Funday Times - Mahavamsa

The supremacy of the sea
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. Lakkanna Dandanayake, the Governor of Madhura was a person who bore the epithet, 'The Lord of the Southern Sea.' He is supposed to have taken tribute from Lanka. An inscription written in 1440 AD, bears witness to this fact. The Portuguese historian Nunis, too mentions this fact. He is of the opinion that a number of countries, including Lanka, had paid tribute to this lord. The Kannadi king, also had attacked Lanka, after the birth of Princess Ulakudayadevi and it is believed to be in the year 1432 AD.

2. Scholars tend to believe that the battle in 1435 AD, would have been against Lakkanna Dandanayaka. However, a poet who lived during that period, has recorded that King Parakramabahu defeated a Kannadi king. This Kannadi king, has had relations with Aryachakravarti and his army, which consisted of Vijayanagar soldiers, who had been occupying Jaffna, for a period of about ten years. There is another
theory put forward to say that they would have had Aryachakravarti under their control.

3. Whatever the truth of these facts may be, Aryachakravarti had paid tribute to the Vijayanagar emperor. During this time, there were 18 Vanni leaders too, in the island. They were also rulers, and King Parakramabahu wanted to conquer them, as a first step to winning over Jaffna. The king had to fight fierce battles with the Vanni leaders, who lived in the jungle areas.

4. Once they were subjugated, he had to get ready to fight Aryachakravarti. At this time, the ruler of the Vijayanagar empire was a weak king. He was Mallikarjuna, by name. During his period of rule, there was trouble in the empire and signs of downfall were manifest. This state of affairs, was beneficial to the Kotte kingdom. When Kotte attacked Jaffna, the king of Vijayanagar was not in a position to mediate.

5. As such, it was decided as the most appropriate time, to attack Jaffna. Prince Sapumal commanded the Kotte army. He was the adopted son of King Parakrama-bahu. It is pointed out, even by the Portuguese historians. According to this theory, the actual father of Prince Sapumal was a Tamil named 'Panikal,' who belonged to royalty. He came from a distant coastal 'disava' but joined the king's
service in Kotte.

6. This prince, got married to a Sinhala princess of high clan and they had two sons. The elder one was Prince Sapumal and the younger one was Prince Ambulugala. Both of them got friendly with the king and they were brought up in the royal palace. As they grew up, they were taught the art of warfare. They joined the army and exhibited their capabilities. Soon they were promoted and Prince Sapumal became the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the Kotte kingdom.

7. This is how, he was made responsible for the battle in Jaffna. Before he set out, on his march to Jaffna, he wanted to find out details of the plans of the enemy. With this in mind, he made an invasion. He was able to capture a number of prisoners. The prince was able to get a lot of information from these men. The Kotte army was satisfied with this fact-finding invasion. It is only after this, that the Kotte kingdom marched to the North.

8. They entered the territory that belonged to Jaffna. Before they could reach Javaka-Kotte, which was close to Elephant Pass, fighting broke out. Though there are no details, about this battle, the Javaka fortress had been under a Vijayanagar regiment. These troops stood up against Prince Sapumal's advance.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other Funday Articles
The supremacy of the sea - Mahavamsa
Maintaining the highest standards - Our Heritage
Frankenstein - A Poem for the week
A Family of Crows
Barack Obama wins the Presidency!


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