is part of a continuing series on the 'Mahavamsa,' the recorded
chronicle of Sri Lankan history
1. King Vickramabahu least expected a foreign invasion but it happened all the same. It was the invasion by Veeradeva. He was the ruler of Palandeepa. He landed in Matota. On his side, he had a few strong warriors, who were heartless fighters. From the time they landed at Matota, they ruined all the villages around. Even the animals and trees were not spared.
2. They behaved in a ruthless manner and went on looting. When King Vickramabahu got to know of their violent behaviour, he was very upset. He gave up the idea of fighting Manabharana. Instead he took the royal army and marched towards Matota. On his way he set up camp and addressed his commanders. He spoke in such a way as to boost their morale. He told them that these ruthless enemies should be wiped out.
3 Accompanied by his army, the king proceeded to Matota. Knowing that King Vickramabahu was marching towards Matota, Veeradeva too got ready for battle. As the royal army entered Matota – all of a sudden, Veeradeva's army started to attack. The royal army was ready to face them. The battle began. It is supposed to be the most serious battle fought in Matota. As the fighting lasted a long time, great was the loss to life.
4. Gradually, the royal army was getting weakened. A number of brave warriors died in fighting. The skilled warrior and commander Keerti was among the dead. Veeradeva was able to arrest another skilled commander, called Rakkha. Noticing that things were not in his favour, the king retreated. When Veeradeva gave chase, the king entered the palace.
5. The king took all the valuables that were there in the palace, went to Kotusara and set up camp there. Veeradeva entered the capital city and gained entrance to the palace. But the palace was just empty. There was nothing of any value. He flew into a rage. He was angry as he could not arrest the king and now his anger was greater as he got only an empty palace.
6. Veeradeva still had patience. He decided not to harm the civilians, by any means. So they went about their routine work, undisturbed. Veeradeva spoke to his commanders and told them, that his idea was to somehow arrest the king. The warriors promised to see that it was done. They started a very good spy service. This enabled them to find out the exact place where the king was camped.
7. By this time, the king's spies were in Polonnaruwa. They kept the king informed of what was happening. Veeradeva, who was unaware of this, was organising his army. He marched towards Kotusara. The king got to know this. King Vickramabahu was well-versed in military strategy. He gave instructions to his army and retreated to the village of Akuravita. Thereafter, he entered the pass at Mahakaradama - which was a difficult place to reach.
8. Small contingents of soldiers were kept hiding in a number of places. The king kept a battalion of soldiers with him and was confined to this safe place. Veeradeva, however, was unaware of all the plans of the king. Moreover, he was not sure of the geography of the country, to know all the mountains and passes. He possessed only the military strength and he thought that alone would suffice.