Saturday Magazine
Viharadevi was born at Arugambay?

by Sumith Ranasinghe
The aim of this article is to enlighten the Sri Lankan public on the matter of Viharadevi’s place of birth and other details surrounding this heroine mother, unique among the Sri Lankan ladies of royal lineage. She was one who had to perform the greatest service of the era when compared to other heroic tasks performed by other ladies of similar high status.

Hearing her name alone is enough for any Sri Lankan to rise up with a national feeling and a national pride being born in Ruhuna this heroic mother was leading the nation as the mother of an heroic commander who rescued the country from an alien ruler. She was able to perform the greatest service needed by the nation at the time. Therefore this narration is complied without adhearing to the generally accepted folklore and tradition.

How this heroine of the era is connected to Ruhunu Magampatthuwa has become a topic of heated debate among historians. The idea of some is that she landed at the harbour at Kirinda close to Tissamaharama. Some others believe that the place that she is interred in Ruhuna in Arugambokka situated in Panamapattuwa. However if you consider these two reasons: What brings rain to Sri Lanka is the south western monsoon wind that blows from western coast to eastern coast. In keeping with this climate pattern they believe that she entered Panamapattuwa from Arugambay of the eastern coast. In addition it can be established from archival and literary records that the area where that Viharadevi lived was Panamapattuwa arugambay.


Apart from the archaeological monuments discovered so far by the archaeological department are those connected with the belief that Vihara Devi was sacrificed to the sea at Kelaniya of Siyane Korale. There are some ruins of a similar historical town by the name Kelayana Kannika in Ruhuna as recorded in Seehalavattuppakaranaya in ancient book called Pali. This site is situated close to the eastern sea coastal piece of rocky inscription has been found with the words Kalanakatisa according to this Viharadevi was the daughter of Kalanakatisa or Kelanitissa who ruled the entire Ruhuna.

Rock inscriptions, which were written in the orders of Viharamahadevi at Magulmaha Viharaya at Lahugala and situated sevan miles to the west from Potuwila that it’s name is Ruhunu Maha Viharaya. Appears a great area of ancient building and other archaeological monuments with imaged carving which are supposed to be the ruins of Viharaya which will help to understand the problem.

Ancient Viharaya identified by the people now as Lahugala, Magulmaha Viharaya is the place where the marriage between king Kawantissa and Viharamahadevi took place. Kawantissa is the son of Gothabhaya of Mahanaga lineage who migrated to Magama from Mutasiva clan of Anuradhapura.

Vihara Deviya was a lady of Dharmaraja lineage of Kataragama. Khsastriya clan which ruled Panamapattuwa and participated as the festival of planting of Sri Maha Bodhiya at Anuradhapura (Mahawansa: 1950:132).

Rock inscriptions at Yala of Hambantota District and Bowattegala and Kotademuhela of Panamapattuwa have revealed that Rock Caves were given to a Buddhist monk called Mahasangha. Inscription shown are as follows:

1. Dhamarajaha — puta Mahatisa — aye karite imalene Mahasudasane sagasadine (Paranavitana, Bowattegala 1970:42).

2. Damarajha-puta Mahatisa-ayaha jhita Abhi-Savera Ayabaya-puta TisaAyaha Jhaya-Abi-Saveraya cane sagasa dine (Paranavitana, Kotademuhela 1970:43).

3. There are a number of rock inscription at Kotademuhela which is situated about 10 miles to the north of Bowattegala. As revealed by these inscriptions these rock caves were made by Abhisavera Viharadevi daughter of Mahatissa who is the son of Dharmaraja (U.C.R 239). These cave inscription are situated close to each other and on them are carved a fish stamp that appears at both places and a Dhamaraja is mentioned in both inscriptions that Dharmaraja should be one and the same. This dynasty is this same dynasty of Kelaniya accordingly to Dr. Senerath Paranavithana History of Ceylon (Vol. No. 1: 147) the terms Ayatisa and Savera of Kotademuhela inscription are Kakawannatissa and Viharadevi as written by Dr. Paranavithana.

Savera in the Kotademuhela inscription is Sharvari of sanscrit which became Savera and by interpolation of letters in Sinhala it became Vahera. This word sharvari is a name for the goddess of forests. Therefore it becomes a hermitage of Royalty. The author of Mahavamsa who didn’t know the meaning of Savera could have used the term Viharadevi which was Viharamahadevi who are the people who are described by these inscriptions the first settlers of Ruhuna?

According to recorded information their settlements had been in an area about eight miles away from the Kingdom of Magma. An inscription found in Uddhakandara, cave at Yala-Sithulpawwa gives some information about Suriyagupta and another inscription contains information about Kambodians.

Two trading brothers called Thapassu and Balluka who entered in to Sri Lanka in first century B.C. could be Cambodians. The fact that trade exchanges had been there between India and Sri Lanka has been recorded in a report about Sri Lanka written by Hiyunsang. (The Ceylon National review — 1906: 149) It reveals by these material facts that the tours who travelled through western Ghats Mountains of India have migrated to Ruhuna through the southern coast of Sri Lanka and had their settlements established there. Without any doubt they were the Kshastriyas traders who travelled from north-western India- that was the idea of Dr. Paranavithana (History of Ceylon 1959-184).

When these facts and archaeological remains of Panamapattu are taken into consideration it is clear that the Kshastriya Dynasty of Kataragama lived in this area and the remains of ruins of a developed urban civilisation of that era are visible today. It can be further said the foundation for building of relationship between the Kshastriya Dynasty of Kataragama and that of Magama was the marriage between Viharamahadevi and the king Kawantissa.