Funday Times

King Buwanekabahu ii
This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
By Halaliye Karunathilake Edited and translated by Kamala Silva Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

1. It is around 1292 A.D., that Marco Polo passed Sri Lanka, when he was on his rounds. He had got to know that the person who ruled Sri Lanka, at the time was a person named 'Sendaman.' He has mentioned this fact. Some say that it was either a name used among the Javakas or an honorary name, or else Venetians would have used this name to refer to Chandrabhanu.

2. Parakramabahu III is the last king who made Polonnaruwa his capital. He was crowned only in about 1287 A.D. His cousin Buwanekabahu I had a son, who was also named Buwanekabahu. He too had been eyeing the throne. King Parakramabahu was a little suspicious about this and he wanted to take revenge.

3. This king planned to blind him. Prince Buwanekabahu got to know this. Angered by this, he immediately took an army, marched to Polonnaruwa and besieged the city. They attacked the city and killed King Parakramabahu III, took the Tooth Relic and fled.

4. This prince made Kurunegala his kingdom and ruled as Buwanekabahu II. Accordingly, his period of rule begins around 1293 A.D. This king is said to have attended to a lot of religious activities. He had supplied all amenities to about 1000 monks. The coronation ceremony and the Poson festival were both celebrated on a grand scale. He also had an 'Upasampada' ceremony.

5. Other than these religious activities, nothing great is said about this king. His reign is also limited to nine years. His son, another Prince Parakramabahu, succeeded him. He ascended the throne as Parakramabahu IV. In Sinhala records he is identified as "Pandita Parakramabahu II."

6. In a Tamil poem, he is referred to as "Dambai," which means the guardian of Dambadeniya. But, King Buwanekabahu's capital was Kurunegala. According to these sources, he has become king in 1302 A.D. In one of the books of Sinhala literature, written under his patronage, it is mentioned that he was coronated in 1326 A.D.

7. However, King Parakramabahu IV is recorded in history, as the great king who made the Kurunegala period a very prosperous one. He had got a new Temple of the Tooth Relic built and the Relic was deposited there.

The Temple was well guarded and for the upkeep of the Temple of the Tooth, he had even donated land. To assure that ceremonies attached to the Tooth Relic would be continued in future, without any break, he got the book, "Dalada - Siritha," written. This book describes in detail, all the religious ceremonies attached to the Relic.

8. This king has extended his royal patronage to a number of Pirivenas. Sri Gnananada Pirivena of Veedagama and Vijayaba Pirivena of Thotagamuwa are two of the leading ones. Land had been donated for the purpose of the upkeep of these institutions.

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