WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka


Ummadha Citta & King Pandukabhaya


Prince Panduvasudeva and Princess Buddhakachchana (daughter of a King named Panda, from an ancient Royal family, a cousin of the Buddha) were married and duly consecrated as the second King and Queen of Lanka.

The King had ten sons, the eldest named Abhaya, and one daughter names Ummadha Citta.

A court Brahimn (learned astrologer) predicted that the son who will be born to Princess Citta will destroy his uncles. The sons of King Panduvasudeva held a meeting led by the second son Tissa and planned to kill their sister, Princess Citta. The eldest son, Abhaya, did not approve of such an extreme and cruel action, and with the consent of his father, the King, ordered her to be placed in solitary confinement. She was placed in a chamber adjoining the King’s own private chamber and the Queen’s personal maid, Cetiya, was entrusted with the task of taking care of the infant princess.

As the years went by Princess Citta grew into a beautiful woman. Shortly after her sixteenth year she was looking down at the garden from her chamber window and saw her brother Prince Tissa talking to a stranger under a tree. She asked Cetiya, her maid, who this man was and was told that he was Prince Dighagamini, the ruler of a neighboring state. The princess expressed her desire to meet this Prince and the maid Cetiya arranged this and a meeting took place between them. Soon, it was discovered by Citta and Princess Cetiya that the Princess was pregnant. Princess Citta confided this situation to her brother Prince Abhaya and he then learned that the person responsible was his own cousin Prince Dhigagamini.

Abhaya told his father the story and persuaded him to marry the princess to Prince Dhigagamini. The King agreed. Abhaya next told his brothers who were all furious with anger. Tissa proclaimed that if Citta’s child was a boy he would kill him immediately. Citta, in her attempt to protect her child should he be a boy, planned to substitute a female newborn child in the place of hers if her child was a boy which was the case. Her new born son was smuggled out of the palace and a new born female child was substituted in his place. Her mother the Queen and the maidservant Cetiya, both, agreed to help in this caper. The newborn son was spirited away into the safe and secluded territory of the Ruhuna (south of the Island). A female newborn child was substituted in his place by the side of Citta. The King was overjoyed at the birth of his granddaughter and named her Canna, after her grandmother.

The boy, now growing up in distant Ruhuna, was named Pandukabhaya, a combination of the names of Citta’s father, Panduvasudeva, and her eldest brother Abhaya, who had been her lifelong friend and savior.


Princess Ummada Citta’s cunning plan to conceal her son from her wicked brothers did not remain a closed secret for very long. They tried hard to seek him and kill him but failed. King Abhaya was accused by his brothers for having connived and helped their sister protect her son Pandukabhaya. Thus he was deposed and the second son, Prince Tissa, was given the throne.


Second son of King Panduvasudeva, younger brother of King Abhaya – He was appointed the regent by his eight younger brothers after the deposition of the oldest brother, King Abhaya, from the throne. Tissa claimed that he would be consecrated king only after he had finally defeated his nephew Pandukhabaya. This, however, was not to be as Pandukabhaya swept on triumphantly. Tissa was slain in battle along with all his eight younger brothers. Abhaya was spared. Pandukabhaya, the undisputed victor, called upon his uncle Abhaya to take up the throne again. Abhaya declined.

Grandson of King Panduvasudeva, Son of Princess Umaddha Citta, Nephew of King Abhaya and Prince Tissa – Umaddha Citta had entrusted the education of her son, Pandukabhaya, to a Brahmin by the name of Pandula. This Brahmin made his own son, Canda, the fellow student of the Prince and the two became good friends. Pandukabhaya married a beautiful princess named Swarnapali (Pali), daughter of Girikandasiva, an uncle of his who was governing the territory of Girikandaka. They were consecrated King and Queen of Lanka. Pandukabhaya founded the city of Anuradhapura and the seat of government was moved to the new city. He appointed his friend, Canda (son of his Brahin teacher), to the office of Adigar (Minister). He also appointed his uncle Abhaya, Mayor of the city. To his father-in-law Girikandasiva he restored the city of Girikandaka. He devoted much of his time to the adornment and civil government of the new capital city of Anuradhapura. Agriculture too received his due share of attention. He constructed the Jaya Wewa and Gamini Wewa. Magnificent was the tolerance and encouragement of all religious systems during this period of Lanka’s history. He also built a special palace for his mother, Umaddha Citta, at Anuradhapura. He died after having reigned for seventy years.


WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka