Sri Lanka – The glory of the Sinhalese of Ancient Lanka, Sinhalese are an endangered nation

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Sri Lanka Holidays: Total Holiday Experience

Sri Lanka Holidays takes you to the ancient glory

of the ancient nation of Sinhalese of Ancient Sri Lanka. The ancient

island of Sri Lanka makes your touring holidays a total holiday

experience (THE). During your Sri Lanka Tours you will have the

opportunity to visit no less than 6 World Heritage Cultural sites within

65,525 square kilometers (25,299 Sq. miles).

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.

Epigraphica Zeylanica

The University of Cambridge, England has 274 volumes of ‘Epigraphica

Zeylanica’ with over 3000 inscriptions from Ceylon (that is more

inscriptions than the whole of mainland China has, even though Sri Lanka

is only 1/2 the size of the state of New York), including one dating

back to 6th century BC. Over 2000 of these have been deciphered,

indicating the consistent development of the Sinhalese language.

Irrigation

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)

Architecture

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)

Literature

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

Colonization

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),

Heladiva (island of Hela=island of Sinhalese)

Tambapanni (Copper-coloured beach)

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.

Sinhalese

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

Ruwanweliseya 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

Mahawamsa

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

Dipavamsa (Island Genealogy or Dynasty). Believed to be written by two

Buddhist nuns Sivala & Maharuha from India.

6th century AD

Mahawamsa (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

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

Rajawaliya

Pujawaliya

Attana-galu Vihara Vamsa

The Dhatuvamsa

The Elu-Attangaluvamsa

The Elu-Bidhivamsa

The Maha Bodhivamsa

The Thupavamsa

The Daladavamsa

The Viharavamsa

References

  • Codrington, H. W.: A Short History of Ceylon, New Delhi 1994 (Reprint.
  • De Silva, Chandra Richard: Sri Lanka – A History, New Delhi 1987 (2nd,
  • De Silva, K. M.: A History of Sri Lanka. New Delhi, Penguin, xvii, p.
  • Johnson, B. L. C., and M. Le M. Scrivenor.: Sri Lanka Land, People and
  • Knox, Robert: An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon in the
  • Mendis, G.C.: Ceylon Today and Yesterday, Colombo 1957 (3rd edition
  • Smith, Vincent A.: The Oxford History of India, Oxford 1958 (4th
  • Williams, Harry: Ceylon Pearl of the East, Robert Hale Limited,

    London, Great Britain, 1950.

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Anuradhapura

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Golden Dambulla Rock Temple

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The Lion Rock citadel

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Kandy the Royal City

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Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

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Ancient Sinhalese Irrigation

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