Dumbara kings - The Dambadeniya period
It was during the reign of Dumbara kings that there was peace and prosperity in the country and the country was under one flag, a unitary state. It was during this regime that so much was done to improve the arts, literature and language of the Sinhalese. The 'Dambadeni Yugaya' is the period commencing from 1246 and lasting nearly eighty years up to the period of Parakrama Bahu IV better known as Panditha Parakrama Bahu.
by S. B. Karalliyadde
@ LDN / LL - Dec 20008
The Dambadeniya period was inaugurated by Vijaya Bahu III a native of Galahitiyawa village presently belonging to Uda Dumbara electorate.
It was this prince known as Bodhiraja of Galahitiyawa who freed the country from the atrocities of Maga, an intruder from Kalinga who ruled the country for 21 years from 1215 to 1236 causing endless strife and misery to the Sinhalese.
He built his fortress and palace in Medamahanuwara city (presently in Teldeniya) and waged war against Maga and chased him out of the country. Even the Pandiyan king who ruled from Polonnaruwa known as Nissanka Malla could not withstand the atrocities of Maga and fled to Bodhiraja prince for protection.
Dumbara and Malayarata were never attacked by Maga for fear of prince Bodhiraja. It was this prince who later became Vijaya Bahu III and started his reign from Dambadeniya. He took under his control Hewaheta and Kotmale areas, took the Sri Dalada relic from Pussulpitiya, Kotmale to Beligala in Satarakorale, built a temple for the tooth relic and kept the relics there for safety and veneration by the people.
From Beligala temple of the tooth relic the relic was taken with all due honours enroute to Dambadeniya by this king and deposited in a vihara built for the tooth relic.
One son of Wijayabahu known as Parakrama Bahu II alias Pandith Parakrama Bahu ruled from Dambadeniya for thirty four years (1236-1270). He was the one who wrote the Vissudhi Marga Sannasa and Wanawinisa Sennasa. He was also known as Kalikala Sahitya Panditha.
His son Vijaya Bahu IV reigned from Yapahuwa and Dambadeniya from 1270-1272. Rajaratnakaraya and Nikaya Sangarawa names him as Bosat Vijayabahu. His son ruled for 12 years from 1272 to 1284 making Dambadeniya and Yapahuwa his capital as Buwaneka Bahu I.
The ruler from 1287 to 1294 was Parakrama Bahu III who was the son of Parakrama Bahu II. The king who ruled from Kurunegala in 1293 to 1302 as Buwaneka Bahu II was the son of Buwaneka Bahu I. He was the grandson of Buwaneka Bahu III born in Dumbara. Once again the king who ruled from 1302-1326 as Parakrama Bahu IV alias Pandith Parakrama Bahu was the son of Buwaneka Bahu II.
It was during the reign of Dumbara kings that there was peace and prosperity in the country and the country was under one flag, a unitary state. It was during this regime that so much was done to improve the arts, literature and language of the Sinhalese.
Literature and language
Muwadewdawatha, Subodalankaraya, Saddarmalankaraya, Vurthodaya, Pujawaliya, Dhathu Manjusawa, Herana Sika Vinisa, Amawatura, Susadda Siddiya, Youga Nimnaya, Buthsarana, Dhata Vansaya, Rasavahini, Sidath Sangarawa, Kaw Silumina etc. were written during the period of rule by Dumbara kings.
The ruler in Kurunegala from 1326 to 1335 was Buwaneka Bahu III alias Wanni Buwaneka Bahu. He was the son of Pandith Parakrama Bahu II, the people of Wendaruwa in the present Teldeniya electorate are descendants of this family.
After that from 1335 to 1341 Vijaya Bahu V reigned from Yapahuwa. The sacred tooth relic which was in Yapahuwa was taken away by Ariya Chackrawarthi to the Pandyan country during the rule of Buwaneka Bahu I from 1272 to 1284.
The tooth relic was brought back by Parakrama Bahu III who ruled from Kurunegala in 1287-1293. He was the son of Vijaya Bahu IV. The ruler of Kurunegala Buwanekabahu II (1293-1302) is the son of Buwanekabahu I.
The son of Buwaneka Bahu II reigned from 1302 to 1326 as Parakramabahu IV. The ruler from 1326 to 1335 at Kurunegala Buwaneka Bahu III was also from Mediwaka presently in Uda Dumbara electorate.
After Vijayabahu V who ruled from Dambadeniya and Yapahuwa from 1335 to 1341 the kingdom changed to Gampola and from 1341-1351 and Buwanekabahu IV ruled. He was from Galahitiyawa in Dumbara and was the brother of Vijayabahu V. This is the king who built Lankatilaka Viharaya. He hails from Talagune in the Uda Dumbara electorate.
After him the king who ruled from 1356 to 1371 from places like Keulgama, Pallepitiya and Gampola was Wickrama Bahu III alias Pandith Wickrama Bahu. Wickrama Bahu's queen was Senkanda Biso Bandara whose name was chosen by the king to name the city he built as Senkadagala. She was a daughter of Panditha Parakrama Bahu.
Wickrama Bahu ruled from Pallepitiya built by his father Gampola Buwaneka Bahu. Wickrama Bahu was the first king to build the temple of the tooth in 1356.
He asweddumised the Wendarupitiya welyaya in Dumbara and offered the land to the temple of the tooth. He was the king who wrote Ummagga Jathaka, Pansiya Panas Jathaka, Elu Attanagalu Vansaya, Elu Bodhi Vansaya, Lokopakaraya, Sadharmalankaraya etc.
Weera Bahu, a nephew of Panditha Parakrama Bahu II led a war against a gang of sea farers (Malays) who invaded the country at the time and drove them from hill country to Jawakkotte (the fortress of the Javak regiment) presently known as Chavakacheri in Jaffna.
Prince Weerabahu having won the war went to Dondra, made offerings to Lord Upulvan, built a Pirivena by the name of Nandana and returned to Gampola. The paddy field asweddumised by him, is Weerawela in Uda Dumbara.
Pandit Parakrama Bahu's daughter Sumithra was the queen of Parakrama Bahu VI who ruled from Senkadagala from 1409 to 1415.
Parakrama Bahu was a grandson of Weerabahu II alias Deva Manthri who ruled in Gampola. Parakrama Bahu and Sumithra's son was Parakrama Bahu VII alias Dedigama Parakrama Bahu who reigned in Dedigama from 1415 to 1460.
Vijaya II ruled from Gampola, Mediwaka and Pallepitiya from 1345 to 1396. During the period of 1396/97 king Thunayama alias Thunayesa reigned in Keulgama, Pallepitiya and Weragama. This king is the son of Dedigama Parakarama Bahu's daughter Pubbare Kumari and Dumbara Hatan Bandara.
Later Weera Alakeswara made Gampola his capital and ruled for 12 years from 1397 to 1409. Alakeswara was the grandson of Buwaneka Bahu III alias Wanni Buwaneka Bahu.
When Alakeswara was taken captive to China the king who ruled from Senkadagala from 1409 to 1415 was Parakrama Bahu VI, a grandson of Weerabahu II> Again the capital changed over to Dedigama and Parakrama Bahu VII son of Parakrama Bahu VI ruled from 1415 to 1460.
After this period Jothiya Situ Sub king ruled from Medamahanuwara and Senkadagala from 1460 to 1462. He was a grandson of Pandit Parakrama Bahu.
The period from 1462 to 1463 was ruled once again by Thunayama mentioned earlier from Poddalgoda in the present Teldeniya electorate. Due to internal conflicts over the kingship a 'mauriyan' prince from Matale Senasammatha Wickrama Bahu succeeds to the throne and under him for the first time in the history four sub kings rule the country.
Gangoda Bandara a descendent from Buwaneka Bahu family rules in Sath Korale sub kingdom, son of Parakrama Bahu of Senkadagala Mediwaka Parakrama Epa rules from Wellassa, a grandson of Pandita Wickrama Bahu Keulgama Arawe Bandara was sub king of Hewaheta and a grandson of Gampola Buwaneka Bahu Talagune Bandara ruled over Udunuwara and Yatinuwara.
At the demise of Senasammatha Wickrama Bahu Jayaweera I who was married to a niece of Senasammatha Wickrama Bahu Jayaweera I who was married to a niece of Senasammatha succeeded to the Senkadagala throne from 1483 to 1497.
As Jayaweera I had not issues Thunayama rules from Keulgama and Pallepitiya. After this the Senkadagala kingdom divided into Kotte and Seethawaka and from 1514 to 1529 Parakrama Bahu VIII rules from Kotte. Simultaneously Jayaweera II alias Karalliyadde Bandara ruled in Senkadagala. Jayaweera II was expelled by the people led by Giddawa Bandara, Dumbara Hatan Bandara supported by the priests of Malwathu and Asgiriya.
This incident was sequel to a promise made by Jayaweera to give his daughter in marriage to Prince Dharmapala of Kotte. After this incident Weera Wikrama Bahu alias Rankodipathrannehe son of Tunayama rules in Senkadagala from 1543 to 1579.
He is also known as 'Pallepitiya Rajjuruwo'. He built a chaitya in Malwatte enshrining the alms bowl of the Buddha. Jayaweera III alias Karalliyadde Kumara Bandara son of Jayaweera II ascends to the Senkadagala throne from 1579-1582. He was banished from the throne by Rajasingha of Sitawaka in 1582 replacing Weerasundara Bandara second son of Thunayama.
Yamasingha, a nephew of Jayaweera III banishes Weerasundara and becomes the ruler from 1585. Yamasingha is murdered by Konappu Bandara who become the king in 1591 under the title of Wimaladharmasuriya I.
Up to Narendrasingha of Kundasale, it was the Dumbara kings who rendered yeoman service to the arts, culture, literature and languages of Sri Lanka.