAGALA: Nagala Raja Maha Vihara
31. BODHAWELA: Ruins
32. BOGAHAWATTA: Ambalama
33. BOGODA: Raja Maha Vihara
34. BOKAGONNA: Purana Devalaya
35. BOLIYEDDA: Vihara
36. BOLLANASOUTH: Bollana Ancient Ambalama
37. BOLTUMBE: Saman Devalaya
38. BOLTUMBE SISILTONWATTA: Hituwala Galge
39. BOOSA: Sri Sudharashanarama Purana Vihara
40. BOPE: Sri Sudharmarama Vihara
41. BORALESGAMUWA: Paramadhamma Niwasa Piriwena
42. BORELLA: Thilakaratnarama Purana Vihara
43. BOTHALE IHALAGAMA: Patthini Devalaya; Sri Gotabhaya Raja Maha Vihara
44. BOTHALE PAHALAGAMA: Bothale Walawwa
45. BOTHPITIYANORTH: Uruwala Valagamba Raja Maha Vihara
46. BOWELA: Ulugala Raja Maha Vihara
47. BUDDAMA: Purana Vihara
48. BUDDIYAGAMA: Athubodaya Purana Vihara; Seehala Purana Vihara
49. BULATHSINHALA: Devamittarama Purana Vihara
50. BULATHWATTA: Len Vihara
51. BULUPITIYA: Hamanawa Purana Vihara; Nilgala Hela Ruins; Nilgala Ruins
52. BURUNNEWA: Tempita Vihara
53. BUTTALA: Bidunkada Ruins; Maligawila; Rahathan Kanda Aranya Senasana


C

1. COLOMBO: Shelk Usman Valiulah Darga Mosque Alias Davatagaha Mosque; Cargills Building; Clifan Burg House; Chartered Bank Building; Port Custom Building; Port Lighthouse; Port Ruins Of Rampart; Former General Post Office; Grand Oriental Hotel; Lanka Maccanance Macancy Co. Ltd. Building; National Museum Of Colombo; Portland Building; Walker Sons & Co. Building; House Belonging To G S Dabaree ; Delft Gate; Dutch Store Room; Gaffoor Building; Dutch Hospital; Dutch Museum; Olcott Building; Methodist Church; Jawatta Cemetery; St James Building


D

1. DADAGAMUWA: Ancient Gal Edanda; Raja Maha Vihara
2. DAMBAGALLA: Bingoda Purana Vihara
3. DAMBANA: Mawaragala Forest Hermitage
4. DAMBAWINNA: Purana Vihara
5. DAMBEYAYA: Pansalwaththausgala Ruins
6. DAMPAHALA: Vilayaya Purana Raja Maha Vihara
7. DANKUMBURA: Raja Maha Vihara
8. DEBARAWEWA: Menik Raja Maha Vihara; Pashchimarama Vihara
9. DEDARANGAMUWA: Cemetery Of Maduwanwala Family
10. DEDIGAMA: Maha Walauwa; Kondagale Vihara
11. DEDIGAMA DAMBULLA: Galtenovitawatta Ruins
12. DEHIWALA MOUNT LAVINIA: Christ Church Cemetery; Galkissa Samudrasanna Vihara
13. Deiyandara: Kalugala Purana Vihara
14. DELFT: Light House
15. DELGAMUWA: Raja Maha Vihara
16. DELGAMUWA KOVILEWATTE: Kovilewatte Devalaya
17. DELGAWATTA: Sri Sumangalarama Purana Vihara
18. DELIWA: Tapovanarama Vihara; Thera Puththabhaya Arama
19. DELIWALA: Deliwala Kotavehera
20. DEMATADENIKANDA: Jayasundararama Vihara
21. DEMATAGODA: Kayman's Gate; Padanaghara Vihara
22. DEVALEGAMA: Devalaya; Maniyangama Raja Maha Vihara
23. DEVANAGALAGAMA: Raja Maha Vihara
24. DEVINUWARA: Upulwan Devalaya; Raja Maha Vihara
25. DEWALEGAMA: Maha Saman Devalaya
26. DHOWA: Dhowa Rock Temple
27. DICKHENA: Paragasthota Sri Sudharsanarama Vihara
28. DICKWELEGODA: Dagoda
29. DICKYAYA: Andanpahuwa Aranya Senasana
30. DIDDENIYA: Koholankanda Forest Hermitage
31. DIGGALAYAYA: Dambeara Wewa Ruins
32. DIKKAPITIYA: Purana Vihara
33. DIKKUMBURA: Thunnewa Rock Drip Ledgecave
34. DIMBULAGALA: Raja Maha Vihara; Namal Pokuna Monastery
35. DIYALAGODA: St Sebastian Church
36. DIYASUNNA: Keerthi Sri Rajasingha Raja Maha Vihara Rambukkana
37. DODANDUWA: Udugalpitiya Devol Devalaya
38. DODANDUWA DEGALLA: Sri Piyarathana Vidyalaya
39. DODANTALE: Danagirigala Purana Raja Maha Vihara; Udyanegoda Purana Len Vihara
40. DOMBAWALA: Sri Saddharmagupta Piriven Vihara
41. DOOLDENIYA: Kalottuwa Gala Kanda Gallen Vihara
42. DORAWAKA: Lena Cave


E

1. EDDURAGALA: Medikanda Rock Cave
2. EKIRIYAN KUMBURA: Andagala Ruins
3. EKNALIGODA: Walawwa; Gurubalkada Bandara Cemetery
4. ELAMALDENIYA: Raja Maha Vihara
5. ELIHOUSE: Water Tanks
6. ELLA: Hill Oya Raja Maha Vihara; Pattini Devalaya Helahalpe; Viharatenna Archaeological Site
7. ELPITIYA: Cave With Paintings; Ganegoda Raja Maha Vihara
8. ELUWAPITIYA: Sri Bodhirukkharama Purana Vihara
9. ERAMINIYA: Gammana Tempita Purana Vihara
10. ERUWILPORATIVU: Pulukunawa Raja Maha Vihara
11. ETAMPITIYA: Ambalama
12. ETHILIWEWA: Wewa
13. ETHUL KOTTE: Rampart Aninner Moat Ruins
14. ETTAMPITIYA: Fort
15. EUDUGODA: Keselhenawa Purana Vihara


N

1. NELUWAGALA: Vehera Godella Ruins


G

1. GAJANAYAKAGAMA: Pillawela Vihara
2. GALAGODA: Ethkanda Purana Vihara
3. GALAHITIYAWANORTH: Sun Moon Carverock
4. GALAUDA: Ampitiya Archaeological Site
5. GALBOKKA: Weheragala Caves
6. GALEGOLUWA: Raja Maha Vihara
7. GALGANA: Pilimakella Archaeological Ruins
8. Galketa Kanda: Rotumba Budugala Raja Maha Vihara
9. GALKOTUWA: Viharagoda Vihara
10. GALLE: Prison; Thuwakkugalawatta Purana Vihara; Magistrate's Court; Atapattu Walawwa; Fort; Galwadugoda Purana Vihara
11. GALPATA: Sonagiri Gallen Tapowana Vihara; Bisokotuwa Lake
12. GALWEWA: Raja Maha Vihara
13. GAMPAHA: Sri Sugatharama Purana Vihara; Henarathgoda Railway Station
14. GANDARA: Raja Maha Vihara; Maha Walawwa
15. GANEGAMA: Aramanapola Vihara
16. GANEGODA: Cave Temple
17. GANEKANDA: Walagamba Raja Maha Vihara
18. GANELANDAGAMA: Diyavinna Devagiri Purana Gallen Vihara
19. GANETENNA: Kamburupitiya Sri Sudharmarama Purana Vihara
20. GANGODAGAMA PALLEDENIGODA: Galapatha Purana Vihara
21. GILIMALE: Sri Rankoth Raja Maha Vihara
22. GINIHAPPITIYA: Purana Vihara
23. GIRAIMBULA: Wooden Bridge
24. GIRANDURUKOTTE: School Premises Ruins
25. GIRIKULUWA: Sri Prabodharama Purana Vihara
26. GODAGEDARA: Deeparama Vihara
27. GODAKAWELA: Balawinna Purana Gangarama Vihara; Sri Mahinda Raja Maha Vihara
28. GODAPITIYA: Godapitiya Mohideen Jumma Mosque; Sri Sudharshanarama Vihara
29. GODAPOLA: Kehelwathugoda Galliyadda Ruins
30. GODAPORUGALA: Kadademugala Archaeological Site
31. GODEGAMA: Vihara
32. GODIGAMUWA: Ihalagodigamuwa Ruins; Bibile Oya Pilimalena Vihara
33. GONAGANARA: Neluwagala Kanda Vihara; Walagamba Raja Maha Vihara
34. GONAPINUWALA: Sri Shylakutharama Purana Vihara
35. GONDIWELA: Tempita Vihara
36. GORAKANA SOUTH: Purana Kande Vihara
37. GOTHAMEEGAMA: Ruins
38. GOTHAMIPURA: Gotami Vihara
39. GURUGAMUWA: Pattini Devalaya Lindamulla


H

1. HABARADUWA: Devagiri Vihara
2. HABARUGALA: Mulagiri Aranya Senasana
3. HADAGAMA: Malakariya Ruins
4. HAKMANA: Ruwankanda Raja Maha Vihara; Thorawita Raja Maha Vihara; Umangala Raja Maha Vihara
5. HAKURUWELA: Raja Maha Vihara
6. HALDUMMULLA: Purana Vihara; Limestone Cave
7. HALI ELA: Ganetenna Purana Raja Maha Vihara
8. HALLATTHUTHENNA: Judicial Court
9. HALMILLAKETIYA: Halmillaketiya Tope
10. HALWALA KANDA: Bulathwathu Kanda Ruins; Pawrekanda Purana Vihara
11. HAMBANTOTA: Prison Wall; Court Complex's Main Building; Gallows; Lighthouse; Henry Jones Tombstone; Martello Tower
12. HAMBEGAMUWA: Nikevehera Vihara; Pashchimarama Vihara
13. HANDAPANAGALA: Kanabisopokuna Raja Maha Vihara
14. HANWELLA: Canal Around the Old Dutch Fort; Two Seats In The Hanwella Rest House
15. Hapuketiya: Passara Raja Maha Vihara
16. HAPUTALE: Circuit Bungalow; Haputale Forest Office; Reheddegala Forest Hermitage; Soragune Devalaya; Velanhinna Fort
17. HAPUTALEGAMA: Sri Bimbarama Raja Maha Vihara
18. HAPUWANA: Kshestrarama Purana Vihara
19. HARIGALA IDDAMALPANA: Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe Raja Maha Vihara Galigamuwa
20. HEBARAWA: Hebarawa Ruins
21. HEBESSA: Ruins
22. HEENATIGAHAMULA: Kottamba Sri Subadhrarama Vihara
23. HEIYANTHUDUWA: Purana Vihara
24. HELAGAMA: Devagiri Aranya Senasana
25. HELAMADA: Ganekanda Raja Maha Vihara
26. HENPITA: Embulgama Raja Maha Vihara
27. HERALIYAWALA: Sri Sudharmarama Vihara
28. HEWADIWELA: Miniyapitiyawatta Ruins; Vivekarama Vihara
29. HIKGODA: Sri Sudharmarama Vihara
30. HINDAGODA: Kotalawala Walawwa
31. HINGULA: Raja Maha Vihara
32. HINGURAKGODA: Halmilla Wewa Ruins
33. HINGURUKADUWA: Ampitigoda Purana Vihara
34. HOBARIYAWA: Purana Vihara
35. HOKANDARA NORTH: Hokandara Purana Vihara
36. HOLOMBUWA: Ruins; Pattini Devalaya; Streepura Gallen Vihara; Budugalge Purana Vihara
37. HORANA: Raja Maha Vihara
38. HULFTSDORP WEST ANKESELWATTA: Court Complex
39. HUNGAMPOLA: Sri Guharama Purana Vihara
40. HUNUPITIYA EAST: Sri Vijayasundararama Vihara


I

1. IDDAMADUWA: Iddamaduwa Ruins
2. IHALA MAWELA: Mawela Purana Gallen Vihara
3. IHALA WADIYAGAMA: Stupa
4. ILLUKPELESSA: Coffee Factory
5. ILLUPPAIKADAVAI: Padavuthurai
6. ILUKGODA: Shaila Kanthrama Vihara
7. INDHIGAS ELLA: Bambaragala Nikiniyagoda Caves
8. IRRANAI ILUPPAIKULAM: Iluppaikulam Sivan Temple


J

1. JAFFNA: Palace Ruins; Yamuna Eri Pond
2. JEEWANA: Raja Maha Vihara


K

1. KACHCHERIYAGAMA: Awasakanda Archaeological Ruins
2. KACHCHILAMADU: Pandara Vanniyan Monument; Pandara Vanniyan Ruins
3. KADIRAGODA: Nuga Tree
4. KADIRANA: Kandawala Water Level Measurement Pillar
5. KADURUGAMUWA: St Andrew's Church
6. KAGALLA: Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara
7. KAHAGAL VIHARAGODA: Kasagala Vihara
8. KAHAMBANA: Ambagolla Thislen Vihara
9. KAHATARUPPA: Urumtenna Purana Vihara
10. KAHATHTHEWELA: Ambalama
11. KAHAVILGODA: Elgiriya Raja Maha Vihara
12. KALALPITIYA: Dhathukanda Sri Jinendarama Purana Raja Maha Vihara
13. KALIKKADU: Kalikkadu Ruins
14. KALMUNEI: Olsurvey Post
15. KALUTARA: Gangatilake Devalaya; Nigrodharama Vihara; Official Residence Of High Court Judge; Pulinatalarama Vihara
16. KALUWAMODARA: Kalyanarama Purana Vihara; Kande Vihara
17. KALUWELLA: Cathedral Of The Mother Of Rosary; The House Bearing Assessment
18. KALVILAN: Ruins
19. KAMBURUGAMUWA: Halvinna Sri Jaya Maha Vihara
20. KANATHIRIYANWELA: Elugala Purana Tempita Vihara; St Anthony's Roman Catholic Church; Wehera Sindayaya Ruins
21. KANAVEGALLA: Stone Inscription
22. KANDANGAMUWA: Madarasinharama Vihara
23. KANDASURINDUGAMA: Cave Temple
24. KANDE: Pothgulgala Forest Hermitage
25. KANDE VIHARAGAMA: Purana Gallen Raja Maha Vihara
26. KANESAPURAM: Ruins
27. KANUGOLLA: Shailabimbarama Vihara
28. KANUKETIGODA: Poorwarama Vihara
29. KAPPATIPOLA: Tampita Vihara
30. KAPUGODA: St Vicenthi Home
31. KARAGAMPITIYA: Subodharama Purana Vihara
32. KARAMBAKADU Samanankulam: Ruins
33. KARANDUGALA: Ruins
34. KARANGODA: Pothgul Raja Maha Len Vihara
35. KARAPITIYA: Sunandarama Purana Vihara
36. KARAVILAKANATTE: Nayagala Aranya Senasana
37. KARIYAGAMA: Raja Maha Vihara
38. KATAGAMUWA: Nandimitra Stupa
39. KATALUWA: Atadage Walawwa
40. KATARAGAMA: Kataragama Temple
41. KATUWANA: Fort; Sri Vihara
42. KAWUDAWA: Purana Vihara
43. KAWUDUGMA: Vihara
44. KEERAHENA: Purana Vihara
45. KEERAHENA UDABAGE: Keerahena Gallen Vihara
46. KEGALLE: Jubilee Ambalama
47. KEHELLANDA: Bingoda Purana Vihara
48. KEHELWATHUGODA: Galkande Deniya Kumbura Ruins
49. KEKULA: Kabara Rock Cave
50. KELAMBUGAHA Athura: Waldehi Katuwa Akuru Ketugala Inscriptions
51. KELANIYA: Raja Maha Vihara
52. KEMPITIKANDA: Bodhirukkarama Purana Vihara
53. KEPPETIPOLA: Fort; Sri Somananda Pirivena
54. KERAGALA: Purana Vihara
55. KERAMINIYA: Raja Maha Vihara
56. KERIDAMADU: Ruins
57. KESELPOTHA: Rambaken Vihara
58. KEWELAGALA: Ruins
59. KIMBULAWALA: Galabedda Sri Pana Vihara
60. KINCHIGUNE SOUTH: Kolaberiya Elagawa Watta Archaeological Ruins
61. KIRAWANAGAMA: Raja Maha Vihara
62. KIRIBATHGODA: Sudarshanarama Vihara
63. KIRIELLA: Ellawala Sri Gangarama Purana Vihara; Nedun Raja Maha Vihara
64. KIRIIBBANWEWA: Nayaru Dagoba
65. KITHULGODA: Ganegodella Purana Raja Maha Vihara
66. KITULGALA: Belilena
67. KIVULAYAYA: Mandagala Vihara
68. KLUBULLANDA: Purana Vihara
69. KOKAVIL: Ruins
70. KOKDUWA: Siripawara Bodhirajarama Vihara
71. KOKUNNEWA: Vihara
72. KOLLAVALAMKULAM: Nagathambran Kovil Ruins
73. KOLONNA: Aththarama Purana Vihara; Dapane Sri Jayasundararama Raja Maha Vihara
74. KOLONWINNA: Ganulpotha Purana Vihara
75. KOMARIKA: Dehigaskanda Mineral Mine
76. KONEGASMANKADA: Walipatha Puhulyaya Purana Vihara
77. KONKATIYA: Budugallena Aranya Senasana; Aluthwela Vihara; Purana Vihara
78. KORATOTA: Raja Maha Vihara
79. KOROSDOOVA: Vivekarama Vihara
80. KOSKANDAWALA: Ancient Caves; Raja Maha Vihara; Parewigala Drip Ledgecave
81. KOSLANDA: Ariyawansarama Vihara
82. KOSPILLEWA: Panasavanarama Vihara
83. KOSSINNA: Raja Maha Vihara
84. KOTADENIYAWA: Ambagahalanda Watta Walawwa
85. KOTAHENA: Central Kovil Rest Hall; Deepaduththarama Vihara; St Lucia's Cathedral
86. KOTALAWALA: Sankhapitti Vihara
87. KOTAVEHERA: Pulinathalarama Vihara
88. KOTAVEHERAGALA: Selamali Chaithya
89. KOTAWERA: Kahatathalawa Naa Bodhi
90. KOTHAPALUWA ANRANWALA: Asokarama Forest Hermitage
91. KOTIYAGALA: Wattegama Purana Vihara
92. KOTIYAGODA: Kotiyagoda Purana Vihara
93. KOTTAKAMBOK: Rathmalvehera Purana Vihara
94. KOTTEGODA; Siriwardhanarama Vihara; Sudarshanabimbharama Vihara
95. KOTTEGODAKADANA: Galge Pitiya Purana Vihara
96. KOTTIMBULWALA: Len Vihara
97. KUDABOLANA MALAYU’S COLONY: Veheragoda Stupa
98. KUDAGALAYAYA: Veeppannagala Rock Ruins
99. KUDALIGAMA: Sri Vishnu Pattini Devalaya
100. KUDAPAYAGALA: Payagala Police Station
101. KUKULEGAMA: Nerawanalena Cave At Sri Sumana Gallen Vihara
102. KULAMMURIPPU: Ruins
103. KUMARAKANDA: Purana Vihara
104. KUMARAPURAM: Sri Chithravelaudam
105. KUMARAWATTA: Sitakanda Aranya Senasana
106. KUMBALGAMA: Ethulwatta Walawwa
107. KUPPIYAWATTA; Jayasekararama Vihara
108. KURAGALA: Gallen Raja Maha Vihara
109. KURUDANA: Gangathilaka Vihara
110. KURUGAMA: Rakhithakanda Purana Vihara
111. KURUNTHUHINNA: Dawson’s Rest House
112. KURUVITA: Devipahala Na Tree
113. KURUWITA: Purana Vihara


L

1. LAKSHAPATHIYA: Kshetrarama Maha Vihara
2. LEGAMA: Kotasa Ruins
3. LENAGAMPALA: Purana Viharaa
4. LENDORUMULLA: Wathudeni Raja Maha Vihara
5. LEWKE: Walawwa Anbuddha Shrine
6. LEWKE DODANTALE: Aluth Nuwara Devalaya Ruins; Sri Seneviratne Uposatha Raja Maha Vihara
7. LINDARA: Raja Maha Vihara
8. LOLLEHELA: Mount Ruins
9. LOLUWAGODA: Pothgul Vihara
10. LUNUWATTA: Mana Ella Archaeological Reserve; Minuwangamuwa Vihara


M

1. MABOTUNNA: Vihara
2. MADEIYAWA: Tharanagala Ruins
3. MADHUWA: Sudharamarama Purana Vihara
4. MADURUPITIYA: Thotewatta Patthini Devalaya
5. MADUWANWELA: Walawwa
6. MAGALKANDA: Parama Chethiyarama Vihara
7. MAGGONA: St Francis Church; St Mary's Church
8. MAHABOLANA: Uchchawalitha Raja Maha Vihara]
9. MAHAGAMA: Oorusitawewa Ruins
10. MAHAGAMMEDDA: Sri Dharmaguptha Pirivena
11. MAHAGODAYAYA: Devagiri Aranya Senasana; Rahatunkanda Buddharakkhitha Aranya Senasana
12. MAHALLOLUWA: Sri Saddharmarama Vihara; Sri Sudarshanarama Vihara
13. MAHARA: Purana Vihara
14. MAHAWALATENNA: Puskada Cave
15. MAHAWALATHENNA: Sri Chandrasekara Purana Vihara
16. MAHIYANGANA: Raja Maha Vihara; Saman Devalaya
17. MAHIYANGANAYA: Hehelayaya Ruins
18. MAKANDURA: Maha Walawwa; Purana Vihara
19. MAKULADENIYA: Purana Raja Maha Vihara
20. MAKURA: Dharmarathanarama Vihara; Makura Vihara
21. MALADENIYA: Shylakantharama Purana Vihara; Ambalena Cave
22. MALIGAKANDA: Maha Bodhi Vihara; Vidyodaya Pirivena
23. MALIGAWATTA: Muslim Cemetery; Railway Premises
24. MALLAHEWA: Kotasara Piyangala Raja Maha Vihara
25. MALWATHUHIRIPITIYA: MALIGATENNA Raja Maha Vihara
26. MAMPITAGAMA: Mampita Purana Gallen Raja Maha Vihara; Tholangamuwa Purana Vihara
27. MANABHARANA: Raja Maha Vihara
28. MANGALAGAMA: Ambalama
29. MANGALATIRIYA: Miriswatta Gallen Vihara
30. MANGEDARA: Mahawatta Purana Vihara
31. MANINTHALE: Shiva Kovil Ruins
32. Mannagoda: Tempita Vihara
33. MANNAKANDAL: Kanniyar Kovil Ruins
34. MANNAR: Fort
35. MAPAKADA: Mapagala Vehera Archaeological Site
36. MAPAKADAWEWA: Mapagoda Weheragodella Ruins
37. MARADANA: Beruwala Lighthouse; Railway Station Store Room; Samadhi Grahaya In Kalandar Sahib Waliyulla Muslim Mosque
38. MARAGALA: Gallengoda Raja Maha Vihara
39. MARAKOLLIYA HENAKADUWA: Sri Sudarshanarama Vihara Henakaduwa
40. MASSALA: Sapugoda Sri Maha Vihara
41. MATARA: Building In Gelisvenaroy Watte; Dutch Reformed Church; The Archaic Walawwa; Land Registry; The Coast View Building; The Governor’s Official Residence; The Special Detention Cell Of The Prison; The VIP Bungalow; Matara Square Wall; Rampart Ammunition Store Star Fort
42. MATIYAMULLA: Payagala Swarnarama Vihara
43. MAWANELLA: Bridge; Udyanagoda Purana Len Vihara
44. MAYILLA: Kotiyagala Len Vihara
45. MEDAGAMA: Hathporuwa Vihara; Kosmandiya Aranya Senasana; Poyamalu Vihara
46. MEDAGODA: Ambalama
47. MEDAGODA AMITIRIGALA: Siddha Pattini Devalaya Medagoda
48. MEDAKEEMBIYA EAST: Sri Kshetrarama Purana Vihara
49. MEDAMULANA: Sri Bodhimalu Purana Raja Maha Vihara
50. MEDAPITIYA: Neelagiri Purana Vihara
51. MEDAWELA: Udukinda Jinapothikarama Vihara
52. MEDDEGAMA: Raja Maha Vihara
53. MEDILIYAGAMA: Raja Maha Vihara
54. MEDIRIGIRIYA: Vatadage
55. MEEGAHAGODA: Purana Vihara
56. MEEGALLA: Viharagala Drip Ledgecave
57. MEENVILLA: Somawathiya Chaitya
58. MEEPE: Ambalama
59. MEEYAGALA: Purana Vihara
60. MELLAGAMA: Kotabowa Kuda Kataragama Devala
61. METIKOTAMULLA: Saddharamathilakarama Vihara
62. MIDDHARAMULLA: Kshetrarama Purana Vihara
63. MILAGIRIYA: Fellows Lelah House
64. MILLAKEWA GIRANDURUKOTTE: Hanguma Purana Vihara
65. MINNERIYA: Nagalakanda Mahasen Monastery
66. MIRIHANA: Jubilee Post
67. MOLOKGAMUWA THUNBEWULA: Wijayabahu Raja Maha Vihara
68. MONARAGALA: Weheradivulana Archaeological Site
69. MORAGALA: Ambanoluwa Raja Maha Vihara
70. MORAGALLA: Dhammikarama Purana Vihara
71. MORAGAMMANA: Mayurapada Vihara
72. MORATTAMULLA: Nagala Raja Maha Vihara
73. MOTTUNNA: Kiritarama Vihara
74. MULKIRIGALA: Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara
75. MULLAITIVU: Fort
76. MULLEGAMA: Mulgiri Purana Vihara
77. MULLENDIYAAWALA: Sri Thaalarukkaaraama Vihara
78. MURUNGASYAYAWEST: Middeniya Purana Vihara
79. MUTHTHAIYANKADDU KULAM: Muththaiyankaddu Lake Ruins
80. MUTHUKELIYAWA: Katugahagalge Purana Len Vihara
81. MUWAPITIYA: Sri Sudharmarama Tempita Vihara


N

1. Naape: Kosgoda Ganegodella Purana Vihara
2. NAITHTHIKKAIKULAM: Ruins
3. NALAGAMA: Ganegoda Purana Vihara
4. NALLA: Madabavita Raja Maha Vihara; Yaka Bendi Ella
5. NAMALUWA: Archaeological Site
6. NANGALLA: Hunuwala Raja Maha Vihara
7. NANNAPURAWA: Ahungoda Purana Vihara
8. NAPE: Ganegodella Purana Vihara Kosgoda; Ganegodella Rajamaha Vihara
9. NARANGASKOTUWA: Malwana Fort
10. NAVAGAMUWA: Pattini Devalaya; Raja Maha Viahara
11. NAWAGAMUWA SOUTH: Andudola Kanda Archaeological Ruins
12. NEDIGAMWILA: Archaeological Ruins
13. NEGOMBO: Saint Stephen's Church; Fort; The Ancient Magazine
14. NELUWANTHUDUWA: Two Drip Ledgerock Caves
15. NEVISMERE: Lower Village Ruins
16. NEWOLKELE: Mahatissa Len Senasuna
17. NIHILUWA: Galkote Raja Maha Vihara
18. NIKAWALAMULLA HAKURUGALA: Hakurugala Raja Maha Vihara
19. NILMALGODA: Karandulen Vihara
20. NILWAKKA: Raja Maha Vihara
21. NIRAVIYA: Uyilankulam Ruins
22. NIWATUWA: Athnawala Watta Ruins
23. NIWUNHELLA: Peelahenawatta Ruins
24. NIYANGAMA: Udaha Walawwa
25. NUGATALAWA: Divurumwela Raja Maha Vihara; Divurumwela Raja Maha Vihara
26. NUPE: Old Nupe Market; Sarammudali Walauwa


O

1. OBADAELLA: Sudarmarama Purana Vihara
2. OKKAMPITIYA: Dambegoda Bodhisatva Statue; Dematamal Viharaya
3. OLAWENIGAMA: Kolawenigama Raja Maha Vihara
4. OMALPE: Tempita Vihara
5. OMBAGAHAWELA: Gonsarudawa Archaeological Reserve
6. OVITIGALA: Sunandarama Vihara


P

1. PAHALA KADUGANNAWA: Ambalama
2. PAHALA KIMBIYA: Shailavarama Purana Raja Maha Vihara
3. PAHALA KOTAVEHERA: Kotavehera Vihara
4. PAHALA MANIYANGAMA: Sitawaka Fort
5. PAHALA YAGODA: Sugathanandanarama Vihara
6. PAHALAGAMA: Yatawatta Purana Vihara
7. PAHALAGAMAVEVALDENIYA: Yayagala Purana Vihara
8. PAHALAKARAGAHAMUNA: Gal Edanda Raja Maha Vihara; Ancient Pond
9. PAHALATHALDUUWA: Berendi Kovil
10. PAIBEKKA: Godavaya Vihara
11. PALAIYAMURUKANDY: Ambalavikulam Ruins
12. PALATOTA: Ammunition Store
13. PALEPPANI: Ruins; Periyathehilamkulam Ruins
14. PALKUMBURA: Kota Veherawatta Stupa
15. PALLAWELA: Kirthi Sri Thejovanarama Vihara
16. PALLEBEDDA: Sankhapala Raja Maha Vihara
17. PALLEGAMA: Kavantissa Raja Maha Vihara
18. PALLEROTA: Ramba Raja Maha Vihara
19. PALLEWELA: Kirivehera Raja Maha Vihara
20. PALLIMUNAI: Mannar Baobab Tree
21. PAMANKADA: Balapokuna Raja Maha Vihara
22. PANADURA: Rankoth Vihara
23. PANANGALA: Gangarama Vihara
24. PANAWENNA: Abayathilakarama Vihara
25. PANGAMVILYAYA: Nakadawala Vihara
26. PARANAKADE: Ketchchimalai Mosque
27. PARAPAWA: Parapawa Raja Maha Vihara
28. Pathagangoda: Ambarukkharama Maha Vihara
29. PAYAGALA: Moola Maha Vihara; St Francis Xaviour Church
30. PEHERAMBE: Ruins
31. PELENDA: Weediya Bandara Palace Ruins
32. PELIYAGODA: Vidyalankara Pirivena
33. PELMADULLA: Galpoththawala Purana Vihara; Sudharmodaya Raja Maha Vihara; Tomb Of Iddamalgoda Basnayake Nilame; Sri Sudharmarama Vihara Pelmadulla
34. PENATIYAMA: Sri Chethiyarama Purana Vihara
35. PEPILIYANA: Sunetradevi Raja Maha Vihara
36. PERARU: Ruins
37. PETHANGODA: Uyana; Dharmalankara Pirivena
38. PIDALIGANAWANIYADAGALA: Niyandagala Purana Gallen Vihara
39. PILAPITIYA: St Mary's Church
40. PILIKUTHTHUWA: Kitulgolla Cave; Raja Maha Vihara; Raja Maha Vihara; Viharakanda Cave; Viharakandawatta Cave
41. PIMBURA: Gulana Cave
42. PITAKOTTE: Gal Ambalama; Pita Kotte Raja Maha Vihara
43. PITAKUMBURAGAMA: Wilehigoda Raja Maha Vihara
44. PITAMARUWA: Raja Maha Vihara
45. PKAILAGODA: Walawwa
46. PODAPE: Purana Vihara
47. POKUNUWITA: Raja Maha Vihara
48. POLKOTUWA: St Anne's Catholic Church
49. POLWATTA: Gangarama Vihara
50. POONERYN: Gautharmunei Shiva Kovil Ruins.; Pooneryn Fort
51. POTHUWILA: Veherakanda Purana Vihara
52. PUBUDU WEWA: Neluwagala Kanda Purana Vihara
53. PUDAMAYAYA: Ruins
54. PULUMACHCHINADAKULAM: Lake Ruins
55. PUTHTHUVEDDUVAN: Marandakulam Ruins; Ruins
56. PUVAKDANDAWA: Panchathuparama Purana Vihara


R

1. RADAWELA: Aththadassa Raja Maha Vihara
2. RADDALGODA: Sri Jinendrarama Vihara
3. RAIGAMA: Pathaha Watta Ruins
4. RAJAGIRIYA: Obeysekera Walawwa
5. RALUWA: Raluwa Tanketiya Watta Archaeological Ruins
6. RAMBUKANAGAMA: Weheragodaella Ruins
7. RAMBUKKANA: Raja Maha Vihara
8. RAMBUKPOTHA: Maha Walawwa; Purana Vihara
9. RANAKELIYA: Uddakandara Puarana Vihara
10. RANAKELIYA NORTH: Sandagiri Seya
11. RANCHAGODA: Padinnoruwa Vihara
12. RANDILIGAMA: Sidda Pattini Devalaya
13. RANDIWELA: Sri Saranathilakarama Vihara
14. RANNA: Kahadagala Sri Dhammadhinna Vihara; Kahadawa Purana Vihara
15. RANPOKUNAGAMA: Maimbula Gallen Vihara
16. RATMALANA: Pushparama Vihara; Ratmalana Dewala Watta
17. RATNAPURA: Dewalegawa Galkaduwa Purana Len Vihara; Ehelepola Walawwa; National Gem & Jewellery Authority Building; DIG Office Building; Ratnapura District Court Official Residence; Dutch Fort; Guest House; Library Building; Portuguese Fort; Regional Survey Office Building; SP Office Building; SSP Office Building; Traffic Police Office Building; St Aloysius National School Building; St Paul & Saint Peter Cathedral
18. RAVANA ELLA: Ella Vihara
19. REKAWA: Jaya Maha Vihara
20. RICHMOND HILL; Methodist Church Galle
21. RIDEEMALIYADDA: Potawa Ambalama
22. RIDIMALIYADDE SOUTH: Kanugolla Shailabimbarama Vihara
23. RITIGAHAWATTA: Kadala Veherawatte Ruins
24. RUWANAWELLA: Bridge; Jubilee Ambalama


S

1. SAKKRAKANDHA: Ruins
2. SALGALA: Forest Hermitage
3. SAMANABEDDA: Ganegoda Watta Archaeological Ruins; Ganeuda Raja Maha Vihara
4. SANDAGIRIGAMA: Punchi Akurugoda Archaeological Ruins
5. SANNASGAMA: Kiriweldeniya Purana Vihara
6. SAPUGAHAYAYA: Hellala Dakshina Purana Vihara
7. SAPUGASKANDA: Raja Maha Vihara
8. SAPUGODA: Vidyanikethana Piriven Vihara
9. SELAWA: Purana Raja Maha Vihara
10. SELAWA WEST: Purana Raja Maha Vihara
11. SHIVANAGAR: Kovil Ruins
12. SILAVATHURAI: Doric Bungalow
13. SIRIPURAGAMA: Vidimaga Purana Vihara
14. SIYAMBALAPITIYA: Purana Vihara
15. SIYAMBARAAHENA: Niloluwa Adidhunu Palama
16. SLAVE ISLAND: Army Recruiting Office Building
17. SOORIYAPOKUNA: Raja Maha Vihara
18. SOORIYAWEWA: Karabagala Aranya Senasana
19. SORANATHOTA: Buduge Kanda Raja Maha Vihara; Pattini Devalaya Kohovila
20. SRI JAYAWARDENEPURA KOTTE: Alakeshwara Archaeological Site; Lambrick Hall; Moat; Siri Perakumba Pirivena; Tunnel At Kotte Ananda Sastralaya
21. SUDUPANAWELA: Weligam Vehara Purana Vihara


T

1. TALANGAMUWA: Henahela Veedhiya Ruins
2. TALAWANORTH: Talawa Sri Bodhialakarama Vihara
3. TALAWATTA: Levangama Tempita Vihara
4. TALGAHAHENA: Sri Sumanarama Vihara
5. TALGASPITIYA: Deniyatenna Vihara
6. TALPITIYA: Daladawaththa Purana Vihara
7. TANGALLE: Court Complex
8. TELWATTA: Thotagamu Rathapath Raja Maha Vihara
9. THABANA: Devagiri Vihara
10. THADDAYAMALAI: Ruins
11. THALAGAMAEAST: Thalagama Raja Maha Vihara
12. THANAMALVILA: Pilimahela Ruins
13. THELANGAPATHA: Sri Sudharmarama Vihara
14. THELIKADA: Ampitiya Devalaya; Sri Sunandarama Purana Vihara
15. THELWATHTHA: Rathpath Rajamaha Vihara
16. THENNIYANKULAM: Ruins
17. THIHARIYA: Warana Raja Maha Vihara
18. THIHAVA: Archaeological Ruins
19. THIMBIRIGASYAYA: Bans Hall
20. THIMBIRIPOLA: Raja Lena; Ranpothagala
21. THIMBIRIYAGAMA: Thimbiriya Raja Maha Vihara
22. THIRUWANAKATIYA: Ganegoda Purana Vihara; Wanawasa Pansala
23. THISSAMAHARAMA: Kirinda Maha Vihara; Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya; Raja Maha Vihara; Yatala Vehera
24. THORAPITIYA: Weherahinna Archaeological Ruins
25. THUNKEMGALA: Raja Maha Vihara
26. TIRUKETHEESWARAM: Ketheeswaram Temple
27. TISSAMAHARAMA: Old Market


U

1. UDAARAWA: Veherayaya Ruins
2. UDABERAGAMA: Beragama Punyawardhanarama Vihara; Beragama Vilgam Vehera
3. UDAGALA DENIYA: Damunu Kanda Mukalana Anneeraviya Hena Ruins
4. UDAGAMA: Stupa
5. UDAGOMADIYA: Kesel Watta Vihara
6. UDAMMITA: Purana Vihara; Raja Maha Vihara
7. UDAWATTA: Sri Sunandarama Vihara
8. UDAYALA: Kasagala Raja Maha Vihara
9. UDUGAMA: Nawagamuwa Raja Maha Vihara; Purana Raja Maha Vihara
10. UDUGAMPOLA: Purana Vihara
11. UDUPPIDDY: Veerapattiyar Kovil
12. UDUTHUNGIRIPITIYA: The Drip Ledgerock Cave Access Steps
13. UDUWAKA: Purana Gallen Raja Maha Vihara
14. UGGALBODA: Uggalboda Vihara
15. UGGALKALTOTA: Medabedda Pallekanda Yaya Ruins
16. UHANGODA: Gallalla Raja Maha Sath Pathini Dewalaya
17. UNANVITA: Alagoda Walawwa
18. UNAWATUNA: Raja Maha Vihara
19. UPPER LENAGALA: Lenakaduwa Vihara
20. URANEEYA: Nagadeepa Raja Maha Vihara Uraneeya
21. URAWATHTHA: Gangarama Vihara
22. URUBOKKA: Wall Built During Dutch Period
23. URUMALAI: Mannar Island Lighthouse
24. UTHUWAMBOGAHAWATTA: Sri Sudarshanarama Vihara Mirigama
25. UTHUWANA: Ruins
26. UTTUPULAMI: Uttupulam Ruins
27. UVA KETAWALA: Ketawala Ambalama
28. UVA KOSGAMA: Kosgama Walawwa
29. UYILANKULAM: Ambalaperumal Lake Ruins


V

1. VADUWELIVITIYA: Gangarama Vihara
2. VAGEGODA: Rankothmaluwa Vihara
3. VEEDURUPOLA: Vihara
4. VEHERAGALA: Archaeological Site
5. VEHERAWATTA: Veherawatta Vihara
6. VEHERAYAYA: Keheliya Raja Maha Vihara
7. VEHERAYAYAGAMA: Sellaba Purana Raja Maha Vihara
8. VELLAKULAM: Ruins
9. VERAGAMPITA: The House In Which Gajaman Nona Lived
10. VERAGODA: Ruins; Walagamba Gallen Raja Maha Vihara
11. VETTAMBUGALA: Vettambugala Ruins
12. VIHARA MULLA: Muppane Raja Maha
13. VIHARAWELA: Ihalagalagama Gallen Raja Maha Vihara
14. VILLAGODA: Ambalama
15. VINAYAGAPURAM: Ruins


W

1. WADDUWA: Vivekarama Vihara
2. WALAGAMA: Ira Handa Gala
3. WALALGODA: Purana Tempita Vihara
4. WALANDAKARE: Ruins
5. Walawwatta: Bibile Walawwa
6. WALIPATHYAAYA: Lanka Pabbatha Gallen Raja Maha Vihara
7. WALPOLA : Ihala Walpola Sri Gawthamaramaya Purana Vihara
8. WARAAWELA MUDUGAMUWA: Dhunu Palama
9. WARAKAGODA: Gallen Raja Maha Vihara; Ganeuda Purana Vihara; Ganeuda Vihara; Ruins; Ganeudawaththa Ruins; Weheragodellawatta Site
10. WARAPALANA: Sri Jinendrarama Vihara
11. WARAPITIYA: Sittam Gallena Raja Maha Vihara; Weharakotuwa Archaeological Ruins
12. WARUNAGAMA Weerasekaragama: Ruins
13. WASKADUBEDDA DELDOOVA: Ganewatta Purana Vihara
14. WASKADUWA: Subuthi Vihara
15. WATHTHEGAMA: Viharamulla Galketiya Ruins
16. WATHTHEGAMA VIHARAMULLA: Wattegama Miyangodapitiya Ruins
17. WATHURA: Raja Maha Vihara
18. WATTARAMA: Forest Hermitage; Raja Maha Vihara
19. WATTE GEDARA: Vipashyarama Vihara
20. WATTUKANDA: Purana Vihara
21. WAUWULUGALA: Sri Damma Rakkhitharama Purana Vihara
22. WEEDIYAGODA: Raja Maha Vihara
23. WEERAKETIYA: Konthagala Raja Maha Vihara
24. WEHELLA: Weluwanarama Purana Vihara
25. WEHERAGALA: Purana Vihara
26. WELEKADE: Old Market Complex
27. WELIARA: Weligam Vehera Purana Vihara
28. WELIGAMA: Agrabodhi Raja Maha Vihara; Kowilakanda Purana Vihara; Kushtarajagala; Rajakula Wadana Raja Maha Vihara
29. WELIPILLEWA: Purana Vihara
30. WELIPITIYA: Vehera Kotha Kanda Vihara
31. WELITARA: Mahakappitha Walawwa; Sri Pushparama Vihara Balapitiya
32. WELIWATTA: Wijeyananda Piriven Vihara
33. WELIYAYA: Mayuragiri Purana Vihara
34. WELLASSAGAMA: Rahathankanda Aranya Senasana
35. WELLAWAYA: Buduruvagala; Kithulkotte Henyaya Archaeological Reserve; Telulla Ruins
36. WERAGALA: Purana Sriwardhenarama Vihara
37. WERAGAMPITA: Raja Maha Vihara
38. WERAGODA: Kshetrarama Purana Vihara; Seenigama Devalaya
39. WETENNA: Sri Shyla Vivekaramaya Alias Pansalwatta


Y

1. YAKKALAMULLA: Udumalagala Sri Gangarama Purana Vihara
2. YAKKHADURAWA: Sri Vehera Pudama Vihara
3. YATIMAHANA: Budulena Gala Raja Maha Vihara; Banagegoda Ambalama
4. YATIYALLATHOTA: Archaeological Reserve
5. YODAKANDIYA: Naga Maha Vihara
6. YONGAMMULLA: Ambagahahena Cave; Kekirihena Cave; Midigahalanda Cave
7. YUDAGANAWA: Yudaganawa Vihara

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Mudaliyar

A Sinhala term for a chief headman, most typically empowered under British rule as the administrator of a Korale, or revenue district.

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Muhandiram

A Sinhala term for the Kandyan kingdom’s head of revenue, a title later used more widely under British rule within the colonial administrative hierarchy.

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Mutasiva, King of Anuradhapura

The eighth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 367 BCE – 307 BCE.

Inheriting the throne from his father, Pandu Kabhaya, or possibly from the shadowy King Ganatissa who may have been his brother, father or merely a figure of antique fiction, Mutasiva was to rule as the second king of Anuradhapura until his death, peaceably, in in 307 BCE. Little is known about his reign except his enlargement of Mahamevnāwa, an enormous park in Anuradhapura noted for its flowering trees and fruits. Mindful of his dynastic Vijayan obligations, Mutasiva produced 9 sons, 5 of whom would rule after him. His own long reign would have done much to help entrench the Viyan dynasty’s early grip on the island.

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N, n

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Nallathanniya

A tiny pilgrim village – also known as Dalhousie – that is most useful positioned for those determined to climb Adam’s Peak. Its shops are full of such beneficial items as warm clothing and water flasks; and its name comes from the nearby Dalhousie tea estate whose ownership, though not noticeably Scottish, goes back to at least at a Mr F.G.A. Lane in 1885.

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National Flag

The Sri Lankan lion became extinct some thirty-seven thousand years BC, but this has not stopped it dominating the current national flag. Quite possibly an earlier design of the lion flag travelled here as Prince Vijaya standard in 486 BC. It was used thereafter right across the country’s many kingdoms, including those of Sitawaka, Kotte and Kandy – but not by the Portuguese, Dutch or British colonists. It was returned to once again at Independence in 1948 when a simple design of a yellow knife-wielding lion within a yellow frame on a red background was adopted, the cornered decorated with Bo leaves.

Its current design dates to a significant revision in 1972; the lion then being joined by as many symbols as a metaphysical painting. Minorities are represented in the orange (Tamil) and green (Moor) stripe; and the yellow border (Malays, Burghers, Veddas, Kaffirs and the Sri Lankan Chinese). The Singhala occupy the overall maroon background. Four expectant Bodhi-tree leaves highlight the virtues of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and self-control. The saffron border depicts unity. The lion himself is scattered with deeper meaning: intelligence (nose), purity (beard); a non-materialist outlook (front paws), hair (wisdom), and The Noble Eightfold Path (tail hairs). His sword stands for national sovereignty – but also water, fire, air, and earth.

In the height of the Civil Was, in 1987, individual flags were adopted for each of the country’s provinces. A golden bird, lion, and cobra feature on the Western Province flag, decorated with bo tree leaves and the four attributes of Buddhism. A lion with fig leaves dominates the flags of both the Sabaragamuwa and Southern Provinces, and a lion with fig leaves and lotus flowers that of the Central Province. A buffalo with sun, moon and stars is displayed on the North Western Province’s flag; a swan on Uvas’; and a fish, lion and eagle for the Eastern Province. The flag of the North Central Province is noticeably different to all others, featuring the first stupa in ancient Anuradhapura and an image of King Parakramabahu the Great, from Polonnaruwa. A greater degree of abstraction characterises the flag of the Northern Province - blocks of red (Hinduism), white (peace), and green (agriculture) framed by a blue border representing the sea.

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Negombo Canal

An illustration of a photograph by Alfred William Amandus Plate of the Negombo Canal showing Padda Boats between 1890-1910. Public Domain.

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Niliya, King of Anuradhapura

The thirty third (interloper) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being sometime around 47 to 44 BCE.

A palace priest, Niliya was placed on the throne of Anuradhapura in 47 or 44 BCE by his terrifying lover, the widowed Vijayan Queen, Anula. Anula had come into her inheritance by murdering five earlier monarchs: her husband Choura Naga, the twenty-eighth King of Anuradhapura; his successor, Choura Naga, the twenty-ninth monarch; and her last three lovers, Siva I, the thirtieth monarch, Vatuka, the thirty first monarch, and Darubhatika Tissa, the thirty second monarch. Within a year Anula had Niliya poisoned too.

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Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, The

A photograph by Alfred William Amandus Plate entitled "18th Hole and Club House Golf Links Nuwara Eliya Elevation 6200 Feet" dating to 1890-1910. Public Domain.

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O, o

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P, p

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Pandu Kabhaya, King of Anuradhapura

The sixth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), reigning from 437 BCE to 367 BCE.

Barely 100 years into their first royal dynasty, Sri Lanka had the great good fortune to encounter Pandu Kabhaya’s - one of its greatest kings. Inheriting, at best, a kinglet, he passed onto his Vijayan successors a fully functioning kingdom that for over centuries became a byword for opulence, sophistication, and progress. Pandu Kabhaya’s (improbably long) 70-year reign would have come as a blessed relief to family and subjects alike after a prolonged and murderous run of dynastic squabbling. This stemmed from his military campaign to wrest the kingdom of Upatissa Nuwara from Tisa, his uncle. A smart intelligence helped him see off repeated pre-ascension assassination attempts on his young life by his uncle Tissa. He won a total victory by 437 BCE, quite probably defeating or killing all but one of his other eight uncles in the process, putting the oldest, the ex-king Abhaya to work in his civil administration.

Pandu Kabhaya then set in train the real beginnings of the Anuradhapura Kingdom when he moved his capital to that site and, in Louis XIV-style, began building. Anuradhapura was then already some 200 years old and covered over 20 acres. Pandukabhaya took it to still greater heights. His efforts harnessed the country’s expertise in all areas of professionalism - from farming and engineering to administration and construction. By creating an unrivalled capital city, he was able to use it to project his dominance throughout the entire island. Documented remains of a great survey he conducted to assess his kingdom show some 700 villages spreading out across the island from the city of Anuradhapura across land described as Raja Ratna – the King’s country.

This ascendancy took the Vijayans time to foster, and for several centuries the kingdom co-existed with other smaller realms to the east and south before it was able to asset its pre-eminence. Anuradhapura was to become one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities – and for 1,500 years was the capital of the island state. Pandu Kabhaya was to give it its first palaces, new temples, pools, stupas, gardens, and dwellings. Nor did he appear to neglect the utilitarian, building hospitals, cemeteries, sewers and, in a marvellous feat of ancient engineering, constructing bisokotuwas to regulate the outflow of water from tanks and sluices to secure them against destruction in the annual floods

From the start Pandu Kabhaya’s rule respected his Vedda allies, the Yakkhas, Cittaraja and Kalavela, clans of the island’s earliest original inhabitants. The Mahāvaṃsa records his beneficial diligence:

“He settled the Yakkha Kalavela on the east side of the city, the Yakkha Cittaraja at the lower end of the Abhayatank…and on festival-days he sat with Cittaraja beside him on a seat of equal height, and having gods and men to dance before him, the king took his pleasure, in joyous and merry wise. He laid out also four suburbs as well as the Abhaya-tank, the common cemetery, the place of execution, and the chapel of the Queens of the West, the banyan-tree of Vessavana and the Palmyra-palm of the Demon of Maladies, the ground set apart for the Yonas and the house of the Great Sacrifice; all these he laid out near the west gate.

He set 500 candalas to the work of cleaning the town, 200 candalas to the work of cleaning the sewers, 150 candalas he employed to bear the dead and as many candalas to be watchers in the cemetery. For these he built a village north-west of the cemetery and they continually carried out their duty as it was appointed. Toward the north-east of the candala-village he made the cemetery, called the Lower Cemetery, for the candala folk. North of this cemetery, between (it and) the Pasana-mountain, the line of huts for the huntsmen were built thenceforth. Northward from thence, as far as the Gamani-tank, a hermitage was made for many ascetics; eastward of that same cemetery the ruler built a house for the nigantha Jotiya. In that same region dwelt the nigantha named Giri and many ascetics of various heretical sects. And there the lord of the land built also a chapel for the nigantha Kumbhanda.

Toward the west from thence and eastward of the street of the huntsmen lived five hundred families of heretical beliefs. On the further side of Jotiya’s house and on this side of the Gamani tank he likewise built a monastery for wandering mendicant monks, and a dwelling for the ajivakas and a residence for the brahmans, and in this place and that he built a lying-in shelter and a hall for those recovering from sickness. Ten years after his consecration did Pandu Kabhaya the ruler of Lanka establish the village-boundaries over the whole of the island of Lanka.”

Trade thrived exponentially; and there are even intriguing hints, documented by The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, of a small group of Greek merchants living in the royal city itself.

Credited with ending the guerrilla warfare that marked the resistance of the original island dwellers against the Vijayans, Pandu Kabhaya’s reign not only brought stability but bequeathed future constancy to the island, as his own son, Mutasiva, came peaceably to the throne in 367 BCE on his death.

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Pandu, King of Anuradhapura

The first of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India; and the 72nd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE).

Leading a confederation of Pandiyan forces from South India, Pandu seized the throne from the reigning Anuradhapura king, Mittasena – who was to become the twenty sixth and last monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period). Decades of political turmoil and internecine regicide had numbed Mittasena’s kingdom, lowering its defences and its capability to meet any invader, let alone govern effectively. Mittasena, by all accounts a deeply devout king, was more given to religion than warfare. He enjoyed his throne for just a year before being killed in battle by Pandu. Pandu himself is thought to have been the 35th reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have died a natural death, the dates of his reign being 436 – 441 CE.

Illustration Credit: Fish Symbol - Later Pandya Collapsed Architectural Engineering Adinarayana Perumal Temple In Madurai Ground Report By S Rajagopal

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Panduvasdeva, King of Upatissa Nuwara

The third monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), reigning from 504 BCE to 474 BCE.

Nephew of Vijaya, King of Tambapanni, the Vijayan dynasty’s founding father, Panduvasdeva was just what the nascent Vijayan dynasty needed to entrench itself. His greatest achievements were being able to rule for decades and produce heirs - albeit ones fixated on familicide. Whether his many sons all came from the same wife or not is unknown, for the harem was to be a key institution of the royal court, and a magnet for intrigue and politics until the last king of the last kingdom breathed his last. Panduvasdeva moved his capital from Upatissa Nuwara to the fortress of Vijithapura, close to what would later become its great capital, Anuradhapura. Today, he is chiefly remembered for the chaos that later enveloped the country as his 10 sons battled against the morbid predictions of a court soothsayer who predicted that they would all be killed by their nephew, Pandu Kabhaya, son of their only sister, Princess Citta.

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Panya Mara, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty-fourth (invader) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 98 BCE – 91 BCE.

One of 7 Dravidian chiefs from the Indian Pandyan Dynasty that forcibly took the Anuradhapuran Kingdom from its barely-established new ruler King Valagamba in 103 BCE, Panya Mara became king of Anuradhapura in 98 BCE by the simple expedient of murdering his Dravidian master, Bahiya. He has previously served him as chief minster. Much of his own short rule was dealing with threats to his own safety – from the avenging Valagamba - busy waging an ever more successful guerrilla war from the south - and from his own Dravidian colleagues, one of whom, Pilaya Mara, was to murder him.

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Parakramabahu the Great

Illustration show the famous statue of Parakramabahu the Great in Pollonnaruwa, taken by an unknown photographer at the turn of the century. Public Domain.

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Paraveni

A Sinhala term for hereditary property, also known as pamunu.

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Parindu, King of Anuradhapura

The 2nd of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India; and the 73rd recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE).

Parindu inherited the throne from his father, Pandu, who appears to have died a natural death. But this was not to be the fate of his son. Parindu was murdered by his brother and successor, Khudda Parinda, becoming the 35th reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have been murdered for the succession after a reign of under a year (441 CE).

Illustration Credit: a reproduction of the PAndyian flag by Kiru-D-Kong

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Pattu

A Sinhala term for the sub division of a korale, which is part of the administrative unit of a province.

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Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), The

An illustration by Percy Macquoid, entitled "For the Shore a - Sketch in Colombo Harbour" from the 1890s. Public Domain.

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Pilaya Mara, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty-fifth (invader) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 91 BCE – 90 BCE.

One of 7 Dravidian chiefs from the Indian Pandyan Dynasty that forcibly took the Anuradhapuran Kingdom from its barely-established new ruler King Valagamba in 103 BCE, Pilaya Mara became king of Anuradhapura in 91 BCE by the simple expedient of murdering his Dravidian master, Panya Mara. He had previously served him as chief minster. Much of his own blink-short rule was spent dealing with threats to his own safety – from the avenging Valagamba - busy waging an ever more successful guerrilla war from the south - and from his own Dravidian colleagues. It is unclear whether he met his own death at the hands on his chief general, Dathika, who would succeed him, or Valagamba himself, whose military successes were at last lapping over closer to the gates of Anuradhapura itself.

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Pingo Carrier

An illustration of a photograph by Alfred William Amandus Plate of a Pingo Carrier in the 1890s. Public Domain.

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Pinkama

A Sinhala term for almsgiving.

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Pitawala Pathana

A celebration of that most modest of all plants, grass, Pitawala Pathana is found in the middle of the island beyond the road to Matale and north of The Knuckles. Here, at over 1200 metres above sea level grows a grass no taller than 10 mm, across ten square hectares of thin soil. The resulting natural grassland meadows play host to only the hardiest and least demanding species including the rare Marble Rock Frog, so endangered as to be facing extinction full on, with little hope of a reprieve. For those who like their fauna and flora to be on the flasher (Versace) side, Pitawala Pathana will only disappoint; but if subtlety, utter peace, and the road less travelled is your beat, then it will have been well worth the journey to have come here.

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Pithiya, King of Anuradhapura

The last of the Six Dravidian invaders of the Pandiyan Dynasty of South India; and the 77th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE).

Pithiya’s relationship with the previous king, Dathiya, is unknown, but the kingdom he gained was little more than a poisoned chalice. The boundaries of his Anuradhapura Kingdom had already begun to shrink alarmingly in the wake of the rebel attacks lead against the Pandiyan invaders by Dhatusena, a Sri Lankan Moriyan leader, who had corralled opposition to the invaders from his base in the south of the island. Pitjiya’s reign (450 – 452 CE) would have been filled with war and slaughter as he tried unsuccessfully to resist a resurgent Sir Lankan rebel force. He was to die in battle after just two years on the throne, the 11th reigning Sri Lankan monarch known to have died in this manner. After his death, the gains made by Dhatusena continued and within two to three years he was sufficiently confident of his position to declare himself the new King of Anuradhapura.

Illustration Credit: Reporoduciton of the Pandya flags courtsey of Tamil and Vedas.

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Plakaats

A Dutch term to describe the proclamations of the VOC.

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Police Vidana

A Sinhala term that most typically describes an unpaid village headman responsible for law and order

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Prehistory of Sri Lanka, The

Sri Lanka’s first Palaeolithic and later Mesolithic settlers most probably arrived on the island by simply walking across Adam’s Bridge from the Indian sub-continent. Since Jurassic times (200-167 million years BCE) Sri Lanka had, as part of India, broken off from the great Gondwana sub content that had been formed in the Triassic era (300 – 200 million years BCE). Adam’s Bridge was becoming the sole point of access to the far south; but by 7,500 BCE it was almost unwalkable.

Beguiling hints of these earliest inhabitants are still only just emerging. Excavations conducted in 1984 by Prof. S. Krishnarajah near Point Pedro, north east of Jaffna revealed Stone Age tools and axes that are anything from 500,000 to 1.6 million years old. As the fossil record demonstrates, the land they inhabited was ecologically richer and more dramatic than it is today, teaming not simply with a plenitude of the wildlife still found in Sri Lanka today, but with hippopotamus and rhinoceros as well. Hundreds of millennia later, one of their Stone Age descendants was to leave behind the most anatomically perfect modern human remains yet uncovered on the island.

Balangoda Man, as he was to be named, was found in the hills south of Horton Plains inland from Matara, a short walk from the birthplace of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. His complete 30,000 year old skeleton is bewitchingly life-like. Probing his remains, scientists have concluded that Balangoda Man and his heirs were eager consumers of raw meat, from snails and snakes to elephants. And artistic too, as evidenced in the ornamental fish bones, sea shell beads and pendants left behind. All across the island, similar finds are being uncovered, pointing to a sparce but widespread population of hunter gathers, living in caves – such as Batadomba in Kuruwita (29,000 BCE – 9,000 BCE), Aliga (8,000 BCE) and Beli-lena in Kitulgala (28,000 BCE – 1,500 BCE). The tools and weapons found in these caves, made of quartz crystal and flint, are well in advance of such technological developments in Europe, which date from around 10,000 BCE compared to 29,000 BCE in Sri Lanka.

Later evidence indicates that Stone Age hunter-gathers then made the transition to a more settled lifestyle, growing, at least by 17,000-15,000 BCE, oats, and barley on what is now Horton Plains, thousands of years before it even began in that fulcrum of early global civilization - Mesopotamia. Astonishingly, their direct descendants, the Veddas, are still alive today, making up less than 1% of the island’s total population, an aboriginal community with strong animist beliefs that has, against the odds, retained a distinctive identity. Leaner, and darker than modern Sri Lankans, their original religion - cherishing demons, and deities - was associated with the dead and the certainty that the spirits of dead relatives can cause good or bad outcomes. Their language, unique to them, is now almost – but not quite - extinct. And perhaps it was the Vedda or their spirits that Fa-Hsien, the 5th century CE traveller had in mind when he conjured up his fable of early Sri Lanka in his book “A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms:”

“The country originally had no human inhabitants, but was occupied only by spirits and nagas, with which merchants of various countries carried on a trade. When the trafficking was taking place, the spirits did not show themselves. They simply set forth their precious commodities, with labels of the price attached to them; while the merchants made their purchases according to the price; and took the things away.“

Fa-Hsien’s colourful travelogue shows just readily the early origins of the country depend on myth and fable. Centuries passed before there are finally some tantalising hints of the Stone Ages’ transition into the Iron Age, and with it more evidence of new waves of colonization into the island from India. As new travellers arrived from the sub-continent, Balangoda man and his ancestors were pushed into the more inaccessible parts of the country, especially the rainforests of Sabaragamuva, a small part of which, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, miraculously survives in its original state today.

Using the progressive technology of the iron age, the new colonists were able to clear land and plant crops, mine for metals like copper, and even establish pearl fisheries. By 1,500 BCE there is evidence of cinnamon being exported to the ancient Egyptians. A series of major excavations in Anuradhapura dating to around 900 BCE has uncovered abundant treasure including artefacts that show the use of iron, the domestication of horses and cattle, the use of high-quality pottery and possibly even the cultivation of rice. The settlement was large – even by today’s standards: 4 hectares.

Other equally large settlements undoubtedly wait still to be found. One that has already been unearthed and studied are the burial mounds at Ibbankutuwa near Dambulla that date back to around 1,000 BCE. Here a wealth of pottery vessels interned with the dead contain ornaments of bronze and copper, beads and, most interesting of all, such stones as carnelian and onyx that could only have come to the island from India. Other such sites exist in places like Padiyagampola and Jamburagala in Yala. By the early 7th century BCE evidence comes of the use of the Brahmi script using a language that is an early form of Sinhala. Inventive, adaptive, increasingly sophisticated - urban living was arriving – whether as an independent island-wide development or because of the rapid spread of urbanised culture from India still using Adam’s Bridge as a convenient thoroughfare, is still the stuff of impassioned academic debate. Either way, the evolutionary ball was rolling like never before. From urban living, came city states. And into one of these, in 543 BC, stepped the Indian Prince, Vijaya, to found the country’s first fully recorded royal dynasty.

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Pulahatta, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty-second (invader) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 103 BCE – 100 BCE.

One of 7 Dravidian chiefs from the Pandyan Dynasty, in South India, Pulahatta seized the throne from the reigning Anuradhapuran king, Valagamba, in 103 BCE. His successes in so wining himself a kingdom would have come with troubling ease for Anuradhapuran had been seriously weakened by decades of misrule, drought, and plague. Valagamba himself had only been king for a few months before being ousted. But the defeated king smartly manage to avoid death, fleeing south to the relative safety of Ruhana and leaving the new Pandyan interlopers to loot within the much reduced boundaries of the Anuradhapuran Kingdom. One of Pulahatta’s most significant and (as it turned out) ruinous decisions was to appoint his fellow Dravidian chief, Bahiya as his chief minister - for by 100 BCE Bahiya had murdered Pulahatta.

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Purana Village

A Sinhala term that for an ancestral village or a village that has a long and ancient history.

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Puranas

A Sinhala term the very earliest coins – small, oval, oblong and square - in circulation on the island until about the 2nd century CE.

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Q, q

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R, r

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Railway, Kandy-Colombo

Illustration by an unknown English Photographer of Construction of the Kadugannawa Railway Incline in 1866 on the Colombo-Kandy line. Public Domain.

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Rajakariya

A Sinhala term from the Kandyan kingdom for the service due to a king or temple. Under British rule it came to describe compulsory service to the state more generally.

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Ratemahatmaya

A Sinhala term from the Kandyan kingdom to describe the chief of a district.

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Ritigala

Barely forty kilometres south east of Anuradhapura, stand the 4 peaks of Ritigala mountain, its sheer wooded sides easily outstretching the more famous peaks of Sigiriya, Dambulla, and Mihintale. Its unique micro wet climate has led to it becoming an important nature reserve today, a happy by product of its creation myth which saw it being formed when Lord Hanuman accidently dropped a chunk of the Himalayas as he flew overhead. Monasteries, temples, and pavements followed on from the development of a 4th BCE reservoir. But almost from the outset the site was notable for the extreme austerity of its monks. Not for them were statues, bo trees, stupas or, one assumes, any other more modest comforts. The very name of the monks (“Pansukulikas” or “rag robes”) making clear exactly what their priorities were.

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Russian, Tsar

Illustration by Walter Paget of the Reception of the Czarevitch at Colombo passing under Triumphal Arches with the Governor in 1891. Public Domain.

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Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, The

Illustration of a photograph of the Ruwanwelisaya Stupa. Public Domain.

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S, s

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Saddha Tissa, King of Anuradhapura

The seventeenth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 137 BCE – 119 BCE.

Inheriting the throne in 137 BCE from his brother, King Dutugemunu, Saddha Tissa moved to the Vijayan capital at Anuradhapura from his own more modest kingdom of Digamadulla, Sri Lanka’s present day eastern province. In so doing he united Anuradhapura, and Ruhuna with the east to cast Vijayan dominance across nearly the entirety of the island. Almost nothing is known about his reign expect for the fact that he obligingly built a temple – the Dighavapi vihara in Ampara – and, perhaps more usefully a tremendous water tank, the Duratissa Reservoir which held 336 million cubic feet of water. His death in 119 BCE set off a pattern for family politics that was ultimately to result in the downfall of the entire Vijayan dynasty.

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Salagama

A Sinhala term for the Sinhalese caste of cinnamon peelers.

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Sangha Tissa I, King of Anuradhapura

The fourteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 59th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 248 – 252 CE.

Sangha Tissa I was said to be one of three murderous plotters intent to claiming the throne, the other two being Siri Sangha Bodhi I, and Gothabhaya. Relatives, albeit likely from the poorer side of the Lambakanna Dynasty, they conspired to assassinate the king, Vijaya Kumara, then barely into his second year of kingship. Inter competing family politics whose gossamer threads and alliances, betrayals and intrigues are now lost to the historical record must have propelled this sinister alliance. But it was not to do Sangha Tissa I much good. Murder, as Agatha Christie famously noted, becomes something of a habit, and Sangha Tissa was himself to fall to it when the second of the three plotters, Siri Sangha Bodhi, murdered him, giving him the unwanted kudos of being the 30th reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have been murdered for the succession - after a rule of just four years.

Illustration: A Lakshmi Plaque coin showing on the obverse the Goddess Lakshmi facing, being showered by two mini elephants atop of poles; and on the reverse: a clockwise revolving Swastika tree. The coin was in circulation in Anuradhapura from 20 BCE to 297 CE, including during the reign of Sangha Tissa I, King of Anuradhapura. Image courtesy of CoinTalk.

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Sannas

An historical Sinhala term for royal grants, most typically made by inscription on copper plates.

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Sasseruwa

Picture this: a small road, cutting through jungle and hills far north of Dambulla , going nowhere special. In between rocky outcrops and volcanic tree roots lie the many scattered remains of stupas, moonstone entrances to lost sacred rooms, antique inscriptions, cave cells for over 100 hermetic monks; and the many linked buildings and structures for a substantial monastery.

Welcome to Sasseruwa, famous - when there was a collective memory for such things - for its massive (almost 12 metre) standing statue of Lord Buddha. It rises, dwarfed by a vast overhead rock canopy, unfinished, much weathered, but resiliently present, one in a style of increasingly few similar examples of rock-carved Buddhas left around the world since the Taliban decided to blow their own up in faraway Afghanistan. Once so important as to merit one of the actual saplings of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree; a meeting place for kings and armies, a sanctuary for the avenging Anuradhapuran king, Valagamba in the 1st BCE, Sasseruwa is today almost entirely forgotten.

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Sena and Guttik, Kings of Anuradhapura

The thirteenth (invader) monarchs of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of their reign being 237 BCE – 215 BCE.

In 237 BCE a couple of opportunistic Tamil horse traders, Sena and Guttik spotted the ultimate commercial opportunity (a kingdom) in the weak rule of the Vijayan King, Surathissa. The traders appear to have met little resistance in conquering Anuradhapura and slaughtering its ineffectual king. They were to rule it for 22 years, the first of a succession of Tamil invaders, before themselves being outsted and killed - by Asela in 215 BCE, a son of a previous king of Anuradhapura, Mutasiva.

Sigiriya Fortress

Used since prehistoric times and now one of the country’s seven world heritage sites, Sigiriya is known mostly for the palace built by the regicidal King Kasyapa in the fifth century CE. But like all great fortresses, it was something that evolved over time. Professor Senake Bandaranayake, who has worked on the site for over twenty years, notes that it “has a very complex rampart system. The city was walled and moated. Besides the inner and outer cities within the ramparts, there is evidence of suburban dwellings immediately outside the walled area. The complex is three kilometres from East to West and one kilometre from North to South. It speaks of grand urban planning. A brilliant combination of a geometric square module and natural topography.” The architects and engineers at the time took care to incorporate nature and never to deny it. Existing lakes, rocks and hills were cleverly woven into the general plan.“ Sitting atop a two hundred metre rock that dwarfs the flat plains beneath, it is everything a fortress should be – even with its own water supply. On Kasyapa’s death, probably at the hands of his half-brother Moggallana, who arrived with a borrowed Tamil army and managed to entice his brother out to battle, the fortress was given over to monks, and little more is recorded of its more military functions.

Image - The Lion Rock, Sigiriya 9 February 1868. Watercolour by Stanley Leighton. Public Domain.

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Siri Naga II, King of Anuradhapura

The twelfth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 57th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 245 – 247 CE.

The son of King Voharika Tissa, he was more than a little put out by how his side of the family had put through the ringers of hell by his uncle. For his uncle was the reigning king, Abhaya Naga, a man had managed not just to cuckold his bother, but assassinate him too before having the unfair temerity to die a natural death after an eight year reign. News of his death was rushed to the Ruhuna redoubt in southern Sri Lanka where the writ of Anuradhapura often failed to leave but the faintest of traces. Here, Siri Naga, Ahaya Naga embittered nephew, had been holding out since his father’s murder. Claiming his rightful inheritance, the new king hastened back to Anuradhapura to take to the throne as King Siri Naga II. Sadly, he was to enjoy just three years of kingship. His death, in 247 CE was also, apparently natural (the 27th reigning Sri Lankan monarch die so), and he was succeeded by his own son, Vijaya Kumara.

Illustration: Yala in Ruhana, the out-of-reach sub kingdom where Siri Naga II, King of Anuradhapura was to lie low and safe. Image courtesy of Nerd Nomads.

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Siri Naga, King of Anuradhapura

The ninth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 54th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 196 – 215 CE.

Siri Naga gained the throne by murdering his brother, Kuda Naga, himself a regicide. And with his ascension, it seemed as if the Lambakarna Regicide Game has fizzled out. Certainly, for the next 41 years family politics took a backseat to good governance. Siri Naga was to reign, for 20 years. He even found time and resource to make good some of Anuradhapura’s most famous buildings - the great stupa of Ruwanweliseya, said to house more of Lord Budda’s relics than anywhere else in the world; the famous Brazen Palace with a roof of bronze tiles, the tallest structure on the island, and a fine new set of stone steps leading to the sacred Bo tree itself. When Siri Naga died in 215 CE (the 25th reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have died a natural death) his son Voharika Tissa took the throne.

Illustration Credit: Sgteps to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, said to be built by Siri Naga, King of Anuradhapura, from an illustration dating to 1891

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Siri Sangha Bodhi I, King of Anuradhapura

The fifteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 60th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 252 – 254 CE.

One of three plotters (the other two being Gothabhaya and Sangha Tissa I), Siri Sangha Bodhi had made his own special contribution to killing the then king, Vijaya Kumara in 248 CE. Like his co-conspirators, he was a paid-up member of the Lambakanna Dynasty, albeit from one of its less glamorous branches. His regicidal ambitions would have been propelled by the Knossonian alliances and betrayals that now so deeply coloured family politics, creating a family that would reframe most regular definitions of dysfunctional. His own route to the throne was also regicide, his predecessor, Sangha Tissa I, being murdered after just four years on the throne.

Despite his earlier handiwork, The Mahavaṃsa takes a gentle and forgiving tone to him, his devotion to Buddhism so absolute that he refused to execute criminals. Facing a rebellion by the third plotter, Gathabhaya, he voluntarily abdicated and retired to the forest to live as an ascetic after a reign of just three years in 253 CE. And in an end both grisly, contradictory, and anatomically impressive, he then decapitated himself to enable a poor peasant to collect the bounty on his head, bringing to an end nearly sixty years of royal knockabout.

Illustration: The archaeological site of Hatthikuchchi (fromerly named Rayangana after the nearby village) believed to be the location of the royal self-decapitation of Siri Sangha Bodhi I, King of Anuradhapura. Image courtsey of Ruta Chile

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Sirimeghavanna, King of Anuradhapura

The nineteenth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 64th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the dates of his reign being 304 - 332 CE.

Sirimeghavanna inherited his throne peaceably and continued his father’s late religious policies of appeasement, going out of his way to make good any damage done to Theravada Buddhism, building, or repairing stupas and temples. He was also to benefit from the unexpected arrival into his Kingdom of the sacred relic of the tooth of the Buddha which was brought to Sri Lanka when a series of wars broke out in India. It was enshrined in the Isurumuniya Temple in Anuradhapura. Hisa death in 332 CE made him just the 31st reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have died a natural death. By now the Lambakanna Dynasty was in full recovery from the regicidal tendencies that had rocked both it and the country and their kingdom was able to enjoy a much need period of calm good governance.

Illustration Credit: The Isurumuniya in which Sirimeghavanna, King of Anuradhapura lodged the Tooth Relic when it arrived in his kingdom. A 19C photograph courtsey of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Sitawaka Fort

Following on from a most successful regicidal patricide, the Sitawaka kingdom was caved out of the Kotte kingdom; and for a while was the scourge of both the Kandyan kings and the new colonialists. The kingdom was destined to last for but a short time, and today almost nothing remains of either the palace or the fort constructed by Mayadunne, its inaugural king. The Portuguese captured the kingdom and reduced the fort to more modest garrison before the later British reused all its stones to build a rest house. Even so, Dr. John Davy the surgeon and physician of Governor Brownrigg, was to write in 1821 in his book “An Account of the Interior of Ceylon, and its Inhabitants:” “Sittawakka, once a royal residence and a place of considerable consequence is now merely a name. No traces of what is once was traces of what it once was are now to be seen by the traveller passing along the road, and for a considerable time, none were supposed to exist. Lately some remains of a building has been discovered. In June 1819, when travelling this way the third time, I was conducted by the natives to an old fort concealed by wood situated on the tongue of elevated ground, formed by the confluence of a small deep stream with the river. I went in a boat and ascended from the river by a short flight of hewn-stone steps, and after walking about 100 yards, came to the building which I found to be nearly square, formed of three walls, one within the other thus. The walls were of Kabook as the stone is called by the natives; and in this instance, as in most others appeared to be clay strongly impregnated with red oxide of iron, to which, probably it owes its property of hardening by expose to the atmosphere. The outer wall was between eight and ten feet height and six and eight wide. It was widest at its angles, where it communicated with the enclosure by steps. Between this wall and the next, the distance might be twenty four or thirty feet; the space was overgrown with bushes. Here I observed a deep well carefully made, and it sides lined with masonry. The inner enclosure was probably roofed and was the donjon-keep of the fortress. There were no marks of its having been divided into different compartments, and indeed it was hardly enough to admit of it. Natives who call this ruins Kotuwa (a fort), have a tradition, which is probably correct, that it was built and occupied by the Portuguese when the neighbourhood was the arena of bloody contention these bold invaders and the prices of Sittawakka. The nature of the building, the circumstances of there being a good well within its walls, its situation of the Columbo side of the river and nearly opposite to the spot on which there is reason to believe the palace and the town of Sittawakka formally stood, seem to be proof of the correctness of the tradition. Be this as it may, the ruin was not uninteresting. and might have been worth preserving; I say might, – knowing that the work of destruction has commenced and that the walls which two centuries, at least, had spared, have been pulled down either in part or entirely, and their stones removed to build a new rest-house. The curious traveller may complain of this measure; whilst the indolent one will bless his stars for being saved the trouble of forcing his way through the thickets to see an old ruin, the material of which, newly arranged, afford him a comfortable shelter.” Today all that remains are a few mounds of earth that the Archaeology Department are valiantly excavating.

Image courtsey of Amazing Lanka.

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Siva I, King of Anuradhapura

The thirtieth (interloper) monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 47 BCE.

An ex-palace guard, Siva was placed on the throne of Anuradhapura in 47 BCE by his terrifying lover, the widowed Vijayan Queen, Anula. Anula had come into her widowhood by murdering her husband, Choura Naga, the twenty-eighth King of Anuradhapura, and his successor, Choura Naga, the twenty-ninth monarch. Within a year Anula had Siva poisoned too.

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Sivali, Queen of Anuradhapura

The forty-first monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of her reign being 35 CE – ?.

Sister of the previous Vijayan monarch Chulabhaya, Sivali was to briefly take the throne in 35 CE. But her ascension was clearly as much a symptom of the life-threatening era the kingdom had entered, as it was a contributory factor to it. Though little is known about her brother’s reign, the signs are that it was deeply unstable. Whether Chulabhaya himself met a natural death is a bet that offers odds way too short to take. During Sivali brief tenure the country fell into several years of total civil war, during which time, the unfortunate queen rose briefly once again to the surface only to then depart completely from the historical record when Ilanaga, nephew of the slain King Amandagamani Abhaya dethroned her.

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Soththisena, King of Anuradhapura

The twenty fourth monarch of the Lambakanna Dynasty (1st Period) (66 CE – 436 CE); and the 69th recorded monarch in Sri Lanka in the line running from Prince Vijaya (543 BCE); the date of his reign being 434 CE.

The natural death of King Mahanama brought to the throne his (possibly illegitimate) son Soththisena, whose one-day rule ended with a draft of poison administered by his queen, Sanga. It was quite probably the shorted reign of any king in Sri Lankan history, and gathered him with grateful welcoming arms into the ranks of the other 32 reigning Sri Lankan monarch to have been murdered for the succession.

Illustration Credit: A Maneless Lion Copper coin. On one side, there is an image of a lion. On the other side, there are three or sometimes four dots. It is likely that these dots indicate the value of the coin. The diameter of this coin is between ½ - ¾ inches and it weighs between 15-40 grains. These coins were used from 3-4 A.D - including during the short reign of Soththisena, King of Anuradhapura. The coins have been found during excavations in Anuradhapura and the Northern regions of the island. Image credit: Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

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Soysa, Evelyn de

Illustration of a photograph by Underwood & Underwood of The Hall of Tusks in the home of Lady de Soysa Bambalapitiya, Colombo in 1903. Public Domain.

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Stupa

A Sinhala term for a religious structure built over a relic, most typically a dome shaped monument.

Illustration: A full reconstruction of the first stupa in Sri Lanka, along with its later Vatagage which was built over the monument. Known as the Thuparama Stupa in Anuradhapura, today only the stupa remains. The Vatadage structure reconstructed in this model in the main museum of Anuradhapura. Public Domain.

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Subha Raja, King of Anuradhapura

The forty-fifth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 60 CE – 66 CE.

Gaining the throne by impersonating, and then murdering, the previous king, Yassalalaka Thissa, Subha Raja managed to last 6 years before a resurgent wave of opposition from the nobility, led by the Lambakanna clan swept him from the throne and put a new dynasty (unsurprisingly, the Lambakannas) on the map.

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Surathissa, King of Anuradhapura

The twelfth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 247 BCE – 237 BCE.

A modest degree of scholarly mystery surrounds the parentage of Surathissa – who was either the brother of the previous Vijayan king, Mahasiwa, or a much younger brother of Mahasiwa’s own father, King Mutasiva. Little is known about his ten year reign except that it was ultimately utterly unsuccessful. His kingdom was overrun and conquered by an opportunistic invasion from South India. The apparently swift collapse of the state under his care implies, at best, his failure to master that first essential rule of kingship: ensuring the country is able to defend itself. Its takeover by couple of Tamil horse traders, Sena and Guttik, was the first time the kingdom was to experience such military ravishing from its mighty northern neighbour.

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Temple of the Tooth

A watercolour by Clive Wilson of The Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Illustration courtsey of the artist.

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Thanthirimale

Forty kilometres north west of Anuradhapura and now so far off the beaten track as to render it firmly backwater, Thanthirimale nevertheless has a most glamorous past. Some even claim it to be the long lost capital of one of the country’s very first kings, Panduwasdewa. Capital or not, it shot to fame when the daughter of the Indian Emperor Ashoka, the Princess Sangamitta, brought a sapling of the original Bo tree to Sri Lanka in 288 BCE. As the princesses disembarked from her ship and travelled south she paused for the night in Thanthirimale, and here the pot with the sacred sapling rested, through ‘rested’ is to understate the botanical energy of the little tree. The villagers insisted that overnight one branch grew separately out from the pot, and this they planted in their village, thereby beating by several days the claims of the famous Sri Maha Bhodi of Anuradhapura to have been the first and original plant sent from India.

As the centuries ticked on, and the terrible invasions that destroyed the Anuradhapura Kingdom erupted, the debates about the tree must have slowly fallen into silence; and all was lost. At some point in the 19th century the place was reidentified, and the ruins of temples and marvellous structures, ponds and statues were gradually uncovered. So too were special caves ear-marked for meditating monks of the 1st century BCE, and decorated with the sturdy scripted letter of Brahmi, one of the most ancient writing systems of South Asia.

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Thiriyai

A small village north of Trincomalee, Thiriyai is nevertheless more than worth a detour to - for nearby stands what is said to be the island’s first Buddhist Stupa, built to house the hair relics of the Lord Buddha. Constructed around the 4th century BCE by traders from the Pallava Kingdom, the temple, known as the Girihandu Seya, is surrounded by that rarest of architectural forms, and one unique to Sri Lankan Buddhism – a vaṭadāge. This circular structure was typically constructed around a stupa to protect and enhance it, carved with elaborate designs and ascending with concentric columns that supported a wooden roof. Very few of these still exist; that one does so from so long ago is little short of a miracle.

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Thulatthana, King of Anuradhapura

The eighteenth monarch of the Vijayan Period (543 BCE - 66 CE), the dates of his reign being 119 BCE – 118 BCE.

The son of Saddha Tissa, the previous Vijayan King of Anuradhapura, Thulatthana was crowned in 119 BCE but was fated to enjoy his regal status for just a single year before being dethroned and murdered by his older brother, Lanja Tissa. It is possible that Thulatthana accession owned more to his being most expediently in Anuradhapura at the time of his father’s death, whilst his older brother, and possibly more legitimate heir, Lanja Tissa was far down south in Ruhana.

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Thunhavul Land

A Dutch Sinhala term from the late 18th century that referred to Dutch land grants which mandated that a third of the land had to be planted with cinnamon.

Thuntota Fort

Poised like a spear at the heart of Kandy, Thuntota Fort in Holambuwa, sometimes known as Manikkadawara Fort, was built by the Kotte kings at the turn of the fifteenth century but soon taken over by the Portuguese who arrived on the island in 1505 and lost little time in seizing territory. Front the outset they focused their energies on taking Kandy – and Manikkadawara was perfectly positioned for this purpose. The Portuguese General Jerónimo de Azevedo greatly enlarged the fortress and added outreach mini forts on its access points. Over the decades the fort was on the front line of attacks into Kandy or defending itself from Kandy. An Englishman, Mr H.C.P. Bell, writing in the 1880s noted this history of attrition:

“After the gaining of the victories in the Seven Corlas which we have described, and the destruction of the enemies stockades, the General D. Jeronymo d’Azevedo determined to send and make a stoc