Friday, November 27, 2009

"Not one drop of water must flow into the ocean without serving the purposes of man"

"Not one drop of water must flow into the ocean without serving the purposes of man"
King Parakrambahu the great (1164-1196 AD), the builder of rainwater reservoir "Sea of Parakrama"

Come'n let's drive
the bund of the largest ancient Rainwater Reservoir of the island, Parakrama Samudraya. At 2100 hectares (5600 acres) it is more like an inland sea. In the rainy season the rainwater reservoir is in its full splendour. In its full capacity & full flow, with the roar of the waves & the wind & the spray of water crashing onto the car, the drive around the 14km long bund is more like a drive along a highway by a beach with sweeping winds.

Location: Western flank of the city of Polonnaruwa (WHS), Polonnaruwa district, North Central Province ("Raja Rata" meaning "The king's country" & "Wew Badi Rata" meaning "Country of reservoirs" in Sinhalese as known in ancient Lanka).

Conception: To retain the monsoon rains (South Western - May to July - Yala monsoon & North Eastern - November to January - Maha monsoon) in the Dry Zone (the northern half & the whole of the east of the country).

Restoration: After a breach in the walls in the later thirteenth century, the tank fell into disrepair & was restored in the 1950s.

Diversion of a river to the tank
Having driven to the very end of the dam (all 8 1/2 miles) and further along the canal which feed the Parakrama Samudraya we come to Angammadilla. River Amban is diverted towards the reservoir at this point. The reservoir is also fed by a 40km long canal & a link from Giritale tank.

Spend our day right here.
We walk about 500 meters in to the jungle to arrive at an unspoilt camping/bathing site. Distanced from the town this location is still untouched and is great place to spend the day. This land belongs to the bulldog & bulldozer of ancient Lanka, the elephant. Elephant dung are scattered along the path to the river. We will have to return to the hotel before the sun set in since it could be bit scary when it is dark. The wild elephants.

Surface area of the reservoir: 2100 ha

Dam of Parakrama Samudraya: The 8 1/2 miles (14km) long embankment that rises to 80 feet - average 40 feet (12.2 meters) - is encircled by rugged hills.

Distribution of water: 11 channels leading water in different directions to feed a network of irrigation canals & minor tanks.

Irrigation of land: Over 18000 acres of paddy land supported by the reservoir.

Birdlife: the reservoirs attracts numerous water birds including cormorants & pelicans.

King Parakrambahu the great (1164-1196 AD)
King Parakramabahu the great built or restored 165 dams, 3910 canals, 163 major reservoirs and 2376 minor tanks. During his reign of 33 years Lanka became "The granary of the orient" achieving the zenith of development in irrigation and agriculture of the Sinhalese civilization. He restored three great dagobas at Anurdahpura yet reserved his greatest efforts on a building spree on his capital, Polonnaruwa erecting huge buildings, planning beautiful parks. Parakrama Samudraya is his crowning achievement.


"Neither in the lands of their (i.e. of the Indo-Aryan settlers) origin nor in South India did there develop an irrigation system of the magnitude or the complexity of that which the Sinhalese afterwards constructed in Ceylon; nothing comparable & contemporaneous (i.e.1st century A. D. - 12th centaury A. D.) with the ancient dam, canal & tank system of Ceylon, mingling the water of rivers flowing in different directions is known in continental India"
(A Short Account of the History of Irrigation Works, C. W. Nicholas, JRASCB 1960, 43-69)

"In no other part of the world are there to be found within the same space, the remains of so many works of irrigation, which are, at the same time, of such great antiquity, & of such vast magnitude as Ceylon. Probably no other country can exhibit works so numerous, & at the same time so ancient & extensive, within the same limited area, as this island"
Colonial Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Sir Henry Ward (1885-1860)

"The constructive & artistic genius of the Sinhalese race proceeded in the following century (i.e.2nd century B. C.) to develop the design to an extent not found elsewhere. The most important examples erected in Ceylon are comparable with the greatest pyramids of Egypt. The two largest dagobas at Anuradhapura surpass in contents, three exceeded in height all but the two enormous pyramids Khufru & Khafra at Gizeh"
(Ancient Ceylon, H. Parker, 262)

"One of the greatest contributions of the Sinhalese people to the cultural development of South & South East Asia & to world literature is the creation of a historic literature. It is well-known that on the Indian sub continent before the invasion of the Islamic conquerors virtually no historic literature had developed... Sri Lanka tells a different story. In the Dipavamsa & Mahavamsa & in various other Sinhalese texts, we are given an account of the political & cultural history of the island from earliest times until the present time"
(Wilhelm Geiger - His Life & Works, Heinz Bechert, 2nd ed., 69)

"The Sinhalese voluntarily surrendered their island to the British Sovereign with full reservation of their rights & liberties. They may thus claim to be one of the few ancient races of the world who have not been conquered."
(Sketches of Ceylon History by Sri Lankan-then called Ceylonese-Tamil scholar Ponnambalam Arunchalam, 1906)

"The Sinhalese people are not, in my opinion, happier or better than they were in the eighteenth century. Talk of progress, & the reality, are not the same. Civilization is supposed to advance by the creation of new desires, to gratify which the individual must endeavour to improve his position. But in reality it is not quantity, but quality of wants that may be taken as evidence of progress in the Art of Living. No one acquainted with modern Sinhalese taste will pretend that it gives evidence of any improvement in the quality of wants. Indeed, it is sufficiently obvious that quantity, variety, & novelty are not really compatible with quality."
Mediaeval Sinhalese Art: Sri Lankan - then called Ceylonese - Tamil scholar Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1908) comparing the period prior to British rule with the period of British rule.

Buddhist Bhikkus (monks)
"Go and talk to the yellow robed and tonsured recluse - not of course through an interpreter, or out of a book of phrases: you must know not only his language but something of Buddhist ideas; and you must speak to him as man to man, not as the wise to the barbarian. You will certainly be courteous; for whatever else a Buddhist Bhikkhu may be, he will be sure to give proof of courtesy and a dignified demeanour. And it will be strange if you do not find a new world of thought and of feeling opening out before you."
Rhys Davids, Professor of Pali in the University of London at Manchester during 1882-1904

Creation of an Island

Mount Meru or Mount Sumeru is a sacred mountain in Hindu mythology in considered to be the center of the universe. It is believed to be the abode of Brahma and other deities. The mountain is said to be 80,000 leagues (450,000 km) high and located in Jambudvipa, one of the continents on earth in Hindu mythology. Many Hindu temples & Angkor Wat, the principal temple of Angkor in Cambodia, have been built as symbolic representations of the Mountain. Legends say that Mount Meru and the wind god Vayu were bosom friends. However, the sage Narada approached Vayu and incited him to humble the mountain. Vayu blew with full force for one full year, but Meru was shielded by Garuda with his wings. However, after a year Garuda took respite for some time. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Vayu unleashed an assault with all his might. Thus the apex of the mountain was broken and it fell into the sea and created the island of Lanka.

The capital of Lanka too was then called Lanka. It is said to have been built of gold by Viswakarma, the architect of the gods for the residence of Kuvera, from whom it was taken by king Ravana.

Naming an Island

The island was renamed Sri Lanka, meaning "resplendent land" in Sanskrit, in1972.
In Hindu epic Ramayana the island was known as Lanka.
Sri Lanka was known in many names:
Ratnadivpa (i.e. the island of precious stones),
Lanka & Lankadweepa (in Hindu epic Ramayana)
Heladiva (island of Hela=island of Sinhalese)
Tambapanni (Copper-coloured beach)
Simoundou, Taprobane by the Greeks & Romans (from Sanskrit Tambapanni)
Serendib (from the Sanskrit Sinhaladvipa, i.e. the island of the Sinhalese)
Si-lan by Chinese, Seylan by the Arabs
Celao during Portuguese era, Zeilan in the Dutch era
Ceylon during the colonization by the British.

Edward Barbosa, a Portuguese captain who visited the island in 1515, tried to persuade his countrymen to adopt Tennaserim, which in an ancient Indian language meant "Land of Delights", but they had already settled on Celao. To Marco Polo it was "a land like no other".

Cosmas Indicopleustes, the Byzantine author of "Christian Topography" twisted the Arabic into Sielediba, but the 18 th century English novelist Horace Walpole stuck to the original for his fairy tale, "The Three Princes of Serendib", & used it to coin "serendipity", meaning discovery by happy accident.

With us, Riolta Lanka Holidays, you too will have your own load & log of serendipitous discoveries over & above the scheduled discoveries.


The Sinhalese are the indigenous people in Sri Lanka, and have lived in the island for over 2550 years. 'Sinhala' means 'of lion blood', because the prince who first settled in the island (with 500 followers in 6th century BC) was believed to have had a lion for a grandfather. The Sinhalese are of Indo-Aryan descent, and speak 'Sinhala', the oldest of the living Indo-Aryan languages. The Sinhalese have the oldest, continuously recorded history in the world-the story of the Sinhalese is traced back to 2550 years.

Ancient Sinhalese irrigation
The ingenuity of the Sinhala irrigation engineers is best exemplified by the invention of the "bisokotuwa" which literary mean "queens enclosure" signifying "out of bounds". The Bisokotuwa is the equivalent of the valve-pit (sluice gate), which functions in the regulation of the outward flow of water & is therefore essentially an invention made by the Sinhala irrigation engineers more than 2200 years ago, 1000 years before the rest of the world, and are considered to have built the most sophisticated irrigation systems in the world according to British excavation engineers. It has remained essentially unchanged since then. "it was this bisokotuwa invention alone which permitted the Sinhalese to proceed boldly with the construction of reservoirs that still rank among the finest work of its kind in the world" (Parker, 1981) Minneriya tank, was the first great rainwater reservoir ever constructed in the world, if the great lakes of Egypt, which are immense natural hollows into which streams were turned, are not considered. This was built by King Mahasena (276-303 AD)

The first recorded hospital in the world
The history of medical care began early, for in the fourth century BC King Pandukadhaya (437-366 BC), in the course of sanitizing the town constructed an Ayurvedic hospital.

At Mihintale you will witness the Ayurveda Medicine trough, a ruin of a hospital built in the ninth century AD. In the fourth century AD King Upastissa the second provided quarters & homes for the crippled & the blind. King Buddhadasa (337-365 AD) himself a physician of great repute, appointed a physician to be in charge of every ten villages. For the maintenance of these physicians, one tenth of the income of the fields was set apart. He also set up refuges for the sick in every village. Physicians were also appointed to look after the animals. King Kassapa the fifth (914-923 AD) founded a hospital close to the southern gate of Anuradhapura. General Sena in the tenth century is believed to have built a hospital close to the ceremonial street (Managala Veediaya).

The oldest recorded tree in the world: Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree)
A sapling of the sacred Bo tree (Peepal) (Ficus religiosa) in the shelter of which Prince Siddhartha Gauthama attained supreme enlightenment & became Buddha (6th century BC) was brought to Sri Lanka by Buddhist nun Sanagamiita, as a gift from her father Mauryan Buddhist Indian Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BC. Today, the huge specimen of this Ficus religiosa has no rival to the claim of being the oldest historical tree (i.e. having the longest recorded written history) in the world. It has been protected by an uninterrupted series of Buddhist monks since it was planted.

The world's first museum
The world's first museum was built in Sri Lanka 2200 years ago. It housed the parts of the ship that brought the Bodhi sapling to Sri Lanka from India in 3rd century BC. Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree).

The world's first recorded (247 BC) wildlife and nature reserve
Sri Lanka was the setting - Mihintale being the site - of the world's first recorded (247 BC) wildlife and nature reserve, established by King Devanam Piya Tissa, a convert to conservationism preceded only by biblical Noah in the annals of human race: deeply influenced as he was by the inspirational message of the Buddha imparted to him by Arahat Mahinda. Further evidence of this deep-rooted concern for wildlife and the commitment to conservation is found in an inscription engraved on a stone slab at Anuradhapura's majestic millennia-old Golden Sand Stupa. The inscription attributed to the 12th Century King Nissankamalla of Polononnaruwa, forbid the capture, killing or commercial trafficking of any animals, birds and fish within a radius of 7gau (4 miles) from the city. References to royal protection and preservation of wildlife are extant throughout the Mahavamsa and this traditional care and concern for creatures of the wild continues to this day.

Most possibly the oldest steel plant in the world
The earliest evidence of steel making in the ancient world, dating back to 300 BC, has been found in the Samanalwewa reservoir area. In comparison, England's first steel making occurred in 1491. The early furnaces were ingeniously powered by natural draught-the monsoon winds-rather than the forced draught (bellow-operated) method employed elsewhere. Recent excavations found the ruins of a steel plant (built circa 300 BC) manned solely by wind power. Sri Lanka did indeed export high quality steel to Persia to make the famed Persian swords.

Ancient Sinhalese ships
At one time, the Sinhalese ships were the biggest at Shanghai harbor (Chinese records), and history records a time when the representative of the Sinhalese sat on the right hand side seat of Claudius Caesar.

Elephants of Ancient Lanka
The excellence of elephants of Sri Lanka was well known to the Greeks as far as back on 3rd century BC, in the time of Alexander the Great. Onescritus, an admiral of the fleet of Alexander the great stated elephants of Lanka "are bigger, more fierce & furious for war than those of India" Greek writers Megasthenes (300 BC) & Aelian (44AD) corroborate this. Sixth century writer Cosmos Indicopleustes says that the elephants from Sri Lanka were highly priced in India for its excellence in war.

The Ancient Maritime Sea route (250 BC-250 AD)
In Topographia Christiana of the 6th century AD, Sri Lanka is referred to as an important sea trade center on the Maritime Silk Route. Sri Lanka is also mentioned in The Periplus Maris Erythraei, a guide to trade on the Red Sea & India, written by an author in Alexandria, supposed around 40 AD. The Ancient Maritime Sea Route (250 BC-250 AD) extended from Alexandria to China: Alexandria - Nabataean Kingdom - The Red Sea - Himyante Kingdom (Yemen) - The Arabian Sea - Satavahanos Kingdom (India) - Ruhuna Kingdom (Sri Lanka) - Malacca - Don Song Kingdom (Cambodia) - China.

One & only monument of the world built in honor of a fallen enemy
Sri Lanka is the only country in the world known to have a monument built in honor of a fallen enemy (2nd century BC). Tamil invader Elara was killed in the epic war by the Sinhalese prince from Ruhuna who rose to become the hero of the nation. The victorious King Dutugamunu of Lanka decreed that anyone passing the monument pay homage to the dead king, who even though an invader. A Sinhalese aristocrat did so at the cost of his life as recent as 1815, while fleeing from the British who were at his heels. The ancient Sinhalese believed neither in being ruled by foreign powers nor the contrary. Whenever there were invaders, they were successfully overthrown, but once the kingdom was won back, these very same invaders were 'allowed to live as they pleased' (ancient inscriptions). The kings even built religious monuments for these very same invaders, some of which exist to this day. The ancient concept of tolerance of the Sinhalese has been inspired by the gentle sway of Buddhism.

Your tour & your holidays with us
This is a Tour De Resplendent Isle. Taprobane as the Greeks called, The Pali form was Tambapanni. High Value Asian Holidays with the concept of "High Definition". Stillmore, our tour packages offer highly personalized services to cater to each & every need of our guest. The Pearl of the Orient. Ultimate Asian Tour Packages designed for relaxing, reinvigorating, rejuvenating, entertaining, enlightening & enriching holidays in an Island just 30km of shallow sea (Palk Straits) across India. In India it was called Lanka (meaning beautiful). Enlightening & Educative Holidays in terms of Human Condition, History, Buddhism, Auyrvedic Medicine, Ancient Art & Sculpture. Awe-inspiring ancient monuments. Ancient yet sophisticated vast Irrigation network consisting of well over 10,000 massive Rainwater Reservoirs (fervet opus = the work seethes) which to date irrigate the island making it self sufficient in Rice. The Island was called the Granary of the Orient during the reign of King Parakramabahu the great (1153-1186) who proclaimed that "not a single drop of rainwater should flow into the sea without serving the purpose of man". ecce signum! (Behold the proof!)

Enriching & Informative Tours with respect of Ancient Culture, Buddhist Architecture, Buddhist Art, Hindu Influence, Moorish Influence, Colonial Heritage, Biodiversity, Ecology, and Geography. Tour Lanka, which withstood & fought out thousands of years of invasions from powerful Dravidian kingdoms of South India. Tour Serandib, a treasure trove of a Spice Island, the Island of Gems, which attracted the Moorish traders, then battled out by the Portuguese & Dutch with Sinhalese for 300 years & colonized by the British, for 200 years. Serendib in Arabic, Ceilao in Portuguese, Ceylon in English. All stem from the Pali word Sinhala or Sinhaladipa.

Ancient Inscriptions of Sri Lanka

The earliest archaeological remains connected with the Sinhalese, which are still preserved without alteration in later times, are many hundreds of caves with inscriptions engraved on their brows, found in various parts of the island. These caves are found among the numerous boulders which litter the sides of hills in certain places like Mihintale, Ritigala, Dambulla & Situlpahuwa (We will be visiting the famous sites) & at other sites.

The artificial improvements effected to these caves consist mainly of a drip line cut along the brow, so as to prevent rain water flowing into them. Some of these caves were provided with walls as well as the face of the rock inside, were covered with a coating of lime plaster & painted in some instances. In most of the caves, an inscription has been incised below the drip line.

The script of these records is the same as that of the most ancient historical inscriptions in India. The edicts of Emperor Asoka are in the same script. Closer examinations of the script of these records reveal that the forms of the individual letters were imperceptibly undergoing change during the period in which they were being written. A comparison of the letters in these records from Sri Lanka with the forms in Asoka inscriptions & others in India, to which definite dates can be given, enables us to conclude that these cave inscriptions have been made in dates ranging from approximately the last quarter of the century B.C. to about the end of the first century A.C.

Like the script, the language of these documents is akin to that of the earliest records found in India. These various dialects belong to a family of languages-namely the Indo-Aryan of which the most highly cultivated is the Sanskrit, & to which belong the languages spoken today in North India as well as by the Sinhalese. A study of the language of the records in the caves in Sri Lanka enables one to conclude that it has, by gradual changes following natural phonological laws rise to the Sinhala that is spoken today. The Aryan languages are spoken today in the North of India. The Languages of South India is included in a different family, the Dravidian. These inscriptions thus collaborate to the literary tradition according to which the Sinhalese migrated to this island from Lala, a region in North India. Considering that there is, between Sri Lanka & the regions in which the Aryan languages are spoken in India, an extensive area in which the language spoken by the people are Non-Aryan, the original Sinhalese, as their traditions testify have arrived in this island by sea-routes.

The oldest Sinhalese inscriptions are found in the North as well as in the South of the island, in its western regions as well as in the East. They are also found at sites in the hill country, though the majority of sites containing early Sinhalese inscriptions are found on the plains. These inscriptions bring forth testimony to the fact that the Sinhalese have occupied practically the whole of island.

The inscriptions dated in the reign of the kings of the Lambakanna dynasty (65 AD-432 AD) are numerous. They are sometimes of considerable length, & are generally in agreement with the chronicles. There are inscriptions which furnish us with genealogical information not given in the Chronicles, & indicate the dynasty's continuity where the Chronicles would lead us to conclude that there was a break. These records register the donations made to the religious institutions by kings & nobles, but do not refer to political events directly. The records however, furnish us with valuable data concerning the land tenure, revenue system & the administrative, economic, social & religious conditions of the time. They also enable us to understand the gradual evolution of the Sinhalese language

Historical chronicles of Sri Lanka


Uniqueness of Mahawamsa
The Mahawamsa is one of the most remarkable histories in existence, unrivalled-with perhaps the sole exception of the Shu King records of the Chinese emperors.

But then again, while Mahawamsa is a continuous narration of unbroken civilization & history of 2550 years, Shu King is simply a collection of historical memoirs over a time span of 1700 years, but on no connected method, & with frequent & great gaps between them.

Accuracy of Mahawamsa
The accuracy of the Mahawamsa as historical record of ancient Sri Lanka is generally accepted by means of other numerous local & Indian edicts (for eg., King rock edict of Indian Emperor Asoka & records of Roman historian Pliny), inscriptions, historical works, literary works as well as by way of ruins, renovated historical & Buddhist monuments, ancient yet sophisticated irrigation networks, which extend the lifeline to date, consisting of intact & renovated massive rainwater reservoirs & canal systems.

Humanity of Mahawamsa
Kings who rescued the Sinhalese race, the island & Buddhism from marauding Dravidian armies (of powerful South Indian kingdoms) hell bent on plunder & pillage, murder & mayhem, sack & ruin with sword & fire were given due credit. Kings who performed deeds of piety, who made the country self sufficient in rice by way of irrigation engineering, promoted Ayurveda medicine & medical practice, build Buddhist temples, stupas & reigned with efforts to follow Dasaraja Dharma (tenfold righteous path of a king, according to Buddhism) were showered with praise. Even prior to the advent of Buddhism, Lanka had much more than its share of benevolent rulers.

Mahawamsa chronicles represent King Bhatikabhaya, the Sinhalese king who presumably was responsible for sending the embassy to Rome during Emporer Caludius' reign, as a benevolent ruler. His conduct was narrated by Pliny to stand in opposition to that of the Roman principate. The idea of Taprobane (Sri Lanka) as a utopia, which was to become commonplace among Roman writers, occurs first in Artemidorus of Ephesus (fl 104-101 B.C) (as cited Pliny N. H. V11 2.30)

In Buddha's discourse of duties of ideal ruler, it was declared: the Righteous king will give protection, shelter & ward both to the different classes of human beings, & also to birds & beasts.

Compilation of Mahawamsa

Language: compiled in Pali, the language of Theravada Buddhism
Form: Verse
Material: Ola leaves
Period: From the advent of Vijaya in 543 BC to Lanka's greatest betrayal of the nation in 1815; by the hill country (Kandyan) chieftains to the British, who were ruling the lower country plains.

4th century AD
(Island Genealogy or Dynasty). Believed to be written by two Buddhist nuns Sivala & Maharuha from India.

6th century AD
(Great Genealogy)
Classic adaptation of earlier Dipavamsa by Buddhist monk Ven. Mahanama Maha thera (an uncle of King Datusena (461-478 A.D.), who lived in the Dighasanda Senapathi Privena, which belonged to the Maha-vihara Fraternity in Anuradhapura. His works ends with Ch. 37:50

The rest of the Mahawamsa is known as Culavamsa, especially after Prof. Wilhelm Geiger, who is said to have made the division.

12h century AD
Culavamsa (Lesser Genealogy)
Main body of Mahawamsa written by Buddhist monk Ven. Dhamma-kirti Maha thera who lived during Dambadeniya period (1220-1293)

17th century AD
Additions by Ven. Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Buddha-rakshita Maha Thera who, lived during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1778) & Ven. Panditha Yagirala Sri Pragnanada, the Chief Sangha nayaka of Gonagala Sudharma-kara Pirivena.

18th century AD
Culavamsa expanded by Buddhist monk Tibbaootuwawe Sumangala Thera
Year 1815: Chapter 101 was added as a supplement by Buddhist monk Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera
Year 1877 Chapter 101 was expanded by D. A. de Silva Batuwantudawa Esq.

Rosetta Stone of Sri Lanka & translation of Mahawamsa

Year 1826: Ceylon's Rosetta stone was found; ola parchment at Mulgirigala that led to deciphering of classical Pali scripts, & the translation of the Mahawamsa.

A provincial agent of British colonial rulers named George Turnour was burrowing in a temple on top of a 200-meter rock called Mulgirigala on the south coast came across a stack of palm-leaf parchment that provided the clues that enabled him to decipher the archaic pali script of ancient Sinhalese chronicle Mahawamsa.

In an Indian perspective, it is viewed as an invaluable text for historians, since it often relates to contemporary royal dynasties in the Indian subcontinent.

Mahavamsa: official translation by Dr. Wilhem Geiger in 1912
Chulawamsa: official translation by Dr. Wilhem Geiger in 1930

The first English translation of Mahawamsa from Dr. Geiger's native German was done by Mrs. Mabel Haynes Bode. Overall, the chronicle has over 200,000 words of text in about 960 pages. Dr.Geiger called the first part (Chapters 1-37) the Mahavamsa, the second part (Chapters 38-79) the Culavamsa 1 & the third & final part (Chapters 80-101) the Culavamsa 2.

Other ancient chronicles of Sri Lanka

Attana-galu Vihara Vamsa
The Dhatuvamsa
The Elu-Attangaluvamsa
The Elu-Bidhivamsa
The Maha Bodhivamsa
The Thupavamsa
The Daladavamsa
The Viharavamsa


  • Codrington, H. W.: A Short History of Ceylon, New Delhi 1994 (Reprint. Asian Educational Services)

  • De Silva, Chandra Richard: Sri Lanka - A History, New Delhi 1987 (2nd, revised ed. 1997)

  • De Silva, K. M.: A History of Sri Lanka. New Delhi, Penguin, xvii, p. 782, 2005.

  • Johnson, B. L. C., and M. Le M. Scrivenor.: Sri Lanka Land, People and Economy, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd, London, 1981.

  • Knox, Robert: An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon in the East Indies, New Delhi 2004 (Reprint. Asian Educational Services)

  • Mendis, G.C.: Ceylon Today and Yesterday, Colombo 1957 (3rd edition 1995)

  • Smith, Vincent A.: The Oxford History of India, Oxford 1958 (4th edition 1981)

  • Williams, Harry: Ceylon Pearl of the East, Robert Hale Limited, London, Great Britain, 1950.

The glory of the Sinhalese of Ancient Lanka

Sinhalese are an endangered nation.

"When the Guide of the World, having accomplished the salvation of the whole world and having reached the utmost stage of blissful rest, was lying on the bed of his nibbana; in the midst of the great assembly of gods, he, the great sage, the greatest of those who have speech, spoke to Sakka' who stood there near him: "Vijaya, son of king Sihabahu, is come to Lanka from the country of Lala, together with seven hundred followers. In Lanka, O lord of gods, will my religion be established, therefore carefully protect him with his followers and Lanka. When the lord of gods heard the words of the Buddha he from respect handed over the guardianship of Lanka to the god who is in colour like the lotus."

History: 2550 years of unbroken recorded history beginning from 543 BC
Ancient kingdoms: Anuradhapura (437 BC-845 AD), Polonnaruwa (846 AD-1302 AD) (entire cities are UNESCO World Heritage Sites)
Ancient citadels: The Lion Rock citadel (Sigiriya) (479-496 AD) (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Medieval Kingdoms: Kandy the Royal City (1469-1815 AD) (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Invaders: Dravidians from South India (Intermittent invasions 161 BC-1236 AD), Portuguese (1505- 1655), Dutch (1656-1795), British (1796-1814)
Colonialist ruler: the British (1815-1948)

Cultural triangle: Mihintale, The Lion Rock citadel (Sigiriya) (WHS), Golden Dambulla Rock Temple (WHS), Anuradhapura (WHS), Polonnaruwa (WHS), Kandy the Royal City (WHS). Since five centuries prior to the birth of Christ, Lanka, Taprobane as Ptolemy called it, has been a throbbing isle of vitality and a well-ordered civilization of advanced network of irrigation engineering, rainwater management, hydraulic achievements & river basin management which made it the Granary of the Orient with trade relationship with the Roman Empire.

Cities, castles, palaces, fortresses, tens of thousands of rain water reservoirs, parks, temples, monasteries, monuments of art bear testimony to the character, imagination, culture, philosophy, faith & nature of the people of the Resplendent Isle. The vestiges of this ancient civilization, which are abundantly extant today, substantiate the ancient history recorded in the ancient chronicle of Lanka, Mahawamsa.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kandyan Era

After the death of King Parakramabahu the vi, Kandyans asserted their independence from Kotte.Portuguese arrived in the early 16th centaury, signifying the arrival of the Europeans.

They established a trading settlement in Colombo. By the year 1600, they converted some of the Sinhala royalty to Catholicism, and had a major control over the southwest coastal region.

By then Senarath (1604-1635), had established the kingdom of Kandy. His relationship with the Portuguese deteriorated in 1617 & his son Rajasinghe II also opposed the Portuguese, forming an alliance with the Dutch.

The Dutch alliance also broke down & they captured the eastern ports of the Kandyans.

The Dutch captured the forts, Colombo, Galle & Negombo. By then they had most of the regions of Sri Lanka under their rule. But Kandy maintained their independents.

The first British conquest took place during 1795-1796. They drove the Dutch out of the country & seized all the major ports. The Kandians grip of their own empire were weakening. They managed to beat back the first resistance by the British in 1803.

But eventually the British captured the hill country in 1815. The last of the Sri Lankan Kings were captured & in 1816 he was sent to be imprisoned in Wellor, India.

Famous Kings of Kandyan Era

Sena Sammatha Vickramabahu
Karaliyade Bandara
Vimaladarma Sooriya I
Rahasinghe II
Vimaladarma SooriyaII
Parakram Narendra
Sri Vijaya Rajasinghe
Rajadi Rajasinghe
Sri Virama Rajasinghe

Sri Lanka remained in a instable situation during the 14th & the 15th centauries

Sri Lanka remained in a instable situation during the 14th & the 15th centauries. King Parakramabahu vi (1415-1467), the last Sinhalese King managed to reestablish rule over the island. His power base was in Kotte.

In the later stages of his rule, Gampola was challenged and he appointed a prince of Gampola royal house as its administrator.

After the death of Parakramabahu, the island again plunged in to divisive struggle. Jaffna declared itself an independent Tamil kingdom under Pararajasekaram. (1497-1579)

The Dutch came to Sri Lanka in 1505, during the times of King Parakramabahu IX. The King made a pact with the Dutch as they were a powerful army than of the King's. The King grant permission to Dutch to build a small fortress in Colombo. The Dutch began it's missionary service in Sri Lanka and many some of the citizens were converted in to Catholicism.

Famous Kings of Kotte Era

Parakkramabahu VI
Jayaweera Parakkramabahu
Buwanekabahu VI
Panditha Parakkramabahu
Weera Parakkramabahu
Dharma Parakkramabahu
Vijayabahu VI
Buwanekabahu VII
Don Juwan Dharmapala

Gampola Era

Gampola was made as the capital city of the Island by the King Buwanekabahu the fourth, who ruled for 4 years in mid fourteenth century. The last king of Gampola was King Buwanekabahu the fifth. He ruled the Island for 29 years. A separate city was build in Kotte during this time by a noble known as Alagakkonara.

Among the remnants of Gampola era, the most famous temples are Lankathilaka, Gadaladeniya and Ambekka Dewalaya. The ancient stone scripts (Shila Lekhana) of Lankathilaka temple helps to reveal a considerable amount of vital information regarding the Gampola era. The statue of Buddha of the temple indicates style of south Indian arts. The Ambekka Dewalaya possess a large collection of wood carvings, where no other temple in Sri Lanka owns such a collection.

Kurunagala - 1293 - 1341

Kurunagala - 1293 - 1341

Kurunagala - 1293 - 1341

Kurunagala was a royal capital starting from Buvenekabhahu II (1293-1302). This was about half of century which is now clarified by ruins. among these ruins there are parts of temple of tooth relic. One of the caves discovered by modern archeologists, the cave hermitage of Arankele, indicates that ancient times in Kurunegala, in addition to buddhist monks there has been forest dwelling (called Thapowana) hermitages called Brahmi. In the area the inscriptions of ancient brahmi donatives has been found. In the Ridigama Vihara, a temple near to the cave hermitage of Arankele, there had been a silver orc which belongs to the time of King Dutugemunu.

In the temple a reclining Buddha statue is seated, which belongs to the 18 century. The temple is attracted by a door frame with ivory carvings and alters tilled with Dutch tiles and an artificial lake under the shadow of the hill

Yapahuwa Era

Yapahuwa was considered as strategically important point since the Polonnaruwa era. Prince Buwanekabahu, the son of great Parakramabahu who ruled in Dabadeniya, was stationed at Yapahuwa to protect the kingdom against enemy attacks.

When the Dabadeniya kingdom fall after the King Wijayabahu the 4th, The throne was taken by Prince Buwanekabahu, who ruled the kingdom from Yapahuwa. The sacred tooth Relic was brought from Dambadeniya to Yapahuwa and kept in the specially built palace. The ruins of this temple can be seen today and is considered one of the best archeologically valuable sites on the Island.

Polonnaruwa Era

Polonnaruwa Era

Polonnaruwa Era

Polonnaruwa Era existed between AC 1065- 1120. The governing period of this time was about 186 years and 19 rulers had sat on the throne in that period. During the final period in the Anuradhapura era, the cholas shifted the political power to Polonnaruwa, which was situated in the eastern side of the dry zone. The main reason was security, as it was regarded as a strategic location to guard against an invasion from Ruhuna, the refuge of the Sinhalese liberation force.

Still the Cholas were unsuccessful in defending themselves against Vijayabahu�s offensive riot against Polonnaruwa. They Surrendered in 1070 and left the island.

Polonnaruwa had its own fabulous Buddhist architecture and irrigational network that had been built over the centauries by earlier sinhala rulers. (Ex- Minneria Tanks)
The First Sinhalese king to rule in this period was King Wijayabahu who ruled for 55 years after he defeated the cholas.(AC 1065-1120). He restoered Buddhism to its former glory and was also responsible for economic regeneration.

The Next famous King to take over from Vijayabahu is King Parakramabahu (AC 1164-1197) He unified the country under one rule and built a remarkable series of irrigation work including the massive Parakrama Samudraya.

Nissanka Malla was also a king to take notice of, because he also stabilized Sri Lanka during his period. But his death brought instability & a pirate named Magha, who came from south India conquered Polonnaruwa & executed many years of ruthless control over the island.

Famous Kings of Polonnaruwa Era

Agbo VII
Vijayabahu I
Vickramabahu I
Parakramabahu I
Vijayabahu II
Nissanka malla
(A.C.1187 -1187 6th day)
Veerabahu I
Vickramabahu II
(A.C.1196-1196 1 day)
Qeen Lilawathi
Kalinga Maga

Anuradhapura Era

Anuradhapura Kingdom was built by King Pandukabhya, son of Princess Unmada chithtra. The city was the first of it's kind with well designed sanitary system, Gardens, Irrigation and Water supply systems, Temples, cemeteries and burial grounds, etc. The city was then became the capital city of Sri Lanka and flourished under many subsequent Kings ruled for centuries.

Anuradhapura Kingdom was highly vulnerable to invasions from South India and suffered usurp of throne several times, by invading Kings from south India. Singhalese Kings have managed to defeat the invaders after reorganizing the troops, although the invading kings ruled in the mean time. One such historic battle held Between King Dutugamunu and South Indian King, Elara. In that, King Elara was defeated and King Dutugamunu ruled the country in single sovereignty.

The Anuradhapura Kingdom was under constant threat from south Indian kingdoms. The King Mahinda V ascended to throne in 982 A.C, and was the last Sinhalese king to rule the country from Glorious city. At this time the South Indian realm Chola, became very powerful under the Great Rajaraja (985- 1018 A.C) and conquered Sri Lanka. The King Mahinda was captured and imprisoned in South India.

The South Indians ruled the country for next 75 years. They shifted the Capital city to Polonnaruwa due to strategic reasons after considering the vulnerably for attacks from both native Sinhalese people and other south Indian Kingdoms.

Famous Kings of Anuradhapura Era

Walagamba(first time)
(B.C.103 3 months)

Sri Lanka Kings and Rulers

King Ravana 2554 to 2517 BC
Vijaya 543 BC Upathissa 505 BC
Panduwasdeva 504 BC Abhaya 474 BC
Pandukhabaya 437 BC Mutaseeva 367 BC
Devanam Piyathissa 307 BC Uththiya 267 BC

257 BC Sooratissa 247 BC
Sena & Guthtika 237 BC Asela 215 BC
Elara 205 BC Dutugemunu 161 BC
Saddhatissa 137 BC Tullaththana 119 BC
Langitissa 119 BC Kallatanagha 109 BC

Walagambha (First Time)
103 BC Poolahaththa 103 BC
Bhabhiya 100 BC Panaya Mara 98 BC
Piliya Mara 91 BC Datiya 90 BC
Walagambha (Second Time) 89 BC Mahasilu Mahatissa 76 BC
Choranaga 62 BC Tissa-Kudatissa 50 BC
Queen Anula 47 BC Kutakanna Tissa 42 BC
Bathiya,Bathika Abeya Bathiya Tissa 20 BC Maha Daatiya Maha Nagha 09 AD
Amanda Gamini 21 AD Kanirajanu Tissa 30 AD
Choolabeya 33 AD Seevali Queen 35 AD
Ilanagha 35 AD Chandamukasiva 44 AD
Yasalalaka Tissa 52 AD Sobaraja 60 AD
Wasabha 66 AD Wankanasikatissa 110 AD
Gajaba 113 AD Bathiya Tissa II 141 AD
Kanittatissa 110 Ad Choolanaga 193 AD
Kunchanaga 195 AD Sirinaga 196 AD
Choharikatissa 215 Ad Abeyanagha 236 AD
Sirinagha II 244 AD Vijayakumara 246 AD
Sanghatissa 247 AD Sirisanghabodhi 251 AD

253 AD Detutissa I 266 AD
Mahasen 276 AD Sirimevan 303 AD
Detutissa II 331 AD Buddhadasa 340 AD
Upatissa I 369 AD Mahanama 410 AD
Soththisena 432 AD Wattagrahaka 432 AD
Miththasena 433 AD Pandu 434 AD
Parindha Kudaparindha
Tirithara Dhatiya
Peetaya Dathusena 459 AD
Kasyapa 477 AD Mugalan 495 AD
Kumaradasa 512 AD Keerthisena 521 AD
Seeva 521 AD Upatissa II 521 AD
Silaakala 522 AD Dhatappabhuthi 535 AD
Mugalan II 535 AD Kithsiri Mevan 555 AD
Mahanaga 573 AD Agbho I 575 AD
Agbho II 608 AD Sangatissa 618 AD
Mugalan III 618 AD Aseegrahaka 623 AD
Agbho III (First Time) 632 AD Pettatissa III 632 AD
Agbho III (Second Time) 632 AD DathasivaI 648 AD
Kasyapa II 650 AD Dappoola I 659 AD

659 AD Agbho IV 667 AD
Dattha 683 AD Hatthadatha 684 AD
Manavamma 684 AD Agbho V 719 AD
Kasyapa III 725 AD Mahinda I 731 AD
Agbho VI 733 AD Agbho VII 772 AD
Mihidhu II 778 AD Dappoola II 797 AD
Mihidhu III 802 AD Agbho VIII 805 AD
Dappoola III 816 AD Agmho IX 831 AD

Sena I
833 AD Sena II 853 AD
Udaya II 887 AD Kasyapa IV 898 AD
Kasyapa V 915 AD Dappoola IV 924 AD
Dappoola V 924 AD Udaya II 935 AD
Sena III 938 AD Udaya III 946 AD
Sena IV 952 AD Mihidhu IV 955 AD
Sena V 972 AD Mihidhu V 982 AD
Vijayabahu I 1055 AD Jayabahu I 1110 AD
Vikramabahu 1110 AD Gajaba II 1131 AD
Maha Parakramabahu I 1153 AD Vijayabahu II 1186 AD
Mihindu IV 1187 AD Nissankamalla 1187 AD
Veerabahu 1196 AD Vikramabahu II 1196 AD
Chodaganga 1196 AD Queen Leelavathi 1197 AD
Sahasamalla 1200 AD Queen Kalyanavathi 1202 AD
Dharmashoka 1210 AD Anikanga 1210 AD
Lokeshvara 1211 AD Parakramapandu 1212 AD

Kalinga Maga
1215 AD Prakramabahu III 1287 AD
Vijayabahu III 1220 AD
Parakramabahu II 1234 AD
Vijayabahu IV 1267 AD
Buvanekabahu I (Yapahuva) 1270 AD
Prakramabahu III (P'naruva) 1287 AD Buvanekabahu II 1293 AD
Pandita Parakramabahu IV 1302 AD Buvanekabahu III
Vijayabahu V
Pandita Parakramabahu IV 1302 AD Buvanekabahu IV 1341 AD
Parakramabahu V 1344 AD Buvanekabahu III
Vikramabahu III 1357 AD Buvanekabahu V 1374 AD
Veerabahu II 1392 AD Veera Alakesavara 1397 AD
Parakramabahu V 1412 AD Jayabahu II 1467 AD
Bvanekabahu VI 1472 AD Parakrambahu VII 1480 AD
Veera Parakramabahu VIII 1484 AD Dharma Parakramabahu IX 1508 AD
Vijayabahu VII 1510 AD Buvanekabahu VII 1522 AD
Dharmapala 1551 AD Mayadunne (Sithavaka) 1521 AD
Rajasinhe I 1557 AD
Don Philip 1591 AD Vimala Dharmasooriya I 1591 AD
Senarath 1604 AD Rajasinhe II 1635 AD
Vimala Dharmasooriya II 1687 AD Narendrasinhe 1707 AD
Vijaya Rajasinhe 1739 AD Keerthi Sri Rajasinhe 1747 AD
Rajadi Rajasinhe 1782 AD Sri Vikrma Rajasinhe 1798 AD

Upathissa grama

Upathissa Grama - 505 BC - 504 (King Upatissa)

King Upatissa was the prime minister of the King Vijaya. The King Vijaya did not have any heir for the throne and sent for his younger Brother, prince Sumiththa in India.

By the time the delegates arrived in India the Prince Sumiththa had become the King, and instead he sent his younger son prince Paduwas Dev. Before prince Paduwas Dev reached Sri Lanka the King Vijaya passed away and King Upatissa ruled the kingdom for one year, until the rightful owner took the throne. The Upatissa Grama was the Capital of the kingdom.

Thammana Kingdom

Thammana Kingdom - 543 BC - 505 BC King Vijaya

Prince Vijaya is a son of King Vijeyabahu, who was a provincial King in ancient India. The Prince was expelled from the Kingdom along with 700 followers after the King couldn't put up with Prince's mischievous behavior.

The Vessels carrying the Price and his entourage harbored the Northwest cost of Sri Lanka. After defeating the local tribes with the help received from yaksha tribe princess "Kuweni" the prince establishes a Kingdom in Thammana, and ruled the country for 38 years. Kuweni was expelled by King lately and married to an Indian princess after his coronation.

It's Believed that Kuweni had two children named Deegahatta and Visala from Kiong Vijaya. They supposed to have gone to the Jungle after Kuweni was Killed by her relatives for betraying them.

The Veddhas believe that they are decedents of Deegahatta and Visala the Children of King Vijeya and Princess Kuweni.

According to the mahavansa, yakkhas confined t...

According to the mahavansa, yakkhas confined to the center of the Island and Naga dominated the northern and western parts in sixth century B.C. Therefore North of the Island was called Nagadipa. Mr.Kanagasabai,author of "Tamils 1800 Years Ago', mentioned that Yakkhas were the acient 'Yuh chi' a yellow race that emigrated from central of Asia into India through the Himalayan and eventually spread over the whole of bengal and ultimately move to Ceylon.

The Fa hien, monk had told there were no human inhabitations, but was occupied by Nagas and spirits, with which the merchants of various countries carried on a trade. The spirits never showed themselves ,they simply set forth their precious commodities ,with indications of the price attached to them, while merchants made their purchases according to the price.

Nagas was so called because they were serpent-worshippers. Archaeologist conjectured that the name was derived from the fact that their head covering was in the shape of the hood of a hydra-headed cobra.

Aryan emigrated to Ceylon and spread their power across the country. Eventually Naga and Yakksha population was reduced because of Aryans.

Kings in Naga Tribe
Mahallaka Naga
(135 A.D)
Bhatika Tissa
(141 A.D)
Kanittha Tissa
(165 A.D)
Mahallaka Naga
(135 A.D)
Kudda Naga
(195 A.D)
Siri Naga I
(196 A.D)
Woharaka Tissa
(215 A.D)
Abhaya Naga
(237 A.D)
Siri Naga II
(2245 A.D)
(247 A.D)

Sri Lanka pre-History

Sri Lanka pre-History

Sri Lanka History is incident full. Being an important trade port and oasis of Nature for sea farers of India, East Asia, Europe and Arabia of the ancient times. Sri Lanka has a fascinating documented history over 2500 years of Civilization

Sri Lanka- Pre Historic Times

Sri Lanka has a recorded history since 543 B.C. Although records are not found of civilizations before 543 B.C., historical facts reveal that a civilization existed even long before from Rawana Times. It's believed that an Expelled prince Vijaya to be the first Aryan King of Sri Lanka. Since then many Kings Ruled Sri Lanka Till 1815.

The Homo Sapiens first appeared in Sri Lanka about 500,000 B.C. Few artifacts have been found dating back to subsequent Paleolithic culture of the second Stone age period. Stone cultures endured until about 1000 B.C. The second phase of stone age may have ended some few centuries later with the establishment of metal. The Stone working culture was known as Balandoga Culture. They first made an impression on island life about 5000 B.C and spread through out the Sri Lanka.The Balangoda Manawaya survived until about 500 B.C and faded out under the advance of early settlers from India.

List of pre Historic Caves
Beli Lena - Kitulgala
Wavul Pane - Ratnapura

Kingdom of Ruhuna

The Kingdom of Ruhuna was a Medieval era Sinhalese kingdom located in southern part of Sri Lanka. The capital was known as Magama, near modern Tissamaharama in the Southern Province. The boundries of the Kingdom of Ruhuna are Mahaveli River from North, and keleni river from North West.

Kingdom of Polonnaruwa

The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was the second major Sinhalese kingdom of Sri Lanka. It lasted from 1055 under Vijayabahu I to 1212 under the rule of Lilavati. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa came after the Anuradhapura Kingdom was invaded by Chola forces under Rajaraja I and after the Kingdom of Ruhuna, where the Sinhalese Kings ruled during Chola occupation.

Vijayabahu I (1055-1110), recaptured the whole Island, and established Polonnaruwa as the new capital. King Vijayabahu married from the Kalinga (Orissa) Royal Family a second queen, and had a son Vikramabâhu I and a daughter Ratnavali. His sister, Mitta, married a Pandya Prince who had three sons, the eldest being Manabharana. He married Ratnavali. Their son was Parākramabāhu I (1153-1186) Grandson of Vijayabahu I, Prince of Sinhala-Pandyan-Kalinga descent, son of Manabharana and Vijayabahu’s sister, Mitta. He was a very powerful king, noted for his engineering,[1] naval power, art, culture, many Sinhala inscriptions, and even a Tamil edict in Uruthota (Kayts). The Chulavamsa was written by Dharmakirthi, updating the Mahavamsa to include Parakramabahu. It was a great age since the epic Anradhapura period.

Jaffna kingdom
Jaffna kingdom and Aryacakravarti dynasty

The Jaffna kingdom, also known as Kingdom of Aryacakravarti came into existence after the invasion of Magha, who is said to have been from Kalinga, in South India. It eventually became a tribute paying feudatory of the Pandyan Empire in modern South India in 1250, but later become independent with the fragmentation of the Pandyan control. For a brief period, in the early to middle fourteenth century, it was an ascendant power in the island of Sri Lanka when all regional kingdoms accepted subordination. However, the kingdom was eventually overpowered by the rival Kotte Kingdom, around 1450.

It was freed of Kotte control in 1467; its subsequent rulers directed their energies towards consolidating its economic potential by maximising revenue from pearls and elephant exports and land revenue. It was less feudal than most of other regional kingdoms in the island of Sri Lanka of the same period. During this period, important local Tamil literature was produced and Hindu temples were built including an academy for language advancement.

The arrival of the Portuguese colonial power to the island of Sri Lanka in 1505, and its strategic location in the Palk Strait connecting all interior Sinhalese kingdoms to South India, created political problems. Many of its kings confronted and ultimately made peace with the Portuguese colonials. In 1617, Cankili II, an usurper to the throne, confronted the Portuguese but was defeated, thus bringing the kingdom’s independent existence to an end in 1619.

Kingdom of Dambadeniya
Dambadeniya is an ancient capital of Sri Lanka. Four kings ruled from here, Vijayabâhu III (1220-1236), Parâkkamabâhu II (1236-1270), Vijayabâhu IV (1270-1272), Bhuvanaikabâhu I(1272-1283).

The first king to choose Dambadeniya as his capital was Vijayabâhu III. He was able to bring about the unity among the sangha that had fled in various directions due to the hostile activities of the invader Kalinga magha & succeeded in holding a Buddhist convention in 1226 to bring about peace among the Buddhist clergy. king Parâkkamabâhu II inherited the throne from king Vijayabâhu. He is considered a genius who was a great poet & prolific writer. Among the books he wrote are Kausilumina, which is considered a great piece of literature. Unifying the three kingdoms that existed within Sri Lanka at that point of time is regarded as greatest achievement.

King Bosath Vijayabâhu, as the eldest son of king Parâkkamabâhu II, was crowned in 1270. He was well known for his modest behaviour & for his religious activities. He was killed in the second year of his reign by a minister called Miththa.

After the demise of his elder brother Vijayabâhu, king Bhuvanaikabâhu I, as the next in line to the throne, shifted the capital to Yapahuwa for reasons of security. He followed his father's footsteps as a writer & continued with the religious activities started by his brother Vijayabâhu.

Anuradhapura Kingdom

Anuradhapura Kingdom

In the early ages of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Sinhalese economic was based on farming and made their early settlements mainly near the rivers of the east, north central, and north east areas, which supplied the water for farming for the whole year. The king was the ruler of country, the law, the Army and the protector of faith. Devanampiya Tissa (250-210 BC), a Sinhalese King of the Mauriya clan. His links with Emperor Asoka led to the introduction of Buddhism by Mahinda (son of Asoka) in 247? BC. Sangamitta, (sister of Mahinda) brought a Bodhi sapling via Jambukola (Sambiliturei). This king's reign was crucial to Theravada Buddhism, and for Sri Lanka.

Elara (205-161 BC), a Tamil King who ruled "Pihiti Rata", i.e., Sri Lanka north of the mahaweli, after killing King Asela. During Elara's time, Kelani Tissa was a sub-king of Maya Rata (south-west) and Kavan Tissa was a regional sub-king of Ruhuna (south-east). Kavan Tissa built Tissa Maha Vihara, Dighavapi Tank and many shrines in Seruvila. Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) – Eldest son of King Kavan Tissa, who was a young man 25 years of age, defeated the South Indian Tamil Invader Elara (over 64 years of age) in single combat, described in the Mahavamsa. Dutugemunu is depicted as a Sinhala "Asoka". The Ruwanwelisaya, built by this king is a dagaba of pyramid-like proportions. It was an engineering marvel.

Pulahatta (or Pulahatha) deposed by Bahiya, was deposed by Panaya Mara, deposed by Pilaya Mara, murdered by Dathiya 88 BC – deposed by Valagambahu, ending Tamil rule. Valagambahu I (89-77) BC – restored the Dutugamunu dynasty. The Mahavihara Theravada - Abhayagiri (pro-Mahayana) doctrinal disputes arose at this time. The Tripitaka was written in Pali at Aluvihara, Matale. Chora Naga (Mahanaga) (63-51) BC; poisoned by his consort Anula. Queen Anula (48-44 BC) – Widow of Chora Naga and Kuda Tissa, was the first Queen of Lanka. She had many lovers who were poisoned by her. She was finally killed by: Kuttakanna Tissa. Vasabha (67-111 AD) – Vallipuram gold plate; he fortified Anuradhapura and built eleven tanks; many edicts. Gajabahu I (114-136) – invaded the Chola kingdom and brought back captives. He recovered the tooth relic of the Buddha.

Mahasena (274-301) – The Theravada (Maha Vihara) was persecuted and Mahayana surfaced. Later the King returned to the Maha Vihara. Pandu (429) - first of seven Pandiyan rulers, ending with Pithya, 455; Dhatusena (459-477), his uncle, Mahanama wrote the Mahavamsa, he built "Kalaweva". His son Kashyapa (477-495), built the famous sigiriya rock palace. Some 700 rock graffiti give a glimpse of ancient Sinhala.

Ancient Sri Lanka

The Pali chronicles, the Dipavansa, Mahavansa, Thupavansa and the Chulavansa as well as a large collection of stone inscriptions, the Indian Epigraphical records, the Burmese versions of the chronicles etc., provide an exceptional record for the history of Sri Lanka from about the 6th century B.C.
The Mahavansa, written around 400 AD by the monk Nagasena, using the Deepavamsa, the Attakatha and other written sources available to him, correlates well with Indian histories of the period. Indeed Emperor Asoka's reign is recorded in the Mahavansa. The Mahavansa account of the period prior to Asoka's coronation, (218 years after the Buddha's death) seems to be part legend. History proper begins with the arrival of Vijaya and his 700 followers. Vijaya, is a Kalinga(ancient Orissa) prince, the eldest son of King Sinhabahu ("Man with Lion arms") and his sister Queen Sinhasivali. Both these Sinhala leaders were born of a mythical union between a lion and a human princess. The Mahavansa claims that Vijaya landed on the same day as the death of the Buddha (See Geiger's preface to Mahavansa). The story of Vijaya and Kuveni (the local reigning queen) is reminiscent of Greek legend, and may have a common source in ancient Proto-Indo-European folk tales.

According to the Mahavansa, Vijaya landed on Sri Lanka near Mahathitha (Manthota or Mannar, and named the Island "Thambaparni" ('copper-colored palms). This name is attested in Ptolemy's map of the ancient world.

Tamirabharani is the old name for the second longest river in Sri Lanka (known as Malwatu Oya in Sinhala and Aruvi Aru in Tamil). This river was a main supply route connecting the capital, Anuradhapura to Mahathitha (Mannar). The waterway was used by Greek and by Chinese ships travelling the southern Silk Route.

Mahathitha was an ancient port linking Sri Lanka to India and the Persian gulf,.

The present day Sihalese (and many modern Tamils) are a mixture of the indegenous people and of other peoples who came to the island from various parts of India. The Sinhalese recognize the Vijayan Indo-Aryan culture and Buddism (already in existence prior to the arrival of Vijaya), as distinct from other groups in neighbouring south India.

Ancient Sri Lanka

Ancient Sri Lanka

The Pali chronicles, the Dipavansa, Mahavansa, Thupavansa and the Chulavansa as well as a large collection of stone inscriptions, the Indian Epigraphical records, the Burmese versions of the chronicles etc., provide an exceptional record for the history of Sri Lanka from about the 6th century B.C.
The Mahavansa, written around 400 AD by the monk Nagasena, using the Deepavamsa, the Attakatha and other written sources available to him, correlates well with Indian histories of the period. Indeed Emperor Asoka's reign is recorded in the Mahavansa. The Mahavansa account of the period prior to Asoka's coronation, (218 years after the Buddha's death) seems to be part legend. History proper begins with the arrival of Vijaya and his 700 followers. Vijaya, is a Kalinga(ancient Orissa) prince, the eldest son of King Sinhabahu ("Man with Lion arms") and his sister Queen Sinhasivali. Both these Sinhala leaders were born of a mythical union between a lion and a human princess. The Mahavansa claims that Vijaya landed on the same day as the death of the Buddha (See Geiger's preface to Mahavansa). The story of Vijaya and Kuveni (the local reigning queen) is reminiscent of Greek legend, and may have a common source in ancient Proto-Indo-European folk tales.

According to the Mahavansa, Vijaya landed on Sri Lanka near Mahathitha (Manthota or Mannar, and named the Island "Thambaparni" ('copper-colored palms). This name is attested in Ptolemy's map of the ancient world.

Tamirabharani is the old name for the second longest river in Sri Lanka (known as Malwatu Oya in Sinhala and Aruvi Aru in Tamil). This river was a main supply route connecting the capital, Anuradhapura to Mahathitha (Mannar). The waterway was used by Greek and by Chinese ships travelling the southern Silk Route.

Mahathitha was an ancient port linking Sri Lanka to India and the Persian gulf,.

The present day Sihalese (and many modern Tamils) are a mixture of the indegenous people and of other peoples who came to the island from various parts of India. The Sinhalese recognize the Vijayan Indo-Aryan culture and Buddism (already in existence prior to the arrival of Vijaya), as distinct from other groups in neighbouring south India.

Prehistoric Sri Lanka

Prehistoric Sri Lanka

The earliest archaeological evidence of human colonization in Sri Lanka appears at the site of Balangoda. These Balangoda people arrived on the island about 34,000 years ago and are identified as Mesolithic hunter gatherers who lived in caves. Several of these caves including the well known Batadombalena and the Fa-Hien Rock cave) have yielded many artifacts from these people, currently the first known inhabitants of the island.

The Sandakelum people probably created Horton Plains, in the central hills, by burning the trees in order to catch game. However, the discovery of oats and barley on the plains at about 15,000 BC suggests that agriculture had already developed at this eary date.

Several minute granite tools, (about 4 centimetres in length), earthenware, remnants of charred timber, and clay burial pots date to the Mesolithic stone age. Human remains dating to 6000 BC have been discovered during recent excavations around a cave at Varana Raja Maha vihara and in Kalatuwawa area.

Cinnamon, which is native to Sri Lanka, has been found in Ancient Egypt as early as 1500 BC, suggesting early trade between Egypt and the island's inhabitants. It is possible that Biblical Tarshish was located on the island. (James Emerson Tennent identified Sri Lanka with Galle).

Archaeological evidence for the beginnings of the Iron age in Sri Lanka is found at Anuradhapura, where a large city–settlement was founded before 900 BC. The settlement was about 15 hectares in 900 BC, but by 700 BC it had expanded to 50 hectares.[3] A similar site from the same period has also been discovered near Aligala in Sigiriya.

The hunter-gatherer people known as the Wanniyala-Aetto or Veddas, (who still live in the central, Uva and north-eastern parts of the island), are probably direct descendants of the first inhabitants (Balangoda man). They may have migrated to the island from the mainland around the time humans spread from Africa to the Indian subcontinent.

Around 500 BC, Sri Lankans (archaeological phase?, Cultural/Linguistic Identity?) developed a unique hydraulic civilization. Achievements include the construction of the largest reservoirs and dams of the ancient world as well as enormous pyramid-like Stupa (Dagoba) architecture. This phase of Sri Lankan culture was profoundly influenced by early Buddhism.

Around 400 BC, Indo-Aryan peoples emigrated from India, mixed with the Hela people and later Buddhism was established to create the Sinhalese culture in Sri Lanka. Buddhist scriptures note three visits by the Buddha to the island to see the Naga Kings, who are said to be snakes that can take the form of human at will. The kings are though to be symbolic and not based on historical fact.

More than 70% of the current Sinhalese populace identify themselves as Buddhist. By contrast most of the current Tamil populace identify themselves as Hindu.

The earliest surviving chronicles from the island, the Dipavamsa and the Mahavamsa, say that tribes of Yakkhas (demon worshippers), Nagas (cobra worshippers) and devas (god worshippers) inhabited the island prior to the migration of Vijaya.

Pottery has been found at Anuradhapura, bearing Brahmi script and non-Brahmi writing, dating back to 600 BC – one of the oldest examples of the script.

History of Sri Lanka

History of Sri Lanka

The chronicle records and archaeological discoveries of human beings and their events happened in area known as Sri Lanka is called the History of Sri Lanka. The number of archaeological evidences and chronicles written by Sri Lankans and non-Sri Lankans, exploring the history of more than 10,000 years.

The archaeological discovery of the Balangoda Man providing the evidences of a 30,000 years past civilization and with the famous chronicles of Sri Lanka, the Mahawansa, the Dipavamsa, the Culavamsa and the Rajaveliya which has the recorded Sri Lankan history from the beginnings of the Sinhalese monarchy in the 6th century BC to the arrival of European Colonialists in the sixteenth century, up until the disestablishment of the monarchy in 1815. There are some historical records about the country aslo included in the famous Indian chronicles of sage Valmiki's Ramayana, Mahabharata and the ancient books of Gautama Buddha's teachings.

The period after sixteenth century, some coastal areas of the country was ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. After the year 1815 the entire nation was ruled by the British Colonialists until the political independence granted in 1948 and becomes a sovereign state after 1972. The Sri Lankan people's armed uprisings happened against the British colonial rule in 1818 Uva Rebellion and in 1848 Matale Rebellion.

The new constitution was introduced in 1978 the Executive President as the head of state, was happened after the armed youth uprising in 1971 known as 1971 April Rebellion. The Sri Lankan Civil War started in 1983 and again another armed youth uprising happened in 1987-89 period and the 26 year civil war ended in year 2009.

The significant cultural changes happened after introducing the Buddhism in 3rd century BC by Arhath Mahinda (was the son of Indian emperor Ashoka the Great), after sixteenth century arrival of European Colonialists and after 1977 the new open economic policies also changed the cultural values in the country.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Devotees worship demon king Ravana in Allahabad India

Devotees worship demon king Ravana in Allahabad India

ALLAHABAD - Devotees here offered prayers and took out a procession to honour Ravana, the mythological demon-king.“Ravana was not a villain. He was a very intelligent man and very good scientist as well. There was no one equal to him during his time. So, in order to show respect towards his intellect and valour, we worship him here,” said Hemendra Nath, a resident.Ravana’s devotees don’t burn his effigies but offer prayers and worship him as God.The event was organised before the advent of the ten-day annual festival of ‘Dussehra’ that coincides with the culmination of Durga Puja.‘Dussehra’ marks the triumph of good over evil.According to Hindu mythology, on this day, Lord Rama beheaded Ravana, the hydra with ten heads.Effigies of Ravana’s brother Kumbhakarna and his son Meghnath are also burnt on the occasion.Legend has it that Lord Rama’s consort Sita was abducted by Ravana. Rama went in war with Ravana to release his wife from captivity. Rama’s victory over Ravana is described as the triumph of good over evil and is celebrated every year as ‘Dussehra’.‘Dussehra’ is also interpreted as “Dasa-Hara”, which means the cutting of the ten heads of Ravana.On this day, people resolve to cut ten heads-passion, pride, anger, greed, infatuation, lust, hatred, Jealousy, selfishness and crookedness. (ANI)


Ravana was the king of Lanka. His prosperity could be judged by the fact that his Lanka � capital city � was built in gold. Everyone had enough of food and shelter. Except for his brother Vibhishana, and to some extent his (Ravana's) wife Mandodari, rest of the people in his kingdom followed Ravana's path of material enjoyment as the goal in life. He had a huge army to defend his kingdom which was rarely threatened and nobody even imagined in dream that it would be. Moreover, the location of his capital was such that outsiders could not venture to reach there, as a sprawling sea separated it from the far off land.Ravana was the mightiest king on the earth at his time. He was very learned and accomplished person. He was great devotee of Lord Shiva, and had obtained the boon that he would not be killed by anyone other than the Lord Himself! He was well versed in Vedas, and other scriptures. He used to worship Lord Shiva daily. His bravery, courage, and expertise in use of all types of instruments of war like bow and arrow, mace, sword, so on was acknowledged by everyone.Moreover, he was gifted with special supernatural powers known as Mayawi-Shakti. With its help he could fly in the air, become invisible, could throw rain, fire, or thousands of arrows in a war encounter. He had many other powers granted to him by Brahma God as well. Then, still, why call him wicked or evil? This was because he was selfish! He was interested in using all these powers for himself only, and that too to gratify his senses alone. He did not believe that all spiritual disciplines and worship are meant to seek refuge at the Holy Feet of his Chosen Ideal, but wanted to make use of all such powers to rule over the world as unconquerable King.Thus he was full of lust, pride, anger, covetousness, infatuation, hatred, and jealousy. These tendencies, according to our scriptures, cause downfall of a man and hence such persons are called Demons. They are engrossed in a life style where they are blind to the values of compassion, kindness, and service. They practice unrighteousness, and do not allow the devotees or sadhakas to pursue their spiritual practices to seek God (or Self or Truth, or Atman or Brahman). Religion takes a downhill course.And hence God incarnates to destroy them to establish means and ways of righteousness - Rama as Avatara.As Shurpanakha, his sister, narrated the insulting treatment meted out to her by the two brothers Rama and Laxmana, the anger rose high in the heart and head of Ravana. Fuel was added to fire when Ravana heard that Sita, wife of Rama, laughed at the cutting of the ears and nose of his sister. He decided to avenge this insult. Pacifying her sister, he decided to reach the Dandakaranya to kidnap Sita as a way of revenge! Ravana Plans Abduction of Sita.The Story of Golden Deer Ravana made all the arrangements to start for his mission. Meanwhile, his minister, Marich, offered his help to accomplish his mission. Near the Panchavati, Marich changed himself in the form of a beautiful golden deer! Jumping here and there, it caught sight of Sita. Rama and Laxmana were also present in the hut. Pleadingly, Sita said, "O honorable Rama, look what a wonderful golden deer is roaming around our hut. I am very much desirous of having his skin for my use. Will you not bring it for me?"Rama tried to dissuade her from such disturbing thought, but Sita did not desist. She insisted to have the skin of golden deer. Ultimately Rama acceded to her request. Calling attention of brother Laxmana, Rama said, "O brother, I am going after the deer to fetch its skin. Be vigilant and protect Sita in case of any difficulty or predicament. I do not know why I have this premonition of calamity befalling us."Laxmana promised to look after Sita. As soon as the deer - demon Marich - got the hint of Rama coming after him, he fled with the speed unheard of. It went far away. Rama ran after the deer in great speed but could not shoot his arrow as the distance between the two was always great. At last Rama shot his arrow which mortally wounded the deer. On falling to the ground, deer Marich shouted, mimicking the voice of Rama,"O brother Laxmana, rush to help me, I am wounded." This he repeated thrice in a very loud voice that would reach the ears of Sita and Laxmana. On hearing the cry of her husband, Sita asked Laxmana to rush to help Rama.



Ravana was made invulnerable against gods and demons, but he was doomed to diethrough a woman. He was also enabled to assume any form he pleased. All Rakshasas are malignant and terrible, but Ravana as their chief attained the utmost degree of wickedness, and was a very incarnation of evil.He is described in the Ramayana as having "ten heads (hence his names Dasanana, Dasakantha, and Panktigriva), twenty arms, and copper-coloured eyes, and bright teeth like the young moon. His form was as a thick cloud or a mountain, or the god of death with open mouth. He had all the marks of royalty, but his body bore the impress of wounds inflicted by all the divine arms in his warfare with the gods. It was scarred by the thunderbolt of Indra, by the tusks of Indra's elephant Airavata, and by the discus of Vishnu.His strength was so great that he could agitate the seas and split the tops of mountains. He was a breaker of all laws and a ravisher of other men's wives. Tall as a mountain peak, he stopped with his arms the sun and moon in their course, and prevented their rising." The terror he inspires is such that where he is "the sun does not give out its heat, the winds do not blow, and the oceans become motionless."His evil deeds cried aloud for vengeance, and the cry reached heaven. Vishnu declared that, as Ravana had been too proud to seek protection against men and beasts, he should fall under their attackes, so Vishnu became incarnate as Ramachandra for the express purpose of destroying Ravana, and vast numbers of monkeys and bears were created to aid in the enterprise.Rama's wars against the Rakshasas inflicted such losses upon them as greatly to incense Ravana. Burning with rage, and excited by a passion for Sita, the wife of Rama, he left his island abode, repaired to Rama's dwelling,assumed the appearance of a religious mendicant, and carried off Sita to Lanka. Ravana urged Sita to become his wife, and threatened to kill and eat her if she refused. Sita persistently resisted, and was saved from death by the interposition of one of Ravana's wives.Rama called to his assistance his allies Sugriva and Hanuman, with their hosts of monkeys and bears. They built Rama's bridge, by which they passed over into Lanka, and after many battles and wholesale slaughter Ravana was brought to bay at the city of Lanka.Rama and Ravana fought together on equal terms for a long while, victory sometimes inclining to one sometimes to the other. Rama with a sharp arrow cut off one of Ravana's heads, "but no sooner did the head fall on the ground than another sprang up in its room." Rama then took an arrow which had been made by Brahma, and discharged it at his foe. It entered his breast, came out of his back, went to the ocean, and then returnedclean to the quiver of Rama. "Ravana fell to the ground and expired,and the gods sounded celestial music in the heavens, and assembled in the sky and praised Rama as Vishnu, in that he had slain that Ravana who would otherwise have caused their destruction."Ravana, though he was chief among Rakshasas, was a Brahman on his father's side; he was well versed in Sanskrit, used the Vedic ritual, and his body was burnt with Brahmnical rites.There is a story that Ravana made each of the gods perform some menial office in his household: thus Agni was his cook, Varuna supplied water, Kuvera furnished money, Vayu swept the house, etc.The Vishnu Purana relates that Ravana, "elevated with wine, came on his tour of triumph to the city of Mahishmati, but there he was taken prisoner by King Kartavirya, and confined like a beast in a corner of his capital." The same authority states that, in another birth, Ravana was Sisupala.Ravana's chief wife was Mandodari, but he had many others, and they were burnt at his obsequies. His sons were Meghanada, also called Indrajit, Ravani, and Aksha; Trisikha or Trisiras, Devantaka, Narantaka, and Atikaya.

Popular Culture

Popular Culture

Ravana has been depicted as a cybernetic being possessing great powers in the Virgin Comics series Ramayan 3392 A.D.. In this series, Ravana is shown to be devoid of any human feeling and only embodies pure evil.In an animated television film named after the Ramayana, Ravana is a luxury-loving, arrogant emperor who kidnaps Sita (as suggested above) to punish Rama for the mutilation of Shoorpanakha. He is mostly shown as an ordinary man, albeit with pointed ears and the ability to change shape. When he is angry or combating Rama, he assumes the commonly perceived features of multiple heads and (except in the first such scene) twenty arms.Ashok K. Banker, a novelist who wrote a series of books featuring the Ramayan's basic storyline and characters, depicted Ravana as a dark lord capable of projecting himself into inanimate objects, of demonic possession, and of other feats of magic. Nearly all the legends described above are ascribed to him, but his character undergoes some significant changes throughout the series. He is at first depicted as an archvillain, but evolves gradually into a thing of smaller scale, ultimately to the point of seeming fully human despite his ten heads. When he goes to face Rama for the last time, Ravana is fully aware that he will die in this battle and seems to know the histories of all of his own previous incarnations. He is shot down dramatically and dies with elegance.Rama has also been depicted in the original(but non-canon) "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" novel, "Resurrecting Ravana" by Ray Garton. In the novel, Gile's old foe Ethan Rayne cons the granddaughter of Benson Lovecraft out of a statue of Ravana, planning to resurrect the God with the aid of the Rakshasa, lesser demons which induce close friends to argue and eventually brutally kill each other.Ravana appears in Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga as a powerful boss and is only one of dozens of references to Hindu mythology

Ravana Temples

Ravana Temples

Despite Valmiki's attempt to portray Ravana as a villain, there are several temples where he is worshipped.Ravana is considered most revered devotee of Lord Shiva. The images of Ravana are seen associated with lord Shiva at some places.There is a huge Shivalinga in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, supposedly installed by Ravana himself, with a statue of Ravana near by. Both Shivalinga and Ravana are worshiped by the fishermen community there.In Sri Lanka, a thousand years ago, King Walagamba is said to have constructed cave temples for Ravana in the Ella Valley.Thousands of Kanyakubja Brahmins of the village Ravangram of Netaran, in the Vidisha District of Madhya Pradesh, perform daily puja (worship) in the Ravan temple and offer naivedyam / bhog (a ritual of sacrifice to the Gods. Centuries ago King Shiv Shankar built a Ravana temple at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The Ravana temple is opened once in a year, on Dashehra Day, to perform puja for the welfare of Ravana.A Jain temple in Alvar, Rajasthan is called the Ravan Parsvanath Temple. The legend says that Ravana used to worship Parsvanath daily. While Ravana was on tour to Alvar he realized that he forgot to bring the image of Parsvanath. Mandodari, Ravana's wife, is said to have made an image of Parsvanath immediately. And hence the Ravan Parsvanath temple at Alvar.Ravana is said to have married Princess Mandodari at a place about 32 kilometers away from Jodhpur, which is now called Mandor. There is a mandap (altar or pavilion) where Ravana is said to have married Mandodari, and which the local people call Ravan Jee Ki Chanwari.At the altar can also be found the images of Saptamatri (Seven Mothers) flanked by Ganesha and Veera Bhadra. The Saptamatri images are said to precede the time of the Pratihara Dynasty (founded in the 6th Century AD) and are in fact reminscent of the images of seven female deities of Harappa - the oldest civilization in India. In the nearby stepwell, a stone bears a script that resembles the Harappan script.The Dave Brahmins of Mudgal Gotra, Jodhpur/Mandor who were originally from Gujarat, claim to be the descendants of Ravana. The say that since time immemorial they are performing the shraddh (death anniversary) of Ravana on Dashehra Day every year. They offer pind daan and take a bath after that ritual. They recently erected a Ravan temple in Jodhpur, where daily puja is performed.There is a theory proposed by Sinhalese nationlists that points to the southern part of Sri Lanka as the capital of Ravana, hence the name Ruhuna came to existence. "Ruhuna" is claimed to be derived from the word's Ravana Pura or Rohana Pura, despite the liguistic improbability of 'va' becoming 'ha' in Prakrit. This is probably an attempt to tie Ravana with the history of that other national hero: Duttagamini, who was a king from that region.

Ravana's family

Ravana's family

This section deals with many members of Ravana's family. Since they are hardly mentioned outside the Ramayana, not much can be said about them. They are presented here as they are in the Ramayana, which is viewed by some as being only the point of view of Rama devotees, but is the most complete account of the story that is known.

Ravana was married to Mandodari, the daughter of the celestial architect Maya. He had seven sons from his three wives:

1. Indrajit
2. Prahasta
3. Atikaya
4. Akshayakumara
5. Devantaka
6. Narantaka
7. Trishira

Ravana's paternal grandfather was Pulastya, son of Brahma. Ravana's maternal grandfather was Malyavan, who was against the war with Rama, and his maternal grandmother was Tataki. Ravana also had a maternal uncle, Maricha.

Ravana had six brothers and two sisters:

1. Kubera - the King of North direction and the Guardian of Heavenly Wealth. He was an older half-brother of Ravana: they were born to the same father by different mothers.
2. Vibhishana - A great follower of Sri Rama and one of the most important characters in the Ramayana. As a minister and brother of Ravana, he spoke the Truth without fear and advised Ravana to return Kidnapped Sita and uphold Dharma. Ravana not only rejected this sane advice, but also banished him from his kingdom. Vibhishana sought protection from Sri Rama, which was granted without hesitation. He is known as a great devotee of Sri Rama.
3. Kumbhakarna - One of the most jovial demons in Hindu history. When offered a boon by Brahma, he was tricked into asking for unending sleep! A horrified Ravana, out of brotherly love, persuaded Brahma to amend the boon. Brahma mitigated the power of the boon by making Kumbhakarna sleep for six months and being awake for rest six months of a year (in some versions, he is awake for one day out of the year). During the war with Sri Rama, Kumbhakarna was awakened from his sleep. He tried to persuade Ravana to follow Dharmic path and return Sita; seek mercy of Sri Rama. But he too failed to mend the ways of Ravana. However, he fought on the side of Ravana and was killed in the battlefield. Before dying he met Vibhishana and blessed him for following path of righteousness.
4. Khara - King of Janasthan. He protected the northern kingdom of Lanka in the mainland and his kingdom bordered with the Kosala Kingdom, the kingdom of Rama. He was well-known for his superior skills in warfare.
5. Dushana - Viceroy of Janasthan.
6. Ahiravan - King of the Underworld ruled by the rakshasas by Ravana and Demon King Maya.
7. Kumbhini - sister of Ravana and the wife of the demon Madhu, King of Mathura, she was the mother of Lavanasura. She was renowned for her beauty and later retired to the sea for penance.
8. Surpanakha - the evil sister of Ravana. She was the ultimate root of the kidnapping of Sita Devi. She was the one who instigated her brothers to wage a war against Rama.