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 Post subject: Prince Weediya Bandara
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:38 am 
Prince Weediya Bandara

It is said that when he had no one to fight with he went to thick jungles and fought with elephants, tigers and wild buffaloes for his young blood were so stimulant and brave. The king's daughter princess Samudra Devi was given in marriage to him as the monarch loved him so much for his bravery.

@ LL / Dec 2008

Prince Weediya Bandara of Madampe, the big built youth with blue blood from Pillassa who enrolled as a warrior in the royal court of king Buvanekabahu (1521-1557) and remained brave and prominent in martial arts had been a Regal Gladiator. It is said that when he had no one to fight with he went to thick jungles and fought with elephants, tigers and wild buffaloes for his young blood were so stimulant and brave.

Buwanekabahu of Kotte had to protect his Kingdom from his brothers as well as the Portuguese, who were fishing in the troubled waters. Mayadunne of Sitavaka (1521-1581), the youngest but the ablest of the three brothers of Buwanekabahu of Kotte aspired to be the king of Kotte.

The political scenario at the time had seen three more centres other than Kotte and Sitwaka wielding power. They were, the nascent power base of Senkadagalapura in the Uda Rata, Yapapatuna in the North, exercising a limited jurisdiction in the peninsula since about the 13th century, and the Portuguese in the just established (1518) fortelessa in Colombo.

Buwanekabahu of Kotte had to face threats from his own brothers and also the Portuguese infiltrations. Therefore, the King wanted a strong Sinhala worrier who would be able to ward of those threats effectively.
Buwanekabahu married his only daughter Samudradevi off to Veediya Bandara, whom the Portuguese dubbed "Tiger of Kotte" as they dreaded his sight. They also called him "Timbule Bandara".

The king's daughter princess Samudra Devi was given in marriage to him as the monarch loved him so much for his bravery.

There were several others eyeing Samudradevi. In fact, Rajasingha himself wanted to take her as his queen. Buwanekabahu had planned to give her in marriage to Jugo Bandara, a nephew of his. But Vidiya Bandara killed Jugo Bandara in the palace itself and married her. Sangaraja of Kotte Ven. Budhawansa who blessed the wedding and inducted Vidiya as the custodian of Kotte Kingdom.

Veediya Bandara however was a strong Sinhala worrier, who detested a foreign rule in the country and fought for the Sinhale. Vidiya Bandara burnt all the Catholic churches from Kotte up to Dondra. He was later captured and placed in a prison in Pelenda. His queen Samudra Devi, built an underground tunnel to the prison and rescued him.

Weediya Bandara was so short tempered that over a suspicion he threw forcibly his beloved queen Samudra Devi to the Diyawanna Oya and let her die of suffocation.

In 1546, Weediya Bandara attacked Senkadagala Kingdom ruled by Weera Wickramabahu. He stationed some of his soldiers in the kingdom and returned to Kotte.

Antagonized by the encroachment of Portugese, he fled to Palindanuwara with the intention of building a mighty army, granary and armory to eradicate Portuguese intruders from motherland. Once he was the glorious and merit full custodian of the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha and historians say that he once protecting the golden casket of Sacred Tooth Relic in left hand fought the enemy with the sword in his right hand in the battle field.

Buwanekabahu was feeble and helpless. To protect his Kingdom he sought the help of the Portuguese. In consequence to Weediya Bandara 's animosity against Portuguese, he was deprived of the throne by the king Buwanekabahu, who adamantly selected the Prince Dharmapala the son of Weediya Bandara to be crowned instead.

Buwanekabahu decided to baptise his grandson (Son of Weediya Bandara and Samudra Devi), Dharmapala and sent a delegation to Goa headed by Jao Corea de Brito, who played a crucial role in changing the course of Sri Lanka’s history. Buwanekabahu expressed his willingness to accept Don John III of Portugal as King and sent a Royal Charter on 12.03.1543 through Pandit, a Brahmin Minister in his Cabinet, Interpreter Antonio Pereira and a security officer named Francis Soza Thavares along with a replica of his grand son.

It was a silver statue with a head made of ivory decorated with gold. It was sent with many presents. That was how Dharmapala was baptised Don Juan. Dharmapala, who was only one year old at the time of this mock coronation.

Although the treaty with Portuguese contained three main clauses such as the deployment of Portuguese troops to provide security to the King, the elimination of Mayadunne and the annexing of Seetawaka to Kotte, Buwanekabahu still wanted to establish a permanent bond with the Senkadagala Kingdom.

Jayaweera II alias Karalliyadde Bandara, the second son of Senasammatha Wickramabahu was the ruler of Senkadagala.

Buvanekabahu and Jayaweera II already had as their queens two princess of Keerawella and had established relationship. Through the marriage of his grand son to the Senkadagala ruler’s daughter, both Kings expected to strengthen their relations and consolidate their power.

The plan was to have Jayaweera’s daughter Santana Devi married off to Dharmapala. This proposal was agreed by Jayaweera II who ultimately had to abandon his Kingdom due to protests from the Buddhist clergy and the people of Senkadagala who opposed this matrimonial alliance with Dharmapala who had been baptised as Don Juan. Jayaweera II was chased away from the Senkadagala Kingdom and Weerawickramabahu son of Thunayama succeeded him.

Santana Devi was baptised as Dona Magarita in Kotte and lived with Dharmapala. It maybe recalled that her niece Kusumasana Devi, too, was baptised as Dona Catherina and lived in Mannar. Dharmapala ruled for fifty seven years and died on 27.05.1597.

The activities of the ambitious Vidiye Bandara led to a curious alliance between Mayadunne of Sitavaka and the Portuguese. And, their combined forces, i.e. Mayadunnes’s and that of the Portuguese, battled Vidiye Bandara on two occasions, namely in 1548 and in 1555. Such alliances between the Sinhalese and the Portuguese, were hastily made and hastily abandoned.

Mayadunne of Sitawaka sought the assistance of Portugese to capture Vidiye Bandara and Tammita Suriya Bandara, the father of Nikapitiya Bandara, who was placed in the Senkadagala throne as Rajasuriya. They were first cousins being the sons of two brothers Sakalakalawallaba of Udugampola and Thaniwallba of Madampe.

Even in the midst of animosity, Vidiye Bandara, had been a desirable son-in-law to any king. Thus, on the death of Samudra Devi, Mayadunne, gave in marriage his widowed eldest daughter Maha Tikiri Bandara (Suriya Devi), to Vidiye Bandara. But the cordiality thus established, was short lived.

Although in 1550 Buvanekabahu of Kotte and the Portuguese had razed the capital city of Sitavaka, Mayadunne, allied with the Portuguese in 1555 to attack his son-in-law's (Vidiye Bandara) stronghold at Pelenda, which he had established after his union with Maha Tikiri Bandara.

It was at that battle, that the young ‘son’ of Mayadunne, called Tikiri Bandara or Tikiri Kumaraya, had first distinguished himself in the battlefield, and was called ‘Rajasinha’.

It is said, that Tikiri Kumaraya or Rajasinha, was fathered by Petiyagoda Patta Mestri Sinhala Kirti Rajapakse Bhatirajja Vanniyar Mudiyanse Disava, residing in the palace, and was begotten by Sumana Devi, the Chief Queen of Mayadunne. It is also said that it had been a known fact, as much as his physique, ability, military prowess, intellect and bravery.

Thus, at Pelenda, Vidiye Bandara, had met his match. In the face of defeat at the hands of young Tikiri, he withdrew - from the battlefield, and taking a circuitous route reached Udarata (Senkadagalapura) , where he was ‘politically’ welcome by Karalliyadde Bandara (1552-1582), who had succeeded Jayavira (1511-1552).

Thammitasuriya Bandara met with tragic death on 18-02-1581 after an altercation with Tikiri Bandara (Rajasingha of Sitawaka).

Between 1557 and 1565, Mayadunne and his son Rajasinha besieged Kotte several times. The Portuguese, unable to depend, both Kotte and Colombo, abandoned Kotte in 1565, and Dharmapala, moved with all his valuables and retinue to Colombo. For all practical purposes the suzerainity of Kotte had come to an end. Sitavaka became the acknowledged capital of the people.

Now, Sitavaka concentrated on two fronts: one on Colombo, and the other on Senkadagalapura. With that, diplomacy and treachery, came to work at its optimum against Sitavaka, in concert with Kandy and Colombo.

From Senkadagalapura Vidiye Bandara twice attacked Sitavaka, but at the last engagement at Mudukondapela he once again deserted the army, and fled the battlefield. Soon after he ended up at Yapapatuna, and it is said, that at the Nallur kovil where, some gun-powder had been accidentally set alight, being mistaken for gun-shots, or as Trindade says, due to the riches he had, a fight ensued, and, both he and his younger son Wijayapala, was killed at that place.

Weediya Bandara proceeded to Jaffna with the intention of chasing out Portuguese from Jaffna with military assistance of Northern chieftain. But he had to battle with native Tamil militants instead. Unexpectedly while fighting he was stabbed at the back with a dagger by an unseen enemy where he sustained severe injuries and succumbed to death in the battle field. The tamarind tree under which he died at Nallur Kovll premises still may be seen.

When Rajasingha of Sitawaka died, Vidiya Bandara’s mother, Maha Biso Bandara alias Komari Lamaethani succeeded in vesting the Sitawaka kingdom in 1592 in Nikapitiya Bandara, her grandson.

The daughter of Vidiye Bandara and his second wife, Suriya Devi alias Maha Tikiri Biso Bandara (elder daughter of Mayadunne) was Menik Biso Bandara, who married Harineshwara Bandara. Their only daughter was Don Maria Pereira, who was married to Sinhao Pinhao, the Portugese Captain, who captured Jaffna in 1591.

1) The Kingdom of Sitavaka 1521-1594

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