Saturday Magazine

The last will of Ehelepola

The capitulation of the Kandyan Kingdom and the change of its history was mainly due to the dissent and jealousy which predominated within the rank of the Kandyan Chiefs.

The British at last managed to achieve what three centuries of foreign rule could not succeed. After the decapitation of Pilimatalawwa, Ehelepola who was Second Adigar was made the First Adigar on his 32nd year while Molligoda was made the Second Adigar. Molligoda became jealous of Ehelepola who was in the good books of the King and plotted against him. As a result the King ordered Ehelepola to be seized but he joined the British. Thereafter Molligoda was made the First Adigar.

As the King could not arrest Ehelepola he directed his revenge on the innocent wife and children and got the children beheaded and the woman drowned in the Kandy Lake. After the British captured the King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, he was deported to,Vellore in India to die there in 1832 at the age if 52. After the Uva Rebellion led by Keppitipola, a kinsman of Ehelepola, Brownrigg, the Governor suspected Ehelepola of favouring the rebels. The 1818 Rebellion was reason enough for the British to distrust Ehelepola as he was Keppitipola’s brother-in-law and Molligoda pictured him to the British as a traitor of the highest order. He was arrested and taken to Colombo guarded by soldiers. In Colombo, he was kept prisoner and dispatched to the island of Mauritius. There he was respectfully lodged and provided for his maintenance. The English residents of the island respected him and addressed him as "Prince". He was free to travel anywhere within the island. It was on 4th April 1829 that this ill-fated Kandyan chief passed away in a foreign country away from his people unwept, unhonoured and unsung. His tomb is a protected Monument, which bear the following inscription.

‘Sacred to the memory of Wijesundara Wickramasinghe Chandrasekara Amarakoon Wahala Mudianse, late First Adigar or Prime Minister to the King of Kandy, who died on 4th. April 1829 aged 57 years".

It is said that he contracted Dysentery the progress of which was very rapid in persons of advanced age in the climate of Mauritius. As soon as Don Bastian, who looked after Ehelepola informed Lieutenant Richard Vicers about Ehelepola’s illness he immediately summoned Dr. Bary, the Principal Medical Officer in charge of the Kandyan deportees who attended on him most carefully until the death of the patient.

Don Bastian Jayawardena was the custodian of Elehepola selected by the British to escort Ehelepola Maha Adikaram to Mauritius on charges of complicity. The Kandyan Chiefs and other prisoners from Kandy watched on the Maha Nilame from the commencement of his illness and kept watch on him taking turns. Don Bastain his aid did not leave him until he passed off. Ehelepola maintained his senses to the last hour. His funeral obsequies were performed the following day with the usual Sinhalese customs and the body was burnt at a spot, which the deceased has specified. The funeral was attended by the State Princes convicts and many others of the neighbourhood . Before Ehelepola died he had given all instructions regarding his cremation and the epitaph that should be engraved on his grave. He had wanted all expenses defrayed from his private funds. A copy of Ehelepola’s Last Will was transmitted to Governor Edward Barnes by Lieutenant Vicars who had insisted on Ehelepola that he make a written Last Will. This was written by Ihagarna but as the Maha Nilame was harbouring superstition he had delayed signing- it until the day before he died. He had set his signature in the presence of his interpreter Don Bastian and it ran as follows.


"I Ehelepola Maha Nilame being now confined by a mortal sickness do hereby declare to have gifted to my servant, namely, Dingiriya, who was brought with me, all goods and money belonging to me and are in Mauritius. And a sum of one hundred Spanish Dollars out of the same is hereby gifted to Kendangamuwa Nilame and one hundred to Dagandeniya Arachchila. As the two last mentioned persons had much pains been of help and assistance to me on my death bed, I recollecting the faithful and confidential services which they had rendered being myself a party towards the annexation of the Singhalese Kingdom to the English Government and seeing such an army for the assistance of the Government, I do implore the Government to pardon the said Kendangamuwe Nilame and Dagandeniya Arachchila for the imprudence which they had committed and send them to their native country. And as the Dissave Pilimatalawwe is now a helpless close relative I also beg the Government that all my properties and monies which are in charge of the Kandy Kachcheri be delivered unto the said Dissave and moreover out of such that is in the custody of the Kachcheri, a sum of three thousand five hundred and fifty five pagodas, my carriage, the large ring set with diamonds and the Sinhalese watch unto Don Bastian Mudaliyar"

Signed by me

Ehelepola Maha Nilame


The witnesses hitherto:

lhagama, Babasa


" As there is no person descending from my clan, I grant all my lands and fields unto the Muhandiram who accompanied me (to be enjoyed after the death of my sister ) "I further entreat the Government of Mauritius and the Government of Ceylon to draw up suitable deeds of gift and having stamped them properly to deliver the property found on those countries respectively . I do further offer all the linen comprising my wearing apparel to the Maligawa. Dingiriya being my property I do hereby emancipate him . The ring to the Doctor.




Ehelepola was a patriot of no mean order. After his triumphant entry into Kandy in February 1815, Kande Udarata lost it’s independence till 1948. It took 133 years for Lanka to have another Prime Minister.