Funday Times - Mahavamsa

The battle in the coastal belt
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. There is a considerable distance from Gampola to the western coast. It was difficult for the armies to travel. Therefore Alagakkonara decided to build a fortress not far from the coast, operate from there and chase the enemy. He was on the look out for a suitable place for this purpose. He decided on a spot, that was a safe place as it was marshy land surrounded by the Diyawanna Oya, on three sides.

2. The fortress was erected there and it is the place, which in later years, became famous as Kotte. However, it is from here that lagakkonara attacked the army of Aryachakravarti, who was in possession of the western coastal belt. They were thoroughly defeated. Even the tax collectors, who were there, were mercilessly murdered.

A few days passed. All the fords, along the western coast came under Alagakkonara.

3. This angered Aryachakravarti. So he sent two armies. One was sent across land and that was through Matale to Gampola. The other army came through the sea. The army that marched through Matale was attacked by the soldiers in Gampola. They were chased away. The army that came through the sea, was defeated by Alagakkonara. Aryachakravarti suffered immense losses after this defeat.

4. Alagakkonara then began to fortify the fortress. Trenches were cut and brick walls were put up. The engineering knowledge prevalent at the time was utilized. Platforms were erected on top of the walls and trained soldiers were stationed there. Enough food-stuff was stored to last a long-lasting war, as it were. In later years, this place came to be called Jayawardana-Kotte.

5. This name bore the meaning, 'protected victorious city.' After this victory however, Aryachakravarti's soldiers, who were occupying areas where the authority of the king of Gampola spread, were chased away. It was Alagakkonara who was instrumental in getting this done. It is this prime-minister, who was able to uplift the condition of the Sinhala people, who had long been suppressed. Some hold the view that these battles were fought before 1369 AD.

6. That means, it was before the 12th year of rule of Vickramabahu III. Accordingly, scholars believe that the king of Jaffna influenced the Gampola kingdom for a period, not less than ten years. During the time of Buwanekabahu V, he had tried once more to win over the Gampola kingdom and this time, it was with the help of the Cholas. On this occasion too, Aryachakravarti planned to attack from both land and sea.

7. The army that marched through land went as far as Matale without any interruption. They set camp there. The army that came through the sea landed in Panadura and marched as far as Colombo. The had set up camp in Gorakana and Dematagoda. King Buwanekabahu meanwhile, fled the capital through fear of the enemy. He had come to Raigama for safety. The chiefs of the Kandyan areas regarded the king as a coward because he left the people and fled.

8. They got together, discussed matters and attacked the enemy camps in Matale. These attacks were carried on in the night and many lives were lost. Whoever was left out of the enemy forces, got to Jaffna with the greatest difficulty. Alagakkonara was planning to attack the enemy in Colombo.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other Funday Articles
The battle in the coastal belt - Mahavamsa
Remembering a great son of Lanka - Our Heritage
Dolphins - A Poem for the week
Slide and Retrieve - CRICKET Lession
Frannie's First Day
Journey to the coral reef


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution