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Karthigesu Indrapala

Thesis submitted for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy
UniTersity of London

This thesis is a study of the settlements founded

by Dravidian-speakers from South India, chiefly the Tamils,
in Ceylon before the end of the thirteenth century. Although
any notable Dravidian settlement was not established in the
island until after the conquest of the ClSlas at the turn of
the tenth century, we have included in this study the sporadic
and scattered settlements of earlier times as well. The first
chapter deals with these earliest settlements and analyses
some of the theories put forward by earlier writers on the
subject. The main section of the thesis, comprising the second,
third, fourth and fifth cijapters, deals with the settlements
established in the northern and north-eastern parts of Ceylon
in the period between the beginning of the eleventh and the
end of the thirteenth century.

• This study ends with an examination of the

circumstances under which an independent kingdom, controlled by
Dravidians, emerged in northern Ceylon. The sixth chapter deals
with the events of the first half of the thirteenth century
which directly led to the foundation of the kingdom, while the
last chapter is concerned with the establishment of the dynasty
of iryacakravartins, from South In ia, ho consolidated the
position of the new kingdo .

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Dr.J.G.de

Cas aris, Reader in the History of South an South-east Asia

at the School of Oriental and African Studies, who has su ervised

the whole of this work and given me invaluable advice and
I am thankful to Mr.W.J.F.LaBrooy, Reader in History,

University of Ceylon, for his as i tance in choosin the subject

and in obtaining ahudy leave from the University of Ceylon,

which enabled me to undertake this work.

I owe a particular debt to Mrs.Indranee Kan iah

for her help in re aring the p.

My thanks are also due to Mr.H.Somadasa, Librarian,

University of Ceylon Library, Mr.Lyn de Fonseka, Librari n,
National Mu eum Library, olo bo and Mr.S.Tha biah, Librarian,
Jaffna College Li�rary, V ddukoddai (Ceylon) as well as the

staffs of the S • • A • • Library, ritish Museum Library and

enate ou e Library for th ir help in connection with this

Abstract • • • . • • • • • 2
Acknowledgements . • • • • • • • }

Abbreviations • • • • • • • • 5
Introduction • • • • • • • • 6
Chapter I The Beginnings of Dravidian Settlements 2.5
Chapter II Settlements in the Period of Col.a
Occupation • • • • •
Chapter III Settlements in the Late Eleventh and
the Twelfth Century • • • l.33
Chapter IV Settlements in the Thirteenth Century
I - The Jaffna District • • • 236
Chapter V Settlements in the Thirteenth Century
II - Vanni Districts • • • �06
Chapter VI The Beginnings of the Xi.Dgdom of
Jaffna - I • • • • • :,99
Chapter VII The Beginnings o! the Kingdom of
Jaffna.JII • • • • • 477
Conclusion • • • • • • • • 542
A Select Bibliograph7 • • • • • • • 549
Map • • • • • end pocket •

A.B.I.A. - Annual Biblio ra h of Indian Archaeolo , Leyden.
A.I. - Ancient India Bulletin of the Arch. Survey of India).
I:s.c.A.R. - .Anchaeological Survey of Ceylon Annual Report.
C.A.L.R. - Ceylon Antiquary an Literary Register, Colombo.
C.J.Sc. (G) - Ceylon Journal of Science, Section G, Colombo.
Ccm. - Cekaraca-cekara-malai
c.if.J. - Ceylmn Historical Journal, Colombo.
Cv. - Culava�a
1?:£• - D!:pava�
E.C. - Epigraphia Carnatica
!.:.!• - Epigraphia Indica
Elu-av. - _lu-attanagal�va��
�- - Epigr p ia Zeyalanica
Gk. - Greek
Hvv. - Hatthavanagalla-vi ara-Val]l§a
I.A. - In ian Antiquary
J.A.S. - Journ 1 of ian tudies
J.R.A.S.(C.B.)Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch)
N.S. - New Series
Kk. - Ko�car-kalveft�
Km. - Kailayarnalai
L. - Latin
M.E.R. - Madras Epi raphical Reports (Annual Report on epigraphy
Southern Circle,}.adras Government.
Mm. - MaJt�lanpu-man iyam
:V.rv. - Mahav�a
N.I.A. - New In ian Antiauary
Nks. - Nikaya-s�rahaya
Port. - Portuguese
Pv. - Pujavali11a
Rv. - RaJavaliya
S.I.I. • South In ian Inscriptions
Sinh. - Sinhalese

Skt. - Sanskrit
T.A.S. - Tra�a,core Arc ae lo�ical Series
- �i�a- il-ca-pura�am
...E.• - Tiriko.acala-pura�....!!!
u.c • • c. • University of Ceylon History of Ceylon
u.c.R. - University of Ceylon Review
.Yl!• - Vaiy-paf�
vv. - verses
Yvm. - !jlppa�a-v ipava-malai

In this work we have attempted a study of the early

settlements established by the Dravidians, notably the Tamils,
in Ceylon and of the beginnings of the Tamil kingdom in the
northern part of the island. This aspect of the history of
Ceylon has been neglected for a long time. The seriousness of
this gap could be appreciated by anyone who reads the comprehensive
history of the island recently published by the University of
Ceylon: Our subject has not been dealt with at all in this
authoritative work. The chapter on the northern kingdom begins
abruptly with the rule of the iryacakravartins and nothing is
stated about the beginnings of this kingdom.
Until about the thirteenth century A.D., the history
of Ceylon was the history of the Sinhalese people. But from
about the middle of the thirteenth century, it has been the
history of the Sinhalese and Tamil people in the island. From
that time for over three centuries, the majority of the Tamils
were concentrated in a kingdom of their own in the northern

part of the island. In 1620, the last of the Tamil rulers was
executed by the Portuguese conquerors who brought the Tamil areas

1. University of Ceylon History of Ceylon, editor-in-chief H.C.Ray,

I , pt.l (1959), pt.2 (1960), Colombo.
under their direct ru1e. Like the Sinhal.ese in the maritime

provinces of southern Ceylon, the Tamils passed thPough a

period of colonial rule, first under the Portuguese and then
under the Dutch. Under these two European powers the Tamil
areas of northern Ceylon were administered separately from
the other areas. In the nineteenth century, after the British
took over from the Dutch, the whole country was politically
unified and the administration was centralised. This enabled
the Tamils and Sinhal.ese to work together in the national.
politic& and government. During the period of British rule
a further wave of Tamil immigrants went to the island as workers
in the newly-opened plantations. The descendants of these
recent immigrants, whose numbers exceed that of the descendants
of earlier Tamil settlers, play a vital role in the economy of
modern Ceylon. These Tamils are officially designated Indian
Tamils while the descendants of earlier settlers are cal.led
Ceylon Tamils. The Tamils, who comprise nearly twenty-five
per cent of the island's population, are now concentrated
mainly in the Northern, Eastern and Central. Provinces.
The chronology and early history of the Tamils of
Ceylon have not yet been systematically and scientifically
studie�. A few works have been written, mainly in Tamil, on
the history of the Tamil kingdom l.u.:t many of these could hardly
be described as scientific histories. Among the earliest writings

on this subject is Simon Casie Chetty's paper. 'On the History

of Jaffna, from the Earliest Period to the Dutch conquest',
read at a meeting of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic
Society in 1847 and published in the journal of that society.1
In this short paper, the author has based his account of the
early history of Jaffna on the references to ragas in the Mahav�....!

and on the Tamil chronicles, Kailayamalai and YalPpa�a-vaipava­

malai. It is by ne means a critical work. This was followed by
a few Tamil works, almost entirely based on the Tamil �hronicles
and floating traditions. The earliest of these is s. John's
Yalppa�a-carittiram (History of Jaffna), published in 1879�
In 1884, v.v. cataciva Pillai published his l:,a.lppa�a-vaipavam
( A Narrative of Events in Jaffna)� It was followed by A.Muttu­
tampi-pillai's YJ.l:ppa�a-carittiram (History of Jaffna), which
was published in 1912� These, too, are uncritical narratives
embodying almost the entire contents of the Tami1 chronicles,
with all their mythical and legendary elements. The sections
dealing with the period of British rule are useful as source
materials for that period since these are contemporary and near-

1. J.R.A.s. (C.B.), I, No.3, 1847-48, PP• 69-79.

2. American Ceylon Mission Presa, Jaffna 1879. Second edition 1882.
Revised edition 1929.
3. Madras, 1884.
4. Jaffna, 1912.

contemporary accounts. In this respect, K.Veluppillai's compilation,

Yalppapa-vaipava-kaumuti, is a va1uable work: Its sections on
the administration of Jaffna by British Government Agents and
on the leading families of Jaffna in the nineteenth century are
useful sources for the mo4ern period of the history of Jaffna,
Equa11y important is the section on the place-names of Jaffna,
in which the Sinhalese origins of over a thousand names are dealt
with� This eeetion, despite the fact that it is notZscientific
study of the place-names, is a useful contribution to the topographic
study of Jaffna, which is of utmost value for a work like ours.
Almost all the works mentioned above are concerned with the history
of Jaffna after the establishment of the Tamil kingdom and do not

deal with the history of the Tamils who were settled outside the
Jaffna kingdom or with the ear1y Tamil sett1ements. This is
chiefly due to the fact that they are narratives based on the
Jaffna chronicles, which deal with the history of the Tamil kingdom
Mudaliyar C.Rasanayagam's Ancient Jaffna, published
in 1926, marks the first attempt at a critical history of Jaffna.

1. Vasavil'aa, Jaffna 1918. Two sections of this work have been

written by S�Kumaracuvami and S.Katiraverpillai.
2. S.Kumaracuvama,'Tafa-makapttu:1ta Cila Ifa PeyarkaliA Varala£u' .
Unlike the earlier works, Ancient Jaffna is the result of an
attempt to trace the history of the Tamils of Ceylon from the
earliest times to the sixteenth century. It has been based on
a wider variety of sources and much effort has gone into it.
For the first time the Sinhalese sources as well. as the South
Indian inscriptions were consulted. It marks a leap forward in
the research into the history of the Tamils of Ceylon. But
despite its distinct merits,Rasahayagam's work suffers from
several serious defects. The work has been marred by an earnest
a ttempt to prove the thesis that the Tamils were settled in
Ceylon from pre-Christian times and that there was an independent
in northern Ceylon which existed from about the fifteenth century B.C.
to the seventeenth century A.D. In his attempt to prove this
thesis, Rasanayagam has used methods which are questionable
and materials that are total.ly unrelated to the history ot the
Tamils in Ceylon. These have been briefly pointed put in our
A more critical and, in many respects, a better
work on the history of Jaffna ia Fr.Gnanapragasar's Yalpp�,!­
Vaipava-vimarcan� (A Critical History of Jaffna), published in
1928! It stands in great contrast to the disappointing articles
of the same author published posthumously in the Tamil Culture,

1. Accuv'ili, Jaffna 1928.

in 1952¼ It may be reckoned as the most valuable study of the
early history of Jaffna in Tamil. Besides the South Indian
inscriptions and the Sinhalese sources, Ganapragasar has made
use of place-name materials also for his study. The same author's
Kings of Jaffna, published after the Tamil work, deals exclusively
with the history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Among the other works published around the same
time and a little later are K.Matiyaparanam's ,!!lppa�a-pnrvika.�
vaipavam2and Civanantan's !!lppa�a-kutiyea:,J. These two also
fall under the category of the earlier uncritical works.
Two other works of recent years, which also fall under the
same category, are K.Kanapathi Pillai's Ila.i\kai-val-Tamil!:!:,
Varala;:�4 and C.S.Navaratnam's Tamils and Ceylon�
The University of Ceylon History of Ceylon has a
chapter on the kingdom of Jaffna, entitled 'The Northern
Kingdom', by S.Natesan� As mentioned earlier, this section

1. 'Ceylon Originally a Land of Dravidians', .!:.£•, I, No.l, Feb.1952;

'The Tamils turn Sinhalese', !.:.Q., I, No.2, June 1952 ;
'Beginnings of Tamil Rule in Ceylon', g., I, No.3, Sept. 1952.
2. K.Matiyaparanam, Yal.ppatta-p1Irvtka-vaipavam, Jaffna 1927.
3. Kuala Lumpur, 1933.
4. Peradeniya, 1956.
5. Jaffna 1958.
6. u.c.H.c., I, pt. 2, PP• 691-702.
begins abruptly with the reign of the hyacakravartins. It is

stated that the earlier part of the chapter was deleted by the

editor. As a result, this chapter falls outside the period and

subject matter dealt with in our work.
The latest and among the most critical of the
contributions to the history of the Jaffna kingdom is the article
by S.Paranavitana in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society,
(Ceylon Brfl.Ilch), 1961¼ in which the theories put forward by
Rasanayagam and other writers are analysed . In this penetrating
an�ysis tha author has made use of new evidence as well. But
some of his arguments have been marred by his attempt to give
a Javaka origin to the founders of the Jaffna kingdom. We have
discussed these arguments in our work.
Only the history of the Jaffna kingdom forms the
subject of almost all the works mentioned above. These do not
deal with the history of the Tamil settlements that preceded
the foundation of the kingdom. This reason, above all others,
has recommended itself to us for undertaking a study of this
nature. The major part of our work, five out of the seven chapters,
is exclusively devoted to a study of the Dravidian settlements
that were founded in Ceylon between about the ninth and the end
of the thirteenth century. This section serves as a background

1. J.R.A.S. (C.B.), N.S., VII, pt. 2, 1961, PP• 174-224.

to the rise of the Tamil kingdom of Jaffna, in northern Ceylon,
which forms the subject of the last two chapters.
The term Dravidian is used in this work to 111ean the
different communities of South India speaking the Dravidian
family of languages, chiefly Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Ma.1ayalam.
Although the on1y Dravidian-speaking community to be f�und �n
the island now are the Tamils, there were settlers from the
Kannada, Kerala and Telugu countries, who were ultimately
assimilated into the major Dravidian group or into the Sinhalese
population. The kingdom of Jaffna in this work refers to the
Tamil kingdom of northern Ceylon which was founded in the
middle of the thirteenth century and ceased to exist in 1620.
A historical study of the early Dravidian settlements

in Ceylon, like that of early settlements in any country 9

presents a number of problems that cannot be solved purely

with the help of such materials as chronicles and inscriptions.

Other branches of studies such as archaeology, physical
anthropology, historical geography and historical linguistics
have an impo:ttant part to play in the solution of these problems.
These problems would include among others the determining of
the original home of the settlers, the causes of their migration,

the routes of migration, the areas of settlement and the extent

of the survival of earlier inhabitants. The evidence of archaeology
is very helpful in tracing the routes of migration and locating
the areas of settlement. The historical linguist has an
important contribution to make by his analysis of the place-name
evidence, which helps a good deal in the understanding of the
social conditions under which the settlements took place and
the institutional ties which first bound the settlers together
as well as in the location of early habitation sites� Place-names
also help to an extent in the inquiry into the survival of
earlier inhabitants. The historical geographer could help in
the understanding of the influence of such factors as physique
and defence on the location, and sometimes on the form, of the
settlements. Sometimes the contribution of physical anthropologists
is also valuable. In Britain attempts have been made, though
not with much success, to use the evidence derived from cephalic
indices and tables of nigrescence in the study of the Anglo-Saxon
In this study of the Dravidian settlements, the use
of evidence from sources other than inscriptions and literary

1. In this respect the place-name evidence in Britain has been

of immense help to the historians of{Anglo-Saxon settlement.

See A.Ma.wer and F.M.Stenton, An Introduction to the Study of

English Place-names, pt.l, (Camb. Engla.Dd), 1929.
works has been rendered difficu1t. Even the inscriptions and
literary works that we have used have proved to be inadequate
in the reconstruction of a satisfactory history of the settle­
ments and in the solution of many important problems. While
the Pali and Sinhalese chronicles of the island provide very
reliable, fairly adequate and surprisingly continuous information
regarding the political, and to an extent the religious, history
of Ceylon, their contribution to our inquiry is very little.
The activities of the Dravidians in Ceylon find mention in
the chronicles only when these affected the political and
religious affairs of the country. No evidence relating to the
Dravidian settlements is available in these sources. We have
made use of these sources mainly in the discussion of the
circumstances under which the settlements were established
and the northern kingdom emerged into ex�stence.
On the Tamil side, the chronicles that are extant
are those written nedly three centuries after the foundation
of the Tamil kingdom. These are the Kailaya.nm'.lai, Vaiyapa�,!!,
VaiYa'., Yalpp�a-vaipava-malai and the Mafjakkalappu-dnmiyam.
The chronicle Iraca.mur.a,!, mentioned in the Ci�appuppayiram
(preface) of the !!,l.Ppa�a-vaipava-malai, is not extant now.
With the possible exception of the x_-alppa�a-vaipava-malai,
the other works cannot be dated exactly. But, as we shall see
presently, certain references in these works make it clear that
these were a11 writtem after the fifteenth century.
The Vaiyapa�tl is probably the earliest of these
chronicles: The mention of Paraflki (Portu uese) as well as the
occurrence of certain Portuguese words in this work suggest
that it was composed after the arrival of the Portugc.ese in
the island (A.D. 1505).2 Only one clumsy manuscript of this
work, full of orthographic mistakes, has survived. In its present
state, it is very confused and at times unintelligib1e.
Fortunately, an old prose rendering of this chronic1e has
survived and it is with the help of this work that we are in
a position to understand the Vaiyapa��. This paraphrase is
known as Vaiya: The early part of this chronicle is based on
the Ramaya��, the popular versions of the Vijaya le@end and
on the popular etymology of some of the place-names of Jaffna.
The sections dealing with the Dravidian settlements of the
thirteenth century and later appear to have been based on
certain genuine traditions which were current in a conft.Uied

1. Vaiyapuri Aiyar, Vai:y:apa�al, ed. J.W.Arutpirakacam, Jaffna 1921.

2. Paraiild. I= L. Franci) is the Tamil name for the Portuguese.
The occurrence of the names Paranki (v.34) and PiliPPB.A (Philip
v.58) and such words as ayutanti (Port. adjutante) and
puravarotaiyar (Port. provedor) may not a11 be due to
3. Vaiya, ed. S.Gnanapragasar, Jaffna 1921.
form when this work was written. According to tradition, Vaiyapuri
Aiyar, the author of this chronicle, was the court poet of one
of' the kings of Jaffna who bore the consecration name Cekaraca­
eekarq:, As Gnanapragasar is incl.ined to believe, 'it would
seem that the Vai:y;a was composed during the times of the last
Jaffna kings•� The contents of this work have been critical.17
analysed and used with caution in our work.
The Kailayamalai, a chronicle of' the Kail.ayanatar
temple in Jaffna, contains an eulogistic account of the kings
o� Jaffna and appears to have been composed at the beginning
of the seventeenth century. It mentions tha Setupatis of Ramnad,
the first of whom began his rule around l.604� Some sections of
this work have been based on the Vaiyapatal. Perhaps the most
useful section is that dealing with the settlement in Jaffna
of certain families from the Tamil. country.
The YalI>pa�a-vaipava-malai is a prose chronicle of
the Jaffna kingdom and was written, as stated in its preface,
when the Dutch Commandant Ian Maccara (Mekka.:,U11) was administering
Jaffna (A. D. 1736). As admitted in the preface, the author has

l.. !P.•, titl.e page.

2. 'Sources for the Study of the History of Jaffna', !.:.£•, II,
Noa. 3&4, P• 314, f'n.l.8.
M-�s ,,3,;
3• Mutturaca Kaviracar, Kailayamalai, ed, C.V. Jampulinkam Pil.lai,
C. Rasanayagam's Forewmrd, �-, p. 4 ; J •• A.s. (C.B.), N.s. ,
VII, pt. 2, P• 1?6.
. .
based his work on the Vaiyapa��, Kailayamalai and the two
non-extant works Iracam!!t.!! and Pararaca-cekarap.-ula: The
sections dealing with the period before the Portuguese rule
reproduce almost entirely the contents pf the Kailayamalai
and the Vaiyapaf�.
The !!ffakkafappu-manmiyam is a chronicle of the
Batticaloa district of the Eastern Province of Ceylon� Its
existence is not known to many writers on Ceylon history. This
prose chronicle, in its present form, appears to have been
written in the eighteenth century, fmr, it deals with the
Dutch rule in Ceylon. Though a late work, it embodies many
genuine traditions of earlier times which are remarkably
corroborated by the Pali and Sinhalese sources. It is the only
Tamil chronicle that preserves any memory of the very early
times. It is also the only Tamil chronicle that mentions Magha
by name and dea11s with his activities in Ceylo�. We have
discussed these merits in our work. Its main use for our work
has been in the reconstruction of the history of Dravidian
settlements in the Eastern Province and the rise of Vanni
chieftaincies there. The traditional historical poems relating
to Battivaloa, appended to the �ffakk�appu-manmiyam, have

f(l�·,(vo.�,.�o. P\,\\"'a",
1 !!lPPa�a-vaipava-malai, ed. K. Capanatan, Colombo 1953 ;
Eng. tr. C.Brito, Colombo 1879.
2. �f-eakkatappu-manmiyam 1 ed. F.X.C.Nataraca, Colombo 1962.
also been useful in this respect.
Besides these chronicles, a few other Tamil works
of Ceylon containing valuable historical information have also
remained extant. Among these, the Tak�1aa-kailaca-pur'a$2;
Tiri-k'o@cala-pura�am; Kogecar-kalvert�� Cekaraca-cekara-malai4
and the Cekaraca-cekaram have been of some use in �ur work.
The first three are chronicles of the temple of Ko��varam, in
Trincomalee. The exact date of these works cannot be d/ermined.
The Tak�,!�a-kailaca-pura��, written in the reign �f a king of
Jaffna who bore the consecration name Cekaraca-ce�an� is
probably a work of the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The
!2,�car-kalvet�� and the Tiri-ko�cala-pura�am are .later works.
The Cekaraca-cekara-malai is an astrological work composed in
the time of an lryacakravartin named Varotayaa who had the
consecration name Cekaraca-cekara.A� According to t�e Y-aJ.ppa��­
vaipava-malai, this ruler was the father of Martta.p.faa whom
Paranavitana has identified with Martti�4am Peru�un of the

1. Ed. P. P.Vayittilinka Tecikar, Point Pedro, Jaffna, 1916.

2. Ed. A.Canmukarattina Aiyar, Jaffna 1909.
4• Ed. I.S. Irakunata Aiyar, Kokkuvil, Jaffna 1942.
3. Appended to T�.!,�a-kailaca-pura\lam•
,. �- , 7:116.
6. 2£!!!•, v. 158.
MMdavaia inscription, dated in the third year of Vikramabahu III
(1360)! If the identification is correct and if the statement
of the Yalppaaa-vaipava-malai is to be accepted, the Cekaraca­
cekara-malai may be dated to the first half of the fourteenth
century. Some are inclined to date this to the fifteenth century�
The Cekaraca-cekaram is a medical work, the date of which cannot
be determined easilyf The historical infoemation, relevant to
our stud7, contained in all these works is incidental and very
meagre. None of the Tamil works mentioned above contains any
reliable information concerning the Dravidian settlements in
Ceylon prior to the thirteenth century. These have not been,
therefore, made use of in the major part of,our work. Even for
the period after the thirteenth century, these sources are
full of legendary material that it has W.•• · I Im, been difficult
to make much use of their evidence.
For the major part o! our work, we have depended
mainly on epigraphic and archaeological materials. Though the
evidence of these materials has been far more encouraging than
that of the literary sources, it has been by no means adequate.

1. I!!•, P• 37 ; S .Paranavitana, 'The Arya Kingdom in North Ceylon',

J.R.A.S. (C.B.), N.S. , VII, pt. 2 1 P• 197•
2. U.C.H.C., I, pt. 2, P• 691; C.A.L.R. , V, P• 175;
J • • A.S. (c • • ), N.s., VIII, pt.2, P• 372.
3. The verses of this work used here are those quoted in the
introduction to the f.E!!•
Excavation work is still an undeveloped branch of archaeological
research in Ceylon. As long as excavation work remains undone,
much that is relevant to our study will be wanting. For the
period prior to about the third century A.D., we may reasonably
expect a few sepulchral and other remains, which are invaluable
for a study of settlements, to be brought to light. The only
burials relating to Dravidian settlements in the island, namely
those of Pomparippu, were discovered by c�ance and today, nearly
forty years after the discovery, the site still awaits a proper
scientific excavation. For the period after the third century,
it is �aiva and Va��ava temples and icons as well as Tamil
inscriptions that will help us in our inquiry. Here, too, owing
to the lack of excavation work, we have to depend solely on
surface finds. Archaeologists have not helped us so far to know
something of the earliest �aiva temples, such as the Tiru-ketI�varam.
temple at Mahatittha, referred to in the literary sources. No
surface remains of these exist now and only an excavation of
the sites is likely to yield something of value. The few ancient
temples so far unearthed have been mf immense value in locating
and dating some of the earliest settlements of the Dravidians.
Of greater value for our work are the Tamil inscriptions.
More than a hundred of them have been discovered in the island
and nearly half of them are unpublished. These epigraphic records,
most of them belonging to the eleventh and twelfth centuries,
have helped us a good deal in the location, dating and the
determination of the nature of some of the settlements. The
material for the first three chapters is mainly derived from
these inscriptions.
We have not been able to make use of the evidence
of physical anthropology, historical geography and place-name
studies for the simple reason that no work has been done in
these fields so as to be of any help to us. A preliminary survey
of the place-name material shows that much valuavle information
could be gleaned from it for our study. For instance, the
earlier Sinhalese occupation of the Jaffna peninsula, the long
survival of the Sinhalese there and the Tamil occupation of the
North-central Province before the Sinhalese resettled there are
unmistakably indicated by the place-names. The collection and
analysis of these toponyms require a p�oper linguistic training,
Besides, the establishment of sound-pedigrees with the help of
earlier forms and the analysis of sound and word substitution
and Sinhalese-Tamil compounds are beyond the scope of our work.
But wherever possible, place-name material has also been used
though never as an independent evidence.
Some attempts have been made by certain physical
anthropologists to analyse the physical characteristics of the
people of Ceylon. Their surveys are neither exhaustive nor
1 Perhaps not
complete and the results are not of any help to us.
much could be expected from physical anthropologists even in
the future owing to the complex nature of the problem. It may
be difficult to contend that differences between human communities
are easily recognizable in differences of physical structure.
Distinctions based on physical characteristics may be unreliable
in the present state of knowledge. Even if these were reliable
neither the Sinhalese nor the Tamils of Ceylon can be regarded,
in view of their previous history, as a sufficiently homogeneous
group to enable any superficial distinctions to be used with
confidence in their differentiation.
In view of these limitations and difficulties, while
we may claim to have added something to our knowledge of the
history of the Tamils of Ceylon, the account presented here
is inevitably incomplete and not always definite. We have often
been led to state our conclusions in hypothetical terms. As one
Indologist has remarked, 'they are better than no conclusions
at all or than categorical assertions based on inadequate evidence•.

1. N.D.Wijesekera, People of Ceylon, Colombo 1951 •


P.K.Chanmugam, 'Anthropometry of Sinhalese and Ceylon Tamils ',

C.J.Sc. (G), IV, PP• 1-18 ; Marret and Wijesekera conducted
an ethnological survey of Ceylon, the materials of which are
in the National Museum, Colombo and at the University of Harvard.
This is especially so regarding the beginnings o! the kingdom
of Ja!fna, where the gains from this research, valuable though
they are, have not increased our knowledge of the origins of
the kingdom. With the progress of archaeological research and
place-name studies, we hope these limitations could be overcome
to a great extent.
As we have stated earlier, the material used in the
first part of our study dealing with the Dravidian settlements
is mainly derived from sources hitherto untapped. These include
nearly a hundred Tamil inscriptions, about half of which are
unpublished, and the Tami1 chronicles. Most of the Tamil
inscriptions and the Tamil chronicle �tt�tappu-manmiyam
have been used here for the first time. In this sense, a substantial
section of the first five chapters forms an original contribution
to our subject.
In the transliteration of Tamil names and words
we have adopted the system used in the Madras Tamil Lexicon .
However, in the oase of more familiar names, we have used the
transcription that is familiar to all Indologists (�., ��am
for Cankam and Fi�4ya for P-�tiya). We have usually broken up
the longer compounds with hyphens and simplified the junction
of words ao as to facilitate the understanding of their meaning.


From the earliest times to the end of the tenth century A.D.

No appreciable light is thrown by either tradition

or archaeology on the darkness in which the history of the earliest
Dravidian settlements in Ceylon is shrouded. The archaeological
finds so far have not been very encouraging and few definite
conclusions can be drawn from the little that has been discovered.
The �li and Sinhalese chronicles furnish some evidence regarding
the political relations between the Dravidian kingdoms and Ceylon,
but contain little information on Dravidian settlements in the
island. The late Tamil chronicles of Ceylon, on the other hand,
hardly preserve any memory of the very early times. Under these
circumstances, one has to piece together the hopelessly meagre
evidence in the above sources to determine the chronology and
nature of the early Dravidian settlements in Ceylon.
It has been claimed by certain writers on the history
of Jaffna that the people of northern Ceylon at the time of the
earliest Indo-Aryan settlements, caJ.led !Mgas in the chronicles,
were Tami1s: Some others have claimed that these .Nagas were Tamil

1. S.Gnanapragasar, 'Ceylon originally a land of Dravidians',

!.:.Q., I, No.l, pp. 27 ff.
in culture and language, although ethnically they were not
Dravidian; These conclusions, as we shall see presently, are
based o n the legendary accounts of the .N!gas in the Pali chronicles
and the Tamil Buddhist epic !'!!,�im'ekalai as well as on the erroneous
identification of some of the place-names mentioned in early
Tamil literature. Gaaaapragasar, a leading proponent of the
theory that the ?ragas of the Pali chronicles were Tamils, has
put forward four main arguments in support of it� In the first
place, he has argued that the island of Ceylon as well as the
language spoken there were known in ancient times as 11am and
that the name of the language was later corrupted to Etu. These
factors, in his opinion, 'should lead one to conclude prima facie
that, at the earliest times, llam was occupied, at least :i.n the
main, by a Tamil-speaking people'� This argument is far from
logical. Presumably it rests on the fact that liam is now used
only :i.n Tamil as a name for Ceylon. But the origin of this name,
far from indicating that the island was occupied by Tanli.1-speaking
people in ancient times, shows that the people from whose name
�lam is derived were Sinhalese. The earliest occurrence of this
name is in the Br'mlmi inscriptions of South India. In these

1. C.Rasanayagam, Ancient Jaffna, PP• 13 ff.

2. S.GAanapragasar,'Ceylon originally a land of Dravidians', pp.27 ff.
3• .!ill•, P• 30.
inscriptions, from Tiruppara:dkum:,am and Sittaw1av�al, occurs
the Prakrit form of this name, namely ita� Evidently it is from
this Prakrit form that the Tamil 11am is derived. It could be
shown that �ta is derived from Silflha.la through the Pali Sih4a,
or more probably through another Prakrit form Sihila• The name
Si:15.hala has two elements, sij a and �- The Sanskrit sii,tia
becomes siha in Pali.2™ -
becomes � and si (the consonant
his dropped when its position is between two similar vowels
and the two vowels coalesce) in Sinhalese� Si$h4a could, therefore,
have become Sihila and later s'Ita in early Sinhalese, a.nd.
probably even in other Prak:ritic languages, although no record
of such a form has survived in Sinhalese� It is not difficult

1. c.Narayana Rao, 'The Brahm! Inscriptions of South India',

N.I.A., I, PP• 367, 368, 375.
2. Mv., 6:10.
3. S.Paranavitana, Sigiri Graffiti, I, p.xci • .!!.&•, Si$ha- iri
becomes S1-giri in Sinhalese.
4. Q!•, Sihila (Sit}lala) and Sihilaka (S1$haj.aka) in a Kharo§thi
inscription from Loriyan Tangai, in West Pakistan, belonging
to about the second century A.D. S.Konow, Kharo§tni Inscriptions,
P• 110; u.c.H.C, I, pt.l, P• 90.
g., also Sielediba in The Christian Topography of Cosmas
Indicopleustes, ed. F.O.Winstedt, P• 250.
to derive the forms lfa and 11am from sita. In the early period,
when Sanskrit and PrEtrit words were borrowed into Tamil, those
with the initial letter � often dropped that consonant.l The
name s�ta, when used in the Tamil country, would, therefore ,
have become �1a, as indeed it occurs in the pre-Christian
Bralllq inscriptions there� Since the ±! in Prakrit and the la
in Tamil are interchangeable� I1a would become lla and the final
form �lam is derived from th!s by the addition of the consonant
.!!!, which too is in keeping with the rules governing the form of
borrowed Sanskrit and Prak.rit words ending with the vowel .!,,

especially the neuter nouns or those designating inanimate objects!

Thus, !lam could be derived from the name Sil)hal-a and would,
therefore, mean the land of the Sinhalese rather than indicate
that Ceylon was originally settled by Tamils. Gnanapragasar ' s
arguments, on this score, will become groundless. The derivation

1.y. , Pkt. sippi (Skt. sukti) ) Tamil itippi ) .!Ee,! in Ma�imekalai,

; Cittanta-cikam�!, 23 : 5; Madras Tamil Lexicon, I,p. 297
XXVII, 1.64 ;
.£!• also Pkt. � >Tamil i;y;a.m; Skt . san hi ) Tamil �•
.This probably occurred in the Prakritic languages, too. £!• Skt.
Si'1ia+a ) Sinh. He+ or Hela > EJ.u and Skt. Si.$ ala seems to
have become Ila in Ila-naga (�. , 35 : 15).
2. C.Narayana Rao, .2.:£• ill• , P• 3 75•
3 . �- , Damila > Tamilar; Cofa > �l,.ar.
4. �. Skt. ma.Aga}.,! > mankatam; Skt. si$ha > ci:r\kam •
of Ilam from Si.11ha+a is accepted bJ leading Tamil scholars.l
Secondly, Gnanapraga.aar has argued that the original
inhabitants of Ceylon came from South India and that these
pre-Aryan aborigines were Dravidians who seem to have spoken
a Tamil dialect� He bases this on the assumption that the pre­
Aryan inhabitants o f India represeht an earlier wave of immigrants
from the Mediterranean area and that no trace oi any language
other than Tamil is found in India till the arrival of the
Indo-Aryans. Although the pre-historic relations between India
and Ceylon are undeniable� the rest of his arguments are based
on mere assumptions. It is not true to say that all the non-Aryan
inhabitants of India were necessarily Dravidian. There were
others as well, chief among whom were the Mu��-speaking people�
The chronology of the Dravidian migration to India is itself
an unsettled question� There is no evidence to suggest that
Tamil was the onl.y language spoken in India in pre-Aryan times.

1. S.Vaiyapuri Pil.lai, Madras Tamil Lexie n, I, P• 3 82,

S.Krishnaswamy AiyangaJ: in the Preface to S.Rasanayagam ' s
Ancient Jaffna., P • v.
2. S .Gna.napragasar, ' Ceylon original.ly land of Dravidians ' , p. 3 0.

3. U.C.H • • , I, pt. 1, PP • 75, 79.
4. K. A.Nilakanta Sastri, History of South In ia, P • 59.
5. f! • , C . von FUhrer Haimendorf, ' New Aspects of the Dravidian
Problem' , T.C., II, No .2, p . 131 . The author dates the Dravidian

migratlhon to the first millenium B.C.

His third arguaent is that 'hundreds of Tamil place-
names in Ceylon are pre-Sinhalese • .1 He has given a few examples
of ele ents of present-day Sinhalese place-names and what have
been considered by him to be their Tami1 origins. It is clear
that this argument is based on superficial similarities and not
on any historical study of the development or evolution of these
names. This could be seen in the two sets of elements as well
as from their phonological development. He has clai ed, for
instance, that the Sinhalese element ��!., meaning 'low-lying
land or valley', is derived from Tamil ti�,E_, meaning corn�
But de�.! and its more common variant ��iya are derived from
Sanskrit dro:o,,! (=valley), through the �1 do�i and medieval
Sinhalese �:P!. and �:O.!:-
The fourth argument that Sinhalese is based on Tamil
and that, therefore, 'the original inhabitants of Ceylon' spoke
Tamil is unconvincing� Gaaaapragasar arrives at this conclusion
by adopting unscientific methods in his linguistic research. One
can only quote the views of Wilhelm Geiger on this matter : -
Gnanapragasar's methods are not at all Indian ; they are
simply a relapse into the old practice of comparing two
or more words of the most distant languages merely on
the basis of similar sounds without any consideration for

1. S.Gnanapragasar,'Ceylon originally a land of Dravidians', p.31.

2. Ibid.
3• �• , Skt. Jambu-dro:o,i ') Pali Jambu-do:o,i ') Sinh. Damba-de:o,i
and Damba-de:o.iya. Cv., 81: 15 ; Pv., P• 119; Rv., P• 45.
Al.s• , '-'tr�\ -. -•• tJ l �"-'"' � tn•c."''�" •f tha ac.�., cf. c.c.11 ♦"',y, !:.!:_•J,f· ''"•
4. S.Gnanapragasar,'Ceylon originally a land of Dravidians', p.31 ff.
chronology, for phonological principles, or for the
historical development of words and forms. 1
Similarly the attempts of Rasana.yagam to show that
the N'agas of Ceylon referred to in the Pali chronicles were
Tamil in culture and language are based on the erroneous
identification of some place-names in the Tamil Sangam texts,

without any consideration for chr �logy or for known historical
facts. An analysis of these early Tamil poems shows that the
geography of their accounts is mainly confined to the Tami.l
country of their time, which was bounded in the north by the
VeAkatam (Veiga�am) hills, in the south by Kumari (Cape Comorin)
and on the west and east by the sea� There is no indication in
any of the poems that chieftains and rulers from outside these
limits were eulogised by the Tamil poets. A notable exception
is the Arya king Pirakatt� (Brt,asta) who is mentioned in the
colophon of Kapilar's Ku�inci-paff�� Despite this factor,
Rasana.yagam has tried to identify Ma-ilankai, Mantai and Kutirai
of the S�gam poems with Ceylon, Mahatittha (in Ceylon) and
Kutirai-malai (in Ceylon) respectivel� The Ma-ila.Aka.i of

1. W.Geiger, A Grammar of the Sinhalese Language, P• v:i.i.

2. C.Rasanayagam, .2.:2• cit., PP • 13-44.
3 . Tolkappiyam, Payiram, 11. 1-2 ; Cilappat�am, VIII, 11. 1-2.
4. Ku�iftci-paffu, Pattu-patf� , ed . U.V.Cuvaminata Ayyar, p. 380.
5. C.Rasana.yagam, ,2;2• ill•, PP• 19-26.
the Tamil poems cannot be identified as Ceylon. It was a
chieftaincy in the Tamil country when these poems were composed
and has been identified as a region in the North Arcot district!
It is held to be the same as the Uttara-lanka of the Cola
inscriptions! There were also other places in the Tamil country
with ilankai as the chief element of their names which find
mention in the Sangam poems. We hear of Toll-ma-ilankai, KlJ.­
ma-ilankai and Na�u-naffa-ma-ilaAkai� Of these, ToA-ma-ila:l,kai
is considered by some to represent Ceylon.4 This may or ma� not
be correet, for there is no evidence in the Tamil poems to
identify it properly. However, Ceylon was not the only place
known to the Tamils as Ilankai. In the earliest literature and
inscriptions of the Tamils Ceylon is referred to as lia or I1au2
In later times, the names Cilkalam and Iaankai were also used.
But when Ila:l,kai was used to denote Ceylon, it was usual to
qualify it with some epithet so as to distinguish it from the

1. K . A.Nilakanta Sastri, The eo:�, PP • 435, 442 fn. 83 ;

V.Kanakasabhai, Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago, PP • 27, 29 ;
J.R.Marr identifies it as a place near Dharmapuri, The Eight
Tamil Anthologies with special reference to Pu�ananllr.u and
Pati;a:uppattu, thesis submitted to the University of London, 1958.
2. See infra, P•
3 . Ciru-pa�-anuppafai, 11. 119-120.
4. V.Kanakasabhai, �• ill•, p.27 ; J.R.Marr, �• ill•
5. C.Narayana Rao, � • ill•, p . 375 ; !:!ff_!il;appalai, 1. 191.
other Ila:.dkais. The Cilappatikara.m refers to Ceylon as 'kaf.!!,
c'til Ilankai• ( Ilankai surrounded by the sea)1 whi1e the 1:!!�inlekalai
cllls it Il�t!pam (Skt. Ldka-dv!pa)� The most common epithet
was tea, meaning south, thereby denoting that it was the La6ka
in the south (TeA-ila:dkai)� By about the Cola period when Ceylon
became the La.Aka par excellence such epithets bec ame unnecessary.
The place named Mantai in the early T amil poems is
also different from Mahatittha, which is now knoWJl as Mantai.
Mantai is a recent name for the ancient port of Mahatittha. The
name does not occur in any of the early works. In the Sinhalese
inscriptions and literature, Mahatittha is referred t o as Matofa,
Mahavofi, Mahapufu, Mahavu,tu, Mahavafutofa and Mahapafana! In
the Tamil poems of about the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries
and in the �la inscriptions of the eleventh century, the
Tamilised form Mat�ffam has been used� By about the seventeenth
century, the variant ��ffam was in use� In FtoJ.emy 's map this

1. Cila�pati.karam, p.636.
2. �#,inlekalai, llVIII, 1. 107.

3. See infra, P• <--+-'-·

4. C . W. Nicholas, 'Historical Topography of Ancient and Medieval
Ceylon ', J.R.A.S. ( C.B.), N.S., VI, 1959, PP • 7.5-8 1.
Ti""'�i;, c..."'r•" t-,.,.
.5 i Tevara Tiruppatikan�, Tirumu.:ai, 2, Patik.am 243 and TirWll'Ut,ai. 3,
Pecilil!etm 381., PP• ,5 18 , iiii.J S . I.I . , IV, Noa. 1412, 1414.
6. £!• , Mantotte in Memoirs of Rijckloff van Goens 1665, Tr. S .Pieters
P • 106.
port is named Modouttou.1 The present name o! Mantai is evidently
an abbreviation of Mant�f{am� There is no evidence whatsovver
to identify Mantai of the �angam poems with Mahatittha.
Similarly, the identification of Kutirai and Mutiram
with Kutiraimalai in Ceylon is untenable. Not only was there a
place by the name of Kutirai in the Tamil country� there is also
no reason to suppose that the name Kutiraimalai for the place
on the north-western coast of Ceylon was in use at the time of
the Sangam poems. It is clear from the references in the Tamil
poems that Kutirai and Mutiram were chieftaincies in the Cera
kingdom! The argument that Ptolemy's Hipporos (Gk. hippos = horse,
� = mountain) is identifiable as Kutiraimalai (Tamil kutirai
= horse, malai = mountain) and that since Hipporos is a direct
translation of Kutiraimalai, the Tamil name was in use in Ptolemy's
time, is also not convincing. It is possible that the present-
day Tamil name is itself a translation of an earlier Sinhalese
name. We find that there is still a place called Asvagiri
(Skt. aAva = horse, giri = mountain) very close to Kutiraimalai.
Possibly Asvagiri was the earlier name, covering a larger area,

1. C.W.Nicholas, -2:e• ill• , P• 75 ; U . C.H . C . , I, pt. 1, map facing p. 8.

2. £!• , Ta1'1cavur ) Tal'lcai.
3. V .Kanakasabhai, .2R• ill• , PP• 43, 48.
�. Purananuru , v. 168 . J. R. Harr, in the work mentioned above,
locates Mutiraza near Udamalpet.
and Kutiraima.lai may be a Tamil rendering of later times! However,
the identification of Hipporos with Kutiraima.lai is itself in
It is admitted by critical scholars that the legendary
accounts in the Pali chronicles about the N!gas are quite
unreliable.2 Even if there were a people called :tmgas, there is
no evidence to suggest that they were Tamil in language and
culture. There were persons with the name ?r
aga all over India.
Even to this day we find a people called Nagas living in North­
east India. The ?r
agas of the chronicles, like those of many
Pali and Sanskrit works, seem to be superhuman IJeings� Rasanayagam' s
arguments for the existence of Tamil settlements in Ceylon in
pre-Christian times, therefore, are wholly unacceptable�
Ceylon • s geographical proximity to and close contacts
with the Tamil country and early conquests by Tami1 adventurers
have been often used as the basis for the assumption that Tamils
were settled in the island in the early centuries of its history.

1. There are other place-names on the north-western coast of 6eylon

which are Tamil renderings of Sinhalese names. Cf., Sinh. Magul­
tot a-mune >Tamil Kaliya�a-tu.:,ai-mukam.
2. S.Paranavitana, 'The irya Kingdom in North Cey1on•, p�. 180-183 1
U. C. .c. , I, pt.l, P• 95•
3. See infra, P• 'f O 't •

4. See infra, PP• Jj- 0/J. ff·

Our sources undoubtedly indicate that Tamils had established

contacts with Ceylon by about the second century B . C . , if not

earlier. There is reliable data in our sources relating to the

commercial , cultural , political and religious connections between

South India and Ceylon in the early centuries of the island ' s

history. One of the earliest references to such contacts occurs

in the Akitti Jataka: This Jataka story alludes to the intercourse

between Kaveripattinam, in the �J.a country , and r-

aradipa , near

Nagad.Ipa. Nafa<lipa is identifiable with the Jaffna district

which was known by that name in the pre-cb.ristian and early Christian

centuries� Karadipa appears to be the island of Karai.tivu , about

two miles west of the Jaffna peninsula� The Dipava.psa and t he

Mahav�a refer to the two Tamil usurpers , Sena and Guttaka , who

ruled from Anuradhapura in the s econd century B.C� They appear to

have been connected with the horse-trade in the island. �ccording
to the Mahav�a , their father was an a sa-navika or ship ' s captain

dealing with horses� Sena and Guttaka were followed by t he Tamil poli•

tical. adventurers , El-ara , Pulahattha , �iya , Panayamlira , Pi+ay�a

1. The Jataka , IV , ed. E . B. Cowell , tr. W.H . D . Rouse , P • 150.

2 . G. P.Malalasekera , Dictionary of nli Proper N mes , I I , p .42.

3 . C .W. Nicholas , .2P.• ill• , P • 84 ; Ma.lal.asekera has i e ntified

it as ' an island in the Damita country • , £E.• ill• , I , P• 570 .
4. �- . 18: 47 ; !t!· , 21 : 10 .
5. !!!• , 2 1 : 10 .
and Dathika, who ruled at Anuradhapura for short periods in the
second and first centuries B. C1. Among the paramours of Queen
Anula were two Tamils, who also l'}lled at Anuradhapura for some
time in the first century B . C� In the first century .A.. D . , Iian'!ga
(33-43) went over to South India and took mercenaries to win
back his throne� These mercenaries were probably supplied by
some chief or ruler, apparently not unconditionally. For, we
find that his son, Candaaukhasiva, was married to a Tamil lady
who came to be known as Damiµ-dev�'! Paranavitana is of the
opinion that 'this alliance o f his son with a Tamil princess
was, perhaps, a part of the priH which Ifanaga had to pay when
he obtained military aid from South India against his adversaries ' �
But it is also possible that it was the result of a friendly
alliance between a Tamil chief or ruler and J1anaga . Thus, the

l. Mv. , 21: 13 ff. , 33 :39 ff. ; B!.• , 18 :49 , 20 : 16-18 . The relations
between South India and Ceylon during this perio• have been
dealt with in great detail b1 W. M.K.Wijetunge in his thesis,
The Rise and Decline of c�ia Eower in Ceylon, submitted to
the University of London in 1962.
2 . !!!• , 34: 19 , 26 ; .!?:!• , 20 : 27, 29.
, . !!!• , 35: 26 , 27.
4. �- , 35: 48.
5. u.c.H.C., I , pt.l, P• 176 .
evidence of the Pali chronicles shows that from about the
second century B. C. the Tamils of South India had established
contacts with the island. The earliest literature of the Tamils,
belonging to about the second and thlid centuries A.D. , does
not contain information on thia point. But there is a solitary
reference in one work, the Paf�!nappalai, to trade relations
with Ceylon. It mentions the sessels laden with food-stuffs
from !lam (Ceylon) among those that called at the port of
Kaveri-pat t iaam, in the Cola country! In the .§dgam anthology,
there are some poems attributed to Plit�-tev�ar, a Tamil poet
from Ceylon. But it is from the seventh century that we get any
direct reference to Veylon in the literature of the Tamils.
The evidence of the literary sources is confirmed
by a few inscriptions as well. There are three pre-Christian
Brahml inscriptions in Ceylon which attest to the presence of
Tamils in Ceylon. One of these, from AnuradhapurBJil popularly
known as the Tamil Householders • Terrace inscription, records
the building of a prasada (terrace), probably used as an assembly
hall, by some Tamils� On one of the sides of the terrace are
found inscribed the following names : Kubira, T�a, Kubira Sujata,
�aga, Na!ata and Karava the navika (ship's captain). The last-

J• s.Paranavitana, 'Tamil Householders • Terrace - Anuradhapura',

A.B.I.A . , XIII, PP• 13-14.
1. E,!ft_inappalai, 1. 191.

; Kuruntokai, "' 34-3 ; Nan:.igai, v . i'o

mentioned person seems to have occupied the highest position
among them, judging fro• the height of the terrace he occupied.
As Paranavitana has pointed out, it is interesting to note that
the person who occupied the highest seat was a ship's captain.
This may mean that the community of Tami1s who 1J2Sed this terrace
was a mercantile community, possibly organized into a guild.
The two other B�abm! inscriptions, from Peri7a-pu1iya.Ak:ulam in
the Vavuniya district, mention a Tamil. trader :named Vilakha,
who owned a cave in that place.1 In South India , at Tirupparanku�am
and Sitta..u.aV-�al, there are at least three Brahm! inscriptions
of about the second century B.C. mentioning hot1Seholders from
Ceylon (�a)� The establishment of religious contacts with the
Andhra country as early as the second century .A.. D . is attested
to by inscriptions at N""
agarju�iko�a, which refer to the
foundation of a monastery cal1ed the slbi4a-vihara by monks
from Ceylon� Probably Telugus from the 4lldhra �ountry we.re in
Ceylon, too , at this time. The Mahav�� mentions a 'Dami+a'
named Vafuka, 'a city-carpenter in the capital ' , among the
paramours of Queen Anula to be raised to the throne b the

1. !:]_ . , V, pt.2, P• 242.

2. C.Narayana Rao, £1?.• ill•, PP• 367, 368, 37.5 .
3. J.Ph.Vogel, 'Nagarj�iko�a Inscriptions', !.:.1• , XX, pp. 22, 23.
first century B.C� Although the Mahav�a and the Dipav™a
refer to him as a Dami1a, his name suggests that he was a
Telugu, for Va(uka is a term that was applied to the Telugus
by the Tamil.a. Probably Vatuka was an artisan from 'i.ndhra-de6a.
The archaeol.ogical. sources provide valuable data
regarding the cultural. rel.ations between Andhrade§a and Ceylon
in the early centuries of the Christian era. It has been
pointed out by Paranavitana that the majority of the earl.y
sculptures of Ceylon bear a striking simil.arity to those of the
°indhra school� A number of portable marble reliefs and statues,
which by their material and styl.e bel.ong to the 4,ndh1ta school.,
have been discovered in the northern parts of Ceylon, in places
like Maha-il.l.uppal.lama, S'4giriya, Hingurakgama, Ma.radanka.dawela,
Pemadu and Kuccaveli� Commenting on these finds, Paranavitana
says: '
The evidence of the influence of indhra art on that of
early Ceylon is so overwhelming that it may be suggested
that a branch of that school was established in Ceylon
and that the sculpture 04 the frontispieces of the ancient
stupas are the work of sculptors from the Kistna valle1
or l.ocal artists trained by them. 4

1. Mv . , 34:20.
2. S.Paranavitana, 'Examples of Andhra art recently found in Ceyl.on ' 1
A.B. I.A. , XI, PP• 15-l.8.
3. A.s.c. A.R. for 1952 , p.24 ; A.S.C.A.R for 1954, P.5 : A.S. C.A. R.
for 1956 , P• 4 ; A. S.C.A • • for 1957 , P• 24; A.S.C.A.R. for 1955 ,
PP• 10,l.l,29 .
4. '.Evi dence of earliest lillhalese art•, Ceylon Observer, 4 . 2 .1 95o ,p.6,
It is clear from the evidence that has been briefly
adduced above that before the third century A.D . close contacts
had been established between Ceylon and the Tamil and Telugu
countries. But this evidence does not necessarily suggest that
there were settlements of Dravidians in the island at this time.
The question to which we have to seek an answer is whether these
early contacts between South India and Ceylon led to the rise
of permanent and widespread settlements of the Dravidians in
the ia1and.
The evidence outline4 above reveals that commercial
interests, political adventure and the prospect of military
employment had led Tamils and possibly some Telugus to go to
Ceylon in the early centuries of the island ' s history. Tamil
traders possibly established temporary settlements in the ports
and main towns. But there is no reliable evidence in our literary
or epigraphic sources to c&nc1ude that there were notable settle­
ments of Dravidians in the island before the third century A. D .
The Mahav�a and the" late chronicle RaJavaliya contain some
references to the migration of people from the Tamil countr,-
to Ceylon before the third century A.D . In the account of Vijaya,
the Mahava$sa refers to the arrival of a princess , seven hundred
maidens and ' craftsmen and a thousand families' from the ��ya
country� This statement does not inspire any confidence in us.

1 • .!:!!_. , f 1 55 ff.
It is as unreliable as the many other elements that have grown,
in the course of the centuries, around the traditio� of the
original Indo-.Aryan settlements in Ceylon. It is significant
to note that the earlier chronicle, Dipava�a, has no semblance
of this t a1e in its account of Vijaya. It seems to have been
included l ater in order to enhance the prestige o! the founders
of the Sinhalese kingdom.
The RaJ°avaliya would have us believe that Gajabahu I
(114-136) settled twelve thousand Tamil prisoners in the districts
of A.lutldiruva, Sarasiyapattuva, Yafinuvara, U�unuvara, Tu.mpane ,
Revahl!t a, Pansiyapattuva, Ego�atiha and Mego�atiha in the central
highlands! The cycle of Gajabahu legends in the literature and
tradition of the Sinhalese has been discussed by scholars in
some detail and it is now agreed that, although there seems to
be some kernel of truth in the accounts regarding Gajabahu's
visit to South India, many of the details are highly incredible
and improbable� That Gajabahu visited South India is confirmed
by the CilappatikarruJ A.round the tradition connected with this
event, several legends seem to h ave grown in the course of the
centuries. The account of the Tamil settlements ill the RaJavaliya

1 . gy. , P • 35.
2. U.C.H.C . , I, pt.l, PP• 182-185 ; W.M.K.Wijetunge, .2!?.• ill•
3. Cilappatikaram, PP• 18, 636 .
may form part of the later details added to the original tradition.
It is also possible that it is based on some minor Tamil settle­
ments that were established in the island in the second centuryy
or later. The second century A.D. appears to have been a period
of expansion for the Cola country. The several accounts of Karikala
Cola ' s activities reveal that Tamil settlements were established
in the newly-cleared territories north of the Cola country,
namely in To��aimal}-�a1am: It is possible that the expanding
population of the Cola country went in search of new lands and
some of them settled in the western regions of Ceylon, where
even now the few Tamil-speaking Sinhalese claim descent from
those who are supposed to have been settled by Ga jabahu . These
events, or more probably later Tamil settlements, may have
given rise to the legend of the twelve thousand prisoners in
later times. With the evidence that we have now, it is not possible
to ?erify the account in the Ra'.Javaliya. As it stands, however,
it is difficult to accept it as reliable.
Although the literary and epigraphic sources are
not helpful in our inquiry regarding the Dravidian settlements
of the earliest period , the evidence of archaeology has been of
much value. The earliest and perhaps the most definte evidence

1. V.Kanakasabhai, .21?.• cit., PP• 27-29 ; Patfinappalai, 11. 280-284.

concerning any Dravidian settlement in the island prior to the
third century A.D.is provided by the megalithic urn burials
from Pomparippu, on the north-western coast of Ceylon. Partia1
excavations at this site at different times during the last four
decades hav e uncovered several urn-buria1s, which have rightly
been related to the megalithic cu1ture-comples of southern India!
The megaliths of the peninsular Indian region have generally
been associated with the Dravidian-speakers, who are believed
to have occupied the area in the c ourse of the first millenium B.C.
This theory is held by most mo4ern scholars, though there are
severa1 points of controversy which have not been satisfactorily
solved� Although the urn-buria1s at Pomparippu have been associated
with the South Indian complex, they h ave not yet been systematically
excavated, and it will be difficult to express anything conclusive
till such ah excavation is completed and the finds thoroughly
It was in 1925 that one of the pots from the buria1
site was examined for the first time by the Archaeological
Department� But it was not until 1956 that a systematic, though

1. C.J.Sc. (G ), I, pt . 2, PP• 51-52 ; A.S .C. A.R . for 1957, PP• 11-17,
z. K.R. Sriniva.s+,nd N.R.Banerjee, • survey of South Indian Mega1itha ',
Ancient India, 9, PP• 113-114.
3. C.J.Se . (G), I, pt. 2, P• 51.
by no means extensive, excavation was carried out there. In 1956
more than a dozen jars were discovered and in and around these
were smaller pots which contained skulls and other human bones,

some of which were post-cremation remains! In the next year, nearly

four teen urns were unearthed and these, too, contained human
bones, skulls, food and personal belongings� These burials were
either fractional or secondary. Of the metal artefacts, four
are of bronze and one of iron. Some of these artefacts are similar
to those discovered at the megalithic sites at Brahmagiri, in
the Kannada areas of South India� Deraniyagala, who was in
charge of the 1956 excavations, has compared these with the
finds of the fourth quarter phase of the Bronze Age in the Deccan,
datable to about the third century B.C.4
An examination of the material from Pomparippu
shows that it is not to the material from Brahmagiri and Chandravalli
that the Ceylonese artefacts bear the closest affinity, but to
those from the sites in the Tamil country, such as 4dichchanalltlr .
The Pomparippu site differs in one important respect from those
of Mysore and Kerala, in that its interments belong to a class
called urn-burials and have no lithic appendage either in the

1. A. S . C . A.R. for 1256 , P • ,;

2. A.S.C.A.R . for l957, PP• 11-17, 30-31.
3 . .!.!!g. ' PP• 16-17 •
4 . ,!ill. , P• 17.
form of a bounding circle or dolmens and cists. Even the absence
of sarcophagi is conspicuous. Such burials have been found in
large numbers at Adichchanalltlr, in the Tinnevelly district and
are peculiar to the extreme south of the peninsula� The Pomparippu
site lies closer to ldichchanallUr in respect of the large contents
of bronze ware, than to the sites of tvsore . But it has all the
comm.on features t,at makes it representative of the megalithic
culture, namely iron implements, the wheel-turned Black-and-Red
ware and the post-excarnation fragmentary and collective buria1s�
The large and pyriform urns are similar to those from Adichchanall:ur
and Brahmagiri. Probably the people responsible for these burials
were Tamils from the neighbouring Tinnevelly district , the area
which is closest to Pomparippu. The common prevalence of such
urn-burials among the Tamils of early times is evidenced by the
Sanlam literature as well� In the light of this evidence, the
Pomparippu region could be taken as one of the earliest settlement
sites of the Dravidians, probably Tamils, in Ceylon.
The problem lies not so much in the identification
of the authors of these burials as in the determination of their
date. The South Indian sites have been dated variously fro�

l. K.R.Srinivasan and N.R.Banerjee, 2.l?.• ill• , P • 110 ;

A.Raa, Catalogue of Prehistoric Antiquities from Adichchanal1ur
and Perumbair.
2. K.R. Srinivasan and N.R.Banerjee, P• 115.
3. K. R.Sr:i.nivasan, ' The Megalithic Burials and Urn-fields of South
India in the light of Tamil literature and tradition', Ancient IHdiai
"1n . a. . II�• q t-t .
the seventh century B.C. to the first and second centuries A . D.
From the evidence of the �a.Agam literature we find that such
urn-burials were in vogue in the Tamil country as late as the
second and third centuries A.D� By a closer comparison of our
artefacts with their opposite numbers in the South Indian sites
as well as on the basis of stratigraphy it is possible to arrive
at a specific date for the Pomparippu burials . But unfortunately,

the excavations at Pomparippu have not been systemativally completed

nor has a comparative study been und{taken . Till. these things
are done it is impossible for a non-archaeologist to pronounce
a judgment on this vital question. �e Adichchanall'iir and Perumbair
sites in the Tinnevelly district can be dated to about the third
century B. C� Considering the fact that our artefacts bear the
closest simi1arity to those of the latter sites, it .may not be
wrong to assign them to about the same period. ill that could
be said for the present is that the Pomparippu site is earlier
than the third century A.D. and is om, of the earliest settlement
sites of the Dravidians in Ceylon. Taking into consideration
the location of the site, near the mouth of the Kala Oya, close
to the pearl banks and only a few miles south of the ancient,

1. K.R.Srinivasan, .21?.• cit. , PP• 9 ff.

2. K.R.Srinivasan and N.R. Banerjee, �• ill•, P• 113.
though lesser known, ports of Kutira:irnalai and Pa1lugatu;:ai,
where ancient ruins are still to be seen, it is possible that
this originated as a settlement of traders as well as pear•-divers
and fishermen from the opposite coast. It is dif!icult to say
whether these Dravidians continued to survive as a distinct
group till later times when Pomparippu definite1y becomes known
to us as a Tami1 area, or whether they were assi.Jlilated to the
local Sinhalese population before long. The prox�ty to as well
as the continuous relations with South Ind�a ma:y have helped
them to maintain their ethnic identity for a long time. But
these are matters of speculation.
Another possible megalithic site is to be found
in Katiravefi, on the north-eastern coast of the island. Some
years back, Paranavitana discovered here several ruge slabs
of stone , cut to some size ajid shape, scattered about the place,
but not without some order. These stones 'lie in groups of
four or five ; and there are unmistakable signs that some of
them may have been set up on the ground. There is one group
which still shows the original structure 1 : Paranavitana a1so
found • other relics of human occupation • � On the basis of the
description of such a structure in the Paramatta-jot:ika, he

1 . C. J.Sc. (�l, II, PP• 94-95.

2. �., P• 95.
surmised that these could be 'connected with a vaksha cult • !
If these structures served the purpose of wcirship, as Paranavitana
is inclined to believe, it is unlikely that several of them were
erected in one particular site. It seems more probable that
these were sepulchral structures, similar to those found in
several parts of South India. Among the many different types
of megaliths found in that peninsula, dolmenoid cista form one
class.2 These are either made of dressed slags of stone and covl"
• ed

by a capstone or are constructed with rough unhewn boulders.

Such cists are found in places like TiruvalaAga�u in Andhra
Pradesh and Ariyur in Madras� But al.most all these have port­
holes, whereas the dolmenoid cists in Cochin do not have this
featuret It is possible that the cists at Katiraveii belong to
the latter class. In fact, Paranavitana states that according
to his guide there was at least one structure which had four
side-slabs and another slab at the top, only a few years before
he visited the site. Two of the side-slabs had fallen down and
the top slab had been removed for building a temple in the

1. C.J . Se . (G), II, P• 95.

2. K.R.Srinivasan and N.R.Banerjee , P• 105.
3• .ill!!•, P• 106.
4• .!.!?,g., P• 106.
vicinity: This means that a11 th• other groups of stones at this
site may have originally stood in the form of dolmenoid cists.
Further, the name given to this site by the villagers, who are
Tamils, is Kuranku-pafai-efutta-vempu ( ( The region of) the
margosa tree under which the monkeys mustered). This name seems
to connect these structures with the South Indian dolmenoid
cists. For, in the Tamil country,the megalithic structures are
known by a remarkably similar name, Kura.Aku-pat,{atai, a corruption
of the name Kurakkuppat'ai, meaning • a sepulchre or tomb lowered
into the earth'� The villagers of Katiraveli, like those of
South India, believe that these stone structures mark the site
where the monkeys of Ra.ma's ar� encamped before the battle with
Rava$a� This is a case of popular etymilogy based on the element
kurru\ku (=monkey), the corruption of lrurakku . It is possible
that the later Tamil settlers in the Katiraveli region, having
seen the remarkable simi.larity between the megaliths of their
South Indian homeland and these structures, used the name Kurakku-pafai
or Kuranku.-pattafai which later became Kurdku-patai. As no
excavation was carried out at this site, it is not known whether
burials exist here, and, therefore, it is not possible to say

l e C.J . Sc . (G) , II, P• 95.

2. K.R.Srinivasan, .22• ill• , P• 9.
3 • .!!?_g. ; C . J. Sc , (G) , II, P• 9.5.
an,-thing definite on this matter. Since the site is on the coastal
area not far from the ancient port of Go�a, it is not impossible
that the p eople who erected these were traders from the Cochin
area, the dolmenoid cists of which place bear the closest similarity
to our cists. Perhaps the KatiraTe li area bad a small settlement
of Dravidians some time between the third century B.C. and the
first century A. D., the period norma.1ly assigned to most of the
South Indian megaliths. It is not impossible, however, that these
structures are independent of the South Indian complex. But this
is unlikely on account of their isolated character, which goes
against their association with some other culture-complex.
Until the ninth century, with the exception of the
megalithic remains of Pomparippu and the possible exception
of those of Katiraveli, there is no definite evidence regarding
any Dravidian settlement in the island. The Pali chronicles,
South Indian literary works, and Ceylonese and South Indian
inscriptions attest to the continuous relations between Ceylon
and South India. Between the third and the ninth ceatury, there
were two South Indian invasions of Ceylon. The first was in A.D.529
which resulted in the rule of six Tamils at Anuradhapura for
twenty-six years: The second took place in the r eigm of Sena I
(833-853). On this occasion, the Pa;�ya ruler Sr! �a Sri Vallabha

1. £:!.• , 38 : 11 ff. ; W . M. K.Wi j etunge , £E.• ill•

defeated the Sinhalese ruler and returned with a large booty:
In the same period , at least on nine occasions , Sinhalese aspirants
to the throne went over to South India and took mercenaries to
achieve their ends�

There were also close religiaus relations between

the two regions. The Pali chronicles refer to Buddhist monks
from South India going to Ceylon and .!!£.! versa. Scholars like
Buddhadatta and Mahayanists like S�ghamitta went from the �la
country. Monks from &� l•n went to the 4ndhra country and from
there helped to spread BuddhisJ In the time of the taiva revival
in the Tamil country (sixth to the ninth century), monks from
Ceylon are said to have gone there and participated in public
disputations! An interesting information regarding South Indian
Buddhists in Ceylon is found in some late Telugu Jain works as
well as in two Kannada inscriptions of about the twelfth century.
The Telugu works , such as the RaJavali-kathe , Akalai\ka-carita
and the Akalafta.-stotra, refer to an eighth-century Jain teacher ,
Akalalllta. by name , from �rava.\la Belgola in ?vsore , as having disputed
with the Buddhists of Ka!l.ci and defeated the� These Buddhists,

1 . �. , 5 0 : 1 2 ff. ; W . M. K .Wi jetunge , &• ill•

2. �- , 36 :4 5 , 4 9 ; E!• , P• 49 ; 2!.• , 44 :71 ,l05 , 125 , 152; 45: 18 ;
47:33 ff. , 46 ff. ; W.M.K.Wijetunge , .2P,• ill• ; U.C .H.C. , I , pp.309£
3 . J.Ph.Vogel , &• ill•, PP• 22 , 23.
4. �i.Pll ·.•it�e.l pt21'';f.!!t PP• � -To/\ OT , C c.,• \'-.. i .s ovtnc, 1 -
J l o::,u.� o 1!.. 1 'r·\ '3.S-.

5. H.H.Wi1son, Mackenzie Collection, I , P • 'ltLiV ; !:.£•, II , pp.45, 46_,13'·

we are tol.d, were in consequence banished to Ceylon. The substance
of these accounts seems true, for, two Kannada inscriptions
of earlier dates also refer to the same incident. An inscription
from Tirumak.u�lu-NarasipUr tallik, of A. D. 1183, alludes to
Akallika.'s defeat of the Buddhists; while another from Sravatta
Belgola celebrates AkalaAka for his victory at lCa!ici over the
Buddhists who were in consequence banished to the island of Ceylon • 2.
Since more than one literary work and two t•t orip�ions record
this tradition...and since the details of the account are not
intrinsica11y impossible, it may be allowed qualified credence.
In the cultural sphere, too, there is evidence of
close relations between South India and Ceylon in this period.
so-,c. of
The influence of Pallava art and architecture on �he buildings
and sculptures of the island between the sixth and the ninth
century bears testimony to this. The lffllanda Ge�ige stands out
as a unique monument of Pal.lava architecture in Ceylon� The wel.1-
known Man-and-Horse's-Head and the bas-relief from Isurumuniya
as well as the dvarapala statues at Tiriyay and the bodhisattva
figures from Situlpavva and Kurnkkal-ma�am exhibit unmistakable

1. g. , III, Inscr. No.105 from �irumak.ii�1u-Naras!pur taluk , t'· r1.

2. !.:.Q., II, Inscr. No.54 from �rav�a Belgola, P• 45.
3. A.s.c. A.R. for l.910/11, PP• 42-50.
influence of the Pallava school of sculpture.1 The use of the
Grantha script of the Pallavas in the Sanskrit inscriptions at
Tiriy�y and the influence of this script on the Sinhalese script
in the seventh and eighth centuries bear further testimony to
the expansion of South Indian influence into Ceylon in the later
Anuradhapura period�
In the context of all these relations between
Ceylon and South India a certain amount of two-way traffic in
population may be expected, too. According to some traditions in
Kerala, there was a migration from Ceylon to that part of the
subcontinent in early times and the descendants of these Sinhalese
are said to be the caste of people still known as llavar (Sinhalese
or Ceylonese)� Probably there were some settlers from Ceylon in

1. A.S.C.A.R. for 1936, PP • 16-19 ; Artibus Asiae, XIX, PP • 165ff.,

335 ff. ; Indian Arts and Letters, XI, P • 28 ; u.c.R.c . ,I, pt.2,

2. A.S.C.A.R. for 1953 1 PP• 21, 26 i P.E.E.Fernando, 'Palaeographical

development of the Brah.mi script in Ceylon • , U . C . R . , VII,pp . 300-301.
3. V.Nagam Aiya, Travancore State Manual, II, PP• 398-402;
T.K.Veluppillai, Travancore State Manual, II, (194o), PP• 14-15;

C.A.Henon, Cochin State Manual, pp. 33, 203.

South India in early times. In Ceylon, South Indian traders
probably established temporary settlements in the p Grts. The fact
that the two earliest and most renowned tiva temples of Ceylon
are to be found in the ancient ports of Mahatittha and Gokat1,'1a
may point to the establishment of South Indian settl.ements in
these ports at an early date. The antiquity of these shrines can
be traced to about the third century A.D. The Aaiva Tamil works
of later times, prominent among these being the �Yl:a-kailaca­
pur�am and the YalPp�a-vaipava-malai, trace their origin to
pre-Christian times: Much of the material in these works, relating
to the early period, falls outside the realm of historical
probability and one has to turn to other sources fo� reliable
information concerning this quwstion. The �iva temple at Mahatittha ,
namely Tiru-ket!6varam, appears to have been notive d in the
�'1;ava�a. According to this work, there was a temple of god at
the port of Mahatittha in the ninth year of Kitti Siri Me gha (A.D. 310)�
The existence of a §iva temple at Goka$v.a in the t ime of Mahasena
(274-301) is vouched for by the Mahav�....!, which mentions the

construction by Mahasena of a vihara at Goka�fa after the destruction

of a temple of god there� The V�atthappakasini, the commentary

1• !!EL?. , Tirumalai Carukkam ; �-, p. 6.

2. �fhava v,�, ed. and tr. B.C.Law, P• 42.
3. !!! •, 37:41.
on the Mahavyts...!, states that this temple of god was a �ival:il\ga
temple.l Probably it was the predecessor of the Ko�e�varam
""- L
about which we hear from the seventh century onwards. It is first
mentioned in the hymns of Nana-campantar, the §aiva hymnodist of
the seventh century A . D� He has also sung a hymn on Tiru-�tilvaram,
the tiva temple of Mahatittha� These �iva temples of the island,
situated at the major ports of the Anuradhapura period, were
presumably built by South Indian Saiva traders. Probably there
were temporary settlements of South Indian mercantile communities
at these places from the early centuries of the Christian era.
But it is not till the ninth century that we get any definite
evidence of any Dravidian settlement in the island.
Considering the number of occasions when South Indian
mercenaries were enlisted, it appears ikat before the ninth century
more South Indians went to Ceylon as hired soldiers than as
traders. Most of the mercenaries went to the island in the seventh
century, when Sinhalese aspirants to the throne enlisted them
on no less than seven occasions. There is no positive evidence to
suggest that these South Indians remained behind in the island

1. !,__
�atthapakasini 1 II, (P.T. s. ), P• 685.
2. Tiru-!rana-campantar Tevara Tiruppatikatka.t, PP• 810-812.
3. �., PP• 518-520.
and established permanent settlements. Probably they, or most
of them, stayed behind permanently. The situation created by the
increasing numbers of Kera.la and Tamil mercenaries in the seventh
century and later is comparable with that caused by the Teutonic
federates in Britain and on the Rhine and the Danube frontiers
of the Roman empire in the fifth century A. D.; The British
parallel is striking in this respect. We find that a British
king employed Saxon mercenaries from the mainland to repel the
invasions of his ememies and granted land in the eastern parts
o f his kingdom for their settlement . Eventually the federates
created trouble over payment, plundered the c ountry and asserted
their power� Although the situation in Ceylon was not similar
in magnitude, it is in a similar manner that the South Indian
mercenaries appear to have behaved on several occasions between
the seventh and the tenth century. The ctilav�...! refers to

instances when the mercenaries showed no desire of returning to

their homelands, resisted to being expelled by the Sinhalese
rulers, created trouble over payments, plundered the country
and at times took over power at the capital. For instance,
immediately after the death of Kassapa II (650-659), his nephew

1. R.G.Collingwood and J'.N. L. Myres, Roman Britain and the English

Settlements, PP • 358-359.
2 . Ibid. , P• 359.
Mana 'had the Dami1as expelled '� But they resisted this and
'banded themselves with the resolve : we will drive him out•�
With that rEC,solve 'they seized the town ' and it was only by
making a mock treaty with them that l-mna was able to regain
power� This uneasy truce did not last long. Soon after this
a Sinhalese aspirant to the throne, Hatthadat ha, returned to
the island with a Tamil force and the Tamils who were already
in the island 'arose and joined him on the way as he approached • !
'Hatthadatha who had won over the party of the Dami1as for
himself , occupied the royal city ' and ruled for some time�

On an earlier occasion, Tamil mercenaries of Dafhopatissa I

(639-650) resorted to plunder and destruction. 'The canoes
in the Mahapali Hall he left to the Damilas; (and)they burned
down the royal palace together with the Relic Temple '� In the
reign of Sena V (972-982) , the Tamil mercenaries were again
in power. 'The Damitas now plundered the whole country like
devils and pillaging, seized the property of its inhabitants • ?

1. £!.. , 4.5 : 11.

2. �-. 45 : 12.
3. .!ill· ' 45 : 13-16 •
4 . .!!?,g. , 45 : 19•
5. 12,g. ' 45 : 21.
6• .!ill· ' 44 : 134.
7 . Ibid., 54 :5-6.
Not long after this, in the tenth year of Mahinda V (992),
'the KerS.:as who got no pay planted thwmselves on• with another
at the door of the royal palace, determined on force, bow in
hand, armed with swords and (other) weapons, (with the cry)
"So long as there is no pay he shall not eat"� When the king fled
to Roha_va, •Keralas, slha:J'.as and Ka;�fas carried on the government
as they pleased'� Just as the Saxon mercenaries founded Teutonic
settlements in places like Kent, it appears that the Dravidian
mercenaries, namely the Damiias, Keralas and Katl�fas, founded
small settlements in Rajaraf�a which formed the nuclei of later
settlements. As we shall see in the sequel, the Sinhalese rulers
seem to have granted lands for the settlementsof mercenaries .
The inscriptions of the tenth century refer to Tamil allotments
and lands, which, according to Paranavitana, seem •to have been
set apart for the maintenance of the Tamil soldiers in the king's
service • � But it appears that there were Tamil allotments, lands

and villages which were not necessarily set apart for the maintenance
of Tamil soldiers but were places where Tamils were living!
There is also some indirect evidence in the Clilava� which points

1. £.!. , .5.5 : .5 -6 .
2. �- . 55 : 12.
3 . hl• , III, P• 273 .
4. Swe infra, P• 71 •
to the existence of minor Tamil settlements in Rajaraftha in
the seventh and ninth centuries• That Tamils were living scattered
here and there is hinted at in a reference in. the account of
Hatthadafb_a (684). It is stated that when Hatthadatha went to
Ceylon with an army of mercenriea from South India and marched
towards Anuradhapura , presumably from Mahatittha, • all the Damil'.as
who dwelt here arose and joined him on the way as he approached • :
Evidently this is a reference to the Tamils who lived ill the areas
between the port and the capital. Another reference is �ound
in the account of the Pai.,.ha invasion during the reign iof Sena I
(833-853) . When the Pa��ya ruler �rI �a Sr! Vallabha li..nvaded
the island and encamped at ¥..ahatalitagama, 'the many Damifa,s who
dwelt (scattered) here and there, went over to his side • � Probably
there were minor settlements of mercenary and other DraTidiana
in some parts of Rajara�fha from about the seventh century. A
reference in the Culava� seems to imply that many of t he Tamils
in the island in the eighth century we7e soldiers. Whi1e recounting
the meritorious deeds of Mahinda II (777- 7 97) , the chronicle
states that he gave horses to the Dami+as ' as they wou1d not take
cattle ' � This probably refers to the Tamils in the capital city,

1. Q:!. , 45 : 19.
2 . llii, , 5'0 : 1'5 .

3. �- , 48:145.
for, it is unlikely that Mahinda II distributed horses t o the
Tamils liTing in all parts of the kingdom. That these TII.Dlils
refused c att1e and acdepted horses may mean that the1 were not
a settled peasantry but mercenaries who had more use for h orses
than for cattle. But this, however , is a flimsy evidence and
the Tamils who reveived horses were probably a few mercenary
It is in the niJrlih and tenth centuries that we again
get any definite epigraphic and archaeological evidenc e , though
meagre, pointing to Dravidian settleants. For the first time
in these c enturies, Tamil inscriptions come to light and Sinhalese
inscriptions refer to Tamil lands and villages. The ear1ie st of
the ruins of Siva temples are also datable to the same period.
Several Saiva ruins, aptly termed the Tanui.1 Ru.ins,
have been discovered in a section of the norhhern quarter of
Anuradhapura. These ruins consist of temples and residenc e s for
priests, with some lesser buildings scattered here and there .
Some of these are SivaliAga temples while some others ar e dedicated
to Ea+i , the mother goddess. Several stone lingas, too , have
been unearthed in this area . ill the shrines are of om.e design,
which is simple and reminiscent of the style of early �ravidian
temples. These have a vestibule (antara1�), a migdle-room (ardha­
maJi�apa) and a sanctum (garbha-grha), and were all built o f brick

1. &.S.C.A. R. for 1892, P • 5 ; A.S . C.A.R. for 1893 . p. 5 .

basements: These aaiva ruins of Anuradhapura, according to
Paranavitana, belong to the 'latest period of that city's history • 2
The style of these temples, which is in marked conttrast t o the
embellished granite temples of the Col.a and later periods, 1s
undoubtedly pre-Cola and, therefore, belongs to about the ninth
century, if not earlier. This date for these ruins , or at l.east
for most of them, has also been ccinfirmed by the Tami1 inscriptions
found among them, these being the earliest known Tamil records
in the island. Two of them are dated in regnal yeJJrs of Cil:,i­
canka-poti 1€ray8,ll (Skt . SrI S�ghabodhi Ma.haraja)? who has been
identified as .Aggabodhi III (629-639) by Krishna Sastri! This
, ..
identification rests on the consecration name, Sra S�habodhi,
and on the script of the inscriptions. He seems tm have been
guided mainly by the consecration name or 'throne name', judging
from his statement : 'The writing employed in the records 1s
sufficiently archaic to be referred to the time o! Aggabodhi III,
who according to the Ceylonese chronicle MahavaVJ.§a, was surnamed
Siri Sal'l>ghabodhi'? Apparently, Sastri was not aware of the fact

i . A.S.C.A.R. for
18 23 1 P• .5 .
2. U . C.H . C . , I, pt . 1, P • 386.
3 . S.I. I . , IV, Nos. 1403, 14-04.
4. M. E.R. for 1913. P• 103.
.5 . ll!.!!·
that Siri Sd.>ghabodhi and Silamegha were borne a1ternately by
Sinhalese kings as consecration names in much the same way as
Rajake�ari and Parake�ari were used by the Cola rulers. The
, -
name Sri Satghabodhi was used by several rulers �rom the time
of Ag�abodhi II; and it is not easy to identify the ruler of
our inscriptiollSwith any one of them. But it is �ossible to
date the inscriptions on other grounds. The occUtrrence of the
terms kumarak!W� and �la.kk'acu in these inscript ions is of some
help in this respect. The term kumarak!MJ.�, refel:"ring to a group
or a corporation in the position of a board of managers or
trustees of single shrines� does not occur in aJJJ of the Tamil
inscriptions of South India before the ninth centur� It appears

1. u . c . H . C . , I, pt. 1, P • 365.
2. See infra, tr- C.S-- C.C. .
3. K.Kanapathi Pillai, A Study of the Language mf the Tamil
Inscriptions of the Seventh and Eighth Centuries A.D., thesis
submitted to the University of London, 1936. ETen the two early
:L_ru;t,!! of South India, namely the !lu.iikavam and the a�tag�.!
find mention in the inscriptions only from the time of
Nandivarman III (844-866) and Aparajita (879-897) respectively,

C. Hi.nakshi, Administration and Social Life under the Pallavas,

PP• 130, 132.
to have been an institution of the early �la period. The term
!J.akkacu (Ceylon money), referring to a particular t,-pe o t c6in
of Ceylon, occurs for the first time in the inscriptions o t
Parantaka I (907-955) and not earlier: It is unlikely that this
term had come into use in the time of Aggabodhi III. nearly
three centuries aarlier. The king mentioned in our i.nscriptions
is also given the title of Muayau (Maharaja). This is an attribute
given to Mahinda IV, (956-97a), along with the name Sri S�habodhi ,
in the Vessagiri inscription� But since the use of the title
Maraya.i may have been indiscriminate, it is not possible to date
these inscriptions to the reign of Mahinda IV on this evidence
alone. Besides, this date may be somewhat late considering the
script of the records. Probably these belong to the ninth century.
The Saiva ruins amidst which these epigraphs were found ma,- also
be dated to the same time.
These Tamil. inscriptions from Anuradha.pura cl.early
attest to the existence of corporate organizations among the
Tamil.a of Anuradhapura around the ninth century . One of the records ,
dated in the fifth year of Ci�i-caiLka.-poti Marayau, registers

1. A.Veluppil.lai, A Study of the Language of the Tamil Inscriptions

of the Ninth and Tenth 6enturies, thesis submitted to the
University of Oxford, 1964.
2. !:!• , I, P • 3 .
the grant of money, amounting to thirty :!l�cus, for the daily
offerings and the burning of the perpetual lamp, evidently to
one of the Siva temples in the area, by the members of a kumarak�am
(kumar�attu perurom ), from the money loaned by Cekkil'all Cefti
Ca.Akau� The other inscription, dated in the seventh year of the
same king, records the gift of the same amount of money, for the
identical purpose, by the same group, from the money given by
Cekki!au Ceani� The phrase kumar�attu per1Irom was misunderstood
by Krishna Sastri when he rendered it as 'residaats of Kumar�attu­
PerUr ' � Kurr:tar�attu-perur is certainly not the name of a village.
Perur�m literally means 'we the residents of the big village' and
stands for the members of the village assemblies or corporations
in the same way as na t t¥r (residents of the district) and
nakarattar (residents of the town) means members of the district
assemblies and mercantile guilds of the towns respectively�
Kumar�am is a term which occurs in contemporary South Indian
inscriptions and stands for a group or corporation holding trusteeship
of single shrines� Kumar�attu-perurom refers to those villagers

1. S . I. I., IV, No . 14o3 .

2. llli • ' No. 14<>4.
3 . M.E.R. for 1212 , P• 103.
4. C . Mi.nakshi, .21?• cit., P • 122.
5 . K .A. Nilakanta Sastri, The �as, P• 489.
or citizens who were members of the kumaralq�V:am. Since these
groups were not mercantile guilds, it cannot be said that they
had extra-territorial interests. This would mean that the lf��2
o f our inscriptions was a loca1 body without any kind °f relationship
with a South Indian body. The important fact to be noticed ia
that the !amils settled in Anuradhapura in this time had organizations
and institutions similar to those of their kinsmen on the ma.inland
and used Tamil, presumably for the first time in Ceylon, in their
donative records.
A third Tamil inscription from the same ruins throws
further interesting light on the Tamils who lived in that area�
This long but badly weathered epigraph records the building of
a Buddhist vihara by the :tranku Nattu Tamild ( 'The Tamils of the
Four Countries' ). It is dated in the reign of Senavarman. Since
palaeographically the epigraph may be said to belong to the ninth
century, this Seaavarmaa, could be either Sena I or II (833-853
and 853-887) • The ?raf.ku Nat tu Tami.!ar of this inscription also
refer to themselves as Na;&;lku Natt�m (We of the Four Countries).
It appears that they were a single body rather than a group o f
Tamils from four different countries. The evidence of some o f
the Kannada inscriptions shows that it is so. These inscriptions
are those left by the mercantile called the Ai!1fflio:,uvar and their

1. S.I.I., IV, No. 1405.

associates and belong to about the twelfth and thirteenth centuries!
In these inscriptions, we find references to a community c alled
the ?ralku Na4u (Four Countries), who were among the assoc iates
of the Aiflfflia:uvar. They were probably a trading community like
the Nalu Nakarattar (Those of the Four Cities)� bat there is no
evidence on this point. The ?ra,nku Nattu Tamilar o:b Tamils of the
au}tu Natu, mentioned in our inscription from Anuradhapura, seem
to have been members of the same community as the Nalku Na�u of
the Kannada inscriptions. It is interesting to note that this
community of Tamjls erected a Buddhist temple at An�dhapura
some time in the ninth century and named it Makkotai-pB¾fi.
Makkotai is an epithet that refers to the Cera or Kerata king:
The fact that the Buddhist �ll.!. or vihara built by the Tamils
......s ......._..J_ l"l'i.
of the ?rauku Nat 'X,suggests that they may have hailed from Kerala.
On the basis of the mounds of tile fragments and
potsherds met with all over the area of the Tamil Ruins, H. C.P . Be11
has surmised that the Tamil community relegated to this quarter
would appear to be the caste of the potters� it would, however,
seem rather difficult to ascertain the profession of the community

1. !:£• , VIII, P• 8 9 of the text; see infra P • l.>O

2. M. E.R. for 1916, No. 130 of 1916.
3. T . A. s. , v , P• 100 fn.
4 . A.S.C. A.R. for 1893 , P• 5•
that lived in this quarter on the basis of these mounds. It is
somewhat far-fetched to suppose that the Tamils at Anuradhapura
were assigned different quarters of the city on the basis o f
their castes. Further, the evidence of the above inscriptions,
revealing the presence of the r� Natu who were possibly traders,
goes against this conclusion. This area, where the ruins are all
of a religious nature, appears to have had Saiva as well as
Buddhist temples which were common places of worship for the
Dravidians who lived in and near the city. Although the Tamil.
Ruins are concentrated in the area between the path from Jetava.narama
to Vijayarama and the path to Pa.Aku+iya from Kuftam Po�a;
sca ttered remains of Saiva monuments have been discovered here
and there even outside these limits, but almost all in the northern
part of the city. For instance, in the area north of the Basavaku}am
tank some stone lingas were discovered� Near the sluice of the
same tank was discovered a stone-based Piflaiyar temple� Ih the

Citadel area, the figure of a small nandi and the argha of a

l il.ga were unearthed� A quarter of a mile north of the Thliparama

l . A. S . C. A. R. for 1892, P • 5.
2. A.s.c .A.R. for 182Q, P • 2.
3. .!.E.,g . , P • 3
4 . A. S. C. A.R. for 1898, P • 3 .
a small Hindu temple similar to those in the Tamil Ruins was
also excavated! In Vihara No.l at Pankuliya, there are three -
inscriptions in Tamil and Grantha scripts.2 Some of these remains
may belong to later times but generally several. of them seem
to belong to the period before the C'?Sla occupation. The consensus
of evidence from all these finds should lead us to conclude
that there was a Dravidian settlement in the northern part of
By the time of Kassapa IV (898-914) we get in the
Sinhalese inscriptions definite references to Tamil villages
and lands. There are three significant terms which occur in this
connection in these inscriptions. They are Demel-k11bMlla,
Deme¾�t-vMlademin and �1-gam-bim, which have been translated
as 'Tamil allotment', ' Tamil lands' and 'Tamil villages and lands '
respectively� As pointed out earlier, Paranavitana has interpreted

1. A.S.C.A.R. for 1898 , P• 5.

2. A.s.c . A. R. for 1892 , P• 4 ; s.I.I. , IV, Nos. 1399 , 1400.
3. D.M.de Z.Wickramasinghe, 'Anuradhapura Slab Inscription of
Ma.hendra IV', �- , I, P• 117 ; S.Paranavitana, 'Colombo Museum
Pillar Inscription of Kassapa IV ' , �- , III, PP• 272, 273 ;
'Polonnaruva Council Chamber Inscription of Abhaya Salamevan',
�., IV, P• 36 ; ' Giritale Pillar Inscription of Udaya III',
E.Z. , III, P• 143 .
the term Demel,-k:M.balla to mean 'an allotment of land in a vill age,
set apart for the Tamils'• In his opinion, they seem •to have
been set apart for the maintenance of Tamil soldiers in the
king's service and must have been administered by royal officers • :
On an examination of the different occurrences of this term in
the published inscriptions, it appears that the abpve interpretation
does not always yield a satisfactory meaning. It is difficult
to arrive at the exact meaning of this term ; it appears to be
an allotment of land enjoying privileges different from those
of lands classified as pamunu� But certainly it is not always
an allotment from the royal household. For instance, in the
Polonnaruva Council Chamber inscription, a Tamil. al.lotment occurs
as the private property of an individual{ In this record the
allotment was granted immunities as a pamunu on condition of
paying annual� o;ne pila of dried ginger to a hospital. There
is no reference in this record, or for that matter in any of the
records where the term �t-�b�lla occurs, to any share of the
revenue being allocated for the mainte.nance of the Tamil soldiers.

1. E.Z., III, P • 273 •

2. A pamunu was 'an estate possessed in perpetuity by a family
in hereditary succession, or by an institution like a monastery
pr a hospital', U. C . H. C. , I, pt. 1, P• 375 .
3• ....:-2· , IV , P• 36.
It is , therefore, clear that a Demel-�b!lla did not a1ways
denote an allotment from the royal household nor was it necessarily
set apart for the .maintenance of Tamil soldiers. It could only
mean an allotment in a village where Tamils lived, presumably
separated from the others. Some other references in the inscriptions
seem to lend support to this interpretation. In the Rajama+igava
inscription of Mahinda IV (956-972) it is recorded that certain
immunities were granted to the village of Ki�igama: The piralllkkam,
who appear to have been a class of officials, were granted
certain privileges in Demet-ki;igam but not in Ki�igama. It is
clear from the context that Demel,-ki:Q,igam was not far away
from Ki:Q,igama. Deme+-ki\).igam (Tamil Ki;igam) appears to have
been a Tamil sector which was originally part of the village of
Ki;igama. This probably is an example of a Deme1-kMb�lla. The
Colombo Museum Pillar inscription refers to an officier called
Demel�-adhikara, who was presumably in charge of matters concerning
Tamils, or more probably Tamil mercenaries, for, as Paranavitana
has remarked, it i� when the edicts are concerned with the Tamil
allotments that this official takes a part in the promulgation
of edicts� It is unlikely that it is one of the titles that were

1• .!!.!• , II, j I ,56.

2. !!_!. , III, PP• 272, 274; u. c .H. c . , I, pt. 1, P• 372.
conferred on certain officials of the kingdom. In the time of
Parakramab'ihu I (1153-ll86) we come across at least two officia1s
who were known as DaJJd.1adhikarins. The C1Ilav�a refers to Dam:lt­
adhikarin Rakkha who was a commander in Parakramabahu • s army:
The Galapata-vihara rock inscription, which is sometimes held
to be of the time of Parakramabahu II but appears to belong to
the reign of Parak:ramabahu I, mentions Demala-adhikara Kaham.balkuiu
Mindalna, held to be probably identical with Nagaragiri or Nagaragalla
Mahinda of the Culav�_!, who was one of the military commanders
of Parakramabah.u I� From the last two occurrences of this title
or designation, Demafa-adhikara or Dami1adhikarin seems to have
been a term applied to a military officer. Probably he was in
charge of the Tamil mercenary forces and was, therefore , known
as Demala-adhikara (Tamil officia1 or authority). Probably the
Dema!a-adhikara mentioned in the tenth century Colombo Museum
Pillar inscription was also an official commanding the Tamil
mercenary forces. His participation in the promulgation of edicts
concerning Tamil allotments was probably due to the reason that
these Tamil allotments were places where Tamil mercenaries had
settled down. The presence of Tamil settlers in some of the villages
of Ra jaraftha in the ninth and tenth centuries is also evidenced
by the term Demefe-kuli which occurs in some of the Sinhalese

1. �- , 75 : 20, ,9, 74 .
2• .!!!· , IV, P• 208 ; u.c.H.C. , I, pt. 2, P• 488.
inscriptions of that time. This term occurs always with the
term �te-kul!• Wickramasinghe translated the terms as 'Tamil
coolies' and 'Sinhalese coolies ' respectively,1 but Paranavitana
has rightly rendered them as two types of imposts levied from
Tamils and Sinhalese respectively� It seems clear from the context
that these refer to some kind of tax and not to people. It is
a very probable conjecture that the foreign settlers had to pay
imposts different from those paid by the Sinhalese. It is not
always that these two terms occur when a reference is made to
imposts. For example, in the case of the immunities granted in
respect of the village of Ki�igama, mentioned earlier, the term
kut1 (impost) occurs without the epithet .E!!!'!!.1.! (Tamil) or
He1e (Sinhalese)� We have seen earlier that there was another
village called Deme:J.-kivigam, which was probably a Tamil allotment
in Ki�igama� Since Demel-�igam was treated as a separate
village, there was apparently no need to qualify the term ku+!
with Demele and Hefe in respect of the immunities granted to
Kip.gama. This may suggest that the two distinct types of kug
were mentioned in the immunity grants only in regard to villages
where both Tamils and Sinhalese were living. On the basis of this

1. !.!A• , I, PP• 170, 175.

2.E. Z. , IV , P• 54,fn. 6.
3. E. z. , II, P• 56.
4. See suprf:,P• 'l l ·
body of indirect nidence, it may not be wrong to conclude that
in the ninth and tenth centuries there were Tamils living in
separate allotments in some Sinhalese villages and that such
an allotment was known as a Demei-kll.b'M.lla. There seems �e hec"'e
to have been such allotments in royal as well as pEivate villages.
Simil.arly, the term Deme1.!f-vID.ademin (l.ands enjoyed
by �am1Js)1also appears to refer to the lands that were owned
by Tamils� This phrase occurs in the Girital.e Pillar inscription
of Udaya III (935-938). The .Anuradhapura Sl.ab inscription of
Mahinda IV (956-972) l.ays down that • (the produce) of trees and
shrubs which exist ••• • • • in the Tamil vil.l.ages and l.ands
(Deme1 gam-bim) (situated) in the four directions shall be appropriated
in accordance with former custom • � Here the phrase 'Tamil. villages
and l.ands ' evidently refers to the villages and lands where
Tamils had settled. As mentioned before, the CUlav�a also
refers to Tamil.a l.iving here and there in Rajaratfha� The pl.ace-
name evidence rel.ating to Dravidian settlements in this period
is negligibl.e. Besides Deme1-ld.Vigam, there is another place-name
with the element �1 occurring in the Ayitigevll.va inscription

1 . I am indebted to R.A.L.H.Gunawardena for explaining this term to me.

2. �., III, PP• 139, l.43.
3. !.!!• , I, P • 117.

4. See supra, P• f>o ·

of Kassapa IV (898-914).1 The Kukurumahan-damana Pillar inscription
of the same monarch refera to a pJ.ace called Kerall.gama which
may have been a place where Keraia settlers were found�
The foregoing evidence of the Sinhalese inscriptions
and the Culava�a is far too scant� and vague that it is difficult
to arrive at definite conclusions regarding Dravidian settlements
outside Anuradhapura in the ninth and tenth centuries. These
evidences certainly point to the presence of some Tamil settlers
in the villages not far from Anuradhapura . It is interesting to
note that Tamil inscriptions of the eleventh century have been
discovered within a few miles of the �1-klib�llas and �t-gam-bim
mentioned in the Sinhalese inscriptionsi This fact may not be
purely coincidental but may be a pointer in the same direction,
namely that these allotments and 1ands had settlements of Tamils.
These settlements were probably s mall and embryonic.
To sum up the evidence so far discussed, we have
in the first place references in the chronicles to the presence
of Tamil traders, invaders and mercenaries in the island from
about the second century B. C. There is no evidence, however, to

1. !:]_., II, P • 38. °it.is rt,ce. i s J""'a,. fi-. � h&.t i�•y"- ·

2. _!lli. , PP• 22-23. The reading of this name is tentative for
the inscription is damaged at this point .
3. See map at the end of the thesis.
suggest that there were Dravidian settlements either in the
pre-Christian period or in the early centuries of the Christi an
era. On the contrary, the general impression given by the P-a1i
chronicles is that the Tamils were foreign to Ceylon. Their
usurpations and unpleasant intrusions are not always dealt with
favourably. We have the evidence of th�ee Brahm! cave inscriptions,
datable to the second or first century B.C., for the presence of
Tamils, presumably traders, in the island. But here, too, the
impression given by the inscriptions is that these Tamils were
foreigners . Although the inscriptions were set up by Tamils, whose
names are mentioned in them, the language of these records is
Proto-Sinhalese as in the case of all the other inscriptions
of the island at this time. But more important than this is that
the recorders have described themselves as Tamils, which wou1d
indicate that they considered themselves to be distinct from� if
not alien to, the general population, just as much as the Silihalese
donors in the pre-Christian cave inscriptions of the Tamil country
made known the fact that they were Sinhalese householders Cya
kuf.umpikana = Skt. Sil.hy!! kuf.!!mbikanam)� In later times, t oo,
we get instances of Tamils, who made grants to temples outside
the Tamil country, recording them in the language of the area.'but

1. �-, l:!!:· , 25:110; £!.• , 38:35-37.

2 . c.Narayana Rao, .2.I?.• ill•, PP• 367, 368, 375•
making mention of the fact that they were Tamils; There is,
therefore, no epigraphic evidence suggesting the existence
of Tamil or other Dravidian settlements in Ceylon in the period
before the ninth century. It is onJ.y the archaeologieal evidence
that points to the existence of a Dravidian settlement at Pomparippu
and possibly another at Katiravefi, between about the second
century B.C . and the third century A.D.After this there is a
long gap till. we reach the seventh century, when we get some
flimsy evidence that points to possible Tamil settlements in

the island. According to the Pali chronicle, bands of Tamil

mercenaries were taken to the island at least on seven occasions
in the seventh century. It also contains vague references to
Tamils living in some parts of Rajataft ha. Certain prominent
Tamils, in possession of villages and tanks, also find mention�
In the contemporary Tamil works of South India, there are references
to Siva temples at the ports of Gokatr�a and Ma.hatittha which
were venerated by Tamils. However, it could not be claimed that
there is any definite evidence relating to Tamil settlements in
the seventh century. It is only in the ninth and tenth centuries
that we get such evidence 1n the Sinhalese and Tamil inscriptions
in the archaeological sources and to an extent in the P-ali

1. !!.lts., M.E.R. for 1894, No. 184 of 1893.

2. £!.. , 46 : 19-24.
chronicle. That by the tenth century permanent Dravidian settle ents
had begun in the island is fairly clearly borne out by these
sources. On the basis of this meagre evidence that is available,
we have to conclude that there were no notable Dravidian settlements

of a widespread nat ure before the ninth century. The settlement

at Pomparippu and the possible settle ent at Katirave+i have t o
b e treated as isolated earlier settlements . These ar e comparable
to the earliest Saxon settlements in Britain, at places like
Dorchester, where the Teutonic artefacts are so early that they
are not sometimes considered to belong to the period of Saxon
settlement at all: The burials at Pomparippu apart, the evidence
as a whole does not warrant the assumption of a date earlier
than the ninth century for the beginning of permanent and distinct
Dravidian settlements in Ceylon. Before that century, there was
intercourse between South India and Ceylon in the commercial,
political, cultural an d religious spheres in the wake of which
some Dravidians went over to the island and possibly settled
down there. Probably there were some mercenary settlers, too ,
from about the seventh century. Many of them ma:y have been assimi l ated
to the Sinhalese population before long.
Besides the absence of positive evidence, there are
also other considerations which lead us to think that Dravidian
settlements worthy of the name were not founded before the ninth

1. R.G.Colli ngwood and J.N.L.}vres, 21?,• ill• • P• 394.

century. As we shall see later, the evidence of the literary
and epigraphic s•urces indicates that the present-day Tamil.
areas were then settled by Sinhalese people. The evidence of
place-names, too, supportl this conclusion. A number of Sinha1ese
inscriptions of this period have been discovered in the Mannar,
Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts, where Dravidian
settlements were found in the thirteenth century. Some of these
inscriptions provide us with the earlier Sinhalese names of villages
and tanks which now bear Tamil names. For instance, the Mannar
Kacceri Pillar inscription of about the ninth century mentions
the villages of 'Pepodatu�a, Kumbalhala,and Tumpokon, situated
in the Ku�akadavuka division of the Northern Coast • , presumably
close to Mahatittha, where the record was found: The Sinha1ese
name of Alaricca for the �rafperiyakufa.m tank occurs in an
inscription of Gajabahu I (114-136), from the same place� The
Sinhalese name for Kuruntq-ku1am, in the Northern Province, a
appears as Kuru:Agama in an inscription of Mahinda III (801-804)
from that village� In this last name, the derivation of the Tamil
form from the Sinhalese is clearly evident. Besides,these
considerations, it is also worth noting that the Tamils of South

1. � .. III, P• 105. S,4,e. 0 '•·

2. A.S.C.A.R. for 1905 . P• 43.
3. ng.
India did not consider Ceylon as a Tamil-speaking region till
very late times. In their ear1y demarcation of the 'goo� Tamil.­
speaking world ' (Tamil-ldiru-na!.-ulakam), the omission of Ceylon
is conspicuous; We may, therefore, conclude that evidence tor
e•tensive or permanent Dravidian settlements bearing the signs
of a date earlier than the ninth century is definitely absent.
Permanent settlements of the Dravidians probably
began by about the ninth century. Before the eleventh century
these were by no means extensiTe. There were Tamils and possibly
Ker&.tas and Kar�{as settled i.n the northern quarter of Anurad!iaa
pura after the ninth century. Outside the capital city Tam.ii,
and probably other Dravidian, settlers were found scattered
in some of the villages of Ra,jaraft ha. It is not possible to
locate all these villages with the evidence at our disposal.
The Demel-�b�lla referred t o in the Colombo Museum Pillar inscrip­
tion is stated in that record to have been situated in 1 Ga�agami,
a revenue�(village) of Valvifi in the Northern Province • �
Unf ortunately, neither Ga�ag a.mi nor Valvifi admits of any
identification.Since the provenance of the record is also unknown,
not even a rough location is possible. Since the village was in

the Northern Province of the kingdom, it is to be located somewhere

north of Anuradhapura. The �l-kll llla mentioned in the Polonnaruva

1. See supra, P • J ' , �•-.J.,,-

2. !:,!., III, P• 276.
Council Chamber inscription is identifiable. This allo�ment,
according to the inscription, was in the village of Kot gllm,
in the district ad joining Maharaf, in the province of Giri­
va�unna-danaviya� Nicholas has identified this village with
the present Kofgan-vela, in Matale East� In the Giritale Pillar
inscription of Udaya III some Tamil lands are stated to have
been situated in the Parisakufiya district of the Eastern
Province� This Parisaku1iya district, according to the identifi­
cation of Nicholas, extended over the Giritale area� Demetin­
he{ihaya of the Ayitigev�va inscription has been identified by
Nicholas with the present Ayitigev�va, in the Rurulu division
of the Anuradhapura district� It has not been possible to identify
Deme1-Jt41gam mentioned in the Raja,maligava inscription of
Mahinda IV. According to the inscription , this place was in the
Eastern Province� Probably it was situated somewhere in the
region east of Anuradhapura. There is a Ki�igama to the south­
east of Anuradhapura but it is rather difficult to identify this

1. !,& , IV , P • 36 .
2. C.W. Nicholas, .21?.• cit ., P• 34.
3. !:!• ' III, P • 139.

4. C. W. Nicholas, P • 184.
5. �- , II, P• 38 .' C • fl. Nicholas, P • 168.

6 . E . Z . , II, P • 56.
� with the Ki;igam of the above inscription, for, the mofern
Ki�igama seems to fall outside the limits of the ancient Eastern
Province. The village named Kereligama in the Kukurumaha.J1-dama.na
Pillar inscription was in the district of Valapu , in the Western
Province of the Anuradhapura kingdom: It h aa not been possible
to identify this village exactly. Since the provenance �f the
inscription is Mallima�u, in the Vilpattu National Park, which
lies in the area of the ancient Western Province, we have to seek
the ancient Kereligama. somew)Jere in that region. The lripinniy�va
and Ra.mblva inscriptions of the time of Sena II (853-887) refer
to the impost, �te-kuli, in connection with the vill.s.ges of
Posonavullp and Gllli.nduru-go��ala, which have been identified
., -
- and RambKva
as ��ripinniyUva 2 The Viharegama. Pillar
inscription of Kassapa IV also refers to �le-kuli in conne�tion
with another Tillage, the name of which is not preserved� Another
inscription of Kassapa IV, mentioning Demele-kulI comes from
The nature of these possible Tamil settlements and
the strength of the Tamil population in the island can.not be
determined with the help of the meagre evidence available to us.

1. !:!• , II , PP• 22-23.

2. !:!• , I + PP• 167, 175 ; C.W.Nicholas, P• 169.
3. !:!, IV, P• 52.
4. A.S.C.A.R. for 1911/12 1 P• 108.
It appears that the Tamil settlers were found scattered in
different villages and probably there was no single area which
was peopled entirely by Dravidians. Many of the settlers may
have been mercenaries who were taken to the island fro■ time

to time by Sinhalese princes. All that could be said with some

amount of certainty is that the ninth and tenth centuries saw
the beginnings of the Dravidian settlements which covered several
p arts of the northern half of the island in the eleventh, twelfth
and thirteenth centuries.


The period of some two centuries that lies between

the fall of Anur•dhapura and the collapse of Polonnaruva has
long been recognized as one of very close political, c ul.tura1
and social intercourse between South India and Ceylon. The events
of this period, it may not be wrong to claim, led to s ome of
the far-raaching changes that took place in _ the history of the
island in the thirt9enth century. These changes determined the
c ourse of the future history of the island in many ways. But the
two main results were undoubtedly the drift of Sinhalese political
power from Imjaraf� to the south-west and the rise of Tamil
power in the northernmost regions of the country. The events
leading to these dramatic changes may be said to begin at the
turn of the tenth century with the ClSla occupation! For the
first time a large part of Ceylon became a province of a Tamil
empire, and this naturally drew the island into the arena of
South Indian politics and opened the way to the influence of
South India and the influx of the Dravidian people into Ceylon.

1. See W.M.K.Wijetunge, The Rise and Decline of �a Power in Ceylon,

thesis submitted to the University of London, 1962.
The history of the <nSla occupation of Ceylon has
been critically examined by W.M.K.Wijetunge in a thesis submitted
to the University of London in 1962. It is, therefore, not our
intention to deal here with the �la conquest which was begun by
Rajar'ija I in c.992/993 and completed by Rijendra I in 1017. In
this chapter, we shall confine ourselves to a discussion of the
Dravidian settlements that were established in the period of
the <nSla occupation.
Although it is possible to argue that the transformation
of northern and a part of eastern Ceylon into Tamil-spAaking
areas must have been well under way by the time of the foundation
of the independent Tamil kingdom of Jaffna in the thirteenth
century and that this process must have begun at least a century
or two before the latter event, it is not so easy to trace the
course of the Dravidian occupation of these areas. The settlements
of the Dr avidians in the eleventh and twelfth centuries cannot
be told as a nnrative with the materials at our disposal. We
can only attempt to seek an answer to some of the important
questions concerning their migration and settlement. Was there
any large-scale mitration of Dravidians in the period of �!a
rule '? What was the nature and extent of some of the settlemente
indicated by the inscriptional and archaeological materials ?
It may not be possible to set out on our inquiry with the hope
of arriving at the whole truth, but at least we may be able to
arrive at more than what has been known so far.
The first problem that confronts us in examining
the course of the Dravidian settlements in this period is the
question of whether there was a migration of South Indians into
the island in the wake of the C'?Sla conquest. Of the different
kinds of evidence that lie before us, that of the literary
sources is not of much help to opr inquiry. The only literary
works that contain a:ny notable references to the C'?Sla conquest
are the P--a1i C1Ilava�a and the Sinha1ese P,t;j!valiya and RaJavaliya.
No notice of the occupation of the island is found in any of
the contemporary Tamil works of South India, apart from the
incidental allusions to the conquest in such works as the
Kalinkattu-par!\l!: The Tamil chronicles of Ceylon, written in
much later times, stra:ngely enough do not preserve even the
memory of the Cola conquest of the eleventh century. The names
of such C'?SJ.a conquerors as Rajaraja and RaJendra are not even
mentioned in these sources. Such works have little claim on
our confidence for the history of Tamil settlements in the eleventh
or earlier centuries.
The account of the C'Ulav�a is by far the most
important literary source for the history of the period of C'?Sla

1 . Kalinkattu-par�,!, v. 64.
rule. Four or its chapters have been devoted to the events of
this period and these have been written not very long after
the time of the foreign occupation.1 But despite this distinct
value , it is of little use in our inquiry. The author of this
section of the Pali chronicle , while relating the untold damages
wrought by the CcSlas and denouncing their wickedness , does not
interest himself in the affairs of the C15la administration or
in those of the Tamils and Sinhalese in the C?Sla domains. The
subject of his history is the resistance organized by some
Rohqa princes. Of these princes , Vijayabahu , the final liberator
of the country from the C15la yoke , is chosen as the hero of this
section of the chronicle. The conquest of the island and the
desecration of the monasteries by the invaders are dismissed
in a dozen verses in the chapter en,itled 'The Pillage of La�ka'�
After these, any reference to the CcS;Las is made only in connection
with the resistance that was carried on against them. Repeated
references are made to the hordes of Tamil invaders who were
taken to the island to suppress rebellions� In short , it is an
account of the miseries wrought by the CcSlas and of the bitter

1 • .2:!• , 55-58 .
2 • .!ill·, 55: 13-25.
3. �-, 55:25 ; 58 : 14 ; 58 : 25 .
struggle that went on between the patriotic Sinhalese rebels and
the ruthless fmleign invaders. The traditions concerning the
areas uhder foreign rule may have been considered irrelevant
to the purpose of the author. But it is more likely that the
author was depending on records which were preserved in the
south of the island and which, therefore, did not contain any
information regarding the goings-on in the districts contrdlled
by the Cc5las • All that we can positively gather from the P-a1i
chronicle is that Tamil armies were sent to Ceylon at frequent
intervals and that they were stationed in different parts of
Ceylon. Whether there were Dravidians , other than these soldiers,
who went over to the island at this time is a question that
cannot be answered with the the help of the C1Ilava�a.
In the CUlava�a account of the final c ampaign of
Vija;yabahu against the Cc5las , some of their strongholds in
Dakkhill,adesa and in the eastern part of the island are named.
It was after the subjugation of these places that the Sinha1ese
commanders sent word to Vijayabahu to join them at Polonnaruva:
The strongholds in Dakkill,adesa are given as Muhunnaru (Nuvarakllle),
Badalatthala (Batalago�a ), Vapin agara (Venaru), Tilagulla (Tal agalllF­
llla), Maha.galla (Magalla or Nikav1lra{i), Ma��agalla (Mahama�agalla)

1. �- . 58: 46 .
and Buddhagama ( MMnikde�a)� Of thtise in the east on1y Chagama
(S-alamam) is mentioned by name� It is not known from the
C't!lava�a whether there were any Tamil settlements in these
C't5la strongholds. Evidently there were many �la troops stationed
at these places and possibly some of them settled down there.
Although the evidence of the CUlav�...! is rather flimsy for

such a speculation, there are other considerations which support

it. The discovery of Tamil inscriptions of the twelfth century
and the occurrence of place-names denoting Tamil settlements
in or not far from most of the C't5la strongholds mentioned above
s uggest that there may have been Tamil set tlers in and around
the Cola strongholds in the eleventh centur�
The C't!lavalJI.2.! claims that 'all the warlike, val.iant
Co+as who were to be found here and there, gathered together
in Pulatthinagara' on the e-.:e iaf the final debacle, and that
the army of Vijayabahu, when it triumpahntly entered the city,
• at once exterminated all the Damifas root and branch • ! The
statement that all the Tamils who lived in Polonnaruva during
the Cola rule were annihilated is obviously an exaggeration.

1. £:!• , 58: 42-45.

2. �. > r-a-: ..� .
3.see infra, J[J.. �
4 . �' 58 :51, 56.
That Vi jayabahu did not have filly animosity against the Tamils
but was onl.y fighting the C�J.as is borne out b;r ample evidence.
The employment of the Vetaikkaras, some of wholll may have been
erstwhile mercenaries of the Colas! his patronage of Saiva temples�
and his political and matrimonial alliance wit� the Pa�bas3
show that Vi jayabahu did not harbour any grievances against the
Tamils. The evidence of the A.mbagamuva inscription that he
'drove away the whole darkness of the Damila f�rces' appears to
be closer to the truth than the CiilavaVJ!!a statement. The Pali
c.PI\ C: &'""' i • '
chronicle has, therefore, no valuavle information Tamil settlers
in the island during the Cola occupation.
The Pu Javaliya and the RaJavaliya, while mentioning
the Cola occupation, give no details regarding the period of foreign
rule. They continue the chronicle of the Sinhal.ese kings
without a break b;r filling in the period of �la rule with the
account of the Roh�a rulers. They repeat with greater brevity
the story of the destruction wrought by the foreigners� The
Nikaya-sa.'5rahaya and the Saddharma-ratnaka.ra;yai also contain

1. See infra, � - iii- ; U.C . H . C., I, pt. 2, PP• 433-444 .

2. See infra, P • i.->", ; U.C . H . C . , I, pt. 2 , P • 563.
3 • U.C . H . C . , I, pt. 2, P • 429.
4 . D.M.de Z.Wickramasinghe, 'Ambagamuva Inscription of Vijayabahu I',
E. Z . , II, P • 216.
5. Pv.; P• 104 ; !!:!• , P • 42.
notices of this period. The former refers to the presence of
'the great multitude of Tamils in the villages, market towns and
all over the kingdom' (gam niyai\gam raja<r
ani pura un Demafa maha
senaga)1 but it goes a step further than the Citlava� by stating
that all these Tamils were destroyed by Vijayabahu. The reference
to the presence of Tamils in the market towns is notable, for
we learn from the Tamil inscriptions of the period that there
were .£.tlt.!!. (money-lenders) and traders of Tamil origin in some
of the places, presumably market towns, outside Po 1onnaruva!
The surprising brevity with which the Sinh alese chronicles dea1
with the Cc5la rule may be partly due to the paucity of records
relating to that period.
The above isolated and vague statements in the
literary sources provide no sure guidance to the nature and
extent of the mitration and settlements of South Indians in the
island. These sources have omitted much that is wanting and,
in the absehce of any valuable guidance from them, we are
thrown back upon the evidence of other sources. The Tamil.
inscriptions and the Saiva and Vai��ava archaealogical remains
provide better and more reliable information, though it is by
no means adequate for our purpose. For the first time an unusua11y

1, �• • P • 20.
2. See infra, P• f D� -
large number of Tamil inscriptions , more than three dozen
compared with only three for the period before the tenth century ,
were set up in different parts of norhhern Ceylon during the
Cc5l.a rule. Their sudden appearance could be explained easily
if they are official records. But the interesting fact is that
not a single one is official , although several of them appear
to have been set up by Cola officials in their private capacity.
The sudden appearance of so many Tamil epigraphs presupposes
the presence of more Tamils in Rajarattha than before. Such an
impression seems to be confirmed by the internal evidence of
the inscriptions as well. Unfortunately these epigraphs , almost
all of which register private grants to temples , do not , by
their very nature , contribute very much to our inquiry. Some
are extremely brief while some others are badly damaged.
However , they indicate the probable areas of settlement and ,
in some cases , the nature of the settlement. They range from
the time of Rijar'ija I (985-1014) to that of Adhir'iJ°'endra I
(1067/68-1070) and , therefore , cover the whole period of C'?Sla
Nearly a third of these inscriptions comes from
Polonnaruva , which was renamed Jqan.Iha-maAg4am by the Colas:

1. It is not possible to give the exact figure of the inscriptions

as the find spots of a number of these in the museums of Colombo
and Anur'idha�ura are not known , although , judging from the
contents , some of them appear to have come from Polonnarun.
Most of these are from the Siva Devales Nos. II and V and from
the Vatad'lge. Of these, at least two belong to the reign of
Rajendra I, but unfortunately only a portion of the historica1
introduction (prMasti) has survived in these� Two inscriptions
of the time of Adhr'i.jendra I, beginning with the familiar
historical introduction of T�er malarntu, are in a better
state of preservation. They are both inscribed on the walls of
, -
Siva Devale No. II. One of these, dated in the third year of
the king (1070), is a long record registering the grant of a
perpetual lamp and some money for its maintenance by ••• •• • a
Cir'i.fa.l Ti • • • 19.A alias Eta•• • • •ko:p.ta �l,appallavaraiyaa, a
Ven.'ita of MaAkalapp'i.t i in Vi.:,pe,t u-nafu, in the �rt2 (district)
of Tak •• • • ••• in �l�falam� The title Eta• • •• •• ko:p.fa (Victor
of Eta •• • •• • ) and the name �lappallavara�&A suggest that the
donor was an official in the C?Sla administration who had dis­

tinguished himself in battle by taking (kojfa) some place. The
grant was made to the temple of 'Vallavq-.matevi-;4Avaram, the
present Siva DeV-ale No. II. The names of nearly twelve temple
officials, including those of the officiating Brahma�a.s, are
given in the inscription. These officials and their successors

l. S.I . I., IV , Noa. 1389 and 13 94

2• .!ill• , No. 1388.
as well as the pariycarakar, the supervisors of the pawna,!§vear,
the _!!!� and the tevarat'i:@r are held responsible f o:r the
maintenance of this gift. The terms pariycarakar and panmye§varar
refer to the temple attendants and the company of Saiva devotees
respectively: .!!t� is a term used in the South Indian. inscriptions
of this period to refer to the members of the district assembly
(nat�). Its occurrence here seems to reveal the organization
of the loca1 assemblies on the lines of the South Indian
institutions. The term tevara,ei:yar also occurs in the contemporary
South Indian inscriptions as well as in another Tamil inscription
in Ceylon and refers to temple dancers, commonly known as
devadasis� The institution of the temple dancers appears t o have
been introduced into the island by the �las� The evidence of
the Tamil inscriptions from Polonnaruva, therefore, shows that
at least some of the �aiva temples in Ceylon were organized in
much the same way as the temples of South India during the
period of Cola occupation.
The other inscription of the time of Ad.hiraJendea,
from Polonnaruva, contains the whole of a pra§asti and registers
the grant of a lamp, �-t the donor 's name and the regnal year of

1. Both occur in contemporary Cola e igraphs of South India.

2. �- , IV, P• 195 .
3. Q!.• , U . C . H . C . , I, pt. 2, pl 414.
the king are missing: All the other inscriptions from Polonnaruva
are undated and have to be assigned to the �la period purely
on palaeographical grounds. Two of these, which are fragmentary,
refer to the gods V-
a aavs.Q-matevi-i6varam-u faiyar and Alakiya
Ma�av'alar (Vi,�u)� Four others inscribed on the pillars of
�iva Deva1e No.V contain the following names : Ca) Tiruppuvqa­
tevs.Q, Ufaiyall of Ml5�ur, (b) Tillaikkaracu Tiyaka-cint�i
Muventa-vet-an, (c) Kat,pakam, daughter of Mukari-nata+va1,1 and
(d) Paftca-neti-va�an, Ufaiyaa of Nallur� These persons seem
to have been responsible in some way for the building of the
temple• now known as �iva Devale No.V. Such titles as Mnventa-veP:A,
N'it atv&A and Utaiy"i1,1, borne by some of these persons, occur in
the South Indian inscriptions as the titles of �la officials!
This indicates that all the persons mentioned above� except the
woman Ka.D>akam, were officials. It is not certain whether the
village Mo�ur and Nallur, which were assigned to two of them,
were in Ceylon or in South India. Since the officials were
serving in Ceylon, these may have been Ceylonese villages. Nallur
is a common village name in the Tamil country. There are at
least four places in Ceylon with that name. One is in the Jaffna

1. S.I.I., IV, No.1392.

2. Ibid., Noa. 1390 and 1391.
3. Ibid., No. 1393•
4. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, The �' P• 464.
peninsula and three are in the Kurunlgala district� Pa�ca-neti­
va�au, nnrntioned in the above inscription, may have been the
�faiyan of any one of these places, probably one of the villages
in the Kurunlgala district, for, according to the c,Ilav�a, the
Colas had several strongholds in that district�
Of the other Cola inscriptions from Polonnaruva,
there are two �ragmentary inscriptions which record the gift
of a large number of cows. One is from Siva Devale No.II. It
records the gift of one hundred and fourteen cows to the temple
of the 'Lord of J8,llan'itha-puram alias Pulainari ' (Vaaavaa-matevi­
i�varam)� The other is found engraved on the flight of steps
at the Vatadage. It registers the gift of a certain measure of
ghee and thirty cows.4 Unfortunately the names of the donors are
not preserved in these two epigraphs. An interesting aspect of
the Siva Dev'ile inscription is the occurrence of the toponym
Pulai.nari. This shows that the Tamilised form of the Sinhalese
Polonnaru was used side by side with the new Cola name of
Jaaanatha-puram or Jqanatha-ma.Agalam, as in the case or other rl�cc r
like Mahatittha and Velgama where Tamils were livin?.

1. There was also a place called Vikrama-p'l.;:tiya NallUr, see infra,p. 11t,
2. See supra, P • f B".

3. A . S . C . A. R. for 1202, P • 27 .
4. S.I.I., IV, No. 1395.
5 . See infra, P• , �, .
A few other short epigraphs of little or no value
also come from the city and the vicinity of Polonnaruva. One
such inscription is engraved on a bell found in Siva Devlle No.VI
and has the name of SrY �illai Perumaf alias Ton •• • •• • • the
donor. Palaeographically, it has been assigned to the Cola
period� Another, registering the grant of Adhikar�aa C-
a retaikkara of the Mum:u-kai division, comes from Gal Oya,
near Polonnaruva� The title Adhikarai,au may suggest that the
donor was an administrative officer among the Velaikkaras.
An analysis of these inscriptions from Polonnaruva
and its surroundings reveals that al.most all those in which the
donors• names are preserved are grants by persons who may have
been Cc5la officials. This perhaps explains the occurrence of

many Tamil inscriptions in this region. Since Polonnaruva was

the capital of the island under the Colas , several officilas
from the Cola country were presumably stationed there. The

occurrence of several Tamil inscriptions here may not necessarily

indicate the presence of many Tamil settlers. The absence of
grants by traders is rather surprising, for one would normally
expect them to figure prominently among the donors of grants to
temples. There is no evidence in our inscriptions of the existence

1. A.S.C . A . R. for 1908, P • 15.

2. S . I. I. , IV, No. 1398.
of a strong civilian population of South Indian extraction in
and around Polonnaruva. Nevertheless, the organization of some
o f the Cola temples at Polonnaruva on the lines of those of
South India suggests that these temples c atered for the interests
of more than a handful of �:La officials and some troops. There
m ay have been peaceful Tamil settlers, too, in the city during
the Cola occupation.
Outside Polonnaruva, Peri:,akutam in the Trincomalee
district has yielded the largest number of C15la inscriptions.
More than a dozen Tamil inscriptions of this period h ave been
found at the site of the well-known Rajaraja-perum-pa1ti or
Velgp-vwhera at Periyakutam. The Rajaraj a-perum-pal+i is an
interesting example, and perhaps the on1y one, of a Sinhalese
Buddhist vihara being converted into a Tamil Buddhist I?!fi!
after the Cola conquest. The existence of a Buddhist vihara
at this site as early as the second c entury A.D . is known from
an inscription of the time of Bhatika Tissa in one of the c aves
near the present l!.!¼fi! The old Sinhalese name of this I?.!f+!
was Velgam-vehera, which is also given in the Tamil inscriptions
along with the Tamil na,we of Imjaraja-perum-pa.lti.

l. A.S.C.A.R. for 1954 , P• 14 ; the occurrence of a brick with

Brahm letters at this site seems to place the original
foundation of the stupa here in the pre-christian times (_!lli., p . 13:
The fragmentary nature of most of the inscriptions
from this site deprives them of much value. The little that is
recoverable from them, however, seems to indic ate the presence
of Tamil settlers of Buddhist faith in the Periyakufam region.
The conversion of the old vihara into a Tamil :£!¼+! apparently
took place in the reign of R'ijaraja I (985-1014) or immedi ately
after that, for the l?.!.ft! has been named after this monarch.
The Sinhalese origin of the vihar a is clearly indic ated by the
use of the Sinhalese name along with the Tamil name in the
inscriptions. The absence of Tamil inscriptions of a date prior
t o the eleventh century and the occurrence of Sinhalese inscriptions
of the tenth century at this site strehgthen the argument that
the conversion of the vihara into a l?.!ll! took place early in
the period of C<Sla rule: ilmost all the Tamil epigraphs from
this place belong to the C<Sla period. But there is a slab
inscription buried in the foundation of one of the image-houses
which contains the name of Jayaba-teva.A, inscribed in the Tamil
script of about the twelfth century� This Jayaba-tevaa is
presumably Jayabahu I (1110-1111). This may mean that Tamil
p atronage of this l?.!111 continued even after the C<Sla period,
which is to be expected if there were Tamil Buddhists living

l. A. S . C . A . R. for 1953 , P • 9•
z. Unpublished.
at Periyakujam. With this possible exception, no Tamil inscription
of the period after the eleventh century is known to have been
discovered at this site. But the shrine continued to be venerated
by Sinhalese pilgrims down to modern times� The absence of Tamil
inscriptions after the eleventh century may be due to the
possible conversion of the Tamils of this region to Saivism.
The inscriptions are a11 donative records and
register the gift of cows, buffaloes and perpetual lamps . Most
of the records are damaged and are only partly decipherable. At
least three of them are dated in regnal years of RaJendra I
(1012-1044)� One at least of the donors appears to have been
a Cola official. This person, •titta-per-araiyq of Palavaa­
putu-kuti, gifted thirty-five cows and a perpetual lamp� The
element per-araiya,n (the great chief) and the gift of a larse
number of cows suggest that he was an important personality�
Another person who gifted forty heads of cattle may also have
been an official� Most of the other donors appear to have been
humble peasants or traders whose grants were lamps or small

1. A . S.C . A. R. for 1953, P• 27 ; E . Z. , II, P • 178 ; Nampota, p.6.

2. Unpublished - Noa.I 776 A, 776 B and 775 B of the epigraphical
list in the Archaeological Dept. , Ceylon.
3 . No. I 776 B of the above list .
4. Per-araiyan is a common element in the names of �la officia1s .
5. Unpublished - No. I 775 A.
10 1
amounts of money.1
The occurrence of these Tamil inscriptions at
Periyakutam clearly suggests the presence of Tamil settlers in
that area in the Cola period. It is not possible to sq whether
there were any Tamil settlers in this region before the lmla
period. Presumably the � amil settlement of Periyakulam
originated during the period of �la rule.
Four cmia inscriptions have been found on the
north-western littoral. Three of them are from Mahatittha (Mintai).
One is a fragmentary record and only the prasasti of R:iJendra I
is preserved in it� The second inscription is the longest of
those belonging to this period, running into more than ninety-
four short lines with the first and the last few lines missing�
It is a grant by one ni1 Kumara�, the headman ��ilava,u) of
Ci�u-Jditta-nall�r in V'ef'ar-natu, in the � atriya-�1kbama�i.-v4ana�u
of �la-ZDatJ.falam. The grant was made to the temple of Jmja­
raresvaram at �toffa.m alias Rljar'ijapura.m (Mah�tittha.), which
was built by the donor himself. Certain provisions made by him
for the seven-day celebration of the festival of Vicaka.m (Vilakha)
as well as the grant of a plot of tax-free land and the as signment

1. Unpublished - Noa. 775 B, 776 B, 357 etc.

2. S. I.I., IV, 1414 A.
3 • .!E_g. , No. 1412.
of cert ain taxes for the cost of the daily offerings are recorded
in this inscription. Though a headman of a village in South
India, Hli Ku�q appears to have held an important post in
the is1and, as is suggested by the powers he had of assigning
portions of the public reTenue for the upkeep of a temple built
by him. The epigraph provides some useful information about the
revenue system and the temple rituals in the Cola period. The
name of �jaraja looms large in the loc al nomencl.ature. Not onl.y
was the temple of Mat�ttaa named after him (Rajar'iJe6varam), but
the town itself and a main street (perun-teru) were named
Rajarajapuram and Rajaraj a-perun-teru respectively. Besides this
information, the inscription does not give any details about
the Tamils settled in Mahatittha. Only one Tamil settler, Kum:aa
Kaman, who was a citizen (ku{�) of Mat�ft am owning a mansion
C,!!!!t�l , a house <tlh) and a garden (t�f(,!!), is referred
t o in the record.
The third inscription from Mahatittha records the
arrangement made for the buraing of a street lamp outside the
Tiru-irami�varam temple at I-mt�ttam, by • • • • • T1hq, the �t aiyaa
of Cir,u-ku.J:attUr and an official of the Perunt auam of Rajendra
Cola: It is not possible to say whether Ci�u-kl4attur was a place
in Ceylon or South India. Probably it was in South India, for

l. S.I.I., IV, No. 1414B ; see infra, P • 1'7/ -

a place of that name is • mentioned in some South Indian epigraphs.
It is stated in our inscription that the money for the purpose
of burning a street lamp was deposited with the ca:dkara-pa t!z!!:,
the yez:r_ilai-va�i:yar and the v'alaikkat-�iyar, all of Matottam.
Caiikara-pati:yar is a term that occurs in the contemporary South
Indian inscriptions as well� An examination of these occurrences
shows that the caiikara-p-ti:yar were a group of people who had
'duties connected with the maintenance of lamps and in p�ticular
the supply of oil ' in a temple� Two records imply, moreover,
4 It appears that
that they were a corporation of oil-mongers.
sometimes families of cai1kara-pa�iyar were settled in special
quarters close to the temples in order to maintain the burning
of the temple lamps. For instance, an inscriptio� of the second
year of Kulottwiga I (1071) from Tiruvalallga�u, refers to the
settlement of twenty-five families of ca.Akara-pati:yar on land
belonging to the Tiru�ldga4u temple� The settlement was named

1. M . E. R. for 1912, Nos. 160 and 236 of 1912. The South Indian
village was in Poyy1.:-k1Iuam, in Te;(l-karai-natu in Co!ama�t alam.
2. M. E . R. for 1897. No.80 of 1897 ; M.E.R . for 1898, No.78 of 1898;
M . E.R. for 1921/22, No. 547 of 1920; M.E . R . for 1925 . No. 395 of
1925 ; K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, The � ' PP • 489, 516.
3. K.A . Nilakanta Sastri, The Col.!!!, , P• 516, fn. 12.
4. Ibid.
5. S . I . I., III, P• 136.
10 4
RaJendra-cola-pati and the caz\kara-paf� �ere asked to supply
the oil required for fifteen perpetual lamps and to be in charge
of lighting them in the temple of Mahadeva at Tiruvlla.Aga�u:
It seems clear, there!ore, that the cai\kara-pa�iyar of Mat�f�am.,
referred to in our inscription, were there to perform a similar
function in respect of the temple of Tiru-irami�varam and were
probably settled there by the temple trustees . The �:c.r.ilai-
va�iyar were a community of peopl.9 who sold betel leaves, as
their name implies. The term ilai-va$iyar (leaf-sellers), a
variant form of �.:..t,ilai-vaP,izar, occurs commonly in South Indian
inscriptions, especially of the Vi j ayanagara period. The
valaikkay-va�iyar, as their name implies, were sellers of
plantains (bananas). Probably these two communities were expected
to supply the betel leaves and the plantains required for the
daily offerings in the temple. It is not possible to say whether
they, like the ca�kara-patiyar, were settled near temples for
this purpose. Probably they set up their business on their own
accord near temples. The fact that the money for the maintenance
of the street lamp at Mahatittha was deposited with these
communities shows that they were organized as guilds or corporations
rather than as loose groups.

1. S . I. I. , III , P • 136 .
The above �la inscriptions of Mahatittha, therefore,
provide us with some information about that port in the time of
the �la occupation. We find that it was renamed by the ClSlas
as Rajarajapuram. There were at least two Saiva temples, one
of which was built b thir period and named RajaraJe6varam, after
Rajaraja CoJ.a . There were at least a few Tamil trading communities
who were associated with the temples. Probably there were also
other Tamil settlers at Mah�tittha during the Cola period.
Tamil inscriptions of the Cola period have also
been discovered in the Hurulu and Nuvaragam divisions of the
Tamanka�uva district in the North-central Province. Most of
these are too brief or badly weathered to be of any use to us.
In the Hurulu division, the inscriptions are mainly concentrated
in Padaviya. Some of them date back to the time of Rijaraja I.
There are more than • half a dozen of these. Most of these have
been found among the ruins of Siva temples. One of them, dated
in the twenty-seventh year of Rajaraja I (1011), appears to be
a record of a mercantile community for it contains the names
of a number of ceff!! (money-leaders or traders): Another, also
dated in the reign of lmjaraja I , registers a number of gifts
to a temple which appears to have been named after Rajaraja.

1. Unpublished - No. I 340 of the epigraphical list in the

Archaeological Dept . , Ceylon ; A. S.C.A • • for 1891 , P• 64.
The gifts were made by several individuals who may have been members
of some mercantile or other body since they have a11 recorded
their gifts in one inscription; Padaviya seems to have been a
commercial centre in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, for,
Tamil inscriptions of the twelfth century also attest to the
presence of Southnindian traders, especially the well-known
Vl:ra-vala!1jiyar, at this place� The Tamil settlement here in
the Cola period may have been mainly mercantile in character.
A Tamil inscription assignable to this period, from Maha-kachcha{­
ko�i, nearly fifteen miles west of Padaviya, also mentions a
number of llff!:!.� Probably it was also set up by a mercantile
community from the Tamil country.
In the Nuvaragam division, Anuradhapuralt). Sa.i\gili­
kanadarava and Ataka�a have yielded a few inscriptions of this
period, which are, however, disappointingly short and of little
value to us. Of the inscriptions at the Pankuliya-vihara at
Anuradhapura., one records the gift of a certain Kecari Araci
while the other two mention two persons, who probably had
donated something to that establishment� They were apparently
Buddhists. A short inscription on a pillar within the precincts

l. Unpublished - No. I 34,.

2. Unpublished - see infra, p.
3. Unpublished ; A . S.C.A . R . for 1905, PP• 36, 50.
4. S. I.I., IV, Nos. 1399, 1400 1 1401.
of the Ruvanvllislya gives the name Jagatoppa-ka:p.taa Peru.m-pa.J:li
(the Great Temple of the Victor o! Jaganppa), evident 1y referring
to the same stupa; The surprisingly few and unimportant �J.a
inscriptions from Anuradhapura shows that the former capital
city did not remain an important centre under the C'olas • T here
are no Cola inscriptions indicating the presence of South Indian
officia1s in that city. Even the Saiva temples there apparently
did not enjoy the patronage of the Cola ruling class in the
island. But Anuradhapura seems to have attracted the attention
of a few Tamil Buddhists who presumably lived there o r weht
there on pilgrimage.
The inscription from Sangili-kanadar•va r�gistera
the grant of land and the deposit of some money on int erest
by the axmy chief Jayamu£i-nata1�, apparent1y to a temple,
the name of which is not preserved� The title Seaapatikal as
well as the eiement B!ta!vaa in his name suggest that :he was
a .military official in charge of some Cola troops in the
Nuvaragam region� The inscription is dated in the reign of
RiJendra I. The epigraph of Ataka�a, which is dated in the
twenty-eighth yeax of a ruler whose name is not given, records

1. s. r. r. , IV, No. 14o2.

2• .!2,g. , No. 1408.
3. See supra, P• q;- ·
1 08
the gift e4 1-M. by a certaill AraAkaa Irame§a.a of land ill
Ka.llaiyil-teliyal-peuu, twenty heads of cattle and fifty
coconuts to the Uttama-cola-i6varam temple: The identity of
Kallaiyil-teliyal-pet,t.u is not known . Probably this place and
the temple of Uttama-cola-i§varam were both in the region of
Sangili-kanadar1va. Uttama Cola was not only the name of the
immediate predecessor of Rajaraja I on the Cola throne, but was
also used as a tille by members of the Cola �oyal family in
the time Rajendra II (1054-1063)� It is not likely that the
temple referred to in our inscription was named after King
Uttama Cola, for Ceylon was not under the Colas in his time.
It is possible that it was named after a member of the Cola
royal family, with the title Uttama Cola, in the reign of
Rajendra II.
Only one Cola inscription has Deen discovered in
the North-western Province. This record comes from Attaragalla
in the Puttalam district and is dated in the ninth year of
RaJendra Cola, who may be the second of that name . It is badly
damaged and seems to record the building of an ambalam (inn)�
The Central Prov�ce has also yielded one Cola inscription.

1. S. I . I. , IV, No. 1411 .

2. Y . A.Nilakanta Sastri, The Colas, P • 261.
3 . S. I . I. , IV, No. 1415.
This inscription found in Diyavinna is written in Tamil and
Grantha characters and • states that a person cal.led Virabhav�aa
Dahalabhha Mallan arrived at this place • ! This is rather
interesting, for it is the only Tamil inscription of this period
which has beeh discovered so far south , outside the limits of
the area which was under the actual control of the Colas. The
personality referred to here ma:y have been one of the Cola
soldiers or army chiefs who were operating against the Rohao.a
princes in the central highlands. The names VirabhavaaaA and
MallaA suggest that he was a warrior , but it is not possible
to graw any conclusions on the basis of this stray epigraph,
which may have been set up by an adventurous personality totally
unconnected with the Cc5la wars. The occurrence of this single
inscription c annot be taken to indic ate any Tamil settlement in
that area in the Cola period.
The contemporary T amil inscriptions of South India,
while referring to the frequent battles fought in the island ,
have little information about anir South Indian migration or about
the Tamils of Ceylon. They confirm the statement of the C1Ilava�
regarding the large armies sent by the Colas to suppress
uprisings in Ceylon� mne of these inscriptions from Tirumukk.iI�a1 ,

1. Unpublished - No. 580; S.Paranavitana, 'Epigraphical Summary' ,

C . J . Sc . (G) , II, P • 191.
2 . u_c . H. c . , I , PT. 2 , P • 425.
of the year 1067, mentions a personality named Kur'UkulattaraiyQ
as one of the commanders who fought on the side of the Sinhalese
prince Vijayabahu: His name suggests that he was a T amil. T amil
inscriptions of the Pa�dya country, belonging to the thirteenth
century, refer to a high official called Kurukulattaraiyai.� It
is not known whether the Kurukulattaraiyars belonged to a noble
family. The first element of the name, kurukula (Skt. gurukula),
reminds�of the Kurukula caste, who are of South Indian origin,
living in the western districts of Ceylon. The large majority
of them speak Tamil. as their mother tongue. Kuruku1attaraiyaa
(Chief of the Kurukula) is referred to in our inscription as a
feudatory ' who wore a golden anklet • � It has been claimed that
he was a chief of the Kurukula community in the island� If it
is true, it would mean that as early as the eleventh century
the Kurukula community was in Ceylon and that its chieftain paid
allegiance to the Sinhalese ruler . But the evidence of one name
is far too flimsy to be the basis for such a conclusion. In this
period, officials in $outhnindia often adopted names ending in

1. K.V. Subramanya Ayyar, 'The Tirumukldi�al Inscription of

V�raraJendra', hl• , XXI, P • 243.
2. M.E . R. for 1923 , No. 544 of 19�2 ; S. I. I. , VIII• P • 212 ;
K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The Pa��yan Kingdom, PP• 154-155.
3 . !:.!• , XXI , P • 243 .
4 . M. D.Raghavan, The Karava of Ceylon, P • 5 ff.
- araiyan, as, for instance, Pallavaraiyan (Chief of the Pallavas)
and Kaliflkattaraiyan (Chief of the Kiliflgas)• Kurukulattaraiya,a
m ay also have been just a title of a mercenary leader ill the
army of Vijayabahu. He may have been mistaken by the cal,as for
a feudatory chief.
An inscription of Rajaraja I from Tanjore registers
the grant o f land in five villages of Ceylon to the temple of
Tanjore. These villages are said to have been located in Mappicumpu
Koftiyaram alias Rijaraja-val,anat u and in Kafakkall Kot �iyaram
alias Vikkirama-c6la-v4ana{u! Koffiyaram is a territorial
division in the Trincomalee district, still known by that n ame,
which is a Tamilised form of the Sinhalese Kot asara (Pali Kot t'hasara).
Although several Cola inscriptions have been discovered in the
Trincomalee district, none comes from Ko t t iy
aram. Since the
above grant was made by a Cola ruler and not by the cit;izens of
the five villages, it is not possible to aay whether there were
Tamils living in Koffiyaram in this period. But there are at
least two other South Indian epigra hs which record the grants
o f some Ceylonese citizens to South In ian temples. One of them
is in Kuttalam, in the Tinnevelly district and registers 'the
grant of land by residents o f Vi:p.:p.andai alias Vikrama-i;ia��ya-
nallur, a village in Kottur-natu, which was a sub-division o f

1. S . I . I . , II , P • 426.
11 2
lla-ma;�alam, to the temple of Kuttalam 1 : There are severa1
interesting points to be noted in this record. Who were thes,
residents of Vi��andai ? Evidently they were Saivas. Though
, .
generally at this time the Saivas who were in the island were
Tamils or Ker4as, there may have been some Saivas originating
from other parts of India or even from among the Sinhalese , "MO.
It seems, however, unlikely that a group of Sinhalese or other
non-Tamil Saivas from a particular village in Ceylon evinced
an interest in the affairs of a temple in a South Indian
village , unless they were in some way connected with that villge.
It seems more likely that they were Tamil settlers from the
Kuttalam area who still showed an interest in the affairs of
their former village and temples. Such an interest can be seen
even now among Saiva settlers from India and Ceylon in places
like Malaya, who send gifts to the temples formerly frequented
by them. Moreover, the name of the Ceylonese village was changed
from v4�andai to Vik:rama-pa��ya-nallur and the district , too,
was given the Tamil name of Koft'!Ir-natu. As pointed out earlier,
in Tamil
many Sinhalese villages were arbitrarily renamed/by the � las
and the occurrence of a Tamil toponym does not necessarily point
to Tamil occupation of the area designated by it. But such names

1. M. E.R . for 191Ul8 , No. 454 of 1917.

Colo. 1
were always derived from the names o f' royalties. Vi��andai is
the only place in the island known to have been named after
a Ya�gya prince. Probably some settlers from the P-
� �ya country
were responsible for this change of name. Kuttalam was in the
Pa��ya country and the residents of Vi��andai who made the above
grant may have hailed from Kuttalam or from some other place
near t his village. Perhaps Vi��andai was renamed after Vikrama
Pa��ya who took refuge in Ceylon after his defeat at the hands
of the Colas� It has not been possible to identify this place.
The above account practically completes the total
of our epigraphical knowledge as far as the period of Cola rule
is concerned. AB we have seen, almost all the inscriptions are
donative records and leal with matters t hat are of little help
to our inquiry. They help us to trace the areas of Tamil settlement,
but they are not always a sure fuide in this respect. The records

1. �- , Rajaraja-puram for Mahatittha, Ja.uanatha-mdgalam for

Polonnaruva, Rajaraja-vatanatu for a division in Kotasara,
Vikrama-cola-valanatu for another division in Kotasara
as well as Nikarili-coJ.a-vaJ:anatu, RaJ°'endra-ciAka.-va1anatu
and 1-iummu�i Col��alam are from the names and titles of

Rajaraja I and RaJendra I.

2 . K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The �*�• PP• 250-251.
set up by officials do not necessarily indicate the presence of
Tamil settlers in their areas. But the place-name material and
the evidence regarding the existence of Saiva and Vaiy�ava
temples found in these inscriptions are often useful in finding
an anawerf to our questions. This evidence has to be compared
with that of other sources before it is used to draw conclusions.
Now we have to turn to the archaeological material
that is available for this period. Unfortunately there is no
positive material which could help us to trace the settlements
of the Dravidians in Ceylon, similar, for instance , to the
Saxon cemeteries of England which have greatly helped to map
�vt;. the earliest English settlements. The only archaeological
remains of considerable importance that have been left behind
by the Dravidians are their religious monuments and sculptures.
As the Hindu temples of this period were normally erected in
areas where there were Saiva and Vaiv�ava Tamils, the remains
of these structures could indicate in some way the regions of
Tamil settlement. It could be argued that there may have been
§aivas and Vai§�avas among the Sinhalese and, therefore, the
presence of Saiva-Vai§�ava remains mq not be a sure guide to
the location of the Dravidian settlements. The presence of Saivas
and Vai§�avas among the Sinhalese is only a theoretical possibility.
There is no evidence to suggest that there were Sinhalese who
were Saivas or Vai§�avas in the island during this period.
Moreover, it is not difficult to identify the monuments of the
Tamils in this period. The architectural style, the style of
the sculptural finds and the occurrence of Tamil inscriptions
are factors which help to reveal the identity of the temples
built by Tamils. As the archaeological exploration and discoveries
in the northern and eastern parts of the islanf, which are the
traditional Tamil areas in Ceylon, are by no means complete,
the material available to us is inevitably limited. To make
this position worse, the Saiva and Vai��ava remains so far
unearthed have not been properly dated. But many of these can,
however, be dated on the basis of their architectural style
and the inscriptions found among their ruins. The ruins of no
less than thirty Saiva-Vai9 �ava temples, belonging to the period
between the beginning of the eleventh and the end of the thirteenth
century, have been discovered in the island and all these are
in the northern and eastern parts. In the case of the well-preserved
temples, the architectural style serves as a guide to the dating.
The occurrence of inscriptions in some other foundations helps
to determine their age. A few are not sufficiently well preserved
or they yield no inscriptions and cannot, therefore, be dated
with any certainty, although some of the re�ning architectura1
members provide a rough guide to their age.
About ten Siva Devales, five Vi��u temples and one
Kal� temple have come to light in Polonnaruva! Of these, Siva
Devales Nos. II and V, and probably No. VI,2 belong to the period
of Cola rule. Siva Devale No. II is the only �aiva temple of this
period which has been completely preserved. It is considered
to be an outstanding example of the �la style of Dravidian
architecture� ill the three �iva temples yield inscriptions of
this period. §iva Devale No. I is in the P-
� �ya style of architecture
and belongs to either the twelfth or the thirteenth century�
Almost all the other temples at Polonnaruva appear to belong to
the thirteenth centur� Of the �la temples at Polonnaruva, the
name of �iva Devale No. II alone is known from the inscriptions.
It was called Va�avaa-matevi-I,varam, after the chief queen of
Rajaraja I. A nu3ber of bronze images, representing �aiva saints
and deities, were discovered in these temples. Some of them
have been acclaimed as masterpieces of Hindu sculpture�

1. A . . C.A . R . for 1902, pp.7-8 ; A->t.•l�for 1908, PP• 3-10
A . S . C. A . R . for 1902, P • 17; A. . C . A .R . for 1934, PP• 16-17.
2. A . S . C.A . . for 1911-12, P • 114.
3. S . Paranavitana, Art and Architecture of Ceylon - Polonnaruva
Period, P • 31.
4. � .
5. See infra, � -!!! •
6. A . K . Coomaraswa.my, Bronzes from Ceylon, P• 9.
Some remains of Cola temples have been discovered
outside Polonnaruva, too. At Moragoga, near Padaviya, were
unearthed the remains of three temples¼ Tamil inscriptions,
some dating to the time of Rajaraja I, have been found in these
ruins. The occurrence of nand1, lilga and yoni figures shows
that these structures belonged to �aivism� The names of these
temples are not known, but one of them appears to have been
named after Rajaraja I1 Besides these structures, three other
�aiva temples of the �la period are known from contemporary
inscriptions, but their remains have not been unearthed so far.
These are the Tiru-irami-'varam and Rajaraja-!§varam temples of
Mahatittha and the Uttama-cola-�-'varam of Ataka�a1!' Among the
ruins at Mahatittha ( Mantai), remains of some buildings of the
eleventh century as wellca.as a nandi, a li�ga and a Gati-e�a image
were found� Some of these may be the ruins of Cola temples.
Saiva temples of the Polonnaruva period have also been discovered

1. A . S.C . A . R. for 1891, P• 10

; A . S . C . A.R. for 1961/62, P• 67.
2. Ibid,
3. See su;era , P• , �
4. See sul?ra, p p . 1 o'l., 1 ° 8"'

.5 . A . S . C . A.R• for 1908, PP • 28, 30

; K.Vaithianathan, Thirpketheesvaran
Pa;eere , p. 13.
at Nalla-tap.o.i-il:akkam, Buddhannehela, Maha-kanadarava, Pc5ta��u
and Palamoftai; Some of them may date back to the period of �la
occupation. But there is no evidence with which we can date
these to the Cola period with certainty.
The remains of only one Cola Buddhist temple �ave
been found in the island, viz., at Periyaku+am, in the Trincomalee
district. As we have mentioned earlier, the temple was originally
a Sinhalese Buddhist institution by the name of Velgam-vehera�
It was rebuilt in the eleventh century in the style of a Tamil
�+l! and was renamed Rajara ja-perum-pal1i. The architectural
style of the temple differs from that of the Anur•dhapura Buddhist
shrines and is akin to the Tamil Hindu shrines at Polonnaruva • �
The discovery of bronze and stone sculptures in
South Indian style and of temples built in C<Sla style seems to
indicate the presence of sculptors and stone-masons from South
India. The style of &.. building is not always a sure guide to
the racial or communal origins of the masons and architects

1 . A.s.c.A.R. for 1907, P• 27 ; A.S.C . A.R . for 1891 , PP• ll, 30;

A.S.C.A. R . for 1961/62 , P • 59 ; A.S.C.A.R. f6r 1933 . P • 18 ;

C.J.Sc. (G), II, PP• 156-157.
2. See supra, P • �8'
3• S . Paranavitana in the Encyclopaedia of Buddhis - Volume of
Specimen Articles, P • 83 .
responsible for its erection. It is a1ways possible for the
artisans of one country to learn the architecture of another
neighbouring country. It would be of interest, therefore, to
find out whether Dravidian craftsmen were employed to execute
the Saiva and Vai��ava monuments at Polonnaruva and elsewhere.
The opinio; of archaeologists is divided on this matter.
Godakumbure points out that the Sinhalese people were 'experts
in architecture, sculpture and painting' and claims that ' the
Cholas who brought the Sinhalese under subjection at the end
of the tenth century employed these Sinhalese craftsmen to
build temples for their gods, and make sculptures of them • :

On the other hand, Paranavitana • s opinion is that the 'Sinha1ese

sculptors and painters had no opportunity to practise their
arts, for their patrons - royalty, nobility and the Buddhist
Church - had ceased to exist under the Chola rule'� If we turn
to see the monuments in the Cola style in the island, we find
that on1y the �aiva-Vai��ava temples at Polonnaruva and Morago�a
and the Buddhist Rajaraja-perum-pa_lli at Periyakutam, all of
which enjoyed the patronage of Tamils as revealed by their
inscriptions, fa11 under this vategory. Ho Sinhalese monument

l. C . E.Godakumbure, 'Bronzes from Polonnaruva• , J;R.A.S. (C.B. ) ,

N.S. , VII, pt.2, P • 243.
2. s. Paranavitana., Art and Architecture in Ceylon - PolonnaruTa
Period, p . 22.
o ! the tenth century was built in the �la style. The Sinhalese
vraftsmen would have been unfamiliar with the C'O'la style of archi­
tecture and, therefore, would not have been in a position to
execute at the very beginning of C'O'la rule such an outstanding
example of Cola architecture as the Aiva Devale No. II. Only
artisans skilled in the architecture of the South Indian temples
could have accomplished this task. There is some evidence to
show that there were Tamil masons in Ceylon in the Polonnaruva
period who were employed by Sinhalese monarchs to build Buddhist
monuments. Tamil letters have been used as mason's marks in
certain constructions dating from the time of Parakramabahu I
at Polonnaruva and Padaviya: One of the Tamil inscriptions from
Budumutt�va attests to the presence of a community of blacksmiths,
identifiable as Tamils, in the Kurudgala area in the regin of
Vi jayabahu I� These considerations lead us to think that the
Cola authorities, who introduced from South India such communities
as the ca.nkara-p-ti:yar for the maintenance of §aiva temples�
would haYe invited craftsmen from the mainland to build temples
in the style of the South Indian examples. Further, from the

1. See infra, P• Lr� ·

2. !=_!. , III, P• 305 .
3. See supra, P• ID3 ·
practice of later times we see that Tamil or South Indian artisans
were engaged for the building of Dravidian-style structures in

the island. Inscriptions of the reign of Bhuvanekabahu IV ( 1341-1351)

declare that the La.Autilaka and Ga�alade�i shrines near Gampola,
the two well-known Dravidian-style temples of the fourteenth
century, were the creations of Sthapatirayara and Ga�e�varacarya
respectively� The names of these architects clearly suggest that
they were of South Indian origin. It is, therefore, probable
that South Indian craftsmen were invited to Ceylon to build the
, ��
Saiva-Vai��ava temples of the Cola period, although it is not
impossible that local craftsmen were also engaged to do t hi.s
There is also a controversy regarding the scul.ptors
who were responsible for casting the many Saiva and Vai��aYa
bronzes that have been discovered in the Cola temples at Polonnaruva.
Godakumbure claims that these bronzes have certain 'distinctive
features' which mark them as products of Sinhalese sculptors,
but fails to explain what these distinctive features are� Bell ' s
opinion is that they were 'doubtless cast in India'� Paranavitana

1. u.c.H.c. , I, pt. 2, P• 782 ; u.c . R. , XVIII, Nos.1&2, P• 11.

2. C.E.Godakumbure, ,21?• ill• • PP • 243 ff.
3• A . S .C. A. R . for ' P• •
1 22
supports him by stating that 'these bronzes have certainly been
imported ffom South India and belong to the history of art of
that region. • 1c>n the other hand, Basham feels that an 'important
school of bronze-casting existed in Ceylon, and produced works
similar in style to those of South India '� It is difficult to
determine who cast these bronzes purely on the basis of their
style. In the first place, there is so much in common between
the plastic arts of Ceylon and South India in this period that
slight variations in form do not always indicate a difference in
origin. Secondly, it is difficult to make a comparison between
the styles of the two regions. Iconography in Ceylon was mainly
represented by Buddhist images while in South India it was generally
represented by Saiva and Vai�;ava images. In the absence of a
tradition of casting �aiva and Vai§;ava icons, the Sinhalese
craftsmen, when employed to cast such images, would have evidently
turned to South India for the style. Moulds may have been brought
from the mainland and the bronzes cast in the island. Since there
would have been little difficulty in transporting bronzes across
the narrow straits, some may have been im orted from South India.
It is, therefore, not possible to determine who cast these bronzes.
All that we can say is that they belong to the South Indian school

1. u.c.H .c., I, pt.2, P • 6 9.

2. A . L.Basham, he onder that wa India, P • 376.
of sculpture. In the case of the Saiva temples, however, i t is
possible to conjecture that they are the work of South In ian
stone-masons who had gone to the island. Some of the Tamil ma.sons
employed in the time of Parakramabahu I for the building of
Buddhist structures may have been descendants of t he Cola masons:
The evidence of place-names for the period prior
to the thirteenth century is alaost negligible. Only a few
recorded forms of Tamil toponyms which show some Dravidian association
are available for the caia period. Even these forms have t o be
used with extreme caution owing to several reasons. Under normal
circumstances the occurrence of Tamil or Tamilised toponyms
would indicate the presence of Tamil set tlers in the p1aces
represented by them. But the Tamil and Tami1ised place-names of
the Cola empire outside the Tamil country do not necessarily
indicate Tamil settlement. Tamil names were often arbitrarily
g iven to places by the Cola administrators. Most of these were
frequently altered t o commemorate personalities and events. As
Nilakanta Sastri puts it, 'the subordinate divisions evidently
underwent numerous reshufflings, and their names were changed
so often as to justify the complaint that 'Cofa geo raphy came
t o suffer as much from the plague of homonyms as the kings
themselves ' •� The following Tamil names of places in Ceylo n

1 . See infra, P • 1 8� ·
2. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, The �tas , P• 465 .
are known from the �la inscriptions : Ja�anatha-mai\ga+am;
Rajaraja-pur� Rajaraja-perum-teru� Rajaraja-va+anatu� Vikrama­
c�la-vatanatu� Arumoli-teva-valanat u� Paralacari-va!anatu�
Nikarili-cola-va,l:anatu� Rajendra-cilka-valanatu� Xoffur-nafu;0
and Vikrama-pa�t iya-na11Ur!1 All these, except mffUr-na{u, are
names der ived from those of royalties¥ All of them, with the
possible exception of the last, have evidently been g iven by the
Cola administrators. Such names, therefore, do not always reflect
the existence of Tamil settlements in those place s. There are
a few other Tamil toponyms occurring in the �la epigraphs of
the island , such as mka.Ilur , Nalllir, Mukari-natu 1�d Pa1ava11-

1. S.I.I., IV, No. 1388.

2. lli.2.· ' No. 1412.

3. Ibid.
4. S.I.I., II, P• 426.
.5 . !!?,g•
6. S.I.I., IV t No. 1412.
7. Unpublished - No. I 775•
8. A.s.c.A.R. for 1909 . P• 27.
9. Unpublished - No. I 357.
10. M.E.R. for 1917/18, P• 143.

11. lli&·
12. See supra, P• lf� ·
13. S.I.I., IV, No. 1393.
putu-pi{i: But it is not possible to determine whether these are
place-names of Ceylon or South India. Some of these appear as
jivita Tillages held by Cola officials while some others occur
as the places of origin of certain donors. As villages in South
India were sometimes assigned to officials serving in Ceylon,
as in the case of TaJ.i Kumarau who was assigned the village of
Ci�u-Itutta-nallur in ce1amav:a1am although he was serving at
Ma.hatittha; and as many of the donors mentioned in the inscriptions
may have come from South India, we cannot be certain that these
villages were in Ceylon. Moreover, some of these names occur
both in the Tamil country and in Ceylon, so that it is difficult
to identify them in any particular region. Na11Ur, for instance,
is a very common name in South India. In Ceylon, too, there at
least four places of that name� Putu-kuii also occurs ill both
regions� It seems probable that most of these places mentioned
in our inscriptions were in South India.
There are a few tamilised forms of Sinhalese place­
names which occur in the contemporary inscriptions, namely
Matoffam5 ( Sinh. Mato{a, Pali Mahatittha), Pulainari6 (Sinh. Polonnaru,

l. Unpublished - No. I 776.

2. See supra, P• f ol -
3. See supra, P• �;- -
4• ....:.S.•, Pudukku�iya in Anuradhapura district and Putukkut i in

Mangaj.anat u in South India , M. E • • for 1917/1 , P• 89.

5. S . I, I. ' IV ' No.141a ; see supra, P• 1 01 ,
6 . A. s . c . A. R. for 1909, P • 27.
1 26
aram1 (Sinh. Kotasara, Pali Koffhasara)
Pali Pulatthinagara) , Koftiy""
and Vela.kamam (Sinh. Velagama, Pili Velaga.ma.). The occurrence
of Tamilised forms of toponyma in the Cola inscriptions ma:y
not always suggest Tamil occupation of the areas denoted by them.
The context in which they occur is equally important. The long
list of South-east Asian place-names in the inscriptions of
RaJ°"endra I, for instance, are Tamilised forms of Malay and
2 They may have been Tamilised earlier by the Tamil
other names.
traders who frequented these places . But what is important is
that they occur here as places invaded by the C<5la navy, and when
their names came to be recorded in Tamil the original forms
could not inevitably be retained. The mere fact that the hames
of these places are Tamilised may point to Tamil association
with those areas but does not necessarily indicate T mil settlement
there. The situation is different in the case of the above p�ce­
names in Ceylon. They were probably Tamilised as a result of
Tamils living in those areas. Mato{tam is a name that occurs in
Tamil literature as early as the seventh Bentury� There is some
evidence for the presence of Tamils in this pY.ce in the Anuradhapura
period! Tamil inscriptions of the C"6la period have been found here�

1. S.I . I . , II, p . 426 ; see supra, p., n . • la. Unpublished - No . I 357 .

2 . K. A.Nilakanta Sastri , The eot�, PP • 215-2 18.
3 . See SUJ2ra, P • ]3 .
4. See SUJ2ra, iu, . T ·
5. See suJ2ra, P• l o f ·
The present name of this lace is a variant of this Tamil form.
It still continues to be part of the Tam.11 areas of Ceylon. These
considerations would lead us to infer that the Tamilisation
of this place-name was the result of Tamil settle ent in the
area. Similarly, Kottiy
aram is a place-name still in use. The
area which it denotes is settled by Tamils. Velakamam and
Pulainari are not in use today. But Tamil inscriptions as well
as Dravidian ruins of the C5la period have been found in the
1 It is, therefore , very probable that
places denoted by them.
these Tamilised forms of Sinhalese place-names are the result
of Tamil settlement. Thus, the evidence of toponyms have to be
used with caution. By itself, it cannot form the basis of any
important conclusion. It could, however, be used to strengthen
arguments based on other more reliable evidence.
The evidence of the four different types of sources
that we have just analysed generally corr oborate and supplement
each other. While some of them provide more information than
the others, the genera1 conclusions that ,could be drawn from
them remain basically the same. In the first place , while these
sources reflect the presence of a larger number o f Tamils than
before, they do not at the same time point to any great Dravidian
migration having taken place in the wake of the Cola conquest.
They reveaJ. the presence of Tamils in certain regions but no
particular area of considerable size seems to have been completely

settled by them. This becomes clear if we try to trace the places

where evidence of their settlement is availab�e. According to
the literary sources, Tamils were found scattered in the villages
and market towns, all over the kingdom. There were C<Sla strongholds
in the Kurunigala district, the northern region of the Matale
district and in some parts of the Batticaloa district. The evidence
o f the other sources confirm this.
The find spots of the inscriptions show that the
Tamils were living scattered in the northern parts of the island.
With the exception of the inscriptions from Attaragalla and
Diyavinna, all the other inscriptions could be grouped under
five regions, namely the Hurulu and Nuvaragam diwisions of the
Nuvarakalaviya district (North-central Provillce), the Si:dhala
Pattu division of the Tamanka�uva district (North-central Provimce ) ,
Mantai in the Mannar district (Northern Province) and Periyakutam
in the Trincomalee district (Eastern Province). The inscription
from Mahakachchatko�i could be grouped with those of the Hurulu
division, for its provenace lies only about three miles outside
this division� Dravidian archaeological remains have been

1. a) Hurulu - inscriptions from Y�rago4a, Padaviya, ParaAgiyava�iya

b) Nuvaragam - Anuradhapura, Sa.Agili-kanadarav , Ataka.<ja
c) Sinhala Pattu - Polonnaruva, Giritale, Gal Oya.
discovered in t he Hurulu division, Sitha+a Pattu division and
Periya1o4am. Tamilised forms of Sinhalese place-names occur in
Mantai, the Trincoma.1ee district and the Sinhafa Pattu division.
There is no archaeological, inscriptional or place-name evidence
of the Cola period in the Kurunlgala district, Matale and Batticaloa
where, according to the Culava�a, Cola strongholds had been
established. But there is evidence of this type, belonging to
the twelfth century, which indicate the presence of Tamil settlers
in those areas during that century: Possibly these settlements
of the twelfth century, or at least some of them, had their
origins in the Cola period.
Thus, there is a general agreement between the
different types of evidence relating to the settlements of t he
period of Cola rule. We may not be wrong, therefore, in concluding
that there were Tamil settlements in this pe�iod in Mantai and
in some parts of the Nuvaragam, Hurulu and SiJa+a Pattu divisions
and in Periyakufam• T his conclusion is further strengthened by
the fact that these are the very areas where t�e presence of
Tamil settlers is indicated by the sources of the Anuradhapura
period� Although each of t he arguments to assume Tamil settlements
in these areas in the Cola period may not be very strong, t hey
have a certain cumulative strength which is enough to justify us

1. See infra, P • ,1. t � .

2. See supra, � -T ·
in provisionally marking those areas as occupied by Tamil
There is, however, no sufficient evidence to
warrant the conclusion that there was a large-scale migration
of Dravidians into the island in this perioi. The available
evidence shows a strengthening of the earlier settlements,
which appears to have been mainly due to the arrival of more
traders, mercenaries artisans and officials 9 The history of
the subsequent period clearly shows that the Sinhalese were
in control of the northern and eastern parts of Ceylon, which
were to fall later into the hands of Tamils and Kera+as, for
the next century and a half. The Sinhalese chroniclers, who
refer to the abandonment of the northern regions by the Sinhalese
and their occupation by the foreigners, give no such comment
for the Cola period:
Furthermore, there seems to have bee� no reason
for a mass exodus from South India in this period. The CoJ.as
provided political security for that region and the general
impression given by the inscriptions is one of prosperity
everywhere. These sources, of course, do not reflect the true

economic condition of the common people. However, only four

instances of famine in the Tamil country are known from the

1. Q:!., 80: 63-78, 81: 1-10.

inscriptions: All these famines occurred after the eleventh
century and were confined to small areas.2 There was, of course,
the need for new land, as appears from the nume�oua references
t o the reclamation of forest and waste land and to the efforts
• to increase the area under the ploggh and the inducements offered
to encourage such efforts on the part of the people ' � There
" is , h 6w1.v,e,.o(' ., no evi ence of any migration to foreign lands
due to political or economic reasons other than perhaps commercial
motives . In this period, colonisation did not follow imperial
expansion, as in modern times, and there is no evidence .,
that any policy of establi hing settlements was followed by
the Cola rulers. But there is, however, some evidence regarding
the settlement of certain castes or communities, for the performance
of particular duties, in different parts of the Tamil country
by rulers and local assemblies. The Brah�as formed one such
community. ¥..any Brah:mava villages, called agraharas, mMgal ms
or catur-vedi-ma�galams, were created by royal grants and ' new
colonies of pious and learned Brahmins were settled in the different
parts of the country• ! Another community, which was settled close

1. . ; M. E.R. for 1911, No.29

• R • for 1 99, No .33 ;
M. E. • for 1914, No . 17; ?-1. E.R. for 1935, No.14.
2. See infra, P• IC,O •

3. M. E. R. for 1902, Nos. 485 , 506; Y. E. R. for 19 3 , No . 385;

M. E. R. for 1911, No . 2 7 , etc. .' K. A . Nila.kallta Sastri,
The Col�, PP• 584-5 5.
4 . K. A. Nilakanta Sastri , The �fas, pp. 492-493.
to temples for the performance of service• to them, was that
of the cankara-patiy-r� Some records of the thirteenth c entury
attest to the creation of mercantile settlements by chiefs and
local assemblies in South India� It is not known whether such
a practice existed in the elvventh century . The BrahmaQas of
Polonnaruva and the cai\kara-patiyar of Mahatittha may have
been settled in those places by Cola authorities. The catur­
vedi-mai\galam, at KantafaY, of which we know from an inscription
of the time of Vijayabahu I (1055-1110)� may have similarl.y
originated in the Cola period. But these instances are dif£erent
from a policy of settling people in conquered lands. In a Tamil
epigraph of Kulottunga I (1070-1120) from Mulbagal, in My-sore,
there occurs the phrase neri toru nilaikal_ift.!!:.!!¼i� It has bee n
rendered as: ' who was pleased to establish settlements o f p eople
on all sides (in the conquered country) • � The implication is
that KulottuAga opened up settlements, presumably of people from
his e pire , in newly conquered territories. But the translation
is not accurate, for nilaik + does not mean settlements of people
but stations and what was meant evidently were military posts
rather than settlements.

1. See supra, P • 1 03 .
2 . M. E. R. for l935/3 , Nos . 150 , 196 .
3 . E.Z., IV, PP• 194-195.
4 . !!.£· ' X, No. 42b.
5 • �. , P• 81.


The slow migration and settlement of the Dravidians

"ftl..,..," ...t
in the island seem to have continued with greater vigour 1 in. the

period after the �a rule . A number of Tamil inscriptions
belonging to the late eleventh and the twelfth century have
been found in the northern and eastern areas of the island .
The evidence of the literary sources , too , suggests a growth
in the strength and influence of the South Indian element il1
the country in the period between the end of eoia rule and the
invasion of Mlgha (1070-12J5). In this period, the reign of
Parakramabihu I (1153-1186) may be said to mark the heyday of
Sinhalese power and glory. This monarch , while he succeeded in
controlling the growing influence of the South Indians in. the
island and in preventing any inroad from the mainland , 'left
the country in a state of exhaustion at the end of his rule • :
The political confusion that ensued the reign of P ar'Ea-amabahu I
greatly helped the increase of Kali.Aga and Dravidian influence
on an unprecedented scale and , in some ways , prepared the
ground for the rise of an independent Tamil kingdom in northern

1. U.C . H . C . , I , pt.2 , PP• 547, 716.

Ceylon� This period, therefore, sees the culmination of that had
begun to influence the course of the island's history towards
the end of the Anuradhapura period. From about the middle of the
� S-.,..ha\csc. ..,..\c-,s
thirteenth centur;r�had to contend with a permanent eneI111 in
the northern regions of the island, instead of the traditional
eneI111 from the majnland.
The period under review was conspicuously free
from foreign inroads. On the contrary, there were Sinhalese
invasions of South India, and the island was involved in South
Indian politics to a greater extent than ever before . The very
close relations between South India and Ceylon in the political,
cultural and economic spheres brought into the island more and
more mercantile communities, mercenaries , artisans and Brahznav,as
from the Dravidian kingdoms. The invitation of foreign mercenaries
by aspirants to the Sinhalese throne, a common feature in the
Anuradhapura period , was absent in this period. But there were
strong and influential bodies of foreign mercenaries in the
island in this period, many of whom, as we shall see later,
seem to have gone there al.ong with some of the mercantile
communities .

1. The political confusion that followed the reign of Par'Etrama­

b'ihu I and the rise of Kali.Aga influence have been dealt with
by A.Liyanagamage in his thesis, The Decline of Polonnaruva
and the Rise ot Da!bade�iya, University of London, 1963.
The most important feature of this period, in
regard to Dravidian settlements in the island, ia the presence
of a number of mercenaries, traders, artisans and Brabmavas from
all parts of South India. The most important among these
Dravidian communities were the mercantile bodies known as the
Ai!1fmttuvar, Vala!ljiyar and the Nan'ide!is as well as the arcenary
forces called the Vefaikkaras. An analysis of the activities of
the mercantile communities reveals that they may have been
responsible for the migration of several traders, artisans and
mercenaries into the island in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
More than seventy inscriptions, in Tamil, Telugu,
Kannada and Ma.layalam, which refer to the activities of the

mercantile communities mentioned above, have been discovered in

South India. These range between the eighth and the seventeenth
century. Outside the South Indian peninsu1a, there are seven
in Ceylon¼ one in Sumatra2 and another in Burma� which refer

1. i) S.I.I. , IV, No. 1405, from Anuridhapura ; il) �- , I,

P• 181, from Puliyankufama (?) ; iii) �- , II, P• 236 , from
-tnaulund'iva; iv) !.:.!• , XVIII, PP• 330-338, from Polonnaruva;
y) Unpublished - from V"ihalka�a; vi) Unpublished - from
Padaviya; vii) Unpublished - from Vihareh�nna.
2. M. E . R . for 1891-1892, P• ll.
3. !.:.!• , VII, P• 197.
to them or to their associate bodies. These range between the
nitdk and the twelfth century. The widespread activities of these
mercantile communities have long been recognized by South Indian
historians. They have often been referred to as mercantile
guilds and autonamous corporations raf merchants.1 But the actual
nature and organization of these 'guildJ as well as the
relationship between them and the large number of professional
bodies often associated with them have not been fully analysed.
There has been considerable confusion in the names used to
describe these 'guilds•. In Ceylon, writers on the history of
this period have made passing remarks on these communities
and have collectively referred ta them as Vala!ljiyar� Some
of these , like the Nakaratt'ir , have sometimes been mistaken for
divisions o,f the Vefaikkaras� To understand the presence and
the activities of these communities in Ceylon , it is necessary
to aaalyse briefly their organization and activities in South

The Ai21!1Uuuvar , Dn�de!sis , Vala!ljiyar and the

Nakarattar appear together in the majority of their inscriptions

l. K. A.Nilakanta Sastri , The �18.,!, P • 5 95 ;

T.V. Mahalingam, South Indian Polity . PP• 389 ff.
2. U . C . H . C . , I, pt. 2 , P • 550.
3. S.Paranavitana , 'The Polonnaruva Inscription of Vijayabahu I' ,
!:.!• • XVIII , 1926 , PP• 33 4 , 335 .
1 37
in South India. The most prominent among these were the Aillfflittuvar,
who were also known as the Ayyl.v4e, v;ra Bala!ljiyar and Banallju
Dhar maara as well as by numerous other variants of these names!
Most of their records are preambled by a long eulogy or pra§asti,
giving an account of their origin and achievements. By far the
largest number of these, nearly forty, are in Kannada while there
are about a dozen each in Tamil and Telugu and a handfu1 in
Malayalam. The earliest of these goes back to the eighth century�
The latest is dated �aka 1602 (A.D . 1680): At present, therefore,
the origin of this community can be traced back only to the
eighth century.
The earliest inscription of the Ai!lffliuuvar is
found at Aihofe, the ancient Ayy'avoJe, which they claim as their
seat of power. Since the earliest available of their records
comes from A.ihoie, it is possible that it belongs to the early
years of their history. The origin of this community, may,

1. M.E.R. for 1916, No. 97 of 1915 - Ayyappolal ;

.!:.£. , VIII, P• 89 of the text - Ayy"lva}:eya .Aynltrvva S�a_lu ;
M. E.R. for 1918, No. 18 of 1 917-18 A - Samayi.na of AJ7ava+i ;
!.:.Q., XI, p. 181 of the text - Ayivote Mukhyarada .
2. J.F.Fleet, 'Sanskrit and Canarese Inscriptions•, !.:.!• , VI , May 1877,
P • 138.
3. ¥. E.R. for 1918, No. 18 of 1917-18 in Appendix A.
therefore, date back to about the eighth centur1. There is little
doubt that .Ayy'ivote was the place of their origin, for not oni,­
did they call themselves the .Ayyavole or the Five Hundred o f
.Ayy�vofe but the1 also named many of the places where the1
had established themselves in later times as Southern Ayyavotes
(Tel\kav .Ayy'ivote): In most of their inscriptions of the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries, the members of this community claim
to have come from .Ahichchatra in North India� It is not possible
to say how far this claim is true. But it is not impossible
that some of the wandering traders from North India were responsible
for the foundling of a mercantile body which later grew into
this powerful community.
The name of this community has been the subject
of various interpretations by different scholars. In most of
the Kannada inscriptions, it appears as the Five Hundred Sv'tmins
of .Ayyavate (A.yy'lva1,eya AynUrvva SvamigaJ:�)� Several variants
of this name occur in the Tamil epigraphs, such as ,!ra.uat�ci­
ticai-ayirattu-ai!lfflin:.uvar (Five Hundred of the Thousand Directions
of the Several Countries)� N'lnku-ticai-ayirattu-aifffmrruvar

1. !_:£., V, p. 325 of the text.

2. M.E.R. for 1906, No. 180 of 1905.
3• !_:£., VIII, P• 89 of the text. �
tc.· A-N il,lc-u. Sc;. s-h-i , " A ,.....,.;\ �rc:."'-..,.t (.....,; \ cl i n S..,.,,..,tra ,
4.A Tijdschrift Voor Indische Taal- 1 Land- en Volkenkunde, LXXII,
1932, P • 318.
1 39
(Five Hundred of the Thousand Directions of the Four (Quarters) );
Tieai-ayirattu-aiffmittuvar (Five Hundred of the �housand Directions)2
and Aifffflio:,uvar (Five Hundred)� Sometimes they are just referred
to as Aivol-e , Ayyavale or Ayyappol,al! The use of the name
Ai!Umtt,uvar has led R.C.Majumdar to think that this • organization •
consisted of five hundred members� T.V.Mahalingam, on the other
hand , fee ls that 'their extra-territorial organization was
managed by an executive committe e of five hundred members • �
A.Appadorai , too , holds a similar view when he states that the
• most important personages were constituted into a board ca.1led
the Five Hundred Svamis of A.yyavo1e • ? L.D.Ba.rnett's opinion is
that this • corporation' had their c entral body at Ay'y�vote ,
which was the seat of their Board of Directors , consisting of
a council of five hundred members� All these opinions are based

1. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, Pt '""''' Me.Y,�Y\t Gv..i.\c:l. in

s......,...,-\� ,
�-- 0• f .J ?>I 8" .

2• .!E_g .
3• K.A.Nilakanta Sastri , The ClJ1.!!!_ , P• 596.
4. M. E . R. for 1919� No.223 of 1918 ; .!:£ · , II , (Revised ed. ) ,

P • 78 of the text ; M. E.R. for 1916 , No. 97 of 1915.

5• R.C.Majumdar , Corporate Life in Ancient India , P • 88.
6. T.V.1-f.ahalingam, �• ill• , P • 392.
7. A.Appadorai , Economic Conditions in Southern India , II , p. 394.
8. L.D.Barnett , The Ancient Tamil Township and Village , Unpublished ,
quote d in B.A.Saletore • s Soc ial and folitical Life in the
Vijyanagara Empire I ll , P • 18" fl'I•
1 40
on the interpretations of the term Ai!UlUttuvar and deserve
closer examination. Majumdar's view that the organization consisted
of five hundred members is not tenable. The activities of this
body was never limited to any one area or century. On the
contrary , its records have been found in several districts
of South India and in Ceylon and Sumatra. These range over a
period of nearly ten centuries. It is, therefore, improbable
that the organization had a constant number of members
throughout this period and a1l over the vast area covered by t
their activities. The meaning of the term Aiflfflio:uvar has t o
be expkined differently. The opinions of Appadorai, Barnett
and Mahalingam are based on the assumption that the A:i.f1fmu:uvar
were a single unified body with their headquarters at Ayyavole
and that all the members mentioned in their inscriptions
all over South India owed allegiance to a central body. It
seems rather too much to expect the A.i!1!l1ID:,uvar to have been
such a unified body with a continuous history of nearly ten
centuries and with branches all over South India and even
overseas. Such an organization is too modern a concept and 'll1a3
not be applicable to this period of South Indian history •
.A careful analysis of the inscriptions reveals that there is
no justification for the view that the Ai!ffllID:uvar represented
a central body of the corporation or for the theory that they
had their headquarters at AJ'Yavole. In the first place, it is
not necessary to assume that the membership of the corporation
or its central body, if ever there was on• , was limited to five
hundred. In this instance , the number five hundred has to be
taken as a conventional number from which this mercantile
community has derived its name. This m.a:y be explained in
several ways. The number five hundred may preserve the memory
of the number of people who banded themse1ves together and
originated this mercantile community. This number may have
been a figure close to five hundred and may have been rounded
off to five hun4red. namjng guilds and other bodies after what
may have been considered their numerical strngth is not
something unusual in Indian history. In the Jatakas we get
references to carpenters and robbers organized in guilds of
five hundred.1 Certain other guilds had a thousand me� in each
of them� Even in later times there were such bodies in South �
India. An inscription from Travancore refers to a body of six
hundred while another from Bijl:pur refers to a body of Bl'ah�as
called the Five Hundred Mahajanas (Mahajan,mga,l: AynUrvvara)�

1. The J'itakas , IV, ed. E.B.Cowell , Tr. W.H.D.Rouse , (1901) ,

P • 268 - Sattigumba J'ltaka.
2 • �- , P • 99 - Samudda-vqija �taka..
3 • .li:..,!. , V , P • �� •
There was also a community of BrDimapas in Cidambaram (Til1ai)
who were known as the Three !housand of Tillai (Tillai l-mv�iravar).1
In modern times we get the example of the Syrian Christians of
KeraJa being diTided into the Seven Hundred (EJ.unUrukar) and
the Five Hundred (A!lmI.rdar)� The name Five Hundred is , th erefore ,
no indication o! the numerical strngth of the Ai!lflUt.t,uvar in
the 1ater centuries of their history-. There is also another
possibility of explaining this name. The .Ai!lfflio:uvar claim in
their inscriptions that they migrated from Ahichchatra. This
may mean that the community originated in South India with the
arrival of some wandering traders from North India who already
belonged to a mercantile corporation known as the Five Hundred,
for it is quite possible that such corporations continued t o
exist in N orth India from the time o f the Jltakas.
It is equally untenable to claim that the Ai!lf1ttuuvar
had their headquarters at Aihote or Ay,-1'.vote. The fact that
only one , and that the earliest , of their records has been
discovered at Aihoie is not without any significance. If the
Aifl!mttuvar had their headquarters in this town , it is strange

1. M. E.R. for 1922/23, No. 395 of 1922 . � , v- 7 4 ·

2. T.A.S. , II , P• 75.
1 43
that out of over seventy records left by them not a single one
belonging to the period after the eighth century has been
found at Aihoii• The fact that they continued to call themselves
the .Aifl!11Iuuvar of Ayyavale or Ayyavole does not necessarily
mean that they had their headquarters in that town. There is
no etidence to suggest that they had any connection with
Ayyavo+e after the eighth century. As we have pointed out earlier,
Ayyavo+e appears to have been the town where this mercantile
community had its origins. It seems possible, therefore, that
the .Ai!lffiiuuvar were originally known as the Aif1ffliuuvar of
Ayyl'.vote. Members of their community seem to have used this
name in the later centuries, too, when they had established
themselves in other parts of South India. The occurrence of
�vo+e :Ln their name seems , there ifre, to be a reminder of
their place of origin rather than a reference to their
headquarters. Their practive of calling many of the new places
where they established themselves as Southern Ayyavoles
(Te� or D�iV,a Ay�vo+e > also shows that they considered
Ayyavofe to be their original home! Further there is no evidence

1. £.!• , The mi Brahrna9as and the Til.lai Br1Dlrna9as called

themselves so even when they were settled in places other
than Ka6i and Tillai respectively.
14 4
to suggest that there was any kind of communication between
Ayyavote and the other places where the A.ifl!muuvar were found.
A.,-y'lvoie seems tm have declined as a centre of their activity
before the tenth century, when we begin to get their records
in other places.
There is also no evidence to support the hypothesis
that the Ai.Jlffliuuvar were a single Wlified corporation of
merchants. The application to the Ai!lffliuuvar of the terms
'corporation • and 'guild' appears to be rather unjustified.
It seems more appropriate to call them a community of merchants
with common origin, interests and beliefs. They were all bound
together by the Bana!lju Dharaa. which they claimed to follow!
There is no evidence of any other fora of bond, administrative
or otherwise, between them. There is little evidence regarding
any definite organization in their community. An official called
Pa t1ava-sV-ami is met with in most of their inscriptions. But
he appears as the head of a mercantile town who took part in
the meetings of the Ai!lfflID:uvar as well as of other mercantile
bodies. It is, therefore, difficult to decide whther he w as an
official. ot the Ai!Uffla:uvar or the head of a town acknowledged

l• .!:£_., V III, P • 89 of the text .

2. !.:£. , V II, Inscription No. 94 from Shikarpur TD.uq.
by all the professional bodies in the town. The term E!ff9.!­
sTami (lord of the town) itself suggests that he was the general
head of a town rather than an official of a:ny particular bod7.
The only other official term that occurs in the records of the
Aifflmlluvar is m�igeza, which is of doubtful meaning� Some have
suggested that it could mean a passport department.2 But it is
difficult to determine the real meaning of the term. The
Ai!lffii;c:uTar may have been a loosel1 organized bod7 because of
their community of interests but sufficient evidence is lacking
to call them a corporation or a trading guild. The fact that
some of their associate bodies like the Vala!ljiyar and the
N akarattar, who are commonl1 referred to as mercantile corporations
and guilds� have survived to this day as merc antile c astes
in South lndia4 should serve as a corrective to the impression
that the il!lffl!;c:uvar and other trading communities of this
period were organized as corporations�

l. �- , II, (Revised ed.), p. 90 of the Kannada text .

2 . �• • P• 78 of the translatioD.
3 . A.Appadorai, .21!.• ill•, P • 378.
4. Imperial Gazetteer of India, XVIII, PP • 188-18 9.

5. ETen in modern times the business community of Ceffis have

their own fiscal year, stick to their own system of book-keeping
and follow their own type of business practices and customs.
But theJ could hardly be called a corporation on these grounds.
The il!l!11Iuuvar were primarily traders in Tarious
types of merchandise as they themselves claim in their inscriptions:
They call themselves wandering traders and claim to haTe
Tisited a large number of countries, many of which were in
North India and some outside the subcontinent� But noae of their
inscriptions has been found in any part of North India and
this claim may not be altogether true. But the fact that their
records have been lef) in Ceylon and in Sumatra shows that
they were an adventurous community whose meJIIBers went to
far off lands in pursuit of their profession .
Apart from their fundtion as traders, they seem
to have occupied a leading position among a larger number of
occupational groups in the t owns, exercising much power and
influence over the� In many of their inscriptions, we get as

1. E .c., VII, P• 159 of the text.
2. -
E.C . , VII, No. 118 from Shikarpur T'iluq - The following
countries are mentioned:- 1 Chera, ChlSla, �a, Magadha,
Kausala , Saurlltra, Dhanustra, Kurumbha, ICambhoja, Gaulla,

ata, Barvvara, Parasa, lfflp'ija, �pada, Lambakari;,a,

Str,:-rajya, Ghola-mukha emba nanade§�p;yJ!!!'.
3. �•, Ros. 118 and 119 from Shikarpur raluq, PP• 158-163 of
the text.
14 7
many as forty-six such bodies usociated with the ilf1!tUuuvar
and their Bana!lju Dharma.l These include the �de6is, B�ajigas
or Vala!ljiyar and the N�att'lr. The exact relationship
between the Aiflffllttuvar and these bodies i.s not e asy to
determine. Many of the inscriptions give us , however, some
idea of the nature of this relationship. Certain writers have
expressed the view that the .Ai!lffllt.,uvar were a federation of
all these bodies and not a community by themselves.2 T. V.Mahalingam
considers the, associate bodies to be sub-divisions of the
Ai!lffllttuvar� But these views are again based on the assumption

1 . M· , VII , PP• 158-159 of the text ; M.E . R . for 1918 , P• 174.

The following communities are mentioned:-
Gavaras, Gatrigas, Seffis, Seffiguttas, AAgakiras, Settiputras,
Brra-vqigas, Ntnade�is, Na�u, N agara, Bqdjigas, El:i�ras,
Munai-v�ras, Itallci.Aka-�as, Ko:dga-V-a,.las, 'K.a.#�alis, Bhadrakas,
Gav�9asvamis, Si.Agam , §11:u-puli, Valattukkai, Variyqs,
Paradelis, Svade,is, Valangai-t�iyar, Niyayattar, �as,
Gq�igas, Gavul},4as, Mummuri-dq�as, �va.1).a-karas, VYrak.o1i,
Vyavaharikas, Pa!lchalas, Kumbhalikas, Tantuvayins, Vastrabhedakas,
Tila Ghafakas, Kurantakas, Vastra-r�akas, Devdgas, Parikeliti,
GcS-raqaka.s, Kirafas, Rajakas and K6auras.
2 • • s.Chandrasekb.ara Sastri, 'Economic Conditions under the Hoysalas',
Half-Yearly Journal of the M,Ysore Univeristy, II, 2, July,.{1 p.223.
3. T . V . Mahalingam, �• ill• , P • 390 .
14 8
that al1 these bodies were organized trade guilds. There is
no doubt that the Ai!1f11Ittuvar were a communit1 distuct fro•
all others mentioned with them. They are referred to as such
in their records, where the AimMuuvar , lranadeiis , the
Nakarattar , the eighteen samayas and other communities are
distinct1y listed as different bodies: But in all these
instances , the 1eading position of the �uvar oTer a11
the others is clearly brought out. There are many instances to
show that the Ai!lffliuuvar presided 6ver several meetii..ngs
where affairs of the other communities were settled� The
pr&Aasti appearing in many of their records is ca1leQ the
A.ynl!rvvara pr&Aasti and is clearly in praise of the li!Hmo:uvar�
This community seems , therefore , to have enjoyed considerab1e
power and influence over the many pgfebeienal groups in the
towns and trading centres of South India. They , as well as
the other major mercantile communities 1ike the Valalltjiyar and
the Nakaratt'lr , were conceded a share of the administrative
duties of the state. We find in the inscriptions that they had

1. M.E.R. for 1925/26 , No. 131 of 1926 ; M.E.R. for 1919,

No . 216 of 1918.
2. !.:_Q., VII , P • 159 of the text.

3. �-
a share in the collection of tolls, taxes and rates and had
the power of declaring certain towns as �ri-�a-paft9.!.!
and Southern Ayyavoiea� The7 also reserved for themselves the
power to grant trading privileges in certain articles to
individua1 traders: They were great benefactors of temples to
which they- granted part of the tolls and rates collected by them.4
The communities associated with the A1JU1Uuuvar
�ere not all mercantile in character. Man� were other occupational
groups which later evolved into castes. Examples of such coJDJDUjlities
are the Pa!ic\alas (the five classes of smiths), Kumbhalika.s
(potters) and the K&auras (barbers)� who were among the
eighteen samayaa. Even the Vala!ljiyar and the Nakarattar later
evolved into castes� There were also some communities which
were given to martial pursuits , such as the Et,1-�as, Muaai-�ras,
I1a!lciAka-�ras, KoAga-V'i+ae and the Mwnmuri-d�4as? Their names

1. �., VII, P• 159 of the text; M.E.R. for 1919, No. 9 of

1918-19, Appendix A , No. 216 of 1918 ; M. E.R . for 1912,
No. 377 of 1911.
2. M.E . R . for 1913, No. 342 of 1912; !:,£., VIII, P• 89 of the text.
3. M.E.R. for 1919, Noa. 10 and 11 of 1918-19 Appendix A.
4 . M. E . R . for 1912, No. 377 of 1911.
5. The Imperial Gaze�teer of India, XVIII, P • 198.
6. �-
suggest the nature of the work they were doing.
As mentioned earlier, there are seven inscriptions
in Ceylon which attest to the presence of the Ai!1!11Io:uvar and
their associates in the island a1though Ceylon has been omi.tted
in the list of countries covered by their activities, furnished
in their inscriptions! The e arliest of these inscriptions comes
from Anuradhapura and its contents have already been discussed�
The inscription is datable to the ninth century. The Nau}tu-nat u
(Four Countries), a community identifiable with the lr
alku -na�u
of the Kannada inscriptions, was responsible for setting up
this record. The Nalku-n'igu of the Kannada inscriptions are
found associated with the .Ai!1f1Uuuvar and were probably a
trading community like the ?ra1u-nakaratt'ir (Those of the Four
Towns)� This may mean that some associates of the Ai!lffl!a:uvar,
and probably the latter1 too, were in the island in the ninth
There is definite evidence regarding the presence
of the Valafl�ar and the Nakarattar in Ceylon in the twelfth

1. See SUI?ra, P • 14-b •

2. See SU]:!ra, P• �, .
3 . .!.:.£. , VII, P• 310 of the text ; !.:.£ · • VIII, P• 89 of the text;
M.E . R. for 1917, No. 130 of 1916.
century . The source of our information is the ff+ai.kdra inscription
from Polonnaruva , which appears to have been set up not long
after the death of Vijayabahu I (lllO).1 The Vala!ljiyar and the
Nakaratt'ir are referred to here as those closely associated
with the V11a1 �ras. The exact relationship is couched in the
following lines of the inscription:-
Mi-tantirattom ld!{i e�kaf.ukku m1Itataika 1a1 ult�
Valafice:yaraiyum ei\ka.+2t u kut i varum Nakaratt'ir
�+f!ttorai:yum k1Itt! • • •• • 2
Paranavitana has rendered it in English as follows: -
We of the Mahatantra , having called together the
Vala!ljiyar who are our leaders , and the Nakarattar and
others, who always accompany us • • • 3
The Vala!lceyar of our inscription ,were, of course , the
Vala!ljiyar who are sometimes referred to as Ba;.a!ljigas in the
Kannada inscriptions. In the first place, these lines inform
us that the Vala!ljiyar and the Nakarattar were in Ceylon along
with the Veta,ikkaras in the twelfth century and possibly iD the
eleventh, too, for there is evidence for the presence of the
Vetaikkaras in the eleventh century.4 But more important than
this is the light thrown on the nature of the relationship

1. S.Paranavitana , ' The Polonnaruva Inscription of Vijayabahu I ' ,

.2E.• ill • , PP • 330-338.
2 . �•, P• 337•
3. �., P• 338.
4. See supra , P• �7 ·
15 2
between the Val.a!ljiyar and the Vetaikkaras.�ommenting on this
Paranavitana writes that it seems from our inscriptioJI. as if
the three divisions or 'hands' to which the Vi+aikkaras were
divided consisted of the Mahatantra , the Va1a!1jiyar amd the
N agarattar' , and adds that 'as the Va1a!ljiyars are said to have
been the leaders (m'Udadai ) of th& Vilaikk'ira troops, �t might
be conjectured that the latter migrated to Ceylon with the
Vala!ljiyar whom they served'� But, as Nilakanta Sastri has pointed
out, there is no reason to assume that the Vala!ljiyar and the
N akarattar formed two of the three divisions of the Vetaikk'aras�
The lines quoted above refer to the Vala!ljiyar as the mUtata�
o f the Vefaikk:aras. Paranavitana has translated the word miitataikat
as le aders. Nilakanta Sastri has the following comment to make
on this translation:-
The translation of nftitadaiga+ into 'leaders • i.s not quite
accurate ; the word literally means 'grandfathers • , and
what is meant cannot be physical descent when it is one
corporation claiming this relation to another , and must
imply some kin� of spiritual or constitutional. relation. 3

Although mtI4ataikai me ans 'grandfathers' or • ancestors • , it

could a1so be taken to mean elders� In this context, it is not

1. S.Paranavitana, 'The Polonnaruva Inscription of Vijayabahu I' , p .335

2. K.A.Hilakanta Sastri, 'Vijayabahu , The Liberator o� Ceylon',
J . R . A . S. (C . B. ) , H.S., IV , 1954, P• 70.

3. �-
4. !_:!. , II, P• 254. D . M.de Z.Wiekrama.singhe has givelll. this
possible to take the first two meanings, for the ValaJljiyar being
a mercantile communit;r and the Velaikk'i2as being a mercenary
body we cannot say that one is descended from the other. The
meaning Ielders' seems to be more appropriate. But here, too ,
the ValaJljiyar cannot be taken to be the elders in the physical
sense. They appear to have been regarded as the leaders of the
Vetaikk'iras, as Paranavitana has rendered, and seem to have
been elders in the social sense. This relationship becomes clear
if we look at the social structure in South India in this period.
In the eleventh and the twelfth century, and in fact till
recent times, the various castes of the Dravidian areas were
divided into two major sections called the Ifa6kai (Left Hand)
and the Vala:tlkai (Right Hand): The Vl1aikkara inscription
under discussion attests to the presence of the members of these
two sections in Ceylon in the twelfth century� Certain mercantile
communities were considered to be the heads or leaders of
these sections. In the case of the Vala.Akai, the Nanade§is and
the Vala.21ji;rar were among the leaders while the It a.Aka.i had

1 . B . A . Saletore , Social and Political Life in the Vijayanagara

Empire, II, P• 68 ff.
2. S . Paranavitana, 'The Polonnaruva Inscription of Vijayab'ihu I',
P• 337.
15 4
the Nakarattar as one of their leaders� The Val a6ka1 were often
considered to be of a higher socia1 atatus than the Ita.Akai�
.Although the Vefa1kk:ara forces in Ce1lon were drawn from both
sections, as they admit in our inscription, the Mahatantra
division, who a1one ca11 the Vala!ljiyar their mUlltaikat,
appears to have been drawn from the Vala6kai. This assumption

is further strengthened by the fact that the ' Nakaratt'ir u lt!t �'
are referred to as those who accompany the Mahatantra? The
phrase N akarattar Yi!�� has been translated by Paranavitana
as the 1 Nakarattar and others'f- But 1itera11y �:ft,if�r means
' those included ' , from ut+i\u meaning 'include'. The phrase
would, therefore, mean 'those included (in a group) with the
Nakarattar • . This seems to be a reference to the I�a.Akai leaders.
The reason why this group is mentioned as those who accompany
the Mahatantra must be the subordinate position held by them
in the presence of the Vala.Akai. The leaders of both sections
were invited for the meeting of the Vi+a1kk'iras obviously
because the latter were drawn from both settions of the Dravidians.

1. E. C. , XI, P• 61 of the text ; The Imperial Gazetteer of India,

XVIII, PP• 198-199.
2. B.A.Saletore, .21!.• ill• , P • 68 ff.
3. See supra, P• rrr.
4. See supra , P• •�•·
It seems, therefore, reasonable to assume that the mercenary
forces c alled the Ve+aikkaras went to the island along with
the mercantile communities who, as we have seen earlier, h ad
a number of martial communities associated with them in South
India. Some of the Vilaik:karas, however, may have gone there
independently and later acknowledged the leadership of the
mercantile communities.
The Vala.!1jiyar, Nakarattar and some of the mercenary
bodies were only a few of the associates of the AiflfmD:UVar who
were in Ceylon in the twelfth century. There are at least
three Tamil inscriptions in the island which refer to several
others. These records, which are unpublished, are found at
V-ahalka�a, ViharehYnna and Padaviya and contain the pra&asti
of the Ai!l.fltin:uvar at the beginning! Unfortunately all are
badly damaged and the actual purport of the inscriptions cannot
be ascertained. These could be assigned to the twelfth century

on palaeographical grounda. The script of these inscriptions

is very similar to th at of the Tamil inscriptions of the time
of Gajabahu II (1132-1153). Apart from these Tamil epigraphs,
there is another record of the AiflfflID:uvar in the Sinhalese script
of the twelfth or the thirteenth century. Unfortunately only

1. See supra, P • r3.S" i"· 1 •

three lines of this inscription, containinf part of the praAasti,
have been preserved� Since the pra�asti is in Sanskrit, it is
not known whether the rest of the inscription was in Sinhalese
or not.
The pra�asti in the Tamil inscriptions is a shorter
version of that appearing in the Kannada records and begins with
the words Samastha bhuvanUraya paffca �ata v�a s'isana. As in
the Kolar inscription of 1180� the Ai!lfflluuvar describe themselves
here as the 'children of the Goddess of the City of Ayyappo•il '
(.Ayyappol.ip>ura Paramesvarikku makkat). The pra�asti is followed
by a list of members of the different communities who were
associated with the Ai!l!luttuvar in the island. The number of
communities is not as large as in the South Indian inscriptions •
.Among those mentioned in the preserved portions of the inscriptions
are the Ceftis, Ceft iputras, Nan'ide�is, Valafljiyar, nrakkoti,
ValaAkai, ilga.kkaras, Xv�akkaras, Ila!lcUkam and the Ko:dga-vatas.
The Cet tis were traders as well as money lenders
or bankers� In our inscriptions they are sometimes referred to
as the ' Cettis of the countries of the eighteen worlds' (patine�­
pnmi naft.!!...£!f ti kal)• Several members of this community are

1. D.M.de Z.Wickramasinghe, 'Polonnaruva : Anaulund�va Slab-Inscription •

!:_!., II, P• 236.

2. !:£. ,X, No.170 from Kolar -'A.nr'ivatepura Parame�variya makka+
' '•
3. ill• ,
A.Appadorai, 2,1?. • PP • 379-380.
1 57
named in these inscriptions. In the Vaha1ka�a inscription ,
these cett is and the nrakkofiyar are recorded to have done
something in order that a certain town may not be destroyed.
It is not clear what the nature of their work was and which
town was protected in that manner. There are some place names
in the North-central and North-western Proviaces with £.!�f1
u ·their first element. These may date from the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries and may indicate the presence of Ceft i
settlers in those places;
The Ceft iputras may also have been traders, bat
we have no information regarding the natlll!e of their activities.
The N""
anadeSis, as we have already noted, were a community of
traders like the Valafljiyar. In many of the Kannada inscriptions
they are referred to as the Ubhaya N'lnade!is (both lr
It is not known who these two classes of N'ln'ideiis were. In
an inscription from Bangalore, there occurs the phrase
svade�a parad'ifla nan'ideSa.m (local and foreign lranade6a ?)� It
may be that this mercantile community was divided into a

1.�s- ·
�"Z.e.ll -e.&-r No - 4 � : Ce.y ..,. , t f · ?. 1 , lf-o,
1• .See illf:ra., it•

2. !:..9.. , IX, P• 83 of the text ; g. , nx. P• 25.

3. g. , IX, P• 1 of the text.
1 58
loca1 and a foreign group . But this phrase could also mean
'those of the svade§a, parade§a and nanade!a (communities), •
for we come across a body known as the Parade6is in another
inscription� It is difficult to settle this question without
examining some of the unpublished inscriptions which remain
inaccessible at the moment. It is also not known whether the
N"'"anade§is were actually- a community- of merchants from diffe rent
countries, as the name implies, or whether they were so cal.l.ed
because they were descended from foreign merchants who had
established their business in the Kannada country, where the
community seems to have originated . Whatever their origin mq
have been , they were among those who travelled to distant l ands

in pGsuit of their trade , possibly with the Ai!l!r

uu.uvar. Their
presence in Pagan, Burma, is known from the Tamil inscription
found there 2. In Ceylon, apart from the evidence of the Tami1
inscriptions, there is also a Sinhalese epigraph of the time of
Queen LYli'.vatY (1197-1200 1 1209-1210, 1211-1212) which mentions
them. According to this record, in the reign of L'tlavat't the
N"'"ani'.de,is (l1
anade§i y:yaparayan) had an alms house at Anuri'.dhapura�

1. M.E.R. for 1932/33, No . 173 of 1932/33.

2. y. , VII, P • 198.
3. D.M.de Z.Wickramasinghe, 'The Slab-Inscription Marked � or
Queen L'tlavat't ', �-, I, P• 179.
1 59
As in South India, these mercantile communitie s were,{engaged
in providing charitable services and in patronising religious
The nrakkofi or ffrakkofiyar were another
mercantile community found in Ceylon in about the twelfth
c entury. They are recorded in the Viha1ka4a inscription to
have associated themselves with the Ceftis in taking certain
steps to protect a town: They are mentioned :ln. a few South
Indian inscriptions, too, but do not seem to have been a
prominent trading community�
The A.Akakkaras and the �v�aklaras appear to have
been two of the non-mercantile Dravidian communities that were
in the island in this period. The A6kakkaras are frequently
arntioned in the records of the .AiJUmuuvar but it has not been
possible to find out the nature of their profession. An ankakkaran,
in Ta,pil, is a dandy or a masquerader and is derived from the
Sanskrit word anga ( =body)� Perhaps they were professional
entertainers who specialised in masque. The 4va.;.akk'iras do not
find mention in the South Indian inscriptions but are referred

1. See supra, P • IS-7.

2• .!:.K•, M . E.R. for 1910 1 No. 11 of 1910.

3. Madras Tamil Lexicon, I , P• 18 .
to in the Vahalka�a and Vihareh,:nna epigraphs. The name is derived
from 'ivp!;!!! (Skt . apy.!) meaning market or bazaar.1 Perhaps the
iva$akkaras were those who were responsible for the maintenance
of markets and other public places .
The Vala-Akai of our inscriptions are the eighteen
castes of South India who were categorized under this name.
The term occurs in the Velaikkara inscription as well, along
with the term Ita6kai.2 This clearly shows that the South Indian
caste system was maintained among the Dravidians in Ceylon, too.
The Vala!ljiyar and the N"'"an'ide6is as well as some of the Ve:J-aikkaru
were ValaAkai communities� But no information is available
regarding the number and names of the V ala:Akai castes in the
There is no information at all regarding the
activities of the I1allc16kams (young lions). It is not possible
to conjecture from the name the nature of their profession. The
Ko:Ag a-V-
a1as appear to have been a community given to military
pursuits. The name means 'swordsmen of KoAgu•. They may ha•e been
a class of sword fighters who were among the mercenary communities

1. Madras Tamil Lexicon, I, P• 249.

2. See supra, p. 1 >"3 -
3 • See supra, p. IS-3 •
4. K. A.Nilakanta Sastri, 'A Tamil Merchant-guild in Sumatra 1 1 P • 319.
who accompanied the mercantile bodies. The Vahalka4a inscription
has a list of several military personalities who were associated
with the Ceftis, Vu-akko'tiyar and the Vala!ljiyar. They- have
such titles as £:[aapati (army chief ), mallan (wrestler ) and
�t.!S (victor). A certain Cattaa is referred to as the Vala!lceyar
Ceaapati, apparently because he was in the service of the
Valafljiyar. Mercantile communities may have employed mercenary­
forces to protect their endowments as well as to safeguard
their trust properties. This perhaps explains the presence of
Mummurida_v.�as ( a class of mercenaries) on many occasions when
grants were made by the mercantile communities:
Some at least of the mercenary communities from
which the Ve1aikkaras were drawn seem to have gone to the island
along with the mercantile communities. The claim of the Mahatantras,
a section of the Velaikkaras, that the Valafljiyar were their
elders and the invitation extended ta the Vala!ljiyar and the
Nakarattar to attend an important meeting of the Ve+aikk'iras
at Polonnaruva show that these mercenary bodies were closely
associated with the leading mercantile communities from South

1 . !:.£. , VII, P • 159 of the text ; !.:,£., IX, P • 83 of the text;

!:.£. , XI, pl 126 of the text.
As pointed out earlier, the period under review was
one during which the practive of inviting foreign mercenaries
to the island was absent. But despite this, the Dravidian
mercenaries formed one of the significant sections of the a:rrq
of the Sillhalese kings. Of these, the Ve.}.aikkaras midoubtedly
formed the most important troops. Since much has b een written
on the origin and history of these mercenary forces , it may
be necessary to point out some of the misconseptions tegarding
them among writers on Ceylonese history and to att empt a better
understanding of the subject: The best source of our information
on this subject is undoubtedlt the Polonnaruva inscription of
the Velaikkaras. Besides this, there are at least two other
Tamil inscriptions in the island , from Gal Oya and Palam15ttai,
re ferring to the Vel,a1 kkaras and the notices in the C1It,ava�a;
Nila.kanta Sastri has explained that the word .!!.:J:aikkara is
derived from the word !!I.!! (= time , occasion, moment) and that
it stands for the ' time or occasion indicated in an o ath by
the soldier who binds himself by the oath to lay dovn his life
in certain contingencies •� Sastri has also given the alternate

1. K. &. Nilakanta Sastri, 'Vijayab'ihu I, The Liberator of Ceylon ' ,

pp. 58-60 , 67-71 1 The eot�, PP• 315 , 316 , 4 54 , 455 ;
S. Paranavitana, 1 The Polonnaruva Inscription of Vijayabahu I ' ,
PP• 333-335 ; T. V. Mahalingam, .21?,• ill• , PP • 258-260.
2. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, ' Vijayabahu I, The Liberator of Ceylon', p.68 ,
16 �
interpre tation that ' their designation implies that they were
ever ready to defend the king and his cause with their lives
when occasion (�J.!!) arose • � It is not possible to determine
whether the element �1!! is the saae as the Tamil word meaning
time or occasion. It is quite possible that it is derived from
some other word now unknown to us� References to the Vefaik:karas
occur in Tamil inscriptions and literature from about the
e leventh c entury. These mercenaries were not all in the employ
of kings. Many were employed by village assemblies and other
institutions� They seem to have been divided into different
types according to the nature of the duty performed by them.
We meet with the following types, for instanc e, in the sources
mentioned above:- a) PU-ntaikk'irar (Tamil EI = flowers) ?
b ) Kaffa-Ve1ai kkarar (Tamil 1ta.1tar = robbers)1 c ) ltaq asa-Vetaikkarar
( Skt . r�asa = giant)? d) Tacca-Ve}.aikkarar (Tamil !,_ac car=carpenters ) ?

l. K .A. Nilakanta Sastri, The �I.!! , P • 454.

2. Q!., Indoneasian word �, •to defend'.
3. B.A. Saletore, I, .2:2• £.!i•, P• 348 .
4 . K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, 'Vijayabahu I, The Liberator of Ceylon', p.67 .
5 . M. . R . for 1214, No. 368 of 1914.
6 . M. • R. for 1221, No. 393 of 1921.
7. M.B. R. for 1224 , No. 194 of 1924.
e) Tiru-cula-Velaikkarar (Tamil ll!:!! = sacred, culam = spear)f and
f) Tiru-cia:ampala-reiaikkarar (cir,r_ampalam = hall of wisdom)�
The exact functions of these different Vi+a1kk'iras is not
clear from their names. PU-VeJaikkarar ma.:y have been those who
guarded the flower gardens in a temple. Kal:ia-Veta1 kk'irar mq
have been employed to guard a place against thieves. �asa
ViJaikk'irar may have got this na,we because of their size.
Tiru-cula-Ve+aikk'irar may have been guards of temples who were
armed with spears. We can only speculate on their functions from
the names they bore.
A number of divisions of njaikk:aras, probably in
the service of kings, were named after kings and princes. Among
them were the Ca) Nittavinota Velaikka.rar� (b) Jananata­
teri!lca Ve+ai.kkarar� Cc) �akiya Cola-teri!lca Ve+aikkarar�
(d) Aridurga-langhana-terinta Valamkai VeJ.aikkarar� (e) Candra
Par'ikrama-terinta Valal\kai Ve+aikkarar1 and (f) I1aiya-raja-terinta

1. M.E. R. for 1925 . No. 188 of 1925.

2. Ibid., No. 243 of 1925.
3. M.E. R. for 1927 . No. 282 of 1927.
4 . M.E.R. for 1921, No. 393 of 1921.
5. S . I.I. , II , Introduction, P• 9.

6. �-
7 . ng.
Vald.kai Ve+aikkarar: The epithet Va1aAk.ai or ItaAk.ai denoted
their caste group.
These mercenaries were not a 'warlike tribe or a
clan or a military community' as Geiger thought; but • a type of
troops bounds by specific oaths of loyalty which they were
bound to keep at the risk of their own lives•� They were drawn
from different castes� and were probably organized as a military
guild. R.C.Majumdar takes them as 'a good example of �atriya
sre:o:is � The assembly of the VeJ 111 kkara community at Polonnaruva
as well as the organized manner in which they sometimes revolted
against the Sinhalese rulers may support this contention. But
apart from these, there is no substantial evidence to prove
this conclusively.
Vefaikkara mercenaries were employed in Ceylon in
the time of Vijayabahu I (1055-1110) and possibly even earlier,
under the Colas• The Colombo Museum Pillar inscription of
Kassapa IV (898-914) has a reference to a Veiakka who was a
body-guard� Judging from his profession, this persoa may have

1. S.I . I., II, Introduction, P• 9.

2. W.Geiger, Culture of Ceylon in 1-iedieval Times, P• 152.
3. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, 'Vi jayabahu I, The Liberatmr of Ceylon•,p.58.
4. See supra, P• 1�3 -
5. R.C. l'.ajumdar, .2:2.• ill• , P• 31.
6. E.�. III, P• 276.
been a Vefaikkara (Pali Vi+akkara may have become veiakka 1n
Sinhalese by the omission of the final u ), but it is not certain
whether there were Ve+akkaras in the island as e arly as the
tenth century. A Tamil inscription from Gal Oya , near Polonnaruva,
records a grant by a certain Atikara;aa �an, a Miial:u-kai
Tiru-Velaikkarq: Although on palaeographical grounds this
epigraph may be dated to the eleventh century, it is difficult
to say whther it is a �!a record. It may well belong to the
time of Vijayabahu I. In the present state of our knowledge,
it is not possible to say whether there were niaikk'iras in
the island before the time o� Vijayabahu I.
The Culav�a makes a few references to the
influence exerted by the Ve+aikkaras in the island �u�t� the
ek.,ar,,,o��L �'1.., centuries. It is cle ar from these that
the Sinhalese rulers from the time of Vija.yabahu I depended
to a great extent on these mercenaries for the defence of their
kingdom.2 It is not necessary to assume that all these mercenaries
came from South India. As Nilakanta Sastri has pointed out , some
ot the Velaikkaras may have been enlisted rrom among the Dravidians
who were settled in the islandi This is a1so perhaps one o f

1. S . I.I., IV, No. 13 98 .

2 . Q!. ,60: 3 6 , 6 3 : 24 , 29 and 77: 44.
3 . K . A. Nilakanta Sastri, 'Vijayabahu I , The Liberator o f Ceylon', p . 60 .
the reasons why we do not hear often of mercenaries being
enlisted from the ma1mland in this period.
From the Polonnaruva J.nscription we 1earn that
there were several sections among the niaikkaras in the is1and.
The Mahat antra appears to have been the leading group among
them. According to this inscription, it was the Mahatantras
who first met and invited the Val.Ujiyar, the Nakaratt'ir and
others for the assembly of the Ve+aikk:aras at Polonnaruva. �hey
seem to have followed a code of conduct or rules called the
Mahatantra for, at the end of the inscription, there is an
imprecation to the effect that those who violate the Mahatantra
will go to hell.1 We agree •ith Nilakanta Sastri that the
interpretations that they belonged to some sort of Mahayana
or Saiva sect seem to be very unlikely.2 In the South Indi an
inscriptions, the term Mahatantra occurs as the name of a military
community or class� Nilakanta Sastri is right in suggesting
that this term ma:y relate to some school of .militarism in
South India�

1. y. , XVIII, P • 33 7
2. K. A.Nilakanta Sastri,'Vijayabahu I, The Liberator of Ce7lon ' , p.71.
3. M. E . R. for 1917. No. 433 of 1916.
4. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri,'Viduabahu I, The Liberator of Ceylon ' , p.71.
Among the other sections of the VeJai.kkaras the
Polonnaruva inscription mentions those of the V ala:dka.i, Ita�kai,
Ci1:u-taa,am, Pil'taika.}.-ta,nam, Vatukar, Yi.al.ay
a.tar and Parivara­
kontam. This mixed composition of the Vel a1klt'iras claarly
shows that they were not members of one military c aste or
community but were organized more like a military guild. Of
these different sections, the Ve+aikkaras of the V ala�kai and
Tt a:Akai were obviously those drawn from the two categories of
Dravidian castes known as V ala�kai and IfaAkai. The V ala:dka.i
Ve1aikkaras appear to have been further sub-divided into
various sections. In the Pa1amottai inscription of the forty­
second year of Vijayabahu I (1097), a Ve?aikkara,a of the
Vikk.irama-calamelta-terinta VaJ a�k•1 division is mentioned�
This division was apparently named after Vikramab'ihu I (1111-ll.32),
the son of Vij ayab'ihu I and bearer of the consecration name
Cal'imeka (Pali, Sil'imegha)� The naming af a division of the
army after a ruler indivates that the Sinhalese rulers were
following a South Indian practive�

1 . s.Paranavitana, ' A Tamil Slab Inscription from Pa,lamoft ai ' ,

_!:,! . , IV, P• 194.
2. As Vikramabahu considered himself to be the legal successor
of Vi jayab'ihu I, who bore the consecration name of Siri-sa.Aghabodhi 1
he would have adopted the consecration name of Sil'i-megha-v�.
3. See supra, p . , ,� .
The meanings of the terms Ci1:u-ta,nam and PiJ.1aika1-
t a.Lam are still obscure. Ci1:u-taaam and 1l'un-taaam occur in
a number of South Indian inscriptions of this p eriod. The
t erm citu-tanam has been variously interpreted as ( a) private
treasure! (b) minor or small treasury� Cc) the followers of the
king during bis minority� (d) one of the 'purely honorary titles
conferred on officers as well as private individuals according
to the status held by them in official position or society•4
and ( e ) a class of subordinate officials� The first two
interpretations are based on the assumption that the element
tyam is derived from the word dhana, meaning treasure or
wealth. The term occurs in connection with certain officials

whose position could be described as military. We get, for

instance, the phrases Cir.u-tanattu Vafuka kavalar (the Vatuka,
i.e. Telugu, guards of the Ci1:u-ta,aam) and Ciru-t�attu Valai\kai
Velaikkara pataikal'. (the Valanka.i reiaikkara troops of the
Ci£u-tauam) in two South Indian inscriptions� In another

1. Madras Tamil Lexicon, III, P• 1460.

2. S.Paranavitana,'The Polonnaruva Inscription of Vijayabahu I',P• 336 i
S . I . I., II, P• 9.
3. S.Paranavitana, 'The Polonnaruva Inscription of Vijayabahu I',p.336.
4• .!!?ll·
5• S . I . I., II, Intro., P• 11; K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, The �+as, p.463.
6 • .!:_!., XVIII, P• 336.
inscription, an official who had militar1 personnel under him
is described as Cit,u-ta,aam Perun-ta,nam �aye.a (The Great Chief
or Lord of the Cit,u-taaam and Perun-tanam)! In yet another record,
certain Y.iala,-ala officers of Kul�ttunga I are stated to have
been attached to the Peru.n-taaam and the Ci1:u-taaam. A Co!a
record in Ceylon refers to an official of the Perun-taaam of
Rijendra I (Ra:jendra �la T'evar Perun-tanattu pa�imaka.n,)
serving in the island� While in Ceylon Dravidian mercenaries
were in the Cil:,u -taaam and the Pi}:Jaikat-taaam, we find that
Telugu and Ma.layafa persons were attached to the Ci1:u-taaam
and the Perun-ta,aam in the CoJ.a country. The above occurrences
of the terms c y:,u-ta.na..!!'!, perun-t!:B-8:!!! and P.!:J:laikal-tyam show
that these stand either for departments of the state or for
divisions of the arDIJ'. It is not possible to explain c1t,u-tan8._!
as private treasure for it does not suit the context in the
above instances. It is used, however, in this sense or in
the sense of treasury in some of the Cola inscriptions of the
time of Rijaraja I� The explanation that the citu-tanam and

1. M.E.R. for 1913, No. 141 of 1912.

2 . M.E.R. for 1938/39 , No. 130 of 19}8/39.
3. S 1 I . I . , IV , No.1414.
4. S . I . I. , II , P • 3 .
perun-tan am were the 'minor • and • major' treasuries respectively,
though plausible, leaves the term .P!tl.aikaf-t92 inexplicable.
It is not known whether the royal treasurJ was divided into
three different departments to which were attached three sections
of the army. This seems unlikely. It is also unlikely that the
guards and soldiers who protected a king during hie minority
belonged to a section of the army different from that of those
who protected him in his later life. It is also not possible to
explain these terms as mere honorary titles, for, in the instances

quoted above as well as :in the Polonnaruva inscription, such

an interpretation does not seem to suit the context. Hultasch
has sometimes referred to the Ci�u-ta,aam as a class of subordinate
officials; and Nilakanta Sastri, too, is of the opinion that
this was a 'lower grade of official nobility •� The latter opinion
is the result of confusing the terms perun-tan,2 and perun-taram
as referring to the same institution� But an examination of
the occurrences of these two terms in the South Indian
inscription� reveal.a that the two are different in their meaning.
Peruntaram appears as an honorific indicating high officia1

1. S.I.I . , II, Intro., P• 11.

2. K . A.Nilakanta Sastri, The �12 , P• 463.
3 . �• ; peruntaram - perum (= high or big) + taram (=status).
status and was used for individual officers, whereas perun-ta.n._!!
seems to have been a department of a body to which were often
attached a number of so1diers. Perun-taram is often used for
single individuals as, for instance, Sr� Raj"u�a Dev.ar P eruntaram
which occurs as the title of a senapati in a Tanjore inscription:
Another inscription from G?Svindaputtllr describes a person

ca1led Vikr�J.a Maharaj� as a peruntaram of Munmm�i ClSJ.a�
But whenever individua1 officers are mentioned in comiection
with the PerW1-taaam, they are referred to as those attached
to the Perun-t�am as, for instance, Perun-tanattu-pgimakan
(servant of the Perun-t&.llam)� The occurrence of the pkrase
Ci;c.u-ta,uattu per,un-taram (perun-taram of the Ci£u-ta,aam) in some
of the inscriptions not only shows c1early that the t erms
perun-taram and perun-tan,am are different but also demonstrates
h .,_""
that the 1atter stands for someone attached to a 1arger body

which is the C�u-taaam.4 Ni1akanta Sastri explains thi s, however,

as implying an :intermediate status between the perun-tanam
and the cir.u-tanam in the official nobilit� This is n ot correct

1. S.I.I., II, P• 161.

2. �- . R . for 1928/29. No. 168 of 1928/29.
3. S.I.I . ,IV, No.1414.
4 . S.I.I., II, P• 56.
5. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, The �+as, P • 463 .
17 3
for the term perun-t aram in such instances stands for indiYiduals
rather than for a class. None of the foregoing explanations
for the terms cj.r.u-t!A!,!, perun-t an?!! and l?.!l+aikai,-tanam,
therefore, seems to be wholly satisfactory. The su-taua_!!
occurring in the sense of treasur1 in some of the Tanjore
inscriptions of Rajaraja I appears to be different from the
ci�u-ta.uB.!! of the other inscriptions. In the latter inscriptions
we may have to take all the three terms to stand for certain
sections of the army which might have had different functions
in the administration during this period. Wherever the nature
of the profession of those individuals and groups associated
with these terms is indicated, we find that it was militar7.
The derivation of the element !..!A!! is not clear. It is wtlikel7
that it is related to � (army). It m ay be related to .!!!+.!!!
(army; Y.ialayalam �½2 ; Kannada daJ:am)�
The Va�ukar and the Mal.ay°ilar were, of course .
the mercenaries from the Telugu and Kerala countries. This
shows that the recruitment to the Velaikkara army was not
confined to the T amils alone but included other Dravidians as
well. The literary sources, too, contain frequent referenc es to

- -
1. The ja of ty,!! may have int erchanged with :va and later
became �• £!• , Kannada b�a!I.jiga - Tamil !.Ya!lji;yar.
17 4
the Ker4a and Kao,v:a,fa
mercenaries in the employ o r the
Sinhalese rulers in this period.1 The Telugus are, however, not
mentioned in these sources. Kera+a and Telugu mercenaries seem
to have been numerous in the cn5J.a country in this period, while
Kanna�a mercenaries went as far north as Benga1 h purs•it of
their profession� The Cu!av�..! makes a dist:lnction between the

Ier4as and the Vel-aikkaras which might mean that onl.y a section
of the Kerata mercenaries were included in the Ve.J.ai kk:Ira
The PariV-ara-k?>ntam of the Polonnar•Ta inscription
is not known fro■ the South Indian inscriptions. It is, therefore,
dif'ficult to s� whether it was just another division of the
Vel,aikk'ara army or a mi1itary community included i.n that arm,-.
It has been suggested that it mq etand for the spearmen in the
king's procession (parivara)! A. division of the C?Sla arzq was
known as the pariw'irattar and a number of such div:i.sions are
named in the inscriptions� We also come across a t roop of

1. £:!., 69: 18 ; 70 : 230 ; 74:44.

2. D.C. Sircar, ' Kar�tas outside Kar;ata' , J.N. Ban..-rjea Volume, P• 211.

3. £:!· , 7'+: 44.

'+. D.M.de Z.Wickramasinghe, 'Polonnaruva: Slab Inscription o t the

Vifaikk'iras', E.Z. , II, P • 254 .
5. S.I. I. , II, Intro., P • 9.
bod,--guards known as p arivara-me;ykapparkal: In modern Mysore
there is a caste called the Parivara Bant, which is claimed
to have been originally a military- class� The Parivara-k15ntam
of our inscription appears to have been a similar military
body which was perhaps associated with the royal procession.
There has been some difference of opinion among
scholars regarding the interpretation of the phrase �u-kai
Velaikk'arau. This occurs in the Polonnaruva inscriptioa as well
as in another Tamil record from Gal Oya� MUS!:u-kai has been
generally taken to refer to three divisions in the Ve+ai�a
arJll1• 'It seems from our inscription as if the three divisions
or 'hands' to which the Velaikkaras were divided I consisted
of the Mahatantra, the Vala!lji,-ar and the Nagaratt'ir', is the
comment of Paranavitana on this phrase.4 Wickramasinghe has
observed: 1 Whether the term m1Im:u-kai refers to the triple
principle, namely, yiva-9 akti-A.Vu or Pati-Pacu-Paca corresponding
to the trika of Cashmere gaivism, or it is only an epithet of
the Velaikkaras due possibly to their army being composed of

1. S.I.I. , II , P • 96.
2. J.Sturrock, Manual of South Kanara , I, PP• 156-157.
3• S.I. I., IV, No. 1398.
4. S . Paranavitana, 'The Polonnaruva Inscription of Vija.yabahu I',
P• 334.
three wings, we are unable at present to say'. Nilakanta Sastri
is inclined to think that nfiim:,u-kai refers to the •traditional
three arms left after the chariots went out of use, viz.,
elephant corps, cavalry and infantry'.2 As we have seen earlier,
the ValaJljiyar and the Nakarattar were mercantile communities
and not divisions of the Vel,aiklara army. There is no evidence
suggesting any connection between the triple princ•ple of
Saivism and muar,u-kai. Although Nilakanta Sastri's suggestion
see.ms to be plausible, there are certain difficulties in

accepting it. In the first place, there are some inscriptions

in which an individual member of the VeJaikkara army is referred
to as Mtiyu-kai Ve+a1 kk:'lrq� It is difficult to assume tljat
some of the retaikkaras belonged to all three divisiou of the
army, if their army was divided into three different sections.
Secondly, it is not likely that the Vela1kkaras called themselves
Mum:u-kai Vetaikkaras because their army was divided into
three divisions, for, such a division was not a distinctiv e
feature of their army alone. I t is more likely that the epithet

1. D.M.de Z.Wickramasinghe, 'Polonnaruva : Slab Inscription of

the VeJ.aikk'iras', P• 251.
2. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri,'Vi j&J'ab'ihu I, The Liberator or Ceylon', p.69.
3. s.I.I., IV , No.1398.
mu:sr,u-kai has some other significance which we are not in a position
to grasp clearly. Mup.r.u-kai does not occur only in connection
with the Ve.fa1kki'ras. In an inscription from Sermadevi, we are
informed of the existence of a regiment called the Mn!U:u-kai
Mahasea,ai , who were also known as the Patai-pititta-pallayiravar
(The Many Thousands who are armed as a !roop). Mui:u:,u-kai occurs
here ia a similar sense as Vala.ilka.i in the names Vala.Aka.i.
MahaseAai and Valankai Ve+aikkarar� It seems likely that Mttm:u-kai
was the name of a group of castes like the Vala.Akai and the
I{aAkai or of a community given to military pursuits� This name
might have been chosen for some reason unknown to us.
Although the VeJ:aikkaras appear to have been the
most prominent of the Dravidian mercenary forces in the island
during this period, there were other Dravidian troops , too.
Of these the Agampa�i troops deserve mention. It is in the reign
of Par'ikramabahu I that we first hear of the Agam:pa�is. The
Niltaya-s9rahaya mentions their army among the forces despatched
by Par'ikramabahu on his foreign expeditions. This Agampa�i

1. ¥.E.R. for 1905 , No. 120 of 1905 ; K.A.Nilakanta Sastri ,

'Vijayabahu I , The Liberator of Ceylon • , p. 69.
2. l .E • • for 1911 , No. 464 of l9llf see supra, P• J b� .

3. Miim:u-kai may be a variant of ma:am-kai (the third hand) , the

Valatka.i and the Ita.Akai being the other two rhands • (.!!!), and ma:y
denote a third group of castes , possibly a minor one.
ar� is said to have been 2, 425,000 (�) strong, which is
undoubtedly an exaggeration! The Agampadis are again referred
to in the Polonnaruva Council Chamber inscription of Ni§'a.Aka
Malla� The literary works and inscriptions of the thirteenth,
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries contain several references
to the Agampa<Ji troops of the later Sinhalese rulers� Four
classes of Agampa�is, namely the Raja-, Muhukala-, Netti- and
Bala-Agampa�is are mentioned in these sources.4
In the South Indian inscriptions, the Ag ampa�i
or Akampatiy
ar fini mention from about the time of Kul�ttuilga I
(1070-1120) � They often served under minor chieftains and their
leaders or chiefs were known as Akampati-muta1is� The Akampatis
are mentioned in the inscriptions of the Tamil country and of
Kera1a and appear to have been a military caste or community
rather than a mixed force like the Vetatlclaras? Even the women

l.. Nks. , P• 18.
2. C. J . Sc 1 (G), II, P • 137•
3. DambadeJtli-asna, p. 3 ; Mayura-sande�a, v. 157
; C . J.Sc. (G) , I I,

P • 139 - Niydgampaya inscription ; !:!• , III , P • 240 - Ma�avala

rock inscription of Parakramabahu VI.
4. M.B. Ariyapala, Society in Medieval Ceylon, p. 162.
5. M. E.R. for 1926, No. 72 of 1926.
6. M.E . R. for 1913, No. 506 of l.912.

7• T . A.S., V, P• 147 .
of this community (Akampafi-pe�fukal) found service in the inner
apartments of the palace and in the temples: The name .Akampafiyb­
is a compound of the Tami1 words akampu (:Lnside or inner
apartment) and af.Y!!: CserTants) and this community may have
originated as a class of servants in the inner apartments of
the palace and the temples, and evolved into a caste. This caste
h as survived to this day in .Arcot, Pudukkoft ai and Madurai
districts and is v ariously known as Akampat iyar, Akamufi and
Akamufiy'ir� In Ceylon, too, this caste was existent in th e Tamil
areas till very recent times� As in some parts of South India,
the members of this caste seem to have gradually mixed with
the Vetfafar and given rise to the saying that 'the JCall-ar ,
Ma.:avar and the staunch Akampatiy'ir have gradually become
Vef'fltar• C!!itar Ma;.avar kauatta Akampatiy'lr mella mella
!!ff!iar aki viff�). This saying is prevalent in South India
4 Some sections of the Akampat i caste in
as well as in Ceylon.
the Madurai district are •regarded as a more civilized section

l.M.E. R . for 1913 1 No. 506 of 1912.

2. A .F.Cox, Manual of North Arcot, I, P• 211;
N.Thiagarajan, A Manual of the Pud�ff.ai State, PP• 202-203.
3 . K.Velupillai, !!lJ>pYa-vaipava-kaumuti, P• 108 ;
M.B •.Ariyapala, .21?,• cit., P• 162.
4. A .F.Cox, �, .21?,• cit, P• 211.
of the southern �avars •.1 In Ceylon, too, certain writers
consider the Agampa�i to have been South Indian Mq:avar who were
taken to the island as mercenaries.2 There is, however, no
evidence on this point. Wllatever their origin may have been,
it seems certain that by the twelfth or the thirteenth century
they had become an exclusive c aste and that several of th,ir
members h ad gone to Ceylon as mercenaries.
After the twelfth century, our sources record the
presence of some other Dravidian mercenary communities serving
under Sinhalese rulers. Of these, the Mukku.vas and the Kurukulas,
who in modern times are among the major castes in the Tamil.
regions of Ceylon, appear prominently� But it is not known whether
they had already begun their migration to the island in the
twelfth century. The Dailibade�i-asna gives the earliest reference
to the Mu.kkuvas. It is recorded here that they formed part of
the troops employed by Par'lkramabDiu II (1236-1270)� The Kurukulas
ma:r have been in the island as early- as the time of the �J.a
occupation. As pointed out earlier, the earliest reference to
the presence of the Kurukulas in Ceylon may- be said to be found

l.A. F. Cox, .21?,• £!!• , P• 211.

2. Pu!marataha Thera, La.illtav'! Pura Tattvaya, p. 95.
3• Dambade�i-asna , P• 4 ; Mukkuva-ha{ana , P• 175 ff.
4. Dubadepi-asna, P• 4.
in a CoJ.a record from Tirumukk1I�a1, of the year 1067, il the
person named Kurukulattaraiya,ll in it is taken to be a chief of
the Kurukulas� They are mentioned in later literary sources
as having been in the service of Parakramababu VI (1412-1467)�
But no evidence is availa�le regarding the presence of these
two communities in the twelfth century. The Mukkuvas , as we
sha11 see later, were Keraias and the Kurukulas appear tto
have been from the Tamil country. It is possible that members
of these two mercenary communities were a1so found among the
many Kerafas and 'Damilas ' in the island during the twelfth
Apart from the mercenary troops who were ill. the
regular service of the Sinhalese kings, there were also other
South Indian soldiers who were taken to the island as prisoners
of war by the generals of Parakramabahu I. It has been the
practive of Sinhalese genera1s even in earlier times to capture
prisoners during their South Indian campaigns, which were,
however, rare, and send them over to Ceylon� La6kapura , the

1. See supra, p. 1 1 0 ; M. D . Raghavan, The Karava of Ceylon, p. 9.

2. M. D . Raghavan, PP• 8-55.
3. See snpra,Jlw �- , S-I : ft.3 ·
genera1 of Parakramabahu I who conducted campaigns against the
�la and ��ya rulers, was under special instructions from
his king to send prisoners from South India for a particular
purpose. In the words of the C1IlaV!lJlS
_!, some of the defeated
Tamil armies, 'at the command of the ruler of La.Aka who thought
to have al.l. the cetiyas formerl1 destroJed by the Da.nutas
rebuilt by them, he [Latikapur� had brought to La6ka and the
work of restoration begun on the Ratanav'il.uka cetiyaJ: In
another place, the C1Ilava�a further states that La.Akapura,
after having made over the government of the 'P'i��a kingdom to
nra Paggya, •sent with speed to S'!hala the many horses, mem
and elephants captured from the Cola country and from the P��u
land'� In addition to the restoration of ruined Buddhist monuments,
the Tamil prisoners were angaged in the task of building nev
and ambitious structures as well. It is stated in the CUlavgtsa
that Par'ikramabahu 'also had the MahathUpa erected which bore
the name of Damila thUpa because it had been built by the
Dandlas who had been brought hither after the conquest of the
Pa.v-�u kingdom • � It is confirmed by the contemporary �!a records

1 . £:!• , 76 : 103-104.
2. �-, 77 : 103.
,. � - , 78 :76-77.
that Lankapura actually won many successes in hi8 initial campaigns
in South India.1 We cannot, therefore, cast doubt on these state-
ments of the Pali chronicle. The gigantic Dami+a-thlipa stands
at Polonnaruva to this day, preserilng the memory of the Tamil
prisoners. It was intended to sprpass all other monuments of its
type in Ceylon and its circumference at the base is given in
the Chronicle as 1300 cubits� Unfortunately it has not been
possible to ascertain the dimensions of the base from the ruins
at Polonnaruva, as it has not been completely excavated. The
dome stands at about fifty feet from the ground forming an
extensive circular plateau at the top� Parakramabahu must have
commanded a large force of South Indian prisoners to undertake
the building of s•ch a stlipa and the repair of other buildings.
These prisoners must, in the course of time,/mingled with the
Tamil population of the island. Some of them may have been
employed in viharas, as on an earlier occasion when Tamil
prisoners were enslaved and given over to viharas� An inscription
from the Galapata vihara, near Bentofa, dated in the thirtieth

1. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, 'Parakramabahu and South India', C.H. J., IV,

PP• 46 -48 ; U . C .H . C. , I, pt.2, PP • 482-483.
2. £!.•, 78: 77 ; S.Paranavitana , The tlipa in Ceylon, P• 10.
3. S.Paranavitana, The Stlipa in Ceylon, p. 10.
4. See supra, P• C.v. , �'t : 7 '1. -
year of a Parakramabahu, who is probably the first of that
name, mentions some Tamils among the slaves attached ti that
vihara! It is possible that some of them were prisoners from
South India.
In addition to the Tami1 prisoners, Tamil artisans
also seem to have b een employed in the time of Parakramabahu I
for the erection of Buddhist edifices. According to the CUlava�a,
there was a dearth of stone-masons in the time pt Par'lkramabahu
and, as a result, members of other occupationa1 groups were
employed for the work of stone-carving.2 As Paranvita.na has
pointed out, in this period, 'when there was a demand for their
art, it is likely that skilled workers came to Ceylon from the
neighbouring continent, where they �ust have been quite numerous
at that time'� As evidence of this, Tamil letters have been
found as mason's marks on the stones of some of the buildings
dating from the time of Parakramabahu I. These letters have
been found not only at Polonnaruva, in such constructions as
4 The
the Lotus Bath, but also in some moJ1Uments at Padaviya.
building of Saiva and Vai�:g.ava temples in the Dravidian style

1. S.Paranavitana, 'Ga1apata Vihara Rock Inscription', E . Z., IV, p. 211.

2. � • • 68: 25-26.
3. u.c .H . C. , I, pt.2 , P• 592.
4 • .!ill• ; A . S . C . A. R. for 1954, P• 20.
of architecture would have also led to the employment of
South Indian artisans in Ceylon. As mentioned before, a number
of §aiva and Vai�yava temples, roughly datable to the Polonnaruva
period, have been found at Polonnaruva and elsewhere,1 With
the possible exception of the msia temples, it is difficult
to determine which of the others were built before the thirteemth
century. Man� of them, as we shall see later, appear to have
been constructed in the thriteenth century. The Tamil inscrip-
tions of this period attest to the patronage extended by some
of the Sinhalese monarchs, especially Vijayab'lhu I, Gajab'Elu II
and Vikramabahu I, to SaivisJJ� In fact, two of these epigraphs
mention two temples named after Vijayavahu I and Vikaramabahu I.
0ne ia the temple of Vijayaraja-!�varam at Kanta.fay and the other
is the Vikkirama-calameka-iSvaram at Makal (Migalla)� These
temples were built apparently in the reigns of Vijayabahu I
and Vikramabahu I respectively. Some of the Siva and Vi§fU t
temples at Polonnaruva maJ also have been built in the reigns
of these monarchs. It is, therefore, possible that several

1. See supra, P• If 7.
2. See infra, � - Y .
3• !:!• , IV, P• 191 ff. ; Ibid., III, P• 302 ff. ; S . I . I., IV, No.1397;
unpublished inscription No. l 359 of the epigraphical list
in the .Archaeological Department, Ceylon.
4. E. Z., I II, P • 302 ; �• • IV, P• 191.
South Indian artisans found employment in the island in this
time, as in the later periods.
BrUma,vaa were among the South Indian communities
in the island in this period. The Polonnaruva period was one of
increasing Br�'maga influence in Ceylon. The services of Brnmagas
were enlisted for the performance of various rites in the royal
court and palace. This was especially so in the time of Par'ikrama­
bahu I when Brahmanic rites, we are told, were performed at every
important occurrence in his life. The CUlav�_! refers to the
sacrifices performed by Br'lhm.q.as and to the allllS offered to
them by rulers like Parakramab'ihu and Manabhara;a! The Tamil
and Sinhalese inscriptions, too, furnish evidence on this matter.
The Sinhalese inscriptions of NU6anka Malla mention Br'lll�as
among those to whom that monarch offered al.Ila� Two Tamil
inscriptions from Paiam1Sffai and Mahakirinda refer to two
BrahJDa\la settlements named after Vijayabahu and Jaya.Ako�fa
Calameka (probably Vikramabahu I), namely the VijSJ"araja­
caturvedi-.mallga1am at Kantaia:;r and the JayaAko�ta-calameka­
caturvedi-ma.4g4am at Mahakil!inda� An unpublished Tamil inscription

1. £!., 62:33, 42, 46 ; 64:16; 67:94; 77:105.

2. !.:,!., II, P• 174.

3 . !.:_!., IV, P• 194; unpublished inscription from .Mahakirinda,
No. I 294 of the epigraphical list in the Archaeological
Department, Ceylon.
from Kantafay associates Gajabahu II with a sacrifice he1d at
the brahmadeya � that place: The same monaDch is credited in
the Takii.pa-kailaca-pura�am with the patronage of Brahmavas
attached to the temple of �\l'e§varam.2 The patronage extended
to them by the Sinhalese rulers as well as the need for them
in the new temples of the island may have been responsible for
the migration of BrUma�as from South India. Although it is
possible that there were in Ceylon Br�hmav•s from other parts
of the subcontinent, there is little doubt that the catur-ved.i­
maflgafams were settlements of South Indian Br'ihllla(l.as. The
occurrence of Tamil inscriptions in these places lends support
to this hypothesis. Even the little internal evidence that we
get in these inscriptions regarding the Br'ih�as points in the
same direction. The Paiamoftai inscription, for instance,
furnishes us with the names of a Brah�a couple from the
Vijayaraja-caturvedi-ma.Agafam at Kanta}:ay. They are Karampaccettu
Yajffa Kiramavittq and NaAkaiccav-i� These persons were South
Indians, probably of Telugu origin. In the contemporary ins.criptions

1. No. I 359 of the epigraphica1 list in the Archaeological

»epartment, Ceylon.
2. �•, VII, vv.95-97.
3. S.Paranavitana, 'A Tamil Slab Inscription fro• Pa+�ttai',
�- , IV, P• 19.5. The reading Nakaicca.pi for Ndkaicca.pi is wrong.
of South India, especial.ly in those from the South Arcot district,
Kiramavitt&.A occurs as a name among the Brnmav-as•1 Dr�accet,u,
or more correctly,llrampicce{fu, occurs as the name of a
village somewhere in U�ay'irgu4i, in the South Arcot district�
NaAkaicca;i,too, occurs in these inscriptions as a name of
Br'ihma.;a ladies� The element £!V-.! in this name is a Telugu
word signifying women and often applied to names of married
women as a mark of respect.4 Numerous names of Brah�a women
with the element c�i occur in the inscriptions of South A.ecot
and GuntUr districts� The Brahmap couple of our inscription
were, therefore,probably Telugus who came from South Arcot
or Guntur district.

1. M.E.R. for 1921, N0.556 of 1920 - The name Yajffa KramavittaA

occurs :ln this ; M.E.R. for 1922/23. No. 380 of 1922 - A certain

S�JDaQ.i Na..dgai-l;a;i, wife of Yaj!la Kramavitt&11, is mentioned here;
_!ill. , Noa. 369, 371, 374 and 38� of 1922 refer to several persons
named Kramavitt&11•
2. M.E.R. for 1221, No.603 of 1920.
3. M.E.R. for 1922,No. 380 of 1922.
4. M.E.R. for 1921, PP• 92-93•
5. M.E.R. for 1922,Noa. 380,554,558,574 and 585 of 1922.
Such names as Na..dgai-l;�i, Amarae��i, Ayita-l;�i, rara-l;a;i
and Pr�J.a-l;'i.p.i occur in these records.
As we have seen, our literary and epigra hie
sources rovide information, though by no means adequate,
regarding the presence of �outh Indian mercantile, mercenary,
artisan and Brah�a communities only. There is hardly any
evidence regarding the migration of peasant settlers during
this eriod. �he absence of any evidence, however, does not
necessarily ean that no such migration took place. It is
possible that side by side with the migration of the above
occupational groups there were igrations of peasants, too.
Such migrations and settlements may have occurred in the
northernmost regions as well as in the north-western and
north-eastern littorals of the island which lay close to
South India and where the power of the Sinhalese ruler at
�olonnaruva does not seem to have been felt effectively.
The areas of Tamil settle ent in this period, as indicated
by the presence of inscriptions and archaeological finds,
lie ostly in the vicinity of ancient irrigation works;
The majority of these settlement sites are far removed from
the capital city and the known provincial towns, where such
co unities as merchants and mercenaries would have normally
lived. ihese considerations lead us to think that there may

1. See infra, P• 1 't7 •

have been a slow and unnoticed migration of sma.11 groups o!
peasants from the lamil country into the island in this period.
These are, however, matters of conjecture and in the absence
of any evidence nothing definite can be concluded.
The South Indian sources, while providing fairly
substantial evidence regarding the migration o f mercantile
and mercenary bodies from the Dravidian regions te outside
areas, are silent on the question of peaceful peasant
migrations� As mentioned earlier, there were at 1east three
famines in the Tamil country in this period� These were not
widespread but confined to certain regions only. We are

informed by one inscription that there was a famine in

Araka��anallUr, in the Squth Arcot district, in A.D. 1131
and that 'people moved after selling their lands'� It is
reasonable to think that such movements of people during
times of famine were confined to South India, although it is
pos ible that a few went to Ceylon, too. Like famine, excessive

1. See supra, p.13>.

2. See supra, p. 131 •
3. M.E.R. for 1934/35, Inscription L0.151 of 1934/351
K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, The c�ias, p.562.
taxation or inabi1ity to pay taxes a1so forced vi1lagers to
abandon their homes and migrate to other places. Under the
thorough1y centralised revenae administration of the ClSlas,
people who, for three years, failed to pay taxes due on the
lands owned by them forfeited their lands, which were then
sold by the village assembly.1 Inscriptions of the reign of
Kul�ttuiiga I furnish instances of assessments not being paid
regularly and the lands of tenants who defaulted payment being
sold in consequence. Some Bribrna�a tenants of V'!aavan-matevi­
caturvedi-maAgS,:am, for instance, being unable to pay the
assessments, left the village. Again, in the forty-ninth year
of Kul�ttuAga I (A.D. 1118), tenants deserted the village of
Ko�eri-r�japuram as they cou1d not pay the taxes� There are
several examples of such desertions in the later periods.4
But it is not possible to say whether there were many such
instances during this period. Except for a few scattered
examples, there is hardly any evidence regarding migrations.

1• .E.R. for 1897,

2. Y.E.R. for 1910, Inscription No.98 of 1910.
3. �-, Inscription No. 647 of 1909.
4. Cf., B.A.Saletore, Social and Political Life in the Vijayanagar
Empire, II, pp. 197-198.
Even these minor movements ot people would have been confined
to the Tamil country only. There is, however, a late tradition
recorded in the �la-pUrva-pa{t� which refers to an overseas

emigration of a hundred families from Trichinopoly in the time

ot one Vikramaditya; But the tradition loses its value by
several discrepancies. According to this account, in the time
of Vikramaditya, 1Salivahana and his Sama�a troops lay siege to
Trichinopoly. During the siege a pariah named Veti� and
hundred others with their families escaped, went to the sea-
shore whence proceeded to some island'. It is not clear which
Vikramaditya is referred to here. It is possible that the ruler
was Vikramaditya VI ( iolfo - 111.." ) of the Western Chllukyas for,
of the many Chalukya and Ir'�a rulers of this name, it was
Vikramaditya VI who made successful inroads into the dominions
of the CoJ.as. Salivahana is a variant of .Slttav'ahana and its
occurrence here is apparently the result of mixing up different
legends regarding early invasions. It is hardly possible that
this legend preserves any memory of the Satavahana invasions
of the period prior to the third century A. D. The Sa�a troops,
according to Taylor, are in fact Yavana or �uslim troops�

1. Col -p-rva-patfayam, No. 165 of the lackenzie Manuscripts in

l.adras, quoted in the Analysis of the r.ackenzie �.anu cripts,
W.Taylor, p . 54, 60.
2. W.Taylor, �• ill•, p. 54.
The whole account seems to be of late origin, based on different
traditions of earlier invasions, and has hardly a claim to amy
credence. Perhaps it refers to an unknown migration, but this
is a matter of speculation.
It is possible that small groups of peaceful
settlers from South India trickl.ed into the island in this
period. But the increase of the Dravidian element in the loca1
population seems to have been steadily maintained mainly by
the migration of mercenaries, mercantile communities and artisans.
It was only after the downfall of Polonnaruva, as we shall see
later, that many peaceful settlers from the Tamil country
migrated to the northern regions of the island.
The areas of Dravidian settlement in the island im
the latter part of the eleventh and the twelfth century, as in
the period of C'l5la rule, have to be traced primarily with the
help of Tamil insvriptions and Saiva archaeolo ical remains.
The meagre evidence of the literary sources and toponyms is
useful in supplementing the testimony of the epigraphic and
archaeological material. Inscriptions do not present much
difficulty in the attempt of tracing some of the probable areas
of settlement. Normally the provenance as well as the internal
evidence of the epigraphs help us to a great extent in locating
the settlements. In most cases, the regnal years of kings which
they provide help to date them almost accurately. Even in the
case of inscriptions which do not carry dates, their palaeography
aids us to date them roughly. On the other hand, the archaeological
materials present several difficulties. The limited materials
that are so far available to us are in the form of ruined
Saiva and Vai§�ava temples and icons. The presence of these
temples and icons in aIJ.Y area almost certainly indicates
South Indian settlements, often those of Tamils. A major
difficulty which besets any attempt to trace the areas of
settlement by such archaeological evidence is the doubt whether
the date of an image or of a temple can be determined with
sufficient accuracy to be of use to us. There are some temples
which contain datable inscriptions. There are others, more
numerous, which on the basis of the architectura1 style as
well as the iconographic style of their images could be roughly
assigned to the eleventh and twelfth centuries. But some of
these may well belong to the early part of the thirteenth
century. Therefore, only those few which could be assigned to
the latter part of the eleventh and the twelfth century with
a reasonable degree of likelihood are considered here in our
discussion. The rest have been taken to belong to the
thirteenth century. There is room, however, for a small margin
of error on either side.
The other difficulties in the use of archaeological
materials are mainly those concerning the identification of the
Saiva and Vaii�ava temples of this period. This is due to the
transformation of some of these temples into Buddhist institutions
and� versa in the course of time. In areas where Tamil
settlers have been assimilated to the Sinhalese population or
where resettlement by the Sinhalese took place after the sites
had been abandoned by Tamils, Saiva and Vai��ru,a.. temples have
often been converted to Buddhist devlles. This appears from the
architectural style of the buildings or from the distinctively
Saiva and Vai§�ava finds in them� A similar conversion, perhaps
on a greater scale, has occurred in the areas where Tamils have
established permanent settlements. As we shall see later, by
far the largest number of such structures belong to the period
after the twelfth century. The date of such converted temples
can only be ascertained roughly with the help of earlier
Sinhalese inscriptions found on their architectural parts or
of the style of the buildings. In some cases stones and pillars

1. Q!•, A.S.C.A.R. for 1911/12, P• 85.

2. See infra, Vl-!.
from ruined Budd.hist buildings have been used to build Saiva
temples and such temples, too, cannot easily be dated. In areas
where there has been a continuous Tamil settlement from this
period or earlier, old temples have been renovated �•�ularly
and kept in a good state of repair. Among these, it is difficult
to identify those of this period unless inscriptions or other
datable finds are available. As a result of such difficu1ties
it is not possible to use all the archaeologica1 evidence in a
work of this nature until a thorough survey of all these temple
sites has been completed. For the present, we have to rely on
the evidence of those few which could be assigned to this
period with certain degree of confidence.
A few early forms of Tamilised Sinhm.lese place
names are available from the inscriptions of this period. These
as well as the little evidence of the literary s �urces can be
used to confirm and supplement the evidence of the epigraphic
and archaeological materials. The� and Sinhal.ese chronicles
have hardly any information to offer in this respect. But for
the first time we begin to get fairly reliable traditions
relating to this period in the Tamil chronicles of the island.
The T�9a-ki.il�ca-purap.am, Tiri-���cala-pur�am and the
��ecar-kalvett�, all of which are chronicles of the temple of
irnv"e�varam at Trincomalee, contain traditions of the time of
Gajabahu II, probably preserved originally in the annals of
Kc5�1e!varam. With the help of all these sources it is possible
to locate several, if not all, of the Tamil settlement sites
of this period.
Two regions have yielded the majority of the Tamil
inscriptions and Saiva archaeological materials for this period.
One is the north-eastern littoral, forming the northern part of
the present Eastern Province, from the Kokkulay Lagoon down to
Verukal with a width of about twenty-five miles from the sea
to the interior. The other is the northern part of ancient
Dakkhi�adesa, now comprising largely the southern regions of tlae
North-western Province. In the former region, Tamil inscriptions
have been discovered at Padaviya, V'mlalka�a, Kantalay, Pa+am�ttai
and Y�flkavai. Saiva archaeological remains datable to this
period are found at Kumpaka.imau-malai, Kandasami-malai, horago4a,
Kantalay, Pa+a�ftai, PlStSA-ka�u and Tampalakamam. In the
literary sources we get traditions pointing to the presence of
Tamils at Trincomalee, Tampalakamam, Kantal� and Verukal. In
the previous chapters we have seen that there is a certain
amount of evidence which points to Tamil settlements at Padaviya,
Y.orago9-a, Parafigiyad�iya, Periyala4am and Trincomalee!

1. See supra, P�-.!! •

The evidence relating to this period not only points in the same
direction but also indicates an extension o! these settle ents.
The area around the ancient port of Goka:p:pa, the
modern Trincomal.ee, seems to have had a fairly strong Tamil
element in its population in this period. The Tamil settlements
of this region seem to have extended from Trincomalee to
Periyakutam and Y�ai in the north, Kantalay and �tan,-ka�u
in the south-west and possibly Verukal in the south. Kantalay,
P?Staa-ka�u and Pa:J.�tiai, lying within three miles cif each
other, have yielded three Tamil inscriptions and some Saiva
remains dating back to this period. Two Tamil inscriptions of
the time of Gajabahu II (1132-1153) come from Kantalay! One
records the setting-up of a boundary stone at a sacrificial
ground (iff.! na{anta bhUmi) in the brahmadeya of Kantalay, by
Lal\ke�varaa Gajabahu Devar� The other epigraph also records the
setting-up of a boundary stone by one Kitivai ApiIDalla Ramaa,
who bore the title of Lanjai Vijaya Cenaviruttar (the victorious
commander of Laillta), at the request of Lankeivaran Gajabahu
Devar, at Ka.ntala� The Tamil inscription from Pa+am�ttai,

1• • I.I., IV, No. 1397; the other inscription is unpublished

and is listed as No. I 359 of the e igraphical collection
in the Department of Archaeology, Ceylon.
2. Unpublished - Inscription No.I 359.
3. S.I.I., IV, 10. 1397.
of the time of Vijayabahu I (A.D. 1097) refers to Kantalay as
Vijayaraja-caturvedi-maAgaiam (Kantalayana Vijayaraja-caturvedi­
maAka.fattu) and mentions the existence of a Saiva temple in that
place called Tea Kailasam Sr� Vijayaraja-�§varam� This inscription
was found among the debris of a ruined Saiva temple. The stone
pillars of this temple are in the style of those of the Saiva
temples which could be dated to the Polonnaruva period� A
fragmentary image of Parvat� was also found among the debris�
Since the inscription recording donations to the Vijayaraja­
�§varam has been found at this site, the ruined temple may be
identified as the Vijayaraja-�§varam. In the twelfth century,
Patam�ttai must have formed part of Kantalay. This temple
seems to have been built in the time of Vijayabahu I (1055-1110),
for it bears the name of that monarch. It is interesting to
note that it was also known as Ten Kailasam (Southern Kailna),
for this name is given only to the temple of IaS:g.�§varam temple
at Trincomalee in the Tamil chronicles� From the Palam�ftai

1. s. aranavitana, 'A Ta 11 Slab Inscription from Pa*a� tt!!',

E.Z., IV, p. 194.
2. A.S.C.A.R. for 1933, p. 18.
3• .!ill·
4. g., �-, 7:28, p.68.
inscription we find that the Vijayaraja-�§varam was organized
more or less on the same lines as any contemporary shrine in
South India. The gifts to the temple sometimes took the form
of cash deposits, the interests of which were used for the
maintenance of various services in the temple. The institution
of devadasYs was a feature of the organization of this )emple
!or it is stated that seven girls were branded on their
foreheads and given over to the temple as t�var-ati� (Skt.
devadasYs); As in-many of the South Indian temples, the
endowment was placed in the trust of a �laikkXr� of the
Vikkirama-calameka-terinta Valankai division. Near Pa+am�ttai
and Kantalay- is the village of �taa-D�u where, too, were
found a stone image of Vilj:Q.U and the ruins of a Saiva shrine.
The style of the image belongs to the period between the tenth
and the thirteenth century while the temple is believed to
date back to the time of Vijayabahu I�
The foregoing evidence clearly indicates that
South Indians, especially Brah�as, were settled in Kantal'!y
and the surroundin villages from at least the time of Vijayabroiu I.

1. !_:!., IV, P• 195.

2. A. S.C.A.R. for 1933, p.18; C.J.Sc. (G), II, pp. 156-157.
The Kantalay Stone Seat inscription of Ni§§anka. Malla (1187-1196)
attests to the continued existence �f the Br'mlma;a settlement
(caturveda-brahaapura) in that plaoe during the twelfth century
and refers to a Saiva establishment called �vat�-satra,
probably built in the time of Ni!sanka YJa.1.1.a. The Tamil chronicles,
too, refer to Kantal� as a place �f importance to Saivas and
associate Gajabahu II with that pl�ce� This is confirmed not
only by the Tamil inscriptions found there but also by the
C1llav�a, according to which 'Gajabahu betook himself to
Ga.Aga-tataka (Kantal�), made it his residence and dwelt there
happily' and 'died during his sojolII'n there'� That Gajabahu
patronised non-Buddhists is implied in the CUlav�a where it
is stated that 'he had fetched nobles of heretical faith from
abroad and had thus filled Imjarattaa with the briers (of heresy)•.4
The toponym Kantal� Eupports the conclusion that
the place it represents was settled by Tamils or Tamil-speakers
in the twelfth century. It is in the Palal!0ttai inscription

1. D.M.de Z. dickremasinghe, 'Kanta1�i Gal-Xsana Inscription of

Kitti Nissa:hka. ¥.ialla', .!£:.!., II� p. 286.
2. �-- 7:87-106; g., p. 20; �-- pp.170-178.

4. Cv., 70:53, 54.

that we get the earliest occurrence of the name Kantal�. After
that it occurs in the two inscriptions of Gajabmtu II mentioned
above. Kantalay is the Tamilised form of the Sinhalese name
Galigatala (Pali Gangatataka); This Tamilisation seems to have
taken place during this period as a result of the Tamil
settlement. The Tamil form has remained in usage to this day
and the Sinhalese origin has been completely forgotten. It is
interesting to note that today, when they have begun to re­
colonise this place, the Sinhalese call it Kantal� after the
Tamilised name. As early as the fifteenth century, folk
etymology among the Tamils has attempted to explain the origin
of the name Kantalay in a different way. The name was split
into two elements, �� (eye) and l!+ai (to grow), and a story
was woven round it. It is said that Gajabnu II regained his
lost eye-sight at this place and hence the name Ka.Q.talai (where
the eye grew)� Such an explanation is typical of the folk
ety�ology that one finds in the Tamil speaking areas where the
origin of a large number of Sinhalese toponyms has been puzzling
the new settlers.

- -
1. Cf. , Pv. , p. 116; Cv. , 71:2.
2. er.,�-, 7:63.
About four miles north of Trincoma.lee is Ma�:d�ai
where a Tamil inscription of the time of Gajabahu II has been
found; The inscription records the grant by Gajabahu of 1and
to one Minta.A Koo:a�, who is designated Superintendent of the
Palanquin Bearers (tiru-palli-civikaiyaril ��!) . The land
was granted as a j�vita evidently for services rendered by the
donee. On another side of the slab on which this inscription
is indited, there is another Tamil epigraph, the purport of
which is not quite clear� It states that !mnabhar�a I Ma!1a­
para�a Tevar) sent a letter (tirumukam) approving the deed
(ceyal) of Gajabahu (Gajabahu Tevar) and caused a stone
inscription (cil�-lekam) to be set up. There was only one
ManabharruJa who was contemporaneous with Gajabahu II, namely
the one who ruled in Roha�a in the middle of the twelfth
century, and, therefore, the Nanabhar�a of our inscription
must be the same person. It is not clear whether the transaction
referred to in the inscription had anything to do with tbe
grant of Gajabahu recorded on the same slab. But this seems
unlikely for .lvmnabhara�a never had any authority over �jarattha,

1. K.Kana athi Pillai, '}.aiika�ai Inscrintion of Gajabahu II',

U.C.• , XX, No. 1, April 1962, pp. 12-1 .
2. Ibid.
where this inscript&on is found. It seems more likely that it
concerns about one of the many transactions that took place
between the two rulers during their wars with Parakramabahu I7
Within about three miles of �ai is Periyaku+am
where, as we have alyeady seen, the presence of Tamil settlers
in the eleventh century is indicated by many epigraphs� No
Tamil inscription of the twelfth century has been found here,
yet it may not be wrong to s� that there must have been
Tamils in the twelfth century, too. At Trincomalee, only a
fragmentary Tamil inscription of about the twelfth century
has come to light� The paucity of Tamil inscriptions in this
place may be explained by the fact that the original temple
of Ko�e§varam, where one would have normally expected to find
any inscription, was completely destroyed by the Portuguese
in the seventeenth century. The materials of the destroyed
temple were used by the Portuguese to build a fortress at
Trincomalee. Inscriptions of about the twelfth, thirteenth
and sixteenth centuries have been found here on the bricks

1. Cf. , £!.•, 71:1-5.

2. See supra, -
3. Unpublished.
and door-jambs or on fragments of stone in the fortress ; It is
s aid that more inscriptions were found on the stone s of Portu­
guese buildings demolishe d in the area in the las t century�
A number of bronze images of Siva and P-arvat� have be en unearthed
in different p arts of the prese nt temple precincts within Fort
Frederick� It has been surmised that these were buried by the
temple pries ts at the time of the Portugue se attack in 1624�
¥.10st of the s e have been assigne d, on grounds of style, • to
a date betwee n the eleventh and the thirteenth ce ntury•� Some
of these may belong to the period of �la occupation and some
may date to the thirteenth century when a prince named
Ku+akk�ttan appears to have carried out renovations to the
temple? It is not possible to s ay whether many of these belong
to the twelfth century. The se finds, however, indicate that

1. H.�.Codrington, 'The Inscription at Fort Frederick, Trincomalee•,

J .. A.S. {C.B.), No. Bo, p. 448; S.Paranavitana, 'A Fr�mentarr
Sanskrit Inscription from Trincomale e ', �-, V, p.173;
A.S.C.A•• for 1957, p. 8.
2. A.Sriskantaraca, 'Tiru��amalai VaralJr� :t-,Uallka:J.', TiruklaJ�"!'car
ltlaya Kump�pi9"!'ka .alar, 1963, p. 95.

3• • Balendra, 'Trincomalee Bronze s', Tamil Culture, II, No. 2,

April 1953, pp. 176-198; A.S.C.A.R. for 1950, p. 32.
4. .Balendra, �• ill•, p. 190.
5. A.S.C.A•• for 1950, p. 32.
6. See infra, P• 327 •
around the twelfth century the temple of K'?S:g.'!§varam was a
flourishing institution. The ancient port of Goka\l:g.a may
have had a notable Tamil settlement in this period. The
Cirlav�a states that there were Kerala and Velaikkara mercenaries
dwelling at Kotthasara in the time of Parakramabahu I�
Kofthasara is the district of Kottiyaram, around the port of
Goka:g.:g.a. We have seen earlier that five villages in this region
contributed in money and in kind towards the maintenance of
the temple of RajaraJe§varam at Tanjore in the time of Rajaraja I�
This fact as wall as the re-naming of two districts in this
region after C15la princes during the period of C15la occupation
seem to suggest that Kotthasara was one of the region4'here
C�la rule was effectively felt� Tamil settlements may have been
established here under the C15las. The presence of Kerala and
Velaikkara mercenaries would have further strengthened the
Dravidian element in the population of this area in the twelfth
century. The T�!:g.a-kailaca-m'!:lai a1so refers to the presence

1• .£!·, 74:44.
2. See supra, P• 111 •
of Saivas in the region of Trincoma1ee in the time of Gajabmiu II
and to the antagonism between them and the Sinhalese Buddhists
of the area� The event described in this Tamil chronicle to
illustrate this antagonism seems to take us back to a time when
the Sinhalese of the Trincomalee district were being gradually
ousted by or assimilated to the Tamil population. It is stated
in this work that opposite the rock on which the temple of
��esvaram stood the Bud hists built a temple of the Buddha
and harassed the Saiva devotees who took flowers to ��esvaram.
This led to quarrels between the Buddhists and the Pacupatar
(�aivas) . The latter triumphed over the Buddhists and pushed
some of them down the rock into the sea. The matter was reported
to Gajabahu II, who tried to take revenge on the �aivas by
attempting to destroy the ��esvaram temple. But through divine
intervention he realised his folly, became converted to Saivism
and made generous benefactions to the temple and to the Brah�as
there. Although the details of this account may not be wholly
acceptable, it is not altogether untrustworthy. Gajab'!hu is
the only Sinhalese monarch who finds mention in the Tak���­
ltailaca-malai. In this chronicle he is said to have taken the

1. �-, 7:89-96.
2. �-
consecration name of Ci£ieanka-p�ti (Siri-s�ha-bodhi) and this
is corroborated by the other sources: He is associated with
Kantalay and is credited with the patronage of Brahma�as and
Saivism. This is confirmed by Tamil inscriptions and is implied
in the CUlava�a.2 Perhaps the contention that Gajab'!.hu was
converted to .§aivism is an exaggeration but the gist of the
account cannot be doubted.
Further north of Trincomalee and Kantal'!.y, in
the coastal region east and south-east of Kokkulay Lagoon,
Tamil inscriptions and �aiva remains have come to light in
several sites. At Padaviya and nhalka�a, two villages in this
area, were found two inscriptions of the Ai!lmuuvar community
and their associates� The Whalka�a inscription was set up to
record certain steps taken by the Patinei-pllmi-nattu-cettis
and the nrakkotis so that a certain town •may not be destroyed'.
This town was presumably a market town som'9'Where in the
Vahalka�a region. Padaviya, as we have pointed out earlier,
also appears to have been a market town of considerable

1. The predecessor of Gajab'!.hu had the consecration name of

Salam-van (Calameka) and, therefore, Gajab'!.hu's consecration
name JlllSt have been Siri-saliga-b�. Ap arently Parmtramabahu I
did not recognise the unconsecrated Gajab'!.hu and also took the
consecration na e of Siri-sa.nga-b�.
2. See supra, pl'./'t8-�oo- 3. See supra, P• 13-l • 4. See supra, P•l�7 •
importance for a number of inscriptions of the .£.!tt.!! belonging
to the ClSla period were found here: The inscription of the
Ai!imID:,uvar found at Padaviya contains the names of some members
of the Ai!1mii:t,uvar, Vala!1jiyar and the Cetii communities� Another
short inscription from the same place records some deed by
a certain lllaicceri I+amaiyar of the Sr� Vijayaracaa •• pa• •••
peri+amaiyar� Sr� Vijayaracau seems to form the first part of

, -
the name of a place or temple, the second part of which is
undecipherable. Sri Vijayaraja in the Pa+am�ttai inscription
of the time of Vijayabahu I occurs as the name, evidently after
the same monarch, of a catur-v'!di-mail.glYam and of a �aiva temple�

The temple o� place bearing the name of �r! Vijayaracaa in our

inscription from Padaviya was also presumably named after
Vijayabahu I. Perilamaiyar is a term met with in the contemporary
South Indian inscriptions as well but its exact connotation
is not known. !iilakanta Sastri takes this to stand for a body
connected with the temple, the duties of which are obscure�

1. See supra, p. r oc..

2. Among the names are Aaanta11 Aranka.11, Uttama C�J.a • • •• •cetti,
•• • • • • • tiyapara�a Vala.Akaiyaii, Tecama.ta nr��•
3• • I.I., IV, No.1409.
4, See u:pra, P• 111'1 •

5. K. A.Nilakanta Sastri, The ClS+as, p. 489.

ut from its occurrences in the inscriptions, p�ri+amaiyar
appears to have stood for a local body responsible for the
sabha of a Br'Dimaoa village� As a nu ber of Siva temples of the
Cola period have been unearthed at Padaviya, it is possible
that there was a Brahma�a settlement at this place in this
period� The peri+amaiyar of our inscription was probably one
of the bodies o! a sabh� of such a settlement. As mentioned
earlier, in this period Tamil artisans seem to have been employed
at Padaviya as at Polonnaruva for the building of Buddhist
structures, for Tamil mason's marks can be seen on some of
the Buddhist ruins here�
In three sites to the north and north-east of
Padaviya, at Kumpakan_naii-malai, Kandasami-malai and Buddhanagehela,
there are ruins of Saiva temples datable to this period.
Kumpakan11a�-malai is about eight miles to the north of Padaviya.
The old temple at this place has bricks with Tamil letters
inscribed on them! Almost midway between Kumpakann8.ll-malai and

1. M.E.R. for 1923, p. 104.

2. See supra, P• 1'17 •

3. See supra, P• l J'lt •

4. A.S.C.A. . for 190,2, p.35•
Padaviya is Buddhanagehela where exists a ruined �aiva shrine
in a cave with broken representations of a li�ga, yoni and
G�e§a. On one of the pillars used as door-jambs of the shrine
is a Sinhalese inscription of Kassapa IV (898-914) and this
evidently points to the shrine having been built with materials
from a Buddhist structure, either abandoned by the Buddhists
or destroyed by the �aivas� About twelve miles east of this
site, on the western shore of Kokkulay Lagoon, stands another
small temple 'of excellent stone-work similar to that at
Polonnaruva' (Siva �vale)� These �aiva ruins are clear indications
of Tamil settlement in the region around Kokkulay Lagoon during
this period.
Thus we see that the north-eastern hinterland
between Trincomalee and Kokkulay had Tamil settlements by about
the twelfth century. In these settlements there is unmistakable
evidence of the presence of Brah�as and mercantile communities.
In a region where there were two well-known ports at this time,
namely G�a and Pallavavanka., the presence of mercantile
communities is only to be expected. But hhis does not explain
the existence of several Tamil settlements in this region.

1. A .S.C.A .R. for 1891, p. 11; E.Z., I, p. 191.

2. A.S.C.A . . for 1905, pp. 36-37.

It is not probable that all these were mercantile settlements.
If we locate these settlement sites on a map, we find that
most of these are near ancient reservoirs or at the mouth of
rivers. Padaviya, �orago�a, V-ahalka�a, Kantal�y, �taakl!:�u,
Pa+am�tfai, Manka�ai, Parangiyava�iya, Periyakulam and
Kumpakayaa-malai are all situated close to ancient irrigation
works, while a place like Kandasami-malai is at the l'JlOUth of
a river. It seems possible that there was a slow infiltration
of peasant settlers from South India which was responsible for
at least some of these settlements. The proeess which culminated
in the transformation of this region into a Tamil-speaking
area appears to have been well under way by about the twelft h
The other area which has yielded considerable
epigraphic material relating to Tamil settle ents of this period
is, as we have stated earlier, in the north-western part of
the island and could be said to comprise roughly the southern
districts of the North-western Province. This area stretches
from the coast of Chilaw for about fifty miles into the
interior, as far east as �lllnikde�a, and from Ylclhananneriya in
the north to Kurunigala in the south.
We have already noticed in the last chapter that
there were several C�la strongholds in this area which had to
be first controlled before Vijayabahu could march on Polonnaruva.1
We also surmised that there may have been Tamil settlers,
especially mercenaries, in these strongholds during the �la
occupation. The Tamil inscriptions of this period seem to
confirm this supposition. The �la strongholds ill this region,
as given in the C1Ilav�a, were Muhunnaru (NuvarakMle),
Badalatthala (Batalago�a), Wpinagara (Venaru), Tilagulla
(Talagalle-ltla), Mahagalla (:t-m:galla or NikavMra;i), Ma.J;l�agalla
(Mahama�agala) and Buddhagama. (Mllnikde:p.a): Only one Tamil
inscription of the �la period was discovered izr. this area.
This was at Eriyava, nearly eight miles north-west of Mahama�agalla�
But the number of Tamil inscriptions of the twelfth century
coming from this area is S'e��. These are from Jiiahananneriya,
Y.18.hakirinda, Budumuttiva, Pa\l,4uvasnuvara and ViUrehinna, which
are all within a few miles of the �la stronghol s mentioned
above. In fact, the stronghold of ¥.ah�a1la is specifically
referred to in one of the Budumutt!va inscriptions as a place
where there was a §iva temple in the time of GaJabahu II�

1. £:!·, 58:42-45.
2. .I.I., IV, No. 1415.
3. S.Paranavitana, 'Two Tamil Inscriptions from BudumuttMva', �-,II,
We also learn that the site of the inscription, the present
Budumuttiva, was part of Mahagalla in the twelfth century. In
this epigraph Mahagalla appears in its Tamilised form of �
and its other name is given as Vikkirama-cal'lmeka-puram,
evidently the same as Vikkamapura of the CUlav�a which has
e luded identification by scholars! This new name seems to have
be en given after Vikra.mabahu I who would have had the consecration
name of Calameka { Sinh. Salamevan)� The Siva temple of ¥.ahagalla
was also evide ntly named after Vikramabahu fmr it was known as
Vikkira.ma-calameka-I!varam. Perhaps it was built in the reign
of Vikramabahu. The e xistence of this temple points unmistakably
to the presence of Tamil settlers in this area. The settlement
may have originated in the time of the �la occupation. It is
of interest to note that ou� inscription was set up to record
certain gifts to the Siva temple by Cuntamalliyalv�
{Cuttamaliyalvar3 ), the daughter of Kul�ttuAga I and wife of
Virapperuma;, a PaJ}�ya prince. No remains of the temple have
come to light in the area. The present inscription was found

1. £.!.· , 72:147.
2. See upr , P• J fr� •

3. This is the for in which the name ap ears in the South

Indian inscriptions; �-, M.E.R.for 1931/32 1 No. 67 of 193]/ 32.
21 5
inscribed on o ne o f the pillars o f a Buddhist temple which, in

the opinion of Paranavitana , was built in the Kandyan period

( sixteenth to the eighteenth century ) with the materials of an

earlier building! This earlier building was evidently the

Vikkirama-calameka-i§ varam, which must have been abandoned o r

dest royed aft er the Aaiva population of the area ceased t o

exist , probably as a result o f assimilation t o the Sinhalese

Buddhist population. The present s ite of the inscription , which

is only a mile north-west o f modern 1-mgalla , must have fo rmed

part of the ancient Y.iahagalla. Anothet Tamil inscription ,

dated A. D . 1118 , comes from the same site� This epigraph reco rds

the sett lement of a dispute between the blacksmiths and the

washermen o f the area o ver certain privileges . The dispute was

inqui red int o and sett led by the pallca-pradhanis o f Virabahu ,

the adipada o f Dak.khi�adesa. Among these officers were also

two Tamils , !l,akkalin.kam Ka.J}.avati and Vi jay�ar�aa- The impo rtant

fact is that the sett lement is reco rded in Tamil. It was obviously

meant fo r the benefit o f the disput ing communities . It is

reasonable to assume , therefo re, that the members of these

1 . ___:.!. , III , . 302.

2 . Ibid. , pp. 305-306.

21 6
communities were Tamils, f or it does not seem robable that
the paffca-pradhanis of a Sinhalese �dipada set up the record
of a settlement in Tamil when the contending parties were
Sinhalese. This inscription could, therefore, be takea to
confirm f urther the testimony of the earlier record regarding
the presehce of Tamil settlers in 1-Mgalla. There is also a
third Tamil inscription from BudumuttRva, but it is much
weathered to admit of its being deciphered.
About six miles north of Mllgalla, at Mahakirinda,
has been discovered another Tamil inscription dated A . D. 1134.
The contents of this inscription, too, points to South Indian
settlements in the area. The purport of the epigraph is to
record the grant of certain lands to the Brah�as of Jayanko�ia­
calamep-caturvedimal\ga+am• This Brahma;a settlement was
presumably named after either Jayabahu I or Vikr amabahu I,
who bore the consecration name of Salamevan (Calbeka) , and is
to be located in the region of }.18.hakirinda.
Nearly eighteen miles south of ljagalla, at
Pa��uvasnuvara, was found another Tamil epigraph dated in the
fifth year of r ii§anka �.alla (A. D. 1192) � It records the

l. �. z. , III, p. 302.
2. Unpublished - Inscription No.294 of the epi raphical list
in the Archaeolo ical Department, Ceylon.

3. K . Kana athi Pillai, 'A Ta il Inscription from P��uvasnuvara',

U.C. R., XVIII, l os.3�4, July-Oct. , 1960, pp.157-162.
2 1 '1
buil ing of a Buddhist pirivena at Srl-pura by a general of
Ni�saAka. l.alla ca1led Matima.i,apa!1caraii, which name suggests
that he was a Tamil. Perhaps he was in command mf one of the
mercenar y troops stationed at Sri-pura which was �he e a ita1
of Dakkhi�adesa. Besides, P��uvasnuvara is only two miles
east of huhunnaru, one of the C�la strongholds of the eleventh
centur y.
Two other Tamil inscriptions of this period
come from Mahananneriya1 and Vihar�hinna which are nearly
twelve miles north and twenty-four miles east of �.ahakirinda
respectively. Viharehinna is closer to two of the �la
strongholds� namely ¥.ahama�agala and Buddhag�ma, which lie about
ei ht miles away. The inscription from Vih��hinna, as already
mentioned, is a record of the Aifflma:uvar community� This
shows that members of this mercantile community were active
in Dakkhi�adesa, too, in the twelfth century.
No archaeological remains of Dravidian origin,
with the possible exception of the pillars at the Budumuttiva

1. Unpublished - Inscription No.I 980 of the epigra hical list

in the De artment of A.echaeolog,:� Ceylon. Unfortunately, it
has not been possible to obtain a photograph of the estam age
of this inscription and hence the contents are unknown to us.
2. Unpublished - see supra, P• J!i'" .

:; . .!lli·
te ple, have been definitely identified in this region so far.
The only ancient �iva temple in the area is the well-known
Mu.mesvaram shrine, near Chilaw. The origins of this temple are
unknown, though the Tamil pura�as trace its beginnings to hoary
antiquity; The Tamil inscriptions in this temple belong to about
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries� Several finds in this
place, such as brass lamps, camphor-burners and a candelabrum,
have been described by Ananda Coomaraswamy as medieval and may
well date back to this period� As Tamil literature and tradition
in the island have venerated this temple along with Tliru­
ketisvaram and ��esvaram as a place of special sanctity
dating from early times, it is possible that this temple was
in existence in the twelfth century, with Tamil settlers around
it as now. Its location close to the peul banks of Chilaw
suggests that it may have originated as p place of worship for
pearl divers from South India. The } unnesvara-�nmf.yam, tile
chronicle of this temple, gives a detailed account of the
settlement of the Muyesvaram district with people from the

, -
1. Cf., Mum.,-svara-manmiyam, in the Sri Vaf ivamp�-same ta
}:h1nllainatasvami Tevastanam K'lS� · yarccanai }.a.lar, Colo bo, 19&1, p.3ff.
2. Unpublished.
3. } emoirs of the Colom o Museum, Series A, No. l, Colombo, 1914,

PP• 28-29.
Tamil count ry in the Kali year 512 ( 25 90 B . C . ) by the C�la

prince Ku+akk�ttaa: As we shall see in the next chapter , these

t raditions may reflect the events o f a later period and may not

go back to very early t imes� The p rince Ku+akk�ttaa ,who is

associat ed with Ko�es varam in the other Tamil chro nicles ,

seems t o have lived in the thirteenth cent ury� We cannot , there­

fo re, be certain about the o rigin o f the Tamil sett lement

around Munnesvaram.

The C1Ilava�a contains a reference to the presence

o f Tamil mercenaries in Dakkhitladesa in this period� Acco rding

t o this reference, there was a Dami+a army statio ned in the

district called Raitakira in the reig n o f Gajab'mlu II. Rattakara

has been identified with Ratkaravva , nearly four miles

no rth-west o f Kurunigala and close t o the �!a stronghold o f


In addit io n to the above epigraphic and other

material indicating sett lements o f the Tamils in the no rther n

regions o f ancient Dakkh4adesa, there are also some p lace names

1. Muru!esva ra-manmiyam , .21?,• vit . , p . 8.

2 . See infra , P f � 2 7 � -

3 . See infra , P • 3 27 •

4 . CT. , 69: 6 .
5. C .W . Nicholas , ' isto rical Topogr p y o f Ancient an Vedieval

eylo n' , J • • . • (C • • ) , N. S . , VI , 1959 , p. 9().

2 20
in the area which point in the same direction. The major
difficulty in the way of using this toponymic evidence for our
purposes is one of establishing the date of their origin.
Unfortunately early records of these toponyms are not available
to us. However, the presence of a number of Tamil place names
or Sinhalese place names indicating Tamil settlement in an
area now largely occupied by Sinhalese speakers suggests that
the names are not of recent origin. It is by no means justifiable
to assign the origin of all these names to this period. But
it may not be wrong to assume that some of them at least
originated at this time. �.any of the Sinhalese place names with
the element dema+� may have originated in this period for they
occur close to the places where Tamil inscriptions have been
found or where the Colas had established their strongholds.
Dema+a-divull�va, for instance, is about three miles east of
Y..a.hananneriya and about six miles north-west of Eriy�va, places
where Tamil inscriptions of the elventh and twelfth centuries
have been found. Dema.+a-slirakku+ama is about eight miles west
of Mahakirinda and udumuttRva, where, too, Tamil inscriptions
were discovered. Similarly, Dema.+a-dora is about six miles
south-west of Muhunnaru and about eight miles south-west of
P�4uvasnuvara. Dema+a-�a is about ten miles south of
Viharehinna and Dema+ussa is about six miles north of Vapinagar a,
a Cola stronghold. The bullt of the Tamil place names in this

area are probably of later origin , possibly of the fourteenth

and fifteenth centuries when , according to some Sinhalese wo rks ,

several Tamils were sett led in this area:

I n the light of all the above strands of evidence,

we have to lovate a number of Tamil settlements of this period

in the norther n regio ns of Dakkh4adesa. With the evidence that

we have it i s not possible t o determi ne the nature or strength

of these settlement s . They may have arisen partly as a result

of the establishment o f Cola fortresses i n this regio n t o

protect .Ra jarattha from the at tacks of the Roha�a princes .

Perhaps some of them were natural ext ensio ns of possible

settlement s of South I ndian pearl fisher s alo ng the Chilaw

coast . I n the absence o f any evidence t o this effect , o ne has

t o be co ntented with mere co njectures.

I n the western litt oral north of Dakki1�adesa only

o ne place has yielded a Tamil inscript io n which may be

assigned t o this perio ; This place is Virandago�a, about

ten Dliles south-east o f Pomparippu. I:ven at Mantai, where

inscr iptio ns of the Cola perio d have been found, no Tamil epigraph

of this per io d has come to li ht. S i nce there were Tamil

1. Unpublished - I nscr iptio n .to . I 916 o f the epigraphical list

in the Archaeological De artment , Ceylo n.

settlements here in the period of �.a rule, it is reasonable
to assume that such settlements continued to be there in the
twelfth century, too.
Next in importance to the two coastal regions
dealt with above ar e the two interior regions around Anurad.hapura
and Polonnaruva. It may be recollected that by virtue of the
f act that Anuradhapura was the capital of the Sinhalese
]),-.... ,!,,.""
kingdom, there werekmercenary and mercantile settlements in

that city in the ninth and tenth cneturies and possibly e�en
after that� For similar reasons, there were Tamil settlements
at Polonnaruva and the surrounding ar eas under the C�las. In this
period we see that these settlements continued to exist in
these places, especially in the areas around the cities. But
the evidence is lllilt certainly not smfficient to warrant the
conclusion that such settlements were numerous. Although
Anuradhapura has failed to yield any Tamil inscription or
Saiva artefacts datable to this period, such finds have come
to light at �oragahavela, Veragala, �lahakanadarava and
Kananuava, which are situated close to Anuradhapura.

l. See supra, �-L •

From Moragahavela comes a Tamil inscriptio n of A . D . 1138

recording the gift of a p iece o f land at Patll�ya t o a Buddhist

t emple by o ne Ulakalakkitta,u� Patalaya is stated t o have been

received as a jivita by the do nor. This may mean t hat the donor

was an o fficial in the service of Gajabahu II , in whose reign

this inscriptio n was set up . The occurrence of this Tamil

inscriptio n at Moragahavela , therefore, may not necessarily

indicate the presence o f Tamil set t lers there. But since this

sit e is within about fifteen miles of Anurmi"-t>ura , Veragala

and Sangili-kanadarava , where Tamil i nscriptio ns a nd Saiva

remains o f this and earlier periods have been found; it is

possible that there were Tamil settlers at t�ragahavela in

this period. The Tamil i nscriptio n from Kanadarava is unfort u­

nately fragmentary and o nly the na e o f Sr! Canka.bodhi- (va.tjmar

, -
alias Cakravatti Sri Par"!kramabahu nva.D , who was probably

the first ruler o f that na e, has been decipherable� It is

u nlikely that the ruler mentio ned here is Par'!kramab'ahu I I

for the site o f our inscriptio n is out side his d e facto rea.J.m.

1 . S . I . I . , IV , No . 14o6; K. Kanapathi Pillai, ' A Pillar

I nscript io n from Moragahavela' , U. C • • , XVII I , Jan. -April , 1960 ,

p. 46 f f .

2 . See supra , rJ, . ji".

3• . I . I . , IV , No . 1407.
22 4
About a mile away from Kanadarava is Mahakanadarava where a
bas-relief of the goddess €ffl.mtl.Q.�� was unearthed in the vicinity
of a ruined devale! Several statuettes of the Sapta.mlitr� goddesses
were also discovered in the same village. At Veragala, about
ei ht miles north-west of �.iahakanadar�va, a unique bronze
image of S iva in the Ardhanari§vara form was discovered� It is
possible that this image was originally housed in a Siva temple
in that area. Though these Saiva finds from ?.iahakanadarava and
Veragala cannot be precisely dated, they could ve roughly
assigned to this period on grounds of style. Their presence
may be taken to indiaate Tamil Saiva settlements in these places
near Anuradhapura.
The evidence of inscriptions and archaeological
remains discovered in and around Polonnaruva points to South
Indian mercenary and mercantile settle ents in this region.
The Ve+aikk.ara ins cription from Polonnaruva and the CUlava�
attest to the presence of n+aikkaras, Kera+as and other mercenary
forces in the capital in this period� Probably some members of

1. A. .C. A. R. for 1961/62, p. 59.

2. �-
3. A . S . C . A . R. for 1 26, p . 4 .
4 . See supra, P f'· l >I Jl-. •
the Vala!1j iyar and the Nakarattar communit ies were also living
there, as is implied in the Ve+aikkara inscriptio n. An inscrip-

t io n o f the Ai!l.!mttuvar , co ntaining o nly a part o f their

Sanskrit pra� asti, was found about three miles north o f

- 2
Folo nnaruva , at .4naulundava. As Folo nnaruva was the capital

city , it is reaso nable to assume that smch mercantile communities

were living in and near the city. These communities may have

been respo nsible for the building of some o f the S iva temp les

in the area . O f the two dozen �aiva and Vai§�ava temples t o be

found here in different stages o f disre air , some belong t o

the Cola period as we have already seen. Some others belo ng

t o the thirteenth century. It is possible that a few were

built in the twelfth century u nder the patro nage o f such

patro ns o f Saivism as Gajabahu I I and Vikramabahu I . The

identificat io n o f the t emples o f this period is , however ,

r endered difficult by the problem o f dating all the temples

with any degree o f accuracy . The same problem applies t o the

large number of Saiva and Vai9 ;ava bro nzes disco vered recently

1 . See su, ra , p . J S- I •
2• • �. de Z . Wickremasinghe, ' Po lo n naruva : An ulundava Slab­

I nscriptio n ' , .::.:_• , II , . 235.

at Polo nnaruva: As a result we are not in a positio n t o use

the archaeological material confidently in the determi natio n

o f the Dravidian settlements in the regio n of Polonnaruva.

As mentio ned earlier , it appears that Pa rakramabmiu I ,

and possibly s ome o f his successo rs , may have invited artisans

an4 s t o ne mas o ns f rom South India to help the Sinhalese

craftsmen in the building o f Buddhist establishments in

Polonnaruva� These art isans as well as the South I ndian

p risoners o f war employed in repairing and building Buddhist

mo numents must have st rengthened the Tamil element in the

populatio n of Polo nnaruva in the twelfth century . I n additio n,

it appears that Tamil o fficials , o r at least ma ny o f them , who

s erved under the �las when the island fo rmed pa rt o f the

South I ndian empire, were retained by Vijayabahu I . This is

the imp ressio n given by a statement in the P�aka�uva inscription

o f this ruler. In this copper plate ins criptio n there is a reference

t o a regist er o f Tamil clerks ( Dema+a les aru pota) maintained

by a special keeper� Fo r a se arate register of the Tamil

1 . c • • Godakumbura , ' Bro nzes fro Polonnaruva ' , J . • A. S . ( c • • ) ,

N. S . , VII , pt . 2 , 1961 , p . 239 ff.

2 . See supra , p . f �� .

3 . S . Paranavitana , ' P�aka�uva Coppe�-Plate Charter o f Vijayabahu ri,

....:_!. , v, p . 27 .
clerks to be maintained s eparately there must have been several

o f them in the service o f the Sinhalese king. It has been point ed

out ear lier that there is no etidence to sug est that Vijayabahu

harboured any g rievances against the Tamils; His bat t les were

directed against an empire that had annexed his count ry , but

once the count ry was f reed he appears to have t reated his

Tamil subject s with favour . The employment o f Tamil mercenaries

and clerks and the pat ronage extended to Saiva establishments

at Kantalay , as implied by the Pa+am�ttai inscription , undoubtedly

attes t to the tolerant policy adopted by him towards Tamils .

Such a policy would have encouraged the Tamils in Polonnaruva

to stay behind of1o the C�!as were defeated in 1070 . P resumably

the Tamils who were in Po lonnaruva during the C�!a period

continued t o be there in the reitn o f Vi jayabahu I.

The South Indian population of Polonnaruva consist ed

not only o f Tamils but also o f Kera+as , Kanna�as (Pali , ��atas )

and Telugus. In the �aikkara i nscription we are t o ld that the

? aikkara mercenaries at Polonnaruva consisted of Telugus (Vatukar)

and Kera+as CMalayalar) among o thers� The Vala�jiyar and the

1. See supra , p . q o •

2. See supra , P• 173 .

22 3
Na.karattar were probably of Kanna9a origin as these mercantile
communities originated in the Kanna9a country.l According to
the Culava�a, there were Keralas and Ka���tas at Polonnaruva
serving under Gajabahu II� Nissai\ka Malla claims in his Kantalay
Gal isana inscription that his queens from Karnnata and NellUru
(in the ! elugu country) brought with them large retinues of
elephants and cavalry� Though this may be a vain boast, it is
possible that the matrimonial alliances contracted by Nissanka
Malla led to the arrival of Kanna9a and Telugu courtiers and
soldiers with the princesses as was the custom in those days.
Such groups , however, would not have considerably added to
the Dravidian element in the city. The Kanna9a o r Telugu
eleme nt in the Dravidian population of Polonnaruva, or1 for that
matter, of the island, does not seem to have been strong. It is
notable that there is no Kanna9a or Telugu inscription in
the island belonging to this or any other pe riod.
At Dimbulagala, about ten miles south-east of
Polonnaruva, is a rock inscription of Sundaramahadev�, the
chief queen of Vikramabahu I, which refers to a DemalK-pllh�
(Pali, Dami+a-pasada) in the area? We have already seen that

1. See supra, P• l 't3 •

2. f.! • ' 70 : 230.
3. !:.! • ' II , p . 289.
4. Ibid., p. 195.
22 9
there were a Demel-veher at �valkllt iya in the ninth century1
and a Damila-thupa at Polonnaruva in the twelfth century.2 Now
we find that there was a Demalg-pltlt� il Dimbul�gala in the time
of Vikramabahu I (1111-1132) . Wickramasinghe conjectures that
this was probably erected in the time of Vijayab'rulu 1: It is
interesting to know the exact significance of the element E!.....!l
or Demal� in these names. In the case of the Damila-thUpa we
are specific ally told in the CUlava™ that the s tupa got this
name by virtue of the fact that it was erected by Tamil prisoners
from South India� In the case of the Demel-veher it is possible
that it got its name due�a similar reason or because it was a
residence for Tamil Buddhist monks. The Demal�-pahl may also
have got its name on account of one of these reasons. This
prasada was already there in the time of Vikramabahu I who
reigned twenty years before Parakramabahu I, in whose time
prisoners from South India were taken to Ceylon for the purpose
of repairing and building Buddhist monuments. It is not known
whether Vijayabahu I also had such prisoners captured in his

1. See supra , p. U =-- ,-

c- •'2. . T I t•l-'- "}.

2. See supra, p. J83 .

3. hl· , II, p.187.

4. Gee s\lpra , pr-
23 0
wars against the �las and had them similarl.y engaged. This
seems unlikely, for Vijayabahu adopted a different attitude
towards the Tamils of his kingdom and may not have, therefore,
enslaved C�la soldiers. This prasada may not have been the
work of Tamil prisoners. It � not have been an exclusive
residence of Tamil Buddhist monks either, for we know from
other sources that Dimbulagala was a renowned forest dwelling
of this time where there were five hundred Sinhalese monks
in residence� Perhaps a pious group of Tamil Buddhists from
so me nearby area paid their reverence to these learned monks
by building them a prasada and hence the name Dema+li-plfuli. It
is not easy to decide between the different possibilit ies except
by mere conjecture. The o ccurrence of the name DemalM-pfilli does not,
however, add to o ur knowledge of the Tamil settlements even if
we take it to indicate the presence of Tamil Buddhist monks.
At the most it may only suggest the presence of 'bm±l Buddhists
among the Tamils of the island.
A Tamil inscription dated in the reign of Parakrama ­
bahu I has been disco vered in the Jaffna district� This is the

1. . C . • C . , I , p t . 2, p . 566.
2. K. Indrapala, 'The ainativu amil Inscription of Parakramab'ah u I � ,
u.c . R., XXI, No. l, A ril 1963, p. 63 ff.
earliest Tamil i ns c ription s o far disco vered in this district

which now has the hi hes t c o ncent ratio n o f Tamils in the island

a nd o nce fo rmed the main t erritory o f the Jaffna kingdom. The

rec o rd is at p resent in the island o f Nai��t!vu (Pali �adipa)

and is a proclamatio n of certain regulatio ns concerni ng trading

vessels wrecked o ff the p o rt o f �rattu�ai (Sinh. Yrato�a , Pali

SUkaratittha , now known i n English as Kayts ) . The fact that

the record is i n Tamil may o nly mean that most of the t raders

i n this regio n being possibly Tamils from South I ndia their

language was p referred to Si nhalese. But the manner i n which

the proclamation is wo rded shows that it was addressed to the

o fficials at the port rather than to the t raders o f the wrecked

vessels . The p reserved po rtio n o f the record statesf hat the

fo reig ners who came to the port of Vrat tu�ai ' should be protected ' ,

that if vessels b ringi ng elephants and horses get wrecked

' a fourth ( share o f the c argo ) should be taken by the Treas ury

and the ( o ther) three arts should be left to the owner ' and

that ' if vessels ( laden) with ( other ) erchan ise get wrecked

a n exact half should be taken by the Treasury and ( the other)

exact half should be left t o the owner • : This may mean that the
e..vicle..,.t l y
officers i n this port to whom the proclamatio n was addreseed

1 . K. I ndrapala , .2.E, • ill• , p . 70 .

2 32
were Tamils. Presumably this part of the island was sett led by

Tamils. The toponymic evidence o f our insc ription also lends

suppo rt to this hy othes is. Vrattu�ai , which occurs in this

record , is one of the earliest recorded fo rms o f Tamilised

place names available to us in the Jaf f na dist rict. It is

derived f rom the Sinhalese name lratota by the substitution of

the sec ond element tota itj:th its Tamil equivalent !E_�ai , a

phen�meno n commo nly met with in a number of �amilised Sinhale se

t oponyms. This Ta.milised place name also occurs in another

cont empo rary Tamil inscriptio n, namely the Tiruvalanga�u

inscriptio n o f �la R'ajadhiraja II� This South I ndian epig raph

also c ontains two other Tamilised Sinhalese place na es of Jaff na.

Thes e are Vallik.ama m (modern Valikamam = Sinh. V�ligama) and

}ia.ttival ( mo dern }.iattuvil = Sinh. }..a. 4uvil)� The occurrence of

these names further suppo rts our hypothesis that there were

Tamil. settlements i n the Jaffna dist ric t in the twelfth century.

The Tamilisation of S inhalese place names was evident ly the

result of such settlements. As we shall see later , it is quit e

possible that the Tamil settlement of the Jaffna dist rict

1. V . Venkata ubba Aiyya r, ' Tiruvalanga�u In cript ion o f Ra j! hira ja II ' ,

!.:.! • , XXII , p.86 .

2 . �-
p roceeded slowly after the �la conquest , although any attempt

at large-scale sett lement o f people from South India does not

seem t o have taken place before the foundation of the Jaffna

kingdom in the thirteenth century .

No definite evidence regarding any significant

Tamil set t lement in the Bat ticaloa dist rict o f the Eastern

Province, which is now a predominant ly Tamil area , o r in other

part s of southern Ceylon.bas so far come to light . It is possible

that there were some Tamil set t lers in the .oat ticaloa dist rict

fo r from the thirteenth century onwards 1 we get archaeo logical,

epigraphic and lit erary evidence point i ng to Tamil sett lement s

in that area� The Colas had a st ronghold at Chag� in this

dist rict . Not far from this place, which is now known by the

Tamilised fo rm of Sakamam , is the Tiruk�vil Siva temp le, built

in the Pa��ya style o f architecture and held to be o f the same

date as the Siva Devale No . l at Po lonnaruva� Although it is

possible that this t emple was built in the twelfth century, it

seems probable that it is a const ruction o f the thirteenth

cent ury? In all probability significant Tamil set t lements were

1 . See infra , P,- 3�1 - 37�

2. C . J. Sc. (G) , I I , pp. 160-161.

3 . See infra, P • 3 ,7 •
23 4
not established in the Batticaloa district before the thirteenth
century. As for the other areas of southern Ceylon, it is not
very likely that there were Tamil settlers in this period,
except perhaps some mercantile communities in the ports along
the southern coast. Such communities were found in these por ts
in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: A rock inscription
in Sinhalese from Galapata refers to some Tamil slaves attached
to the Galapata-vihara in the time of Parakramabahu. Unfortunately
it has not been possible to , identify this monarch definitely.
It has been surmised that he may be either the first or the
second of that name but probably the former.2 Galap�ta is near
Bento�a in the �outhern Province and, if the inscription
belongs to the time of Parmtramabnu I, it may seem that some
of the South Indian prisoners of that monarch were sent to the
Galapata-vihara as slaves. Such a stray instance, however, is
no evidence of any �amil settlement in that area.
Thus, we see that the period between 1070 and
the end of the twelfth century was a time when Dravidian
settlements were established slowly but steadily in the north­
eastern re ion and in the southern parts of the North-western
Province. These two areas had a reater concentration of Tamils

1. _,!. , U.C.H.C., I, pt. 2, p. 768.

2. S.Paranavitana, 'Gala �ta Vihara ock-Inscription', �- , IV, p. 198.
23 5
than possibly any other area. The areas around Anuradhapura

and Polo nnaruva , where Tamil settlers were present in earlier

periods , co nti nued to be regio ns with scattered Tamil settle­

ments. I n the Jaff na dist rict , fo r the first time, we get evidence

o f Tamil set t lements in this period. The thirteenth century

saw the steady growth o f these settlements and the beginnings

o f the trans fo rmatio n o f the no rther n and eastern parts of the

island int o areas permanently occu ied by Tamil speakers .

23 6



The death of Ni§§a.nka. Malla in 1196 .marked the

end of an era of comparative security, beginning �rom 1070,
during which the island was not plagued by foreign invasions.
Internal dissensions created by rival aspirants to power and foreign
aspirations for control of the affairs of the island came to a
head almost immediately after the demise of Nii§a.Aka Malla.
Princes from the �!a, P-aJJ.4Ya and Kalinga countries exploited
the weakness of the Sinhalese rulers, swopped on t he island at
quick intervals and succeeded in holding power for short periods.
To add to this chaotic state, petty king-makers were active
at Polonnaruva enthroning and dethroning their �avourites.
The rapid deterioration of the political situation culminated
in the onslaught of 11agha in 1215, the like of which was
perhaps not known earlier. T he impact of M�gha's occu ation of
Rajarattha was tremendous. The Sinhalese rulers were a) ■ast
permanently ousted from the northern parts of t he island.
A considerable proportion of the Sinhalese people, too, began
the slow abandonment of that area. The occupation of Imjai:attha
by Tamil and Kerala elements became more marked and p ermanent.
23 7
For nearly se ven decade s this part of the island became an
arena for the contest for power among different foreign contenders,
chiefly Magha and his associate s, the ��yas and the .nvakas,
until at last the P-
��yas se ttled the contest to the ir advantage
and pave d the way for the rise of a dynasty from the Tamil

country in the newly founded kingdom of that re gion. While the se

events in the island made the situation favourable for the
se ttleme nt of the South Indians in northern Ceylon, events in
South India soon provided some of the causes for the migration
of the se pe ople . The downfall of the C�las in the middle of
the thirtee nth century and the decline of the ��yas at the
turn of the century were followe d by the invasions of the
Muslims. The resulting insecurity and disorders seem to have led
several Tamils to migrate to Ceylon where they found a welcome
hand in the South Indian dynasty that had establishe d itself
in Jaffna. The rulers of this dynasty a pear not only to have
-lo �1/C.
welcome d such migrants but also��ena to the extent of inviting
settlers to the new kingdom. The t hirteenth and the early part
of the fourteenth century were, therefore , a period of Tamil
immigration for the purpose of se ttle ment. All the se were set
in motion by the events that took place between 1196 and 1215,
e s ecially the invasion of Magha which may justifiably be
called a land-mark in the history of the Tamils of Ceylon.
The first important feature of this period is the
renewal of foreign invasions almost immediately after the death
of N� §azllta Malla. Within the short span of twenty years
beginning from 119G there were at least ei ht invasions of the
island, most of which were led or inspired by the C�las. These
are referred to in the Soath Indian and Ceylonese inscriptions
and in the literary works. In the reigns of Parakramabahu I
and Ni��anka Malla there were Ceylonese invasions of South
India and, possibly, counter�invasions from the mainland�
Sinhalese troops were supplied to Ya1J.4ya princes in their wars
against the �las and the C�la-supported rivals. Although the
Sinhalese forces won initial successes, in the end they seem
to have lost to the C�las.2 One such victory over the Sinhalese
is claimed by Kul�ttunga III in the ninth year of his reign ( A .D. 1187) �
From his tenth year (ll88) this monarch claims the conquest of
Ceylon in his inscriptions� The ruler of Ceylon in 1188 was
Nii�anka. Y.alla, who would then have been on the throne for
hardly a year. It seems likely that there was a C'lJla invasion
of the island at this time, if we take the vague and fragmentary

1• ..!• , S. Wickremasinghe, The Age of Par1!kramabahu I, thesis

submitted to the University of London in 1958; A . Li.yanaga.mage,
The Decline of Polonnaruva and the ise of Dambade�iya, thesis

submitted to the University of London in 1963.

2 . �- 3. S .I. I. , III , p. 86. 4.A• Butterworth and
Venu opal hetty, Nellore Inscriptions, Inscription No. B 85.
s tatement in the Galpota inscription of Ni§6anka Malla, namely
'Laillta in times gone by • • • • • thinking it was dangerous and
annoyed' (Lakdiva pera davasM • • • • • • napurg yi d?:lhM va • • ) ,
to refer to some foreign intervention at the beginning of his
reign; Kul�ttunga III may have taken advantage of the confusion
that ens ued the death of Parakramabahu I and invaded the island.
That the conques t of Ceylon was not effected in 1188 is admitted
in a Cola inscription of 1194, in which Kul�ttu�ga is recorded
to have ordered his troops to conquer the island in that year�
The claim in the inscription of 1188 is , therefore, an exaggeration
based robably on a futile invasion of the island. It is not
poss ible to think that any success in this direction was
achieved by the �.a ruler before 1196, the year of Nii6anka.
Valla's demise. Kul�ttw\ga's next claim of victory over Ceylon
is made in his inscription of 1199 from Tiru�ikku+i� The ruler
of Ceylon in 1199 was Queen Lil�vati, whose rule was chiefly
guided by the able general Kitti. Kul�ttunga( s claim in 1199
does not appear to be altogether unfounded. In a Sinhalese poem

1 • ...,:_ • , II, P•ll l. ; U . C . H .C. , I, pt .2, p. 523.

2• • E • • for 1907 , Inscription Bo . 288 of 1907 from Tiruvi�aimarudur.
3 • ...:.!.:, , VII, p.174 ; .I. I., iii, p. 205.
24 0
c alled Sasa avat a, c omposed in the time of Lilavat!, there is
an allusion to three invasions from the ClSla c ountry which were
succ essfully chec ked by the general Kitti: The c ommentary (sann� )
on this poem gives c ertain details of these invasions. It is
stated that on two of these occas ions the invading armies landed
at �avatu (Mahatittha) and proceeded as far as Anuradhapura
before they were defeated. On the third occ asion, they proc eeded
from Salavat (Chilaw) as far as �ripura in Dakkhi�adesa. They
were all defeated by Kitti� Kitti was a general, presumably
in the armies of Parakr amab'!hu I and Nissan.ka Malla, who ousted
C8�agaAga from the throne and enthroned Lilavati in 1197� He
was ousted from power in 1200� The three invasions alluded t o
in the Sinhalese poem must have, therefore, taken place before
12 0 and probably after 1197. It is, possible, however, that
one or two of the invasions took plac e in the period before
1197 when Kitti was probably one of the generals of Nissa.nka
lialla. The c laim of the ClSla king in 11 9 was very probably

1. asadavata Sanne, p.5 ; J • • A .S. (C. B.) , XXXI, No. 82, pp. 384-385.
2 . �-

3. U. C. H . C., I, pt. 2, p. 516.

4. �- , p. 517.
24 1
based on one of these invasions. Nilakanta Sastri doubts the
validity of the Sinhalese account on the gDound that the sann e
on the Sasadavata is of a later date� But even if we dismiss
the details provided by the sanne, the evidence of the
Sasadavata, a work contemporaneous with the alleged invasions,
cannot easily be s et aside. The next and the last claim of
Kul�ttunga is made in an ins cription of 1212 from Pudukk�tti
where the conquest of Ceylon is referred to as already accomplished�
This claim is perhaps based on the success ful invasion of the
isla nd in 1209, which appears to have been C�la-inspired. It
is referred to in the CUlava�a and in the contemporary
Sinhalese ins criptions. In the mpitiya ins cription of Queen
Kalya�avati (1202-1208) , it is recorded that the queen had to
leave Mi�ipe on account o! a Tamil invasion� This Tamil
invasion is also mentioned in the i.d.;ipe inscription of the
same queen, dated in her eighth regnal year� According to this

1. K.A .Nilakanta Sastri, The C�+!!!,, P• 412, note 76.

2. Pu ukk�tt ai Ins criptions (Text) , No. 166 ; K. A .Nilakanta Sastri,
T e Col!!, p. 382.
3. D • • e z. Wickremasinghe, •mpiti Slab Ins cription of Kal�vati•,
_:_• , II, . 19 -192.
4. S.Paranavitana, '¥.i�ipe Slab In cription'9 _:.!. , V, p. 157-158.
24 2
reco rd, the general lti repelled this invasion but lost his life.

On the other hand , it is stated in the Clilava�a that in 1209

the Jvla.hadipada Allikanga ' came at the head o f a great army from

the Co+a ktll9 �, slew the ruler in Pulat thinagara , Prince

Dhammasoka, together with the general iyasmantb and reigned

seventeen days • . The invasion referred to in the ¥.d�ipe inscrip-

tion and the invasion o f Anikanga have been t reated as identical

and rightly s o� The claim o f conquest in the Pudukk?St �ai inscrip­

t ion may be, therefo re, a reference to this sho rt-lived conquest

achieved by Cola t roops with An!kan.ga at their head. But it is

also possible that it refers to the C�la invas ion in the reign

o f Lokeavt\.1'.C4, ( 1210-1211 ) , alluded t o in the Kot tllige inscription�

After 1212 neither the South Indian no r the Ceylonese sources

mention any Cola invasion o f the island.

Apart from the Cola invasions ment ioned abo�e,

there were two o ther invasions from South India which occurred

sho rt ly befo re the onslaught o f Magha. One was led by a Sinhalese

aspirant Loke§vara , who brought • a great Damila army from the

opposite sho re, brought the who le of LaJ\n under his sway and

1 . Cv. , 80 : 43-44 .

2 . C f . , A. Liyanagamage, �- cit . ; !.:.!• , V , p . 159 ff.

3 . C . J. Sc, ( G ) , II, p . l 7.
24 3
reig ned , dwelling in Pulatthinagara , nine mo nths • ! It has been

surmised that this Damila army could not have been f rom the

Cola c ount ry , fo r Loke§vara was no part icular friend of the

Colas , as is shown by the subsequent �la invasio n of the

island du ring his reig n� Bit it is possible that this Tamil

army was o n1y a mercenary fo�ce and may have come from either

the Cola o r the -P-

�4ya count ry. The invasio n does not necessarily

postulate an all4Q.nce with any of the South I ndian ru1ers. The

last South I ndia n invasio n befo re that of �gha is c laimed t o

have been led by a Pa��ya prince Parakrama , who succeeded in

captu ring power and ruling fo r th ree years�

The quick series of invasio ns which began after

the death o f Ni§§a.Aka Malla culminated in that of Nagha , who

has been desc ribed in the ch ro nicles as a KaliAga and somet imes

as a Tamil� The identity of this ruler has remained a matter of

much co nt ro versy. Fo r the present we shall c o nfine ourselves

t o the invasio n and its result s in so far as the Dravidian

set t le ent s in the island are c o nc er ned.

1. £!.:., 80:47-48.
2. E . Z . , IV , p.88 ; U . C . . C . , I , pt. 2 , P• 520.
3. f!.• , 80:52-53.
4. £!· , ....:!• t 80:58 ; 3:15.
The conquest of northern Ceylon by :t-mgha and his
troops is one of the most dramatic events in the history of
the island, with far-reaching results in the lives of the
Sinhalese and the Tamils. For the Sinhalese this was a tragic
event and its memories were preserved in fairly genuine
traditions which came very early to be incorporated in the
Sinhalese and Pali chronicles. For the Tamils it was an event
which widely opened the doors to the o ccu ation and colonisation
of northern and eastern Ceylon amidst the instability and the
turbulence that characterised the history of the old
Rajarat�ha in the thirteenth c entury. At a time like this
no genuine traditions of the events were preserved by them
until a stable kingdom was established there. When genuine
traditio ns failed, o thers, based partly on later events,
were supplied to meet the needs of a later period. In the
chronicles of Jaffna, these traditio ns centre round the personality
of Vicaya KUlanka.i Cakkaravartti, who, as we shall later,
was in all probability no ohher than Magha or Vijaya mlinga
Cakravartti7 In the chronicles of Batticaloa more genuine
traditions seem to have been preserved and the invasion of
fflgha (Mak�a) o ccupies an important place in these.

1. See infra, P• �L I •
24 5
It is the accounts in the Sinhalese and �li

ch ro nicles , especially those o f the C1Ilava� and the P1Ijavaliya ,

that fo rm the basis o f the study o f the co nquest . Though

u ns at isfact o ry in some ways, the first familiar statements o f

what happened comes f rom them. The most impo rtant o f these

accounts a re those of the C1IlaYa�a and the PTijavaliya. The

Pu Javaliya account is o f exceptio nal value as it was writ ten

within half a century after the invasio n. The nature a nd value

o f these two accounts have fo rmed the sub ject of a lengthy and

critical discussio n by A. Liyanagamage� Suffice it t o say here

that much of these accounts is devoted to denou ncing the

wickedness o f the invaders a nd bemoa ning the damage dome t o the

Buddhist O rder. Despite the bitter t o ne of the accounts, there

is no doubt that they are based o n genuine t raditio ns as is

co nfirmed by the a rchaeolm ical evidence a nd by o ne o f the

Tamil chro nicles� and are very valuable to our study . Hence

our account o f the invasio n and o f the subsequent occupation

o f no rther n Ceylo n is to be p rimarily based on these sources .

1. A . Liyanagamage , �• ill•
2 . See i nf ra , P • 3C.'l. •
The CUlavalJlSa account of the invasion begins with
the following strophes:
'But since in consequence of the enormously accu ulated,
various evil deeds of the dwellers in Lanka, the devatas
who were everywhere entrusted with the protection of
La�, failed to carry out this protection, there landed
a man who held to a false creed, whose heart rejoiced in
bad statesmanship, who was a forest fire for the burning
down of bushes in the forest of the good, - that is of
generosity and the like - who was a sun whose action
closed the rows of night lotus flowers - that is the
good doctrine - and a moon for destroying the grace of
the groups of the day lotuses - that is of peace -
( a man) by name Magha, an unjust king sprung from the
Kalinga line, in whom reflection was fooled by his
great delusion, landed as leader of four and twenty
thousand warriors from the Kalinga country and conquered
the island of Lanka.l
In these preliminary strophes we are told of the character and
lineage of l-mgha and of the numerical strength as well as the
country of origin of the army he led. By describing �mgha as a
man who held to a false faith, the author informs us that he
was a non-Buddhist. This is confirmed by all the literary
sources, including the Tamil .!:!!tt�lappu-rnanmiyam� H e is
described here as a king of the Dlinga line. This is generally
re eated in the other Pali and Sinhalese works and in the

� tt akkaiappu-rnanmiyam. But it is contradicted in the C1Ilava�a

itself in another place where he is called a Dami+a king�

1. �- , 80:54-59.
2. b!!!·, p.53.
This is 1tol t he o nly instance o f a state ent in the abo ve

acc ount being c o nt radicted elsewhere in the CUlava�a, as we

shall see resently. The identity o f Magha, as stated earlier ,

has fo rmed the sub j ect of a n impo rtant c o nt ro versy among scholars

in the recent past. The c o nt ro versy cent res mainly round the

ident ific ation o f the Kalilga home of �i:!gha, which has been

variously ident ified as Ka1inga in Eastern I ndia , Kalinga in

the Malay arc hipelago and as Jaff na� Pu,Anavitana, as we shall

see later1 has recently adduced evidence f rom some unpublished

document s in supp o rt o f the ident ificatio n o f Kali�ga in

South-east Asia� These documents , if their authentic ity is

established , should settle this p roblem to the sat is faction of

all c o ncer ned. In the light of this new development we have t o

await t h e publication of these document s befo re we discuss this

questio n further .

The statement in the Clilav�a that Mllgha ' s ' four

and twenty t housand warrio r s • who are later desc ribed as fo rty­

four thousand st ro ng , both inc re ible numbers , came f rom Kalinga

is not consistently maintained throu bout the chro nic le.

1. See infra , �- lfl •

2. See infra , �- vi - •
ilmost immediat ely after the s t rophes quoted above, there
appears the following st roph e :

• • • • • thus his great warrio rs oppressed the people ,

boast ing c ruelly eve rywhe re: " We are Kera.la warrio rs " , • • 1

This c o nt radicts the earlie r statement that they came f rom

Kalinga. This is not all. Again in st rophe 70 of the same chapter

t hey are re ferred to as ' Dam.ila warrio rs • � I n the whole CUlavaVI§a

ac c ou nt , Ma ha' s soldiers are desc ribed in three places as Kera+as�

in eight p laces as Damilas and in o ne plac e as Keralas and

Damilas ( Ke rala Damila) � This c o nfusio n regarding the identity

of �:a ha a nd his soldiers is not co nfined to the CUlav�a alone.

It is found t o the same e xtent ihn the Ptijavaliya as well. I n

fact , the acc ounts of �ligha' s invasio n and occupatio n i n the se

two wo rks are remarkably s imilar so much so that o ne is

i nc lined to think that o ne is bas e d o n the other o r that both

are based o n a common sourc e . As the PtIJavaliya is almost

1• .£!· ' 80 : 61.

2. Ibid. , 80 : 70.
3. ill..• ' 80 :61, 76, 81: 3.
4 . Ibid. , 80 : 70 ; 81 : 14 ; 82 : 6, 26 ; 83 : 12, 14, 24 ; 87 : 25.
5. Ibid. , 83 : 20.
contemporaneous with the occupation of �.:;gha it is unlike1y
that this work is based on another s�urce, unless we take t he
source to be monastic records. It seems likely that the
C'illava�a account is based on that of the P'UJavaliya or om
the records used by the author of the latter work. The iapor�ant
point, however, is that the discrepancies in the two works are

identical. The PlI Javaliya, too, calls Magha a Kal.inga king

(Kalingu-raja) at first and Dravi4a king (Dravi4a-raja) and
Tamil king (Demala-raja) later on� Similarly, his soldiers are
called Malala (Kerala) at first , Dema+a (Tamil) in severa1
other places and Demala and 1-Jalala (Dema:J.a 1'Ialala ma.ha s enaga)
in one place� That Parakr amabahu II, in his campaigns against
Magha, fought the 1'.alalas and the Dravi�as (Tamils) is
maintained not only in the P1I Javaliya but also in othe r
Sinhalese works such as the Da1nbade�i-katikavata, Nikaya­
sangraha;ra and the Sadd.harma-ratnakara:y: a: There are seTera1
way s of explaining this confusion in our sources. First ly ,

1. Pv., p p. 108, 114, 116.

2. �-, pp.108, 116.
3. Ibid. , pp.117-118; Katikavat-sangara, ed. D. B.Jayatilaka, p.8;
�. , P• 8; Saddhar a-r tnakaraya, p. 314.
when the author of the �lava�a states that mgha 'landed
as leader of four and twenty1thousand warriors from the Dli:riga
country', he may be failing to be precise in his statement
rather than making a factual mistake. For, it is possible that
what the author is saying is that 1-mgha landed from the nlinga
country and conquered La:dka with twenty-four thousand soldiers,
who may have been recruited in South India. This is quite
probable for even on earlier occasions princes from ll1inga,
like Anika.Jiga and Loke§vara, captured the throne of Polonnaruva
with the help of Tamil mercenaries from South India: It is
nowhere recorded that there were mercenaries from the Dli:riga
country in the island at this time. Secondly, it may be that
M�.gha's army consisted of Kerala and Damila mercenaries who were
already in Kali:riga in search of employment or in the service of
l�ha. This is not impossible for we know that in this period
there were Kerala and Kar�ata mercenaries in the employ of
y1,1. l t.f'.S
not only the Tamil klt.ngs of South India but alsoA in far-off
places like Bengal. The 11.ianahali plate of l-.adanaplla, for instance,

1. S e e supra, P• 1.4-2. ; U.C .H.C . , I, pt. 2, P• 520.

2. See supra, P• 1 7 '+ ; £!• , M.E • • for 1 9, No. 315 of 1909.
includes Kar:pa� as and Cho1'as among the mercenaries employed by
the Pala rpler in the twelfth century. It is, therefore, possible
that Magha( s Kerata and Damila mercenaries went to Ceylon from
Kal�ga itself. But if we are to belive the Sinhalese and �li
chronicles that the army of }agha was very large, then it is
unlikely that all the soldiers came from far-off Kalinga and
we may have to accept the first possibility, namely that !mgha
recruited them, or at least most of them, in South India. The
confusion between Dami+as and Kera+as also could be resolved
without m uch difficulty. It has been suggested that the 'Dami+a
Kera_1:a • of the CUlava�a, translated as Dami+as and Keralas,
should be rendered as Kera+a Damilas, like Soli Demalun in
Sinhalese meaning CoJ.a Tamil.a� The implication is that like the
Colas and the PaQ."yas the Kera+as were also treated as Dami+as
and, therefore, there is actually no discrepancy in the
CUlav�a account regarding the identity of 1-mgha's soldiers.
Though this is a plausible explantion, it appears that lMgha's
army did not consist of only Kera+as but also Dami+as. Perhaps
at the beginning there were many Kera+as but once }Mgha had

1. D. C.Sircar, 'Kar:p!tas outside Kar:p!t�•, J . N. Banerjea Volume, p. 211.

2. A.Liyanagamage, �- ill•
2 52
established himself at Polonnaruva, more soldiers wou1d have
been recruited from among the Tamils who were res ident in the
northern parts of the is land. This erhaps is the reason wh�
both the Plijavaliya and the CUlav™a refer to them as Keral,as
and Dami+as . There seem to have been s everal South Indian leaders
who were united under Magha and led different contingents of
mercenaries� This may be the reason why the Hatthavanagalla­
vihara-va�a states that there were • many thousands of enemy
forces with their kings, the Colas, Kera+as and the like, who
had des troyed the world and the s�sana and were livling in
Pulatthipura•� The s tatement that there were forty-four
thousand Keralas and Damilas at the time of their final debtcle
as opposed to the twenty-four thous and at the time �f the
invas ion also seems to support the view that more Damiias
swelled the ranks of the invaders after their initaal victories�
In this period, the invaders from Kalinga and the Na.lay Peninsula
appear to have solved the problem of transporting soldiers
from their home countr•es b y hiring mercenaries f rom the near-by
Tamil and Kera+a countries. Once they landed in the is land

l. See infra, � . � •
2. Hatthavanagalla-vih�a-va�a, p. 32.

- -
3. Cf. , �v., 80:5 9; 83:20.
25 3
they may have enlist ed further mercenaries resident there.

Paranavitana ' s co ntentio n that I« ha ' s so ldiers were ¥.a.lays

does not seem co nvincing� It is rather difficult t o accept

that an army that wrought much dest ructio n a nd held fo rth in

a number o f fo rt resses in the no rther n parts of the island

e&Q•& aav.e co nsisted ent irely of soldiers froIJI far-off �alay

Peninsula. While the Clilav�sa specifically mentions that

there were .mvakas i n the army of the ¥ia.lay invader Candrabhanu,

who invaded the island in the middle of the thirteenth cutury,
there is no mentio n o f .mvakas in connectio n with :r-agha. There

is litt le doubt that }�gha depended o n South I ndian mercenaries

fo r his success.

The invasio n of }Jligha, though in ma ny ways similar

t o the earlier i nvasions o f the island, stands out prominent ly

in respect o f the results it produced. As in the case of the

earlier invasions , there was much destructio n wrought in

Rajarattha, especially in the capital city. The account of the

CUlav�a and the P1IJavaliya may be somwwhat exaggerated but

1. S . Paranavitana, ' Ceylo n and }.alaysia in Medieval Times • ,

J • • A . S . ( C • • ) , N. S . , VII, pt. 1, P f • I ff-

2. £!.·, 83 : 36, 37.

2 54
there is no gainsaying the fact that destruction was caused
by the armies of liagha. Even in the Tamil traditions this
as ect of Magha's rule has been preserved. In the .!:!!tt akalappu­
E1!o,miyam it is explicitly stat ed that l�n {Magha) ' c aused

all the Buddhist viharas and Buddhist temples at �ppavai

{Polonnaruva) to be destroyed and sought all the Buddhist
monks and imprisoned them• : But unlike in the time of the
earlier invasions, this time there see.ms to have been much
appropriation of land and property by the invaders.
The y are stated to have taken away all the possessions of
rich people� It is claimed that 'villages and fields, houses
and gardens, s laves, cattle, buffaloes and whatever else
belonged to the Siha+as he (!mgha) had delivered up to the
Keralas'� Even in Hayarattha, Damila warriors 'dwelt as they
pleased in the single villages and houses 1 1' Thus, the soldiers
of Magha appear to have seized villages, fields and houses
in Im.jarattha and ��yar attha. We may make an allowance for
possible exaggeration but we cannot reject these statements

1. b!• , p. 53, 'Toppavaiyil uii a putta vikarai puttalaya.nkal ellam

1tippittu putta kurukkalai ellam t�t!....P.!tittu cit,aipp t utti vaittu',

2. Cv. , 80:64.

3 . Ibid. , 8 0:76.
4. Ibid., 81:14.
25 5
wholly. These allegations are made in the PU Javaliya as well
and repeated in most other works: Considering the fact that
the northern regions of the island slipped away from the hands
of the Sinhalese with the conquest of M.lgha and the fact that
the slow migration of the Sinhalese people from Rajarat tha to
the south-western parts star ted aroun, this time, we cannot
rulw out the possibility of confiacation of lands by the invaders.

The migration of the Sinhalese population, or the bulk of it,

from Rajarattha to the south-western region of the island
has formed the subject of much study by scholars. It is generally
agreed that the weakness of the successors of Parakramabahu I,
the incessant invasions of the island and the consequent
break-down of the administratiTe machinery which was so vital
for the upkeep of the irrigation system were among the more
important causes for the abandonment of Rajarattha in the
thirteenth century. While it is true that the break-down of
the administrative system was greatly responsible for the
abandonment of Rajarattha, one cannot underestimate the

1. E.!• , pp. 108-109.

2. A. Liyanagamage, .21?,• cit. ; U.C.h.C., I, pt.2, PP • 713-719;
R.l<hJ.rphey, ' The uin of Ancient Ceylon• , Journal of Asian
Stu ies, XVI, pp. 181-200.
25 6
importance of the foreign invasions, especially that of lJigha.
This latter facto r was in some ways responsible for the
break-down of the administrative system as well as for the
shift of Sinhalese power to the south-west. It is important to
note that the s everity of the rule of ��ha and the confiscation
of lands by the Kera+a and Damifa warriors would certainly have
led to the flight of the official class, which more than any
other factor is held to have been the cause of the break-down
of the irrigation system and the subsequent abandonment and
depopulation of Rajuatt ha. The fact that even after Polonnaruva
was regained by the Sinhalese the seat of government was not shifted
to Rajara{tha shows that conditions were not quite normal in
that region. The break-down of the administrative machinery
was not the only reason for this. More 1wportant than this is
the fact that the enemy had not been quite got rid of. On
earlier occasions when the capital city -as regained from the
invaders, they were completely ousted from the island. But1 in
this ins tance, the enemy had only been driven further north.
¥.i0reover, new enemies, namely the Javakas , ap eared on the
scene and took the place of the earlier enemy. After the Jilvakas
the Pai;.4ya feudatories , called the Aryacakravartins, took their
place. Thus , there was a s uccession of enemies in northern c�y lon
and neither Polonnaruva nor any other place in Rajarattha was
25 7
quite safe for re-occupatio n. This factor , as much as the b reak­

down of the administ rat ive machinery , was respo nsible fo r the

depopulat io n of Rajarat �ha and the failure to shift the Si nhalese

seat of gover nment there. Not o nly the Sinhalese but even the

Tamils found Rajarattha unsafe. Whereas in the case of the

Sinhalese the fertile regio ns of the south-west affordi!d new

homes , the arid peninsula of Jaff na became the seat of Tami1

pollle r and provided homes for many o f the new set tlers f rom

South I ndia. Why was it that the new dy nasty chose the ar id r�n ­
t��b� i n the norther n region of the isla nd which had neither
irrigatio n works wo rthy of the name nor sufficient rainfall to

enable easy cultivatio n ? Compared with that peninsula , the

north-cent ral parts of the island l�ing north of Polo nnaruva1

even after the break-down of the ir rigatio n system, would have

been a better place. These regio ns were never complet ely abando ned

by either the Sinhalese o r the Tamils . We shall see i n the sequel

that small numbers o f Sinhalese and Tamils co nt inued t o live

in those areas u nder the rule o f petty chieftains called Van nis

or Vayiy�r , who changed alliances between the Tamil ruler o f

norther n Ceylo n and the �inhalese ruler of the south , accordi n

t o the polit ical climate o f the times. We shall also see later

that the occurrence of a large number o f Tamil to o nyms in p laces

which had Sinhalese names in the period before the thirteenth

century certainly suggests that the area was o ccupied by Tamils

25 8
and that the majo rity o f the Sinhalese peo le o f these re io ns

were either ousted by o r , less p robably , assimilated to the

Tamil populat io n: Even in many areas where Sinhalese re-occupat io n

t ook place and where Sinhalese live at present Tamil place names

occur in co nsiderable numbers , thereby showing that such areas

were s ett led by Tamils at the t ime o f t he Sinhalese re-occupatio n.

The area lying between the Jaff na kingdom and 'iM l«yb-at �ha ,

generally known as the Vanni from the t hirteenth century u nt il

recent t imes , ap ears to have fo rmed some sort o f a buffer

between the warring Sinhalese and Tamil kingdoms . The rulers

o f the two ki ngdoms appear to have found it mo re convenient to

leave this area under the rule of pet t y chiefs who paid nominal

allegiance t o either o f them. The norther n and easter n parts

o f the Vanni were in the hands of the Tamil chiefs while the

souther n parts bor dering o n the Sinhale e kingdom proper

were in the hands o f the Sinhalese. It is , therefore, necessary

t o ap reciate the sig nificance o f the Tamil occupatio n in the

abando nment o f Im jarattha by the Sinhalese. It appears that

already i n the eleventh and twelfth centuries the S inhalese

were being slowly pushed out o f the norther n regio ns where

Tamil sett lements were numerous , especially from the north-eas t er n

1 . See infra , � . v 1 .
lit to ral� This process was , therefore, expedited by the ruthles s
occupat io n o f fflgha and his t roops in the thirteenth century.

Our literary sources att ribute the cause o f S inhalese migrat io ns

from Imjarattha at this time so lely to the fo reign occupat ion.

We get the following statement in the Clilav™a on this point :

During this alien rule several virtuous people had

fou nded o n divers o f the most inaccessible mountaills
a charming tow n ( o r ) a village and dwelling he re and
there protected the laity and the Order so that they
were in peace. 2

After this some o f these new tow ns and villages are enumerat ed�

An echo o f the Ctilava� a statement is found in the H at thavana­

galla-vihara-v™a , where it is said that when the enemy �o rces

opp ressed them , the ministers a nd such other uipo rt ant personages

a nd the people left their villages a nd their townships ill

thousands i n search o f places o f protectio n in the rocky

mount ains a nd fo rest st ro ngholds. O f those who remained behind,

many came under the rule o f the new Vanni chieft ains.

The permanent dislodgement of Sinhalese power

from Imj arattha , the co nfiscatio n o f lands and propert ies by

the Kera.la a nd Damila so ldiers and the co nsequent migratio n o f

the o fficial class and several commo n people to the south-wes t

1. See -
�-....... , pJ, . 111 •

2. �- . 81: 1-2.

3 • .f..l:.._. , 81: 3-9 -

4. Hat thavanagalla-vihar a-va� , p. 30.
were among the more iJB,Portant results of the invasion and

occupation of Magha. These direc tly helped the transformation

of the northern and eastern parts of the island into areas
predominantly settled by Tamils. The invasion of Magha may,
therefore, be considered to be the most important fac tor that
helped the establishment of more Tamil settlements in the island
in the thirteenth c entury.
After the invasion of Magha and before the rise
of a dynasty from the Tamil c ountry in northern Ceylon at the
turn of the thirteenth c entury there were more than five foreign
invasions of the island. All exc ept one were undertaken with
the help of South Indian troops, thus bringing in more South
Indians to the island. The first of these was the invasion of
the Javaka ruler Candrabhanu in 1247: This expedition of the
J11:vaka ruler was undertaken with Javaka troops from his kingdom,
acc ording to the CUlav�a and the PttJavaliya� The next invasion
was that of Jatavarma.a Sundara Pa.\l�ya:r some time before 1258.
This does not find mention in the CulavaV!§a but some inscriptions
of Sundara Pa\l,�ya dating from 1258 c laim that he exac ted

1. U.C • .c . , I, pt.2, PP• 622-625 ; .A.Liyana amage, .2l?,• c it.

2. £!.•, 83:36-37 ; E_y. , P• 117.
tribute from the 6eylonese ruler.1 A second PlrJ.�ya invasion
appears to have taken place in or about 1262. This, too, is
not mentioned in the CUlav�a and is known to us only f rom
the inscriptions of Jatavarmaa Vira PruJ.9ya I (acc. 1253) 2.
About the same time, the Jltvaka ruler Candrabhanu led a
second invasion of the Sinhalese kingdom, on this occasion
with the help of 'many Dami+a soldiers, representing a great
force' whom he recruited in 'the countries of the P9..9-�us and
Cofas and elsewhere•� It has been claimed that the second
PruJ.9ya invasion was undertaken to help the Sinhalese ruler
combat the forces of Candrabhanu. After 1263 there appears to
have occurred a few minor invasions of the island under the leader­
ship of Pa?J4ya feudatories like Kalingar�ar and Colag8.l1gadeva.
These are referred to in the CUlav�a as having taken place
immediately before the accession of Bhuvanekabahu I (A.D. 1272)�

1. � . .R. for 1 94, Inscription No. 166 of 1894; K. A.Nilakanta

Sastri, The ��yan King om, P• 162.
2. M.E• • for 1917, Inscription No. 588 of 1916; K. A. Nilakanta
Sastri, The Pa�9yan Kingdom, p. 176.
3 • .2!.:,, 88: 62-63 .
4. U.C.H.C. , I, pt. 2 , P• 621.
5. £!_. , 90: 32.
26 2
In Paranavitana' s opinion, 'all these events appear to have
happened soon after the accession of �avarIIIB.A Kula.§ekhara
Pa��ya' (A . D. 1268)� The next invasion was led by the �4ya
- -
feudatory named Aryaccakkaravartti (Aryacakravay-t in ) about
1284, We shall discuss these invasions fully in connection
with the foundation of the kingdom of Jaffna. For the present ,
it is sufficient to note that these frequent invasions brought
into the island further bands of mercenaries and other soldiers,
many of whom may have stayed behind and found new homes either
in the new kingdom in northern Ceylon or in the Vanni chief­
taincies. As on earlier occasions, these invasions added to the
strength of the Tamil element in the island and were, there­
fore, an important favtor in the establishment of Tamil settle­
ments in tbe thirteenth century.
Apart from the mercenary elements that went as
invaders, there would have been migrations of mercantile communities,
artisans and other peaceful settlers as well. But, unlike in
earlier times , very little information regarding such settlers
is available to us. No inscription of the thirteenth century
referring to any mercantile community has come to light so far.

1 . U . C .H . C . , I , pt. 2 , P • 685.
2. £:!·, 90 : 44.
26 3
As for monument s, only one Dravidian-st yle temple has survived
without much damage. Several others appear t o have been erected
in t he t hirteent h century but they are almost all in ruins and
are not by any means significant buildings.1 It may be t hat owing
t o t he unsettled condit ions t hat obtained in the island in t his
period t here was not much building act ivit y. The chronicles give
hardly any informat ion in t his respect . The Tamil chronicle,
Vaiyapatal, refers t o the migrat ion, around t his t ime, of the
Komat{iyar who were a mercantile community from t he Telugu
count ry. This work also refers t o the sett lement of such artisans
as Taccar (carpenters), Tat tar (goldsmiths), Kann.ar (braziers)
and Kollar (blacksmiths)� As we shall see later, the authent icit y
of these st at ement s can be quest ioned. It seems possible that
t he author of t he Vaiyapatal somet imes based his st at ements on
t he condit ions obtaining in his t ime, that is to say he was
just enumerat ing the castes of Jaffna in his time as having
migrat ed in t he thirt eent h century.
In t he records of South India, too, t here is little
or no evidence regarding t he migration of peaceful settlers.

1. See infra, P f- 3 '- ' ff•

2• !E, • t V• 41 •

One could suppose that the numerous internecine wars that
characterised the decline of the �!as wou1d have led to the
flight of some of the defeated to places like Ceylon. The t1uslim
invasions would have certainly led to such flights, b ut South
India was hardly affected by them in the thirteenth c entury.
We hear very little about famines or any other forms of distress
that might have led to the migration of people. In the inscriptions
of the time of Kul�ttuflga III there are references to famines
in two areas of the �la kingdom. One of the inscriptions from
Tiruppamburam, dated in the twenty-third year of Kul.�ttunga III
(A.D. 1301) , refers to the distressing circumstance s t hat prevailed
in t hat village and to the sad incident of a !!++Y9 and his
two daughters selling themselves to the loval t empie to be
saved from starvation: In another inscription from Ta�vUr,
df the year 1305, there is an allusion to similar distress being
suffered by the villagers for a long time.2 But we are not in a
position to say whether such conditions were wide spread in t he
�J.a country during these declining years of the e mpire .

1. M.E.R. for 1911, Inscription No. 86 of 1911, p. 74 .

2. M.E.R. for 1914, Inscription 10. 458 of 1913, p . 91.
26 5
Perhaps suc h conditions led to the migration of some Tamils to
pla�es like Ceylon, but there is no c lear evidenc e on this point.
Despite the absenc e of any evidence, we may not be wrong in
saying that migrations of small groups of peaceful settlers
from South India to Ceylon would have gone on in this period
as in the earlier c enturies.
The South Indian invasions were, therefore, still
the most predominant factor that helped to strengthen the
Dravidian element in the loc al population. There were more than
thuteen invasions from the mainland in the thirteenth century
and one of them at least brought in a large c ontingent of
mercenary forces. The chaotic conditions that prevailed in
Rajarattha afforded ample opportunities for these merc enary
elements to appropriate land and seize p�operty. Under suc h
c ircumstanc es it is doubtful whether many would have liked to
return to the subc ontinent. As is alleged in the Pali and
Sinhalese sources, a large number of the merc enaries must have
found new homes in lmjarat tha! The Tamil sources, however,
seem to prefer to treat them as peaceful settlers who went to
the island in response to invitations from the Tamil rulers�

1. See supra, P• 'l. �'t- •

2. See infra, pf. :u· r H•
26 G
It may be recollected that several writers on the
history of Jaffna, basing their studies on the traditional
legends found in the late Tamil chronicles, have put forward
certain thories claiming the establishment of Tamil settlements
in Jaffna in the period of the Anuradhapura rulers: These
theories are not accepted by serious students of ijistory as
they are not based on trustworthy data. Many of these have been
convincingly dismissed by scholars in recent years� It is,
therefore, not our intention to analyse these theories and
take serious notice of writings which at best could be described
as popular. In the main we shall confine ourselves to the
sources on which these writings have been based.
The story of the Tamil settlements in the Jaffna
peninsula has been told in the Tamil writings of a period at
least three eenturies later than the time of the events. These
works are the Vaiy�pa�al and its paraphrase Vaiy�, the Kailaya­
m�lai and the lllPpap-vaipava-malai� As pointed out in the
introduction, these works have much historical data mixed with

1 . See supra, PP • .l L ff •
2 . �• • S.Paranavitana, ' The lrya Kingdom in North Ceylon',
J.R.A.S . (C.B.) , N.S . , VII , pt. 2, 19ll, pp. 174-224.
3 . See supra, pp. , r- 10 •
26 7
legendary materia1, some of which are based partly on popu1ar
etymology and partly on Sinhalese legends. The chronology is
hopelessly arranged and one has to exercise great caution in
using these chronicles as source materia1s. Their value for the
period prior to the twelfth century is a1most nil. Hence, we
have to rely almost entirely on the more trustworthy linha1ese
and Pili works and on the me agre archaeological material for
any satisfactory reconstruction of what happened in the Jaffna
peninsula before the thirteenth century.
Although our purpose in this chapter is to deal
with the Dravidian settlements of the thirteenth century, it
is necessary to analyse briefly the history of the Jaffna
peninsula before our period in order to clear certain common
but important misconceptions. By way of this analysis we will
be able to show how unfounded many of the arguments of popular
writers are. We have already shown that there is no case for
arguing that Jaffna was settled by Tamils in the pre-Christian
centuries or even in the early Christian centuries: O n the
contrary, there is some e vidence in our sources which points
to the occupation of Sinha1ese in the area in the
centuries. The meagre evidence in the Mah�v�a regarding the

1. See supra , � . .I •
26 8
Jaffna peninsu1a does not help us to know anythi.ng about the
identity of the people who liTed there in the pre-Christian
centuries. The �li chronicle informs us that the port of
Jambukola (Camputtutai) , on the eastern coast o� the peninsula,
was the main port of embarkation to ramralipti in Eastern India
from at least the time of Devanampiya Tissa {� --i.• 0 B.C.) .
The two embassie s from the island to the court of iloka
embarked on their voyage from Jambukola� Sanghamitta arrived
with the Bo-sapling at this port. The Samudda-p��a-sall,
commemorating the arrival of the Bo-sapling, and the Jambukola­
vihara were built there by Devanampiya Tissa� These facts only
reveal that the northernmost part of the is1and was under the
suzerainty of the Anuradhapura king in the third century B.C.
and that Buddhism had begun to spread by that time in that
part of the is land as in the other parts. Bu.t it is in the
second century A.D. that we get some evide:oc e regarding the
people living there. The language of the gold-plate inscription
from Vallipuram, the earliest epigraphic r ecord discovered in the
Jaffna peninsula, is the early form of Silll.halese, in which

1. 1:!!. , 11:23.
2• .!.ill.· , 19 : 23 .
3 . �- , 19: 27; 20:25.
inscriptions of the time in other parts of the island were
written! This ma:y- suggest that the Sinhalese were settled
in the Jaffna peninsula, or in some parts of at least, in

the second century A.D. There were perhaps Tamil traders in

the port of Jambukola but there is no evidence that points
to Tamil settlements in the peninsula.
That Jaffna was peopled by Buddhists during the
first millenium A.D. is borne out by the meagre evidence of
the Mahava!pS___! and the Cltlava�a as well as by the e�idence
of the few archaeological and epigraphic materials found in
that peninsula. We find that in the second century A.D.
Y.18.hallaka ?mga built the Sali-pabbata-vihara in Nagad�pa
(modern Jaffna district)� In the same century, Kanittha
Tissa had a temple repaired in that area� In the third
century, Voharika Tissa built walls round the Tissa-vihara
in the same region� Aggabodhi II (664-614) is recorded to
have 'presented the Uw,.alomaghara temple to the RaJayatana­
dhatu (vihara) as well as an umbrella for the Amalacetiya'�

l. 8- , i_i 1 ,,. ..... , tf •

2 . � - , 3.r: 1 "2 1t

3. � - , 3, : q
4 • .!!?_g. , -;, : 3 c.
5 . Cv. , 42:62.
It is not possible to identify the sites of these Buddhist
establishments, but they are stated to have been in N!gadipa.
These references in the ¥iahav�a and the C1Ilav�a not only
shmw that there were Buddhists in the Jaffna peninsula in
the A nuradhapura period but also indicate that it continued
to be under the suzerainty of the Anuradhapura rulers.
The gold plate from Vallipuram reveals that
there were Buddhists in that part of the peninsula in the
second century A .D7 At the site of this inscription the
foundations of a Buddhist vihara were uncovered. These founda­
tions are in the premises of a modern Vi��u temple� There is
little doubt that the Vi9 �u temple was the original Buddhist
monument, coaverted inttoa Vai§�ava eatablishment at a later
date when Tamils settled in the area. Such conversion of
Buddhist establishments into Saiva and Vai��ava temples seems
to have been a common phenomenon in the peninsula after it
was settled by Dravidians. In the premises of another Vi��u
temple at Moolai were discovered some 'vestiges of ancient
remains of walls' and a broken sedent Buddha image� Again,

1. � - , � , rr- ��1 tf·

2 . Ibid. , f• 1 -i. fi

3. A .S.C.A.R . for 1949, p. 28.

27 1
in the Saiva temple at Mahiyappitti a Buddha image was found
under a stone step in the temple tank.1 A 1ime-stone Buddha
image and the remains of an ancient dagliba were unearthed at
..,. 2
Nilavarai, in Navakiri. Among the debris were two scu1ptured

fragments of shaped coral stmnes with a stine-rai1ing design.

According to D . T . Devendra,who conducted the excavation at this
site, the dagMba can be dated at least to the tenth century A . IY.
Near these ruins are the foundations of an ancient bui1ding
and in the middle of these is a modern �iva temp1e. It has
been conjectured, and rightly so, that the old fol!ll1dations are
those of the vihara attached to the ancient d!'g�ba! Buddha
images have a1so been discovered in U�uvil, Kantaro�ai and
Jaff'na town� Kantaro�ai has yielded very importa.mt Buddhist
finds which prove the existence of an important Buddhist

1. P. E.Peiris, ' Nagadipa and Buddhist Remains in Jaffna ' ,

J. R.A . S . (C .B.),XXVI, No.70, 1917, P• 26 .
2. A.S . C . A . R. for 1954 , P• 32 ; �- for 1955, pp. 17-19.
3. A . S . C . A . R .
f'or 1255,P• 19 .
5 . S . Kumaracuvami, ' Vata �attu+1a Cila Ita;ppeyarkal.j_p. Varal!P! ' ,
in the Yalpp�-vaipava-kaumuti by K . Ve1uppillai, Jaffna, 1918,
p. 14 ; P.E.Peiris,.2,P. • ill•, p.25 ff. ; J.R . A . S. ( C .B . ), XXVI,
No.70, p.43; C . A . n. R . , II, pt. 2, p . 96.
establishment in the region in early times: Such artefacts
as the glazed tiles and the circular discs discovered here
have helped to connect the finds with those of Anuradhapura�
The Sinhalese Nampota, dated in its present form to the
fourteenth or fifteenth century, preserves the names of some
of the places of Buddhist worship in the Jaffna peninsula.
Kantaro�ai is mentioned among these places. The others are
?ragakovila (lrakarkovil), Telipola (Tellippaiai), Mallagama
(Mallakam), Minuva.ilgomu Viharaya (Vimankarnarn), Tanaidivayina
Ta.Da-tivu or Kayts), lragadivayina (lrakat1vu or Nay�ativu),
Puvai\gudivayina (PuAkutu-tivu) and Karadivayina (Karait!vu)�
Of the Buddhist establishments in these places, only the
vihara and dagl:lba at Naka.tivu have survived to this day.
It is justifiable to assume that the �ampota list dates
back to a time when the Buddhist establishments of these
places were well-known centres of worship. This was probably
before the thirteenth century for after this date the people
of the Jaffna peninsula were mainly Saivas.

1. P.E.Peiris, -2:£ • cit. , pp.26-28 .

2. Me oirs of the A.S .C . , II, PP • 5, 12.
3. Nampota, P t• S'- &. •
The foregoing evidenc e points to the inevitable
conc lusion that in the Anuradhapura period, and possibly till
about the twelfth c entury, there were Buddhists in the Jaffna
peninsula. ilthough it may appear reasonable to presume that
thes e Buddhists were Sihhalese 1ike thos e in the other parts
of the is land, some have tried to argue that they were Tamils.
While it is true that there were Tamil Buddhists in South India
and Ceylon before the twelfth century and possibly even later,
there is evidenc e to show that the Buddhists who occupied the
Jaffna peninsula in the Anuradhapura period were Sinhalese.
We refer to the topon�mic evidenc e whic h unmistakably points
to the pres enc e of Sinhales e s ettlers in the peninsula before
Tamils s ettled there. In an area of only about nine hundred
square miles c overed by this peninsula, there occur over a
thousand Sinhales e plac e names whic h have survived in a Tamil
garb. The study of these names has not yet been systematic ally
undertaken. One s erious ,A;,;,lffP'l� that bes ets a valuable s tudy
of thes e names ia the absence of records of early forms.
Exc ept for a handful rec orded in the Vallipuram plate, the
Nainativu inscription, the Tiruvala.Aga�u insc ription of RaJadhi­
raja II, the Ma.hav™a, Culava�, PlIJavaliya and the Nampota,
the early forms of the bulk of the plac e names are not recorded
anywhere. This poses a serious problem in the establishment
of a reliable etymology of the toponyms before their language
could be definitely identified and their evidence used for
his torical writing. But in spite of this , it has not been
difficult to separate the Sinhalese names from the Tamil.
The difficulty of finding any meaning in Tamil for the component
elements, the ease with which meanings could be found for them
in Sinhalese and the commonness of the final elements with
those of the present-day Sinhalese names in the southern
parts of the island are factors that help us in the identification
of the Sinhalese place names of the Jaffna peninsula. The
early forms of the few names that are available to us point
in the same direction, for, they, too, reveal their Sinhalese
origin very distinctly: In the whole of the peninsula more than

1. � - , V1:att111:ai (Kayts) is derived from Sinh. Url:tota or

BUratota (Pali SUkaratittha). The second element 12,f� (=port)
has been substituted by the Tamil synonym 3_&, a feature
common in the Tamilised Sinhalese place-names of Ceylon. The
earliest occurrence of this name is in the inscriptions of the
twelfth century. See K. Indrapala, 'The NaiAatlvu Tamil
Inscription of Parmtramabahu I', U.C.R., XII, No.l, Ap. 196,,p.68.
Other names for which early forms are available Val�mam,
Maffuvil, Punkufu-tivu, Campu-tlll:ai, Mallakam, Tellippa+ai,

Karai-tivu, etc. See infra, pp. 4-3 0

2 75
a thousand Tamilised Sinhalese names of villages, fields and
estates have been collected. As earl1 as the beginning of the
century their significance was recognised. But the main difficult1
of using the evidence of these names - a difficulty that stems
from the fact that early forms are not available - is that of
establishing the date of their origin. Despite this, however,
they help us to draw the irresistible conclusion that the
Sinhalese were settled in Jaffna before the Tamils. For how else
could one explain the occurrence of such a large number of
Tamilised Sinhalese toponyms in that small area ? If we are to
learn from the experience of scholars who studiea the place names
in Brit ain and in the Scandinavian countries, the survival of
Sinhalese elements in the local nomenclature of a region now
occupied by Tamils will indicate to us certain important points�
In the first place, j ust as in the case of English place names
where Celtic elements reveal earlier Celtic occupation, the
occurrence of Sinhalese elements in the place names of Jaffna
shows that the area was originally occupied by Sinhalese speakers

1. S.Kumarae uvami, .!21?.• cit. , PP• l ff • •

2. Cf., The publications of the English Place-name Society•

27 6
who were responsible for giving Sinhalese names for village s,
fie lds and estates; The YaJJ>pa�a-vaipava-malai, the Tamil chronicle
o f Jaffna, confirms this when it states that there were Sinhalese
people in Jaffna at the time or the first Tamil colonisation of
the area� Secondly, the survival or Sinhalese e le ments in the
local nomenclature indicates a slow and pe aceful penetration
o f Tamils in the are a rathe r than a violent o ccupation. This is
in contrast with the e vide nce of the place names in the North­
central Province, whe re Sinhalese names have bee n largely
replaced by Tamil names� T he large percentage of Sinhalese
element and the occurrence o f Sinhalese and Tamil compounds in
the places names of Jaffna point to a long survival of the
Sinhalese population and an intimate inte rcourse between them
and the Tamils� This is also ,borne out by the retention of
so.me territorial names, like Valikamam (Sinh. vtUigama) and
Maracci (Maracci-rata), which points to the retention of the

1. £!., E. Ekwall, 'The Ce ltic Element', in The Introduction

to the Study of English Place-names, e d. A.¥.a.we r and F. M. Stenton,
I, pt. 1, Cambridge 1924, PP • 17 ff •
2. !!!!!•, pp. 9, 24.
3. See infra, P• 3 S-S- •
4. Cf. , E. Ekwall, £I?,• cit., PP• 17, 27, 28 and 31.
27 '1
old territorial divisions and tell strongly against wholesale
extermination or displacement of the Sinhalese population�
We are in no position to confirm with the aid of
other evidence that the penetration and settlement of Tamils
in the Jaffna peninsula was peaceful and slow, though it seems
implicit in the Tamil chronicles. According to these, Jaffna
was settled from time to time by Tamils, invited from South
India, after the establishment of a separate kingdom there�
That the relations between the new-comers and the Sinhalese
were sometimes not too cordial is reflected in these works�
But there is no evidence to suggest that the Sinhalese were
completely ousted from the peninsula. In fact, we are in a
position to conclude from the evidence of the place names
that the Sinhalese po ulation survived there long. In the
later and more reliable sections of the YaJ.pp�a-vaipava­
malai, dealing with the rule of the Tamil kings of Jaffna,
there are references to the frequent clashes between Sinhalese
and Tamils as late as the middle of the sixteenth century.
The following statement in the Yalt>pa;ia-vaipava-malai is

1. Of the seven territorial divisions of Jaffna three bear

the name of Val_j kamam, namely Valikamam North, East and West;
two bear the name of Maracci, namely Vata-Maracci and Ten­
Maracci. See infra, p. )1 7 •
2. See infra, P f."2.Bi'" .ff-· 3. Cf. , !.!!!!.:.,, pp.24, 36, 45.
worthy of note in this respect:
He (Cankili, 1519-1565) caused all the Buddhist temples
that were found in several places in Jaffna to be destroyed
and completely ousted the Sinhalese subjects. None of
the Sinhalese subjects remained (behind after that) . 1
The Vaiyapat al refers to the Sinhalese as one of the communities
living in Jaffna in the time of the Tamil kings� It is perhaps
not reasonable to assume that all the Sinhalese were ousted from
the peninsula by the sixteenth century. In all probability
several of them were assimilated to the Tamil population. Some
are inclined to believe that the Sinhalese element is represented
in at least one of the castes of Jaffna, namely the Koviyar.
No such caste exists in the social structure of the Tamils of
South India and, what is more, the name Koviyar appears to be
a Tamilised form of the Sinhalese Goviya (peasant caste) . This
caste, whose occupation it was to serve the Ve++a+as (the peasant
caste of the Tamils) , was often referred to in the past as
Koviyacci�ai (Koviya p�isoners) , which has been taken to mean
Sinhalese Goviyas who were taken prisoners by the Tamil Ve+lalas�

1. �- , p. 59.
2 • .Yl?.• , v . �, , �.

3. Cf., '/.:!._":!, · I r· " 3 fn - 1

27 9
While it is possible to show to some extent at least
that the Jaffna peninsula was first occupied by Sinhalese settlers,
that the Tamil penetration was probably slow and peaceful and
that the Sinhalese long survived there vefo re they were either
assimilated to the Tamil population or ouste d from the peninsula,
it is not easy to determine the period when the Tamil occupation
began. The late chronicles of Jaffna are unanimous in their
assertion that the settlement of the Tamils in the peninsula
began under the Tamil rulers of that area. The Yalpp'a-9,a-vaipava­
malai refers to the presence of Mukkuvas in Ja!fna before the
foundation of the kingdom but distinguishes them from the Tamils�
The Mukkuvas, as we shall see later, were a Kera+a caste who
went to the island in the centuries after the C�la occupation�
The evidence of the Tamil chronicles is, however, not entirely
r• liable. The .!_alpPaJJ.a-vaipava-malai refers to two different
attempts at settling Tamils in Jaffna. The first attempt was
made in the ninth century but it ended in a failure as the
settlers returned to South India after some time� This account
is based on the YaJ.pati legend which , as we shall show later,
has no historical basis and is a fabric ation based on popular

1 . �• , P• Cf •
2. See supra, p. 1 &-o see infra, pf. '3 G , - 3 J!,-
3. See infra, p. ::2.�7 •
etymology. The acc ount of the sec on� settle•ent is based on that
of the Kailayamalai and is similar to the acc ount in the aiya­
.E!�al. This account appears to be somewhat reliable an fits
into the story that cou1d be reconstruc ted from the Sinha1ese
sourc es. In the main, it plac es the Tamil settlement of Jaffna
after the foundation of the kingdom, which event took place in
the thirteenth c entury.2 These acc ounts of the Tamil chronic les,
despite their late date and their obvious errors, cannot be

altogether brushed aside.

As we have seen above, the Sinhalese and Pall
chronicles, too, claim that the northern parts of the island
were settled by Tamils in the reign of Magha during the thirteenth
c entury� The Jaffna peninsula was perhaps no exception tm this.
But althogh it is possible that Tamil immigrants from South
India went to settle down in uaffna in the time of !mgha� it
may be wrong to ascribe all the settlements referred to :in the
Tamil chronicles to the time of Magha. After all Magha's reign
was not a peac eful one. It is difficult to believe that many
peaceful settlers would have gone over to the island under the

1. See infra, TP• 28'- ff •

2. See ia:,ra, u. -� •
3. See supra, p.2, ,ri,. •
turbulent conditions that obtained in northern Ceylon at that
time. It is true that the large number of South Indian me rc enaries
in Magha 's army would have found their homes in different parts
of Rajaratiha, including the Jaffna penins ula. But the kind of
peaceful settlements that the Tamil chronicles mention may have
taken place towards the end of the thirteenth or at the beginning
of the fourteenth century, after the establishment of the
lryacakravartin dynasty. The Sinhalese literary sources of
about the thirteenth and fourteenth centurJes generally C Q n.& ider
the northern areas - the region north of Salgal-kandura, t o be
precise - as Tamil areas� In view of these considerations ,
therefore, it is reas onable to demarcate the thirteenth century
as the lower limit for our date of the Tamil colonisation o f
The earliest evidence regarding the presence o f
Tamils in the Jaffna peninsula is possibly the Tamil inscription
- 2
of ParDcramabahu I (1153-1186) from Naiuativu. We have seen
earlier that till about the ninth century our evidence points
to minor settleme nts of Tamils in such important ports as
Mahatittha and Go�a as well as in Anuradhapura, where t here
was a considerable number of mercenary soldiers. In the ninth

1. See infra, p. f 37 ; .£!• , E.!• , p. 111 ; Tri-sin.hale-ka�ai -saha­

vitti, ed. A . J.W.Marambe, (Kandy 1926), p. 21.
2. See supra, P• 17� f-• I
28 2
and tenth caa tury some villages in Imjarattha seem to have
accommodated Tamil settlers but these were by no means numerous.
It seems un1ikely that there were many Tamil settlers in the
Jaffna peninsula or in any part of the island other than the
major ports and the capital city before the tenth century. As

we statei earlier, there were perhaps some Tamil traders in the

ports of Jambukola and Ur�tota, in the Jaffna peninsula. But we
have no evidence on this point. It is possible that after the
Cola occupation of the island in 1017 there were Tamil settlers
in Jaffna. Apparently no strongholds were established in that
region and there is no evidence pointing to the presence of
Tamils. Perhaps the Colas used the port of �ratota for their
commercial and naval activities. The toponym Valavar-kon-pal+a.Dl
perhapsof the Vajava king, i. e. Cola king) perhaps preserves
the memory of some �la association� As claimed by some wi:itera,
the place name Culi-puram may be a Tamilised form of the Sinhalese
Soli-pura (Cola town) and not of Sulu-vera (Small Vih�ra) �
But these are matters of speculation and cannot be confirmed
with the available evidence. lfe can only say that since there
were Tamil settlers in some parts of Rajarattha in the eleventh
century, some may have been in the Jaffna peninsula, too.

1. £!•, S.Rasanayagam, &.2• ill•, P• •u . r ; Val,av8.ll is commonly used

in Tamil to refer to the Colas but it is possible that here
it «£fers to a Vallabha ruler.
2. £!.• , S .Kumaracuvami, �• �• , p. it- •
We may not be wrong in placing the upper limit of the date o f
the Tamil settlements i n Jaffna i n the eleventh century • .ls ve
have already seen, the occurrence of a Tamil inscription and of
three Tamilised forms of Sinhalese toponyms in the �ecords of
the twelfth century may point to the existence of Tamil sett1e­
ments in the Jaffna peninsula in the twelfth century� It is,
therefore, justifiable to place the Tamil pe•etration into
Jaffna and the beginnings of the gradual absorption and dispJ.ace­
ment of the Sinhalese there between the eleventh and the end of
the thirteenth century.
For the study of the Tamil occupation of Jaffna in
the thirteenth century we have hardly any archaeological remains
or epigraphic material. The absence of archaeological material
may be explained in several ways. In the first place, no ar chaeo­
logical excavations worthy mf the name have been conducted in
that region, except for some preliminary diggings in places
like Kantar��ai and Nilavarai� In the second place, the lithology
of the peninsula ia partly responsible for the absence of early
monuments. In the North-central Province and the other southern
parts of the island the natural outarops of granite rocks afforded

1. See supra, P• �73 •

2. See supra, p-p.2.10 - 27�.
28 4
materials for the erection of lasting monuments and for inscribing
records. In contrast to this, the Jaffna peninsula, the adjoining
islands and the north-western coastal strip from Kalpit iya to
Mullaitivu, all lying in the Tamil areas, are covered with a
layer of sedimentary limestone of the Miocene and the later
ages: This limestone, with its high degree of solubility, has
not ptoved to be a good medium for the expression of the arts
of architecture and sculpture. It is possible that many of the
structures of our period were reduced to mere rubble in the
course of time and used by villagers for building their semi­
permanent and moiest houses. Thirdly, the kings of Jaffna
would not have had the necessary ecomor,d.c basis for the under­
taking of ambitious building activities. The temples of the
early period, as now, would have been limestone structures of
2 These buildings have been kept in constant
modest proportions.
repair, as no part of the peninsula was abandoned in the centuries
after our period, and only a proper archaeological survey will
help us to identify them. The secular buildings at the capital

1. U.C.H.C., I, pt. 1, p.4.

2. f.!• , F.de �ueyroz, The Temporal and S iritual Conquest of Ceylon,

I, Tr. S.G.Perera, p. 50 - 'They never had any other city save

Nelur (Nallur) • • • • • •••• • Nor is there in that place anything
else worth recording save some tanks, almost devoid of water• • • • ,
as well as some of the important temples, according to our
sources, were destroyed in the time of the Portuguese occupation
and the materials used for the building of the fort at Jaffna
town� The discovery of stone bricks and steps with Tamil
inscriptions in the Jaffna fort and in some of the old houses
in Paraillti Teru (Portuguese Street) confirms this� We have,
therefore, to depend on the evidence of the Tamil chronicles
and examine the extent to whic� reliable information could be
gleaned from them.
As mentioned earlier, the story of the Tamil
settlements in the Jaffna peninsula is found in four chronicles,
namely the Vaiyapatal, Vaiya, Kailayamalai and the Ya'.lPpaua­
vaipava-malai. The Vaiyapatal and its paraphrase, the Vaiya,
both datable to about the sixteenth century, purport to relate
the story of the Tamil settlements in the Jaffna peninsula as
well as in other parts of the Northern Province. In these
accounts, as pointed out earlier, there is much historical
data mixed with legendary material and their chronmlogy is
highly unreliable and faulty. Their value for our study is

1. !!....•, pp. ?8-79.

2. A . Muttuttampi Pillai, nlPp�a-carittiram, Jaffna, 1912, p. 73.
It has not been possible to trace these inscriptions since.
much depreciated as a result of these serious defects� The
Kailaya.malai, a work datable to the early part of the seventeenth
century, on the other ha�d, confines itself to the story of the
settlement of prominent Tamil families in the different villages
of Jaffna under the lryacakravartins. This account seems to
have been based on traditions preserved among the important families
in the kingdom at the time of the author. The !!!l?,E!�a-vaipava­
malai, written in the eighteenth century, admittedly bases its
account of the settlements on the Kailayamiaii, Vaiyapat al
and on the two non-extant works Pararaca-cekaran-ula and the
- _!!•
The account of the kingdom of Jaffna and of the
Tamil settlements there begin with the legend of the �t!
(lutist) in all the four chronicles. The Vaiyapatal, which is
the earliest of the four works, places the foundation of the
Jaffna kingdom in the Kali year 3000 (= 102 B.C. )� The legend
of the �t! is presented briefly in a confused manner and
it is only with the help of the Vaiya that any sense could be
made out of it. There is no reference �ere to the invitation

1. See supra, P f. ,�-ff - •

2. !.!!!•, Citappuppayiram, PP • 1-2.
3. YE_. , vv. 13-14.
28 7
of Tamil settlers from South India by the �t�• The laconic
and confused statements in the Vaiy�patal are expanded in the
Vaiya, where it is stated more clearly that the l!l,E!t!, after
having obtained the tract of land known as �an:ital (present
Jaffna) from the king of Ceylon, invited a thousand families
from India, settled them in Ma;auital and them persuaded an
Indian prince to rule over them� The incomprehensible statements
in the Vaiyapatal and their clear elaboration in the Vaiz!
remind one of the mnemonic verses in the Dipava�a and their
expansion in the later Pali chronicles. The Kailayamalai, while
mentioning the establishment of the Jaffna kingdom by lllPp�a_a
(Yal!>ati), does not refer to any settlement of Tamils in his
time� The YalPpa�a-vaipava-malai, on the other hand, states that
YaJ.ppa.o,an, after founding the kingdom in the ninth century,
invited some Tamil families from South India and settled them
in Jaffna. But this settleme nt did not last long as the
immigrants went back to South India after the death of Ial.PPal1 8.ll�
As we shall see later, the legend of the �t! in these
chronicles has no historical basis and is based on popular

1. Vaiya, ed. s. Gnana ragasar, Jaffna, 1921, p. 12 ff.

2• !_!. , P• 4.
3. !!!• , P• 24.
etymology which attempts to explain the origin of the name
YaJ.:pp�am. Once the origin of YaJJ>p'a.Q.am was attributed to
the legendary zalpP'aQ.� or �t.! , it became necessary to
include stories of Tamil colonisation in his time in order to
give substance to the tale of his founding of the kingdom.1
A second Tamil settlement is described in these
chronicles to have taken place in the reign of the first Arya
king of Jaffna, who is called Ku! ankai lriyaa, in the Vai,!pat al,
Vicaya Kulankai Cakkaravartti in the Vaiya, Cinkai Ariya_u in
the Kailaya.malai and Cllka.i 'i.riya11 alias Vicaya Kul,ankai
Cakkaravartti in the YaJ..E.E!�a-vaipava-malai� We shall see later
that Cinkai Ar iyaa and Vicaya Kulanka.i Cakkaravartti were
probably two different personalities whom Tamil tradition has
identified as one. The identification of Vicaya Kuia.n1ta1
Pl �,k&. �
Cakkaravartti withAK'alli.ga Vijayabahu (Vijaya llli:dga Cakravartin)
is very plausible and Cllka.i iriya.a may be identified with
the first of the Aryacakravartin rulers of Jaffna� What is
important for the present is the unity of the Tamil traditions
in claiming that the second Tamil colonisation of Jaffna took
place in the reign of the founder of the first proper royal

1. See infra, p. '1- 1lt •

2• .Y:£• , v. 57; Vaiya, p. 6; !!•, p. 6; !!!!!•, p. 30.
3. See infra, p. 4-£ 1 •
dynasty in the Jaffna kingdom. They disagree only in regard to
the identity of this personality. The Vaiya calla him Vicaya
K.uta.fllai Cakk.aravartti while the Kailayamalai refers to hia as
Cilkai Ariyan. In the Yal,Pp�a-vaipava-malai the t o names are
given to the same person. It appears that Tamil tradition resolved
the disagreement among the earlier works by identifying Vicaya
Kulankai Cakkaravartti with Cinkai lriyaa. An examination of
the accounts in our chronicles shows that the two names may
refer to different personalities and that the Tamil settlements
ascribed to their reigns are also those of different periods.
The Vaiyapatal and the Vaiya refer to the settlements established
by the Tamils as well as by some Kanna�as, Telugus and Keralas
in the Jaffna peninsula and in the Vanni areas of northern and
eastern Ceylon. The Kailayamalai and the �J.pp�a-vaipava-malai
refer only to the settlement of certain prominent families of
Jaffna. These were mainly the official class invited by the
first Aryacakravartin to organize the administration of the
new kingdom.
The accounts of the Vaiyapat!!l_and the Vaiya
seem to relate to the time of Vicaya Klilankai who may be
identified as E:lliA a Vijayabahu alias Magha. These accounts
appear to preserve some memories of the events of t he thirteenth
century, but these are hopelessly enmeshed with traditions of
later events that it is not always possible to separate the
29 0
e arlier traditions from the later. The VaitaF-t!.! account runs
as follows. Ci�kaa, the ruler of Afankapatr.u, in the Vanni
regions, during the time of Kn+aAka.i, sought the hand of the
daughter of the king o! Madurai and with that P-a.JJ.4Ya princess
went sixty Vanniyar or Vanni chieftains. These Vawiiyar were

asked by CiAkail to rule Ata.Akapa,uu, presumably on his behalf.

Having accepted the offer, the Vauiyars invited several people
of the eighteen castes from South India to settle down in
their new dominions. These colonists were invited from Maturai
(Madura), Martmkiir, Tiruccilappalli (Trichinopoly), Malaiya+am
(Kerala), Tu+uvai-natu (north-western }trsore), To�tai�talam
(To��ai��alam), Vata-kiri-natu and Kova.,pati. They went and
settled in different parts of northern and eastern Ceylon.
' The Kaikkular, C-an.:ar, Kuyavar, Valaiyar, Ciuar, Kara1ar,
Timilar, Paravar, Ma.ikkulalar, Nattuvar, l-®rla£avar, Akampatiyar ,
Malai;rakam, Koma{t-iyar, Kasaatar, Ciflkal,avar, Taccar, Tattar,
Kam:(ar and Kollar and those who were exceedingly compassionate
e very caste was happily living in unity in laJJ>p�am (Jaffna): 1
' The YJa.laiyakattan (Keratas) and the Kami� (braziers), along
with the Kattai KaliAkaa (Short Kalinga), lived in. Kaacay;
the woman Tel11 with the intimate (friends ?) KcSviyar resided

1. !:e.· , v . 41.
29 1
in the town called Palai; the confident Cavakar (Javakas)
lived in their Ceri (i. e. Cavaka-ceri), the AkamJat iya!', Kucavar,
Kollar, Ott iyar and :Mukkiyar (Mukkuvas) lived in Plinakari':
'Matuv'ira-maJ.uvarayaa and the (other) MaJ.uvariyaA, who governs
the beautiful land, lived in YaJ:ppal}am (Jaffna) a1ong with
the king'� 'Villavarayar lived in Nallur; the Matappa+lis, who
are held in high esteem by the great, lived in �.la!lippay; the
Kavarar, K15maftiyanor and the Tillai-mtivayirattar lived in

This account of the Vaiyapatal is slightly altered
in the extended Vaiya. In the latter it is stated that the
Va;w1iyar sent messengers to t..a.turai 1 To�tai�talam, larwlldir,
Tiruccirappa++i, Irntaltir and Karaikkal in order to invite as
many settlers as possible toom among the Ve++'a+ar, Pirama.Q.ar
( BrahmaJ}as), Cet tis, Cakkiliyar, Akampat is, Ma.laiyakam, Timilar,
Kuyavar and other such castes, both the higher and the lower,
as well as the personalities ca1led I+aflciil.ka-mappa:p.au, Na11a­
vaku-tevau, Atti-mappal}au and Karutta-vaku-cinka.-map �a.a�

1. YE.• ' v. 45.

2. Ibid., v . 73 .

3 . Ibid. , v . 74-.
4. Vai;rl, P • 26.
Those who went to the island in response to the invitation were
'Atti-mapp�an, MaJauvarayau, Ticai-vila.nku-mal,uvarayaa, Cetu­
vanta-mal,uvarayau, Karutta-v'iku, Ci.Aka-mapp�B.11, Ira-cil\ka..,
mapp�an, I+a!icifi.ka-mapp�au, Nallavaku-mey-teva,a, � a-cotaiyau,
Tita-v'ira•ciAka-mapp�au, Anliracapuri �ra-mal,uvarayau, Ki+ai­
kattavau, Mufi-kattav8.il, Cilka-vaku, Yappaiyinar, :Nllkkaiyinar,
Keppaiyinar, lJmaicciyauar, Tovv�i-conar, Ticai-ven.:o a, Ilafl­
cilka-vaku-tevau,,Taa,atti;ta.:-kir'ipa,a, Vakkirau-mayittaa,, Karutta­
varaya-cilka.-kumara.a, Mut iyitt°aa, Ju\kar.i:Aka;Q., Kmlca-kattilyq,
Kali:dka.Jl, Tillai-muvayiravar, Cuva-titta-rayan, Kankai-va.l,a­
natt�, Kaveri-ataittau, Mullai-matappalli, Kumara-matappa.l,+i,
Ca.nku-matappa_lli, Caruku-matappal-l,i,Akampatiyar, and the
Brah�as of the Ariya-va.Aki�am (irya-V8l}Sa) • The y cross ed the
sea in boats, arrive d and staye d in YaJ;ppaiµ.m in J la:Akai -natu
(Ce ylon)• � Of these some later went to the Vanni and settled there.
'Of the four named Yappaiyi11,ar, Keppaiyiaar, Umaicciyaaar, and
Te l11, th e last mentioned went and ruled in Yaf p�a-natu and
h ence the name Tellippalai' (for one of the village s there )�

1. Vaiya, P • 27 ff.
2 . � . , P• 30.
29 3
' Attimapp�q and :V.ia!uvarayB.ll, became 1ords (atipati, Skt.
ad.hipati) of Iy1:J.pp�am (Jaffna). Vill.avaraya.a resided at
Nallur. Kaftaiyar-Kalillltan resided at Cavukacceri (Cavaka­
ceri). Vei\ka.t�calam Virutuf!aui of the Till.ai-mUvayiravar
resided at Var�i-natu. The Mukkiyq (Mukkuva) named Tiruvacaa,
Ve fiyaracaa became 1ord of J>tiaeri (P1Iaakari). The sixty
Ca.Aka.mar and the Wamayecurar resided at Kerutavil. The
C-a_n.:ar, Valaiyar, Timilar, Karaiyar, Pal-l'.ar, Nalavar,
Akampati, 1'alaiyakam, �viyar, Ma.\appa+:J.i, Puravarotayar (
(Portuguese , provedor ) , Cintu-nattar (Those of the Sindhu
country ) , Kaikku:J.ar; Ma.:avar, Paravar, Muaaitt1:var,
Kollar, Kamiar , Navitar , VGL�ar , Tat tar and the
Pa�aiyar went and lived in the sixty-four districts of
IyaJJ>p�am ' �

1. The KaikkuJ:ar (weavers) are the same as the Kaikkolars

mentioned in the inscriptions of South India. In the
Cola period, they also served as royal troops.
£!•, K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, The cofas, p. 457.
2. Vaiya, P• 30 ff.
The accounts in the Vai;y!Pat.!!J: and the Vaiya are
thus basically identical, but the Vai,:! provides more details
regarding some of the important colonists. It appears that the
author of the latter work obtained this supplementary information
from other traditions prevalent in his time. The problem now is
to examine the extent to which these accounts can be relied upon
for the history o, our period. There is no doubt that these are
not wholly acceptable as info11mation relating to the thirteenth
century. We shall see later that the story of � or Vara-
raca-ci�ka� is an unfounded myth based on the Vijaya legend.1
It has, therefore, no relevance to the story of the Tamil settle­
ment in Jaffna. The contention that Tamil settlers were invited
to the island by Vanni chieftains in the time of Vica.ya Kilankai
may not be wrong. It is in the time of 1-mgba that we bear for
the first time about the rule of Vanni chieftains from the �i
and Sinhalese sources� We have also noticed that the settlement
of Tamils and Kera:J.as in a number of villages was actively
pursued in the time of Magha, according to the PlIJavali:ya and
the CUlav�a. It is possible that M!gha himself was not directly
responsible for this but that his subordin ates, probably

1. See infra, p. ff-"7 •

2. f! • , 81 : 11 •
including the Vanni chiefs, who were in control of different
parts of northern Ceylon pursued a policy of se ttling colonists
from South India in the newly acquired dominions. There may,
therefore, be some truth in what the above accounts have to
s ay. Some of the communities mentioned in the list of colonists
were already in Ceylon in the twelfth century. These are the

YJB.laiyakam (Ke ratas), Kam.a-t ar (Kar:v,a� as ) and Akampat i;yar�

They had gone to the island mainly as mercenaries . The Keralas
are also mentioned in the C'Ulav�a and the PUJavaliya among

the soldiers of Nagha� SimilarlY, the reference to the Javaka
settlement in Cavakacceri seems to have been based on reliable
traditions. As we kn.ow, it was in the thirteenth century that
the Javakas under Candrabhanu occupied the northern re gions pf
the island and poss ibly settled in places like Cavakacceri
�"c.. � - c.i-.
(Javaka-ceri), and Cav'alllt�t tai (Javakan-k�ffai), which preserve
the ir memory in the ir names� It is poss ible , however, that the
refere nce to tije Javaka settlement is vased on the place name
and not on any ge nuine tradition, but this seems unlikely.

1. See supra, p. • 7 7 •
2. See supra, p 1. 4 8" •
3 . S. Paranavitana, 'The lrya Kips;dom of North Ceylon', �- ill• ,
P • 194 ; see infra, ,..cJ. · !:!
29 u
The Malavarayar (variant: MaJ.uvaray-ar) or Ma.lava chieftains
are mentioned among the more important colonists. It is very
probable that certain �ava chieftains were among those who
led the mercenary forces of Magha. The Malavar (variants: Ma+apar,
Matepar) were chiefs of certain hill-tribes in the Kar��fa and
Tamil areas of South India. Their warlike habits led to their
employment as mercenaries in the armies of the South Indian
rulers. In fact, their recruitment for such employment is
specially recommended in hhe Sanskrit work Dmandakiya� In the
latter part of the twelfth century and in the thirteenth century
the MaJ.avars of the Tamil country became prominent as feudatories
of the PaJJ.�ya rulers and played a leading role in their wars.
Many Yalavarayars find mention in lule P"aJ;.'ba records of the
thirteenth century.2 It is, therefore, probable that some of
these warlike chiefs provided mercenaries for fflgha and
accompanied him to Ceylon. After the conquest of mjarattha
they may have been given certain villages in Jaffna and in other
parts of northern Ceylon. But it is also possible that they
went to the island with the ��ya armies that invaded Ceylon

l. Cf. , J. D . M.Derrett, The Hoysalas, Yadras, 1957, pp. 7-9.

2. �• • M.E.R. for 1926, Nos.43, 50, 178,180, 181, 536 9 557,
and 573 of 1926.
in the latter hall of the thirteenth century. The author of the
Vaiyapa�al may have confused the t-ira-t-stions relating to these
later events with those of the time of }iagha.
There are certain other statements in the above

accounts which are totally unfounded. The mention of Ciaar (Chinese)

among the settlers of Jaffna is surprising. This is improbable
unless some ¥.a.lays who went with Cangrabhanu were mistaken for
Chinese and some traditions regarding them had survived. It is
not likely that there were Chinese soldiers among the forces of
Candrabhanu. Probably this reference is the result of sheer
imagination on the part of the author . Similarly, certain other
statements are based on popular etymology. This is betrayed in
the derivation of Tellippalai from a woman named Telli who
had settled in that village. Tellippa1ai is actually a Tamilised
form of the Sinhalese name Telipola. This Sinhalese form occurs
in the Nampota.1 Pa+ai is clearly a Sinhalese element (� =
market place) which occurs commonly in the Tamilised place names�
The list of castes seems to have been based on the
social. conditions obtaining in the Jaffna peninsula in the time
of the authors of the Vaiyapatal and the Vaiy'a. It is possible

1. Nampota, p.5.
2. £!•, Gam-pola = Tamil, Kampa+ai.
that all these castes were represented in the Tami.1 population
of Jaffna in the thirteenth century, but it is unlikely that
genuine traditions about all of them were preserved. The author
of the Vaiy'a, when expanding the list in the Vaiyapa�.!!!, was
obviously not depending on traditions. This follows from his
inclusion of the Puravaritayar. Puravar�tayar is a term derived
from the Portug_uese provedor, meaning supervisor� Such names as
¥!Ukkaiyinar (The (Long ) Nosed), �maicciyaaar (The Dumb ),
) and Keppaiyinar
are obviously not names of communities.
While the Vaiyapatal mentions the Ma.� appallis
without referring to their various divisions, the Vaiya
elaborates this by listing the different sections, namely the
Mullai-, Kumara-, Canku- , and Caruku- Matappallis. The Matappallis,
as Gnanapragasar has pointed out, appear to have been people
who went to Jaffna from Matappal+i in the Kalinga country�
From the Ya.-ep�a-vaipava-mal.ai we know that they were members
of the royal family of Jaffna� They may have gone originally
with Magha. It is unlikely that at the time of their arrival

1. s.Gnanapragasar, YalPp�a-vaipava-vimarcanB._!, p .44, note.

2. Ibid. , P• 148 .; � •
3. !!!·, P • bt,- •
29 9
in Jaffna t hey were divided into several groups. As Gnanapragasar
is inclined to think, such a division must have occur�ed at
a later date, for it is hard to aasume that a group of people
who were called tiatappa+lis because they came from a place
named Matappalli would have been divided into several sub-sections
even before their arriva1: The Vaiyapa�,!! seems, therefore, to
preserve a genuine tradition when it refers to the Majappaliis
without mentioning their sub-sections. The author of the Vaiya,
on the other hand , has expanded the original version on the
basis of the conditions prevalent in his time. It is likely
that some of the other castes, too, have been similarly included
in the Vaiya.
Some of the prominent colonists mentioned in the
Vaiya ma:y be fictitious persmnalities. But such personalities
as the Maluvarayars and Ka1 1 nkans were probabl1 leaders of
mercenary forces under Magha. It is possible that persons like
Nalla-vaku-tevaa and Ka.£utta-vaku-tev8.ll were also true persons
for there are some place names in Jaffna which are possessive
names with the element vaku-teva.n. Examples of such names are
V-aku-tevq-cima ( in Vimankamam) t Ceya-vaku-t'eVB.J!-Cima ( in

Tellippa+ai ) an d Vicaya-vaku-tevau-c� ( in Mallakam)�

1. S . Gnanapragasar,!!1:PP�a-vaipava-vimare.an�, p. 148 .
2. S . Kumaracuvami,�• ill•, P • /o�
These were evidently named after some of the leading occupants
of those areas at the time of the Tamil settlements and may well
go back to the thirteenth century. The interesting fact about
these toponyms is that their final element , namely cima is a
word in Sinhalese (sima) denoting boundary. This may suggest
that these names came into existence at a time when Tamils
began to settle in the midst of Sinhalese people . On the other
hand , s'!ma is also found in Malayalam. If the element �
in our place names is derived from the Malayalam word, then
it may indicate that there were Kera+as among those who settled
in the Jaffna peninsula. In fact, there are other place names
which clearly suggest this, Toponyms such as Jalaiyakas.-ka� avai
(in Pul�li°) , Ma.laiyal'.au-p�yitti and Ma.laiya+an-vaiavu ( in

Accelu), Malaifa+au-c'tma (in Accuveli ) , MalaiyaJ.an-ollai in

(in U�uvil) and Malaiyaka.!1-vaiavu ( in m:rveli) preserve the
memory of the KeraJ.a settlement.1
The settlements described in the Kailayamalai
and the Yal:Pp�a-vaipava-malai are probably those of the time
ol the first :lryacakravartin, as stated in the former work .
The account in these two works is the same , except for minor
variations in names and certain other details , and is confined

1. S. Kumaracuvami , �- cit. , p . 3 3 3 . •
to only the settlements of certain leading families in the new
kingdom. The Yalppa�a-vaipava-malai follows the tradition in

the Vaiyapatal and the Vaiya when it says that the Tamil colonists
were invited from the Tamil countries by the ruler of Jaffna.
The Kailayamalai is silent on this score. The rest of the
account runs as ftillows. Puva,aekavaku (Bhuvanekabahu), the chief
minister who came from Maturai ( Madura), was made to reside at
Nall'iir, the capital. P-�ti-maJ.ava.i of the Pakirati-kulam
( Bhagiratha � ),from PoapauiyUr, his brother, his brother­
in-law Ce�paka-maJ.avan and the latter ' s brother were settled in
Tirunelveli. According to the n�a-vaipava-malai,�ti­
maivan also took with him five more families. Nara-cilllta.-vaku­
tevaa, the Tu+uva .!!++!'.J.!!;11 who came from Kaviriyur, was settled
at ¥ayilitti• The !alPPa�a-vaipava-malai adds that he was the
eldest son of Puravalati-tevaa. C�paka Mappa�a.n from Va1i-nakar
(Yvm. ,Vavi-nakar), his relative Cantira-cekara-mapp�a.n and
another Ka.nakaraya.u. were settled at Tellippa+ai. Perayiravaa
(Yvm. ,Perayiram-utaiyq) from KcSvanati (Yvm. , �vallir) was
settled in I�uvil. The Yalpp!\la-vaipava-rnalai adds that since
this village was found to be unsatisfactory he moved to a village
further west. nl�tq, a .!!ll-!f.!!1 from Kacc1Ir, and his four
brothers were settled in Paccilaippaj.ai. Kaaaka-ma!av&ll from
Cikari-manakar (Yvm. , Cikara-manakar) and his four brothers
were settled in Puloli. Kupakarentiran (�, Kupakaryentiran)
from Kiipakanatu and PUJ}.ya-ma.ldpila-pUpa.A (Yvm. , P�i1a-pUpalaa)
were settled in Tolpuram. Tevaracentiraa from PullUr was settled
in Kovil�ti. ��atu-ko�ta-mutali from To�tai-natu
(!!.!!. , To�{ai-maJ>{alam) was settled in Irupalai. Iru-kulamum­
tuyya-tauinaya.kaA (!!!!!. , Iru-marapum-tuyya) from Cey'Ur
(Yvm. , CeyyUr) was settled in the island of Netuntivu (Delft).
Pallava.A and two other chiefs from Va!lci were settled in

Veli-natu (!!!. , Veli-natu alias Pallavarayau-kattu)�

The variations in the YalPp�a-vaipava-malai are
not too significant and may be due to either a different version

• of the Kailayamalai used by the author or the author's own

corrections on the basis of hos other sourves. There i.s no
doubt that the Y alpp�a-vaipava-�lai account is based on that
of the Kailayamalai. This is admitted by the author in the
prefatory verse.2 It is difficult to say how far this account
is reliavle. As this account, unlike those of the Vaiyapatal
and the Vaiya, relates only to certain important families,
there is every possibility of it having been based on genuine

traditions and genealogies maintained in those families. Even

now there are a number of families which claim descent from

1. Km. , 11. , 149-199; Yvm. , PP• 27-29.

2. Y vm. , p. l
one or other of these early colonists� It is, therefore, quite
possible that the author of the Kailaya.mala,i was ba:ping his
account on reliable traditions. As mentioned before, the Malavar
chie ftains had attained prominence in the P-8.\l�ya country in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries as feudatories of the P�bas•
As the first 'lryacakravartin came from the ��ya country, it
is possible that he took with him or invited some }la.lavars to
be his administrators. According to our account, a personage
called :P-8.\l,ti Via.lava.a was set tled in Tirunelveli. In this village
there is still an estate called P-aJ}fi-malavar'iyaD,-va+avu� This
may mean that P-
a..ttfi-malavarayall was one of the early Tamil
colonists in that village and may confirm the statement in the
Kailayamalai. It is not impossible, however, that the author
of this work was depending on such place names for some of his
statements. This seems unlikely. Another place name with the
personal element MaJ.avaraya.D,, namely Ma.J.avar'iya.D,-kuricci, occurs
in Vafa-maracci� A family in this place claims descent from one
l{aaaka Maaava.D, who is said to have settled there in the time
of the first lryacakravartin? Kqaka Malava.D, is not mentioned

1. K. Velu pillai, £1?.• ill • , pp- 2.-o, 103

2. S. Kumaracuvami, .21.?,• ill•, p _ , 0 1 · •

4. K. Velup illai, .21.?,• cit. , P• .J....�;v .

in our sources. In view of such traditions, it may be reasonable
to hold that some at least of the colonists mentioned in the
Kailayamalai are true personalities. It appears that Puvaneka­
vaku, who is referred to in our sources as a minister of the
first Aryacakravartin, is a later personage. He has been identified
with Prince Sapumal Kumaraya who conquered Jaffna in the middle
of the fifteenth century� Some later traditions seem to have
been confused with earlier ones in our chronicles. Some of the
persons mentioned in these accounts may very well be later
The foregoing account of the Tamil chronicles seem
to contain some historical information in spite of their obvious
errors. We may be justified in placing some reliance on their
general story, There is hardly any epigraphic or archaeological
evidence to confirm o� supplement the above account. The only
information outside the Tamil chronicles about the Tamil occupa­
tion of Jaffna in the thirteenth century comes from the P1IJavaliya
and the Clllav�� . This relates to the Kerafa and Damila
garrisons maintained by Nagha and his associate Jayabahu in
Val.:ikagama. (Valikamam) and S1Ikaratittha (Uratota ) � The main­
tenance of garrisons in these two places, in addition to the

1. £!•, S. Paranavitana, 'The Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon', .21?.• ill• ,

P• 193 ; see infra, p. s:H •
2. Cv. , 83:17 ; E!• t P• 1 1 1,, •
many outside the peninsula, shows that Jaffna had been subdued

by Magha. Several of his Kera+a and Dami+a mercenaries were

evidently given lands in the peninsula. The reference in the
Tamil chronicles to the Malaiyakqs or Keralas may be based on
traditions regarding these Kera+a soldiers of Magha. The sub­
sequent P-��ya invasions would have added to the Tamil element
in the population of the peninsula.
The thirteenth century appears, therefore, to have
witnessed a marked increase in the occupation of the Jaffna
peninsula by Dravidian settlers, chiefly Tamils. Much of the t
traditions recorded in the Tamil chronicles may date back to
the thirteenth century. The confused character of these sources
and the absence of other evidence prevent us from getting a
better picture of the settlements established in the thirteenth
century. The evidence of toponyms, however, suggest that the
character of the Dravidian settleme nt of the Jaffna peninsula
was different from that of the major part of the Vanni districts.
The settlement in t he peninsula appears to have been more peaceful
and slower. The viilence that characterised the occupation of
Polonnaruva and the surrounding regions by Magha's forces appears
to have been absent in the Jaffna peninsula when Tamils and
Kera+as occupied it.
ProYince, the chieftaincies ot the Batticaloa and Trincoma1ee

Please read 306 before 306a.

The archaeology and history ot the Vanni is stil1

an unexpl.ored field, a1though the jungles of that region are
fast vanishing in the face of goverlllDent-spoDSored colonisation
schemes. Much of our knowledge is confined to a few writings of
some British civil servants who evinced a keen interest in the
archaeology and history of this region. Among these, the
writings of H.Parker and J.P. Lewis deserve special mention�

l . Henry Parker, ' Irrigation in the Northern Province • , Papers Laid

Before the Legislative Council of Ceylon , No�I , 1886, pp. 105-116 ;
J.P. Lewis, Manual ot the Vanni Districts; 'The Archaeol.ogy of
the Vanni' , J.R . A. S . (C.B. ) . No.45, 1891•
.Anonymous, 'Historical Sketch ot the Vanni • , The Monthly Li terarz

Register and Botes and Queries for Cey1on , I , No . l , Jan. 1893 .

PP• 1-7; Feb. 1893 , pp .25 -30



The bor4ers of the Jaffna kingdom proper and the

Vanni chieftaincies that owed allegiance to it cannot be
ascertained with any degree of certainty . The peninsula of Jaffna,
including the neighbouring islands, was undoubtedly under the
direct bule of the kings of Jaffna as we know from the Tamil
chronicles¼ Beyond tha peninsula there appear to have been
some parts, especially in the present Mann� district, which
came under the direct rule of the kings of Jaffna. But the
rest of the present Northern and Eastern Provinces as well as
some of the northern parts of the North-central Province were
in the hands of chieftains often loosely referred to as the
Vannis or Vanaiyar. The area that came under their rule was
also referred to as the Vanni. The extent of the Vanni lands
has varied from time to time. In the Sinhalese chronicles of the
thirteenth and fo�teenth centuries the depopulated jungle area
that separated the Sinhalese kingdom from the Tamil kingdom
was generally referred to as the Vanni. In the chronicles of
Jaffna the name was mainly used to describe the chieftaincies
of the Northern Province . In the chronicles of the eastern

1. See infra, ��- � •

In 1941 Geiger published an interesting article on the Vanni
based almost entirely on the Pali chronicle: In rec e nt years
was published another work which sadly lacks a proper scientific
analysis� There is much difference o! opinion among a11 these
writers on the important problem of the origin and spread o f
the Vannis or Vawiiyars.
Who were the Vannis who emerge into limelight in
the thirteenth century amidst the confusion that fcllowed Kagha's
invasion ? This is a question which is not easy of solution with
the evidence at our disposal. The derivation of the name itself
presents lot of difficulty. Paranavitana has the following to
say about the Vannis:-
The government of the districts away from the
capital was carried on by a class of chieft ains referred
to as -Yanni who someti.w,es defied the autho rity of the
ruler at the capital. The people who lived in the ancient
Rajarattha , which in our period (thirteemth to the
fifteenth century) was being steadily enc roached b y forests,
were under chieftains called vanni, some of whom were of
Tamil race, and who transferred their allegiance to the
Sinhalese king, or the ruler in J affna, a s the exigencies
of the changing politi�al situation dictated. • • • • • •

1. W.Geiger, 'Die Vannis ', Sitzungsberichte der Bayerischen

Aka emie der Wissenschaften, II, Heft 4, Juni 1941, rlUnchen, pp.3-11,
2. C .S.Navaratnam, Vanni and the Vanniyars, Jaffna, 1960.
The word vanni is generally derived from Skt . or P . - vana,
' fo res t ' , and is taken t o have been borne by these
chieftains because they ruled t racts o f t erritory mos t ly
in fo rest. The number o f vanni and their territo ries is
sometimes given as eighteen, and sometimes as three
hundred and sixty- four. Two c lasses o f vannis are also
mentio ned, namely maha-vanni ' great vannis ' and siri-vanni,
' smaller vanni ' , Perhapa the eighteen were the maha-vanni
and the three hundred and sixty-four the siri-vanni . 1

Ac co rding t o this , the Van nis were o nly a c lass o f chieftains

who derived their name from vana because o f the nature of the

t ract s that came under their autho rity. While agreeing with the

derivatio n o f the name, Geiger has a different opinio n to expres s

o n t he ident ity o f the Vannis : -

Der Bame der Vannia (mo d. Sgh. vanniya , Pali vanni

o der Vaffffa ) ist i n seiner Bildung nicht vollig klar,
aber ea ist kaum zu bezweifeln , da,,'er mit vana 11Wald"
zusammenhttngt. Wir koDDen ihn passend mit 11 Waldleute"
o der 11Waldsiedler" wiedergeben. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • Weiterhin ist ea sehr bemerkenswert , da�das Wo rt
van ni o der vaffffa nie.ma.1s allein vo rkommt , so ndern immer
in Verbindungen wie vanni- rajan6 und dergleichen, a n
3_Stellen (83.10 ; 87.52 ; 90 .33) uberdies mit dem Zusatz
�+.!• Es ergabe aber ein schifes Bild, wollte man das
mit 11Vanniko nige" ubersetzen und nur auf die Anfuhrer
u nd Hauptlinge der Vannis beziehen. Nein, es war das Name
der Gaaamtheit. Das Wert rajan hat in Ceylon eine
allgemeinere Bedeutu ng angenommen, die dem Sk. 9at riya
ent sp richt. Die vannira;ra no beanspruchen al.so, ein
adeliger C lan zu sein, genau so wie der in Vesali
herrschende Adelsclan der Lic chavi in singhalesi�chen
Quellen ( vgl. z . B. Saddharmarat navaliya, ed. D . B. Jayat ilaka,
p. 298 ) als licchavirajjuruvo, wtl. "Licchaviko nige"
bezeic�t wird. Wenn sich aber die Vannis aus druckl.ich
selber stha+.! nennen, so stellen sie sich da.mit als

1. U. C . H . C . , I, pt. 2, PP • ?36-73 7.
Arier in bewu ten Gegensatz zu den Dami+as (Sk. dravi�a)
wie zu den Vlddas. Wir sehen a1so, da��chon 1m 13 Jahrhundert
die Vannis ebenso, wie dies ihre heutigen Nachfahren
tun, den Anspruch auf arische Abkunft und vornehme Kaste
erhoben, und d�von dem Chronisten der zu .An£ang des
14 Jahrhunderts sein Werk Verfa�te, a1so a1s Zeitgenosse
gelten darf, dieser Anspruch offenuar als durchaus
berechtigt anerkannt wurde. l
We shall presentlytthat while Geiger is partly right in applying
the name Vanni to a whole community or caste rather than to a
group of chieftains, he is wrong in claiming that they were all
Sinhalese and consequently of Aryan descent. But before we come
to that, let us consider the various derivations that have been
suggested for the name Vanni. Tennent mentions two possible
derivations, namely • one significant of the forest (vanam),which
it (the Vanni region) covers to a great extent, the other of
the intense heat which characterises the region• (vanni = fire ?) �
Some have tried to derive it from the TaQl _!!!, 'hard', denoting
the hardness of the soil� Still others have suggested a derivation
from Baniya or merchant! These a;re all fanciful derivations
based on the similarity of their sounds with that of vanni.

1. W. Geiger, 'Die Vannis', .21?.• ill•, pp. 4-5.

2. �.Tennent, Ceylon, II, (4th edition) , p. 508.
3. J.R.A .S. (C.B.), X� , No. 45, 1894, P• 151, note.
4. !]?g.
The derivatio n from � appears to be plausible but unusual.

The Pali fo rm vaMa does not seem to have been derived from

�• No t raditio n has been preserved .in C eylo n regarding the

derivatio n or origin o f the name, but in S outh I ndia where,

too, we hear o f Van nis or Vamiiyar in t his period and later,

there are certain t raditions regarding their o rigi n which

throw some light o n our problem.

The Tamil work entit led Cilai-elupatu , proba�ly

composed in the perio4 of the Vi jayalll.agar a empi re though

ascribed to Kampau who lived in the Cola period, is a panegyric

o n the Vamiiyars: Acco rding to this work, the Vam.iyars

belo nged to the Ag ni-kula and were descended from a certai n

Sambhu-muni. G nanapragasar i s incli�� d t o t hi nk that this

associatio n with the Agni-kula is a t heory born o f the

similarity between vahni ( =fire) and van ni� I n fact , there is

a le end amo ng the Vamiiyar caste of No rth Arcot which illust rates

the derivation o f their name from vahni. H . F . Cox has reco rded

this legend i n the following ma nner : -

I n the olden times two giants named Vata i a nd l'.iahi

worshipped Brahma with such devotio n that they obtained
from him immunity from death from eTery cause save
fire, which element thej had careles s ly omitt ed to

l. S . Gna nat>ragasar, YalPpa;a-vaipava-vimarcan.!!!!, p. 40 .

2. Ibid.
inc1ude in their enumeration. Protected thus they harried
the country, and Vatapi went to the length of swallowing
Vayu, the god of the winds, while Y.18.hi devoured the sun.
The earth was therefore enveloped in perpetual darkness
and stillness, a condition of affairs which struck terror
into the minds of the devat as and led them t o ap eal
to Brahma. He, recollecting the omission made by the
giants, directed his supplicants to desire the rishi
Jambava Munimuni to perform a yagam or sacrifice by fire.
The order having been obeyed, armed horsemen sprung from
the flames, who undertook twelve expeditions a ainst
Vatapi and Mahi, whom they first destroyed and afterwards
released Vayu and the sun from their bodies. Their leader
then assumed the government of the country under the name
of Rudra Vanniya Maharaja, who had five sons, the ancestors
of the Vanniya caste. 1
This is one of the many Vatapi legends current in South India
and has no special historical significance. Perhaps it may be
preserving some memory of their origin as a warr ior caste. But
its importance lies in the fact that it is meant to illustr ate
their origin from fire and the derivation of their name from
vahni� Thus we find in the literature and tradition of South
India the origin of the Vam.iyar being associated with fire or
the Agni-kula. The derivation of their name from vahni, therefore,
seems to be p lausible but not very convincing. As Gnanapragasar
has suggested, this association may represent a later attempt
to der ive the name from vahni� Even if we allow the association

1. H.F. Cox, A Manual of I orth Arcot, I, (Revised by H.A.Stuart,

tadras, 1895) , p . 236.
2. Ibid.

3 . S.Gnanapragasar, !!!P P�a-vai:pava-vimarcan!!!!, p. 4o.

with the Agni-ku.la as plausible, it is diffic ult to explain why
their name was derived from a rarer word like vahni instead of
agni. Vanni being a caste name in modern India, the early
occupation of the Vanniyar may provide a c lue to the origin of
the name, for almost all c aste names are based on the occupations
followed by the different c astes. The modern Vaw.iyar c aste
of South India follows the profession of cultivation like the
Vefra+as� The Vaw.,iyars of the Vijayagagara period, too, seem
to have been engaged in the same occ upation, for they appear in
insc riptions of the time as tenants of Brahmav� and Ve++ala
landlords and paid a spec ial tax c alled the Varuliya-vari� But
in the earlier centuries they appear to have been warriors.
The Cilai-elupatu praises their skill in the art of arc hery
and gives the bow as their emblem: The Kallatam refers to them
as na.:,-pat ai-vanniyar (Vam.iyars of the four-fold army) whic h
shows that they were also warriors employed in the four-fold
army of the state.4 The evidenc e in the Kallat.!!!! agrees with the
attributes showered on them in the Cilai-elupatu. It appears,
therefore, that in times past the Van
_niyars were a c ommunity

1. H.F. Cox, £1?• ill•, P• 236.

2. I• • R. for 1913 , Insc riptions �o. 223 of 1912 and Nos. 30 and
of warriors or tribesmen who were noted for their ski.11 in
archery and employed as soldiers in the armies of c hiefs and
kings. Gradually they must have begun to lead a settled life
and taken to agriculture. Traditions relating to the Vijayanagara
period refer to them as a 'forest race, a tri�e of low c ultivators' �
They may have lived originally in the forest regions. If their
name has anythiag te do with their original habitat, then it
may be derived from Skt. vanya (='wild, savage or existing in

the forest•2 ). Vanya becomes vam;i.iya in Tamil (.£.f. , Skt. rn� =

Tamil, rn�iya ) and takes the suffix .:!: (;,.) as a personal plural
noun. The P-
ali form va.!1ffa also suits this derivation (£!.. ,
Skt. ��Z! = P. pufffta ) • .AB tha name is not of Tamil derivation,
it is possible that this caste or tribe originated in the
Telugu or Kanna�a areas, where Sanskrit c aste names are not
uncommon. Indeed the Vaimiyar caste is still found in the
North Arcot distric t whic h borders on the Telufu regions.
There is no evidenc e regarding the date of the origin of this
caste. There is no reference to the Vamiiyar in the early

l. W. Taylor, Examination and Anal1sis of the Mac kenzie

Manusc ripts, Madras 1838, P• 78.
2. M. Monier-williams, Sanskrit-English Dic tionary, p. 919 .
sources. It is, therefore, difficult to say when this caste originated:
We are inclined to think that the name Vanni originated
in India and not in Ceylon. In the first place, it occurs in the
South Indian sources earlier than in the Ceylonese works.2
Secondly, it is unlikely that a Sinhaleae caste with the name
Vanni migrated to South India or that the term vanni was intro­
duced from Ceylon to designate a caste in South India. But the
converse is possible. Further, the absence of traditions in the
island regarding the origins of the Vannis and their prevalence
in South India may also point in the same direction. Finally,
the Tamil chronicles of Ceylon refer to the migration of the
Vannis from the Tamil country to Ceylon. It seems, therefore, not
justifiable to say that the name was applied to a class of
chieftains or a group of Sinhalese in Ceylon because they were
living in the forest regions. It appears that the term Vanni
became current for chieftains in the abandoned regions of
Rajarat tha and in the forest tracts ofsewhere after Vanni chiefs
from South India established themselves in the northern parts
1. In the Kallat.!:!!! the Van
J.i, yars are said to have been created as a
result of a miraculous conversion of twelve boars into human beings.
Some take this to indicate their origin as subordinates under the
Chllukyas whose emblem was the boar. £! • , Hindu Organ, Jaffna, 8. 1. 23
and S.Gnanapragasar, !!!EIC�a-vaipava-vi arc8AB-!!!, p.41. This

is mere speculation.
2. s ee infra, p. ?, /{'° •
of Ceylon. It is even possible that the term was introduc ed
into the island before the Vanni chiefs went there, in the
same manner as South Indian administrative terms came t o b e
introduced; But this seems unlikely since vanni is not a term
used in r,e similar sense but rather a name that was app1�ed to
a caste or community.
The earliest occurrence of the term .!!_n™ is
perhaps in the inscription No. 556 of 1919, which appears to
belong to the time of Rajaraja Cola I� The basis of this surmise
is the reference to one Pottappicco!aa in this inscript ion.
Presumably he is the same as the Pottappiccolau who figures
in other records of the time of Rajaraja I� The term that
occurs in our inscription is vann,iyappa.m, meaning tln.e area or
region of the Vayiyars. A more definite occurrence of the term
is in �inscription of Rajendra I� The reference here is to a
certain Vanaiya Riva (R'eva the Vawiiya). After this a number
of persons with the name Vamiiya are mentioned in the epigraphs
of the time of Rajadhiraja II, Kulottwlga III, and �avarmaa

1. Cf. , meykappar, melat si, muttet tE, etc.

2. l .E.R. for 192 , No. 556 of 1919.

3. £!• , K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The �las , p. 505.

4. M. E.R. for l 98 , P• 2.
Kul�ekhara Pal}.�ya as well as in the inscriptions of the Vijaya­
nagara period; 1'�st of the persons mentioned in the C15la and �<Sya
records bear the title of Vaaniya-nayau or Vayiy�-nayaa (Lord of the
Vamiiyars) and appear to have been Van_niya chiefs. Prominent among
the■ is one Va.aniya-nayan Cauukkutataa who figures in as many as
fifteen records of the time of RaJadhiraja II. He is described in
these as a llalaiya.maa chief, with the fulsome epithets Malaiyaman
I�aiyuraa Periya Ut aiY-au C-
attukkutatau, Vaimiya-nayaa Rajaraja
Cediyarajau� One of the Ceylonese works of this period, the Upasaka �
janalaflkara, also refers to a Vanni feudatory of the P-� �ya ruler.
(P��u-bhU��ale yo'bhU val1ffo samanta bhUmipo): On the basis of
these references we may venture to suggest that � about the
twelfth century some Vanni chiefs had risen to prominence as
feudatories of the C15las and the P-
��yas. Perhaps they were able
to wield much influence as the suppliers of Vamiiya soldiers
to these South Indian rulers.

1. ¥. E • • for 1903 . Noa . 546 and 558 of 1902; M.E.R. for 1910,
Noa. 215 and 134 of 1910; M.E.R. for 1913, Nos. 30 and 34 of 1913;
� . E.R. for 1920, No. 556 of 1919; ¥.E . R. for 1922, No. 352 of 1922;
. E.R. for 1934/35, Noa. 122, 143-149, 154-159, 126, 162, 177,
215 and 189 of 1934/35.
2 . 1' . E. R. for l'l'3.,./3S- , No . \ U• of l'?)l'tfl';

3. Upas aka-janalruikara, P• I S'7 •

3 17
In Ceylon, the earliest work in which the name
Vanni occurs is the P1IJavaliya. In connection with the occupation
of Rajarat t ha by lra.gha, this work refers to the 1'.ahavanni areas
and the chiefs of those regions who l ived in. fear of Magha.
This would mean that by about the latter half of the thriteenth
century the term vanni had come to be used in Ceylon to desig­
nate minor chieftaincies in the areas of Rajarattha where the
authority of the Sinhalese ruler was not felt any more. The
PUjavaliya and the CulaT�a frequently refer to the Vannis.
The period to which these references relate is what may be
called the post-Polonnaruva period (after 1215) . Geiger is,
however, of the opinion that there is a notice in the C1llavalJl.5a
regarding the Vannis of the twelfth century, although they are
not mentioned by that name here.
Es hat Vannis ohne Zweifel auch schon im 12. Jahrhundert
gegeben, denn auch in der Beschreibung der Zustande, wie
sie durch die damaligen Burgerkr iege geworden waren,
findet sich Mhvs. 61. 62 die Notiz : nLeute von vornehmer
Abkunft (kulina) hielten sich, hier und dort an geeligneten
Platzen (phasutthanesu) verstreut, verborgen und nahmen
ihren Wohnsitz daselbst". 2
This claim of Geiger is based on his assumption that the Vannis
were Sinhalese of noble descent who sought refuge in the forest
regions in times of distress and later came to be called Vannis,

1. Pv. , P• 169.
2. W. Geiger, 'Die Vannis', £l!• ill•, P• 8.
signifying 'jungle settlers' (Waldsiedler). But this interpretation,
as we shall see presently, is unacceptable. Paranavitana, too,
fee ls that the Vanni chiefs appe ar to have been in Ceylon 'from
early days' (e arlier than the thirteenth century) : This opinion
is based on certain statements in the Nikaya-sMErahaya and the
�iu-attanap;al,uva!J12 . The latter works allude s to certain
Siri-�annis in the Attanagalu re gion who disregarded the authority
of Mugalan (-Meggell'iaa §; $i -= ) who was ruling at Anuradhapura�
This monarch may be any one of the three Moggallanas who ruled
betwee n the fifth and the seventh century. The source of our
information is a work of the post-Polonnaruva period and,
therefore, the reference to Vannis in the period before the
ed.ghth century doe s not see m to be authentic. Paranavitana
himself has cast doubt on this reference by saying that •we
cannot be certain that the author of this text was not attributing
to the past conditions which were normal in his day'� The
Nikaya-sa§grahaya, too, has a similar referen�e. According to
this work, Parak:ramabahu I conquered three hundred and sixty-four
Vanni territories� This is, however, not mentioned in the

1. U.C.H.C . , I, pt. 2, P• 73 8 .
2. gu-av. , p. 41.

3 . U.C.H.C., I, pt. 2, P • 737.

4. Nb. � , P• 20.
Culav�_!• Though at first sight these statements may appear
inauthentic, they are actually not so . This could be explained
easily if we analyse the exact use of the term vanni in our
medieval Sinhalese and Pal.i sources. In these sources, vanni
is applied to chieftaincies and chiefs in Rajarattha and in
other forest tracts. Uhile in the Sinhalese sources vanni occurs
al.one to mean either a chieftaincy or a chief,1 in the Clilava�
it occurs always in compounds, namely vanni-rajattam� vanni-raja�
vanni-raJano� vanni-mahipala� maha-va1'lna-raja1'1ffa6 (variant : maha­
vanya-raja!1ffa) and vanni-rajuhii all of which stand for 'Vanni
e_)l'cep t;�
kings '. Perhaps the only 91 urx eue;:e is the occurrence in the
personal name Vanni Bhuvanekabahu, but here,too, it is part of
that name� Geiger ' s contention that the whole compound vanni-raJano
refers to a noble clan (adeliger Clan) of the Sinhalese in the
s ame way as 'Licchavi-rajjuruvo 'stood for the Licchavi clan is
not convincing. We are inclined to take these compounds to mean
'kings of the Vanni'. Geiger's argument that the wo rd vanni
never occurs alone but always in a compund is based purely on
the ctilav�a. Paranavitana' s statement that vannis were a

1. _! . , !2 • , p. 109 ; Rv . , PP • 44, 65, 66 ; Ni:15:. aaD . , p .20 ; Gir�­

sande§a, v . 128.
2. £!· , 81: 11. 3 . �-, 83 : 10. 4. �- , 87:26, 52.
5 . Ibid. , 88: 87. 6. Ibid. , 88: 88. 7. �- , 89 :51.
8• .!ill•, t:to·. 1 0.{""
3 20
class of chieftains is right i n so far as the Sinha1ese and PD.i

sources are co ncerned. I n these sources the t erm is used t o

denote chiefs and chieftaincies in the areas that did not come

u nder the direct rule of the Sinhalese king. When the autho rs

of the .fil.u-attanaga+u-va�sa and the Nikaza-satJtrahaya refer, to

vanni chieftaincies of earlier centuries, they were o nly using

a term that came to be applied t o those chieftaincies i n the

thirteenth century and later . These references need not be taken

t o imply the p resence of a clan of people called Vannis i n thos e

t imes. When Geiger referred t o the Van nis as a nob le clan o f tlle

Sinhalese who t ook refuge in the jungles in the t ime o f �.agha,

he was o nly referring t o those Sinhalese who set themselves up

as mino r chiefs in the abando ned areas o f Rajarattha which

came to be known as the Vanni. Be was basing his stat ement on

solely o n the Pali chro nicle and did not take into account t he

evidence of the Tamil s ou rces regarding the Van

_niyars . He is

wro ng, as we sha11 s ee, i n calling the present-day Vanni caste

of the No rthern and No rth-cent ral Provinces as the descendants

o f the Sinhalese Vanni- raJano o f our period.

In the Sinhalese and Pali wo rks o f the thirteenth

a nd fourteenth centuries , therefo re, the name Vanni has b een

applied t o the chieftaincies of Rajaratiha and other fo rest t racts.

As Paranavitana has pointed out , there seem to have two class es

of Vannis, namely the �.18.h.a-vanni and the Siri-vanni. In some
works the number of Vanni chieftaincies is given as eighteen
and in some others as three hundred and sixty-four.1 These could
hardly be taken seriously. Eighteen is a conventional number
often met with in Indian literature. In fact, some Sanskrit
works refer to the existence of eighteen forest kingdoms (atavika­
rajya)� Since the Vanni chieftaincies were also forest kinglets,
the Sinhalese authors may have referred to them as eighteen in
number, following the Indian practice. In South India, too,
there are references to the Vam1iyars of the eighteen kot t�ms
(districts)� It is possible that traditionally it was considered
that there were eighteen Vanni chieftaincies. In the Tamil
chronicles, however, the number of such chieftaincies in the
island is given as seven.4 Probably this referred to the major
chieftaincies that were feudatory to the Jaffna kingdom.
As in the Sinhalese sources, the name Vanni is
applied the Tamil chronicles of the island to the chieftaincies
r,.,,t\# e.ei.s-h..,""
of northern Ceylon. But the name Va,uiyar is applied to a caste

1 a. filu-av. , p. 41.
2. U.C.H.C., I , pt. 2, P• 737.
2. Cf• , Se,t.J I.,,.sc.,,; �.J, ll'lls &..,...,., .. , o ,... Trt,!;..,.,, 14-i.&+o... y ..... � C , v ; I, t. Olf, e >t I. 1

J . :D. c . si ; ...-c."'-"' , (.CJ . I \"°� ) , pp- is- 7, '!1 7r

3. A.S.S.I. , IV, ( J. Burgess, Tamil and Sanskrit Inscriptions ), p. 120.

4. !!! • , P• 3 8 .
of South Indian T amils whose leaders were the chiefs of the Vanni
districts: These T amil sources preserve traditions relating to
the migration of this caste to Ceylon, which event appears to
have taken place in the earl1 part of the thirteenth century.
In the present day, with the opening up of several colonisation
scheme s in the Vanni, the Vam.iyar caste has almost become
integrated into the Sinhalese and T amil population. But in the
nineteenth century when the Vanni was being opened up for the
first time the Vanaiyar fo�med a distinct caste and followed
their age-old occupation of hunting and occasional cultivation.
Not all the people of the Vanni areas belonged to the Vamiiyar
caste. In fact only a small percentage of the people of the
Vanni were Vamiiyars. The following observation of Fowler is
worthy of note in this context.
These people are the Wanniahs and are entirely dependent
on hunting and occasional chena cultivation. They have
no money and cannot buy land. These Wanniahs are a distinct
caste, of which these men are the only representatives
in the provimce. (There are five or six villages in the
North-Central Province, I believe). They still use the
primitive bow and arrow and are well acquainted with the
most remote jungles through which they wander in search
of honey and game. There are some peculiarities in their
dialect, which with their mode of life, suggest relationship
with the Veddah, but they alto ether repudiate the idea. 2

l. See infra, PP• 3'2. t f-.f- •

2. G . Fowler, Diary of 3rd ?-ia:y 1 87, quoted in the 1.onthly egister
and Notes and Queries for Ceylon, II, No. 5, May 1894, p. 98.
The Vaaniyars of the nineteenth century were divided into two
different communal groups. Those who lived in the Vavuniy� and
Mullaitivu districts were Tamil speakers while those in the
Nuvarakalaviya district were mainly Sinhalese speakers. There
are reasons to believe that these Sinhalese-speaking Vannis
were in fact descended from Tamil Vamliyars who had become
assimilated to the Sinhalese population after the Nuvarakalaviya
district was re-colonised by the Sinhalese. It was traditionally
believed by these people that they were descendents of Tamils.
A. Brodie, baa ing his account on certain traditions preserved
among them, wrote in 1856: -
There is one (cas te) here not general over the Island
and which is superior to that which is elsewhere considered
the highest. I mean the Wanni caste. These persons are
des cendants of certain Tamils who came over from the continent
in the time of Raja Sen, who granted to each extensive
tracts of land. l
There were other aspects of their life which revealed their
close affinity to the Tamils. Another of the nineteenth-century
writers makes the following observations on these Sinhalese of
the Vanni region; -

They h ave adopted the T mil system of personal names, thus

a man has his father's name prefixed to his own and does
not take his name from the village or family he belong! to
or the land he owns, as is the common Sinhalese custom elsewhere.

l. J • • A . S. ( C • • ), 111 , L!,5§. , P • 149 .

3 24
Many of their names, too, are Tami1 in a S inha1ese shape.
T he older generation have taken to weari.Ji.g earrings, but
this practice has been discouraged by the present
Sinhalese headmen. The Sinhalese villagers have as much
faith in the Hindu god Pi1laiyar (Ganesa,) as have the
T amil villagers whose favourite god he is • • • • • • • • •
As regards dress the Sinhalese keep generally to their
own customs, but they often wear the Jaffna cloth ( chayaveddi)
and fasten the handkerchief on their heads after the
T amil manner. 1
The foregoing observations of nineteenth-century writers reveal
certain facts about the so-called Sinhalese Vanniyas. I n the
first place, we find that they were a caste distinct from the
rest of the Sinhalese. Secondly, traces of Tamil descent could
be found in their traditions, customs and manners. T hirdly,
they considered themselves to be superior to all other castes
in the Vanni. This feeling of superiority was evidently due to
the fact that they were at one time the ruling c aste in the
Vanni. In the light of these considerations it lLS difficult to
accept the view of Geiger that the Vannis were a degenerate
group of Sinhalese. It appears that the Sinhalese Vanniyas
who lived as a separate caste in the North-centra1 Province
were descendants of Tamil V8.mliyars who migrate d to the island
in the thirteenth century. It is in the same century, as we have
notived earlier, that we first hear of Vannis in the Sinhalese
sources. It is unlikely that a Sinh lese caste called the Vannis

1. Anonymous, •�he Vanni', The l�nthly Literary egi ter and

Notes and Queries for eylon, II, No. 5, May 1894, p . 98-99.
3 2 ti
came into existence independently in the present Nort h-central
P1t0vince at a time when a community of Tamil Vawiiya.rs settled
in the adjoining districts. It seems more plausible to assume
that the Vanni people of the North-central Province in the
thirteenth century were settlers from South India iike the
Van11iyars of the Vavuniy� and llullaitYvu districts, and that
their descendants became assimilated to the Sinhalese po ulation
when Sinhalese re-colonisation took place in those areas
at a later date. This is clearly suggested by the evidence of
place names in the North-central Province. By far the majority
of the names of Sinhalese villages in this p rowince in the
nineteenth century was of Tamil ori in. These villages, as we know
from the inscriptions and literary sources, bore Sinhalese
names before the thirteenth century.1 What led to t his change
of local nomenclature? The explanation is not far to seek.
Some time in or after the thirteenth century thes e villages
were occupied by Tamils who gave Tamil names to them. When
S inhalese re-colonisation took place the Tamil settlers seem to
have been gradually assimilated to the Sinhalese popu1ation.
This would explain the retention of Tamil place names b y
the Sinhalese as well as the presence of Tamil cast es like

the Vanniyas, Caliyas and ��

aria speaking Sinhal ese b ut
still retaining traces of Tamil descent. It appears, therefore,

1. See infra, p. 3�� •

reasonable to assume that the lat ter-day Sinha1ese Vanniyas
were descendants of Tamil settlers from South India and were
related to the Vanaiyars of the Tamil areas. The term Vanni
was also used to refer to the chieftains of the Vanni rwgions
who may or may not have been of the Vannip c.as.t.e.-.Th.e term
vannira5ano of the CUlava�a does not refer to the Vanniya
settlers but only to the chieftains of the Vanni __regions who
were both Sinhalese and Tamil.
Traditions regarding the migration of the Va.yiyars
from South India are preserved in the Tamil chronicles. In the

and the Yalpp�a-vaipava-malai this migration is connected

with a personage named Kulakkotta.a whose identity and activities
have formed the subject of some amount of controversy. He is said
to have invited Vanni chieftains from the mainland and entrus\ed
them with the care of the K'o:Q.e�varam temple in Trinco.ma.lee and
its lands. The identity of Ku+akkottaa has not been e asy to
establish. Recently Paranavitana identified him with a C ola-ganga
prince who went to Ceylon in 122j , presumably from the
Kalilga country. It vannot, however, be claimed that he has
settled the problem once and for all.

1. S . Paranavitana, 'The Arya Kingdom of North C eylon', �• ill•,

P • 179.
In the sources mentioned above Ku+�ttau is
desc ribed as a £ aiva prince from the Cola c ountry who went to
Ceylon on a pilgrimage, tarried at Trincoma1ee and effec ted
repairs to the ruined temple of K'5:g."i �varam. The'l"l'a�,!�a-kailac a­
pura�am c alls him KuJ:a.kkott an alias CoJ.aka:iUcaa, the son of
¥..a,nu-niti-kal}.ta Col.an.� The T iri-ko�ac ala-pur�am refers to him
as the son of Vararama.teva Colaka:Akaa of the Co:L,a c ountry.2
The Ko�ecar-kalvet t� agrees with this s tatement but does not
give Vararamateva's s uename as c�i�1ta:Akaa� The YaJ.pp�a-vaipava­
malai follows the Ta�!�a-kailaca-pur�am and refers to
Kulakkoffau's father as MaQu-nlti-kav.ta-colaa� Manu-niti-ka.Jil.ta­
colaa is a mythic al ruler reputed �or his benevolence and c omp assion
who finds a plac e in the legendary geneaoogy of the Co:L,as?
It is hard to explain how hw vame !t o be assoc iated with Kulakk15 tt a.a •
As far as we know no Co:L,a ruler by the name of Vararamateva
Co!a.ka,i,.ka.n or Vararamateva ever exuted. The Cola desc ent
attributed to ,Kufakkottaa in the Tamil s ourc es appear to be

1. !ls:2· ' Paziram, v. 8.

2. !:e· ' v.s-, , t ·"'t
3. Kk . , P• l. .
4. !?:...:., P• 8.
5 . �- , xv t p . Jt-{,
rather unreliable. Even the name Ku+akk�ttB.il does not seem to
have been the real name of the person. It means 'He of Tanks
and Temples' and is very probat,£y a sobriquet he earned after
bis tank- and temple-building activities. As Paranavitana is
inc lined to believe, C<S!aka�kau may have been the real surname
of the princ e. While the T�_!;a-kailac a-pur�am, the oldest
of the above Tamil sources, c alls him Co!9 kadka a, the Tiri­
D7J.ac ala-puraJJ.2 c alls his father C<SJ.akwkan. CcS;Lakankan, seems
to have been the family name of the princ e, as it was in the
c ase of the Eastern Ga.flgas (Colaganga or CocJ.aganga) . We are,
therefore, inclined to agree with Paranavitana that the real
name of this princ e was Co!aka.nka.n•
The identific ation of this Co!aka.flkaa is no easy
matter for the name was c ommonly used by the I:astern Ga.ngas
as well as by princes and feudatories in the �la, Pal}cJ.ya and
Kar;ata c ountries in the twelfth and thirteenth c enturies.
Moreover, our sourc es reveal that a number of Indian princes
of this name had been in Ceylon in these c enturies, As a result
we are up against several possibilities. Our princ e may have
been ( a) Colaganga-kumara who lived in the court of Gajabahu II;
( b) CocJ.agai\ga who invaded C eylon and c aptured power in 1196;

2. Ibid. , � : '-.1 •
3 29
(c) Co<}:ag an a of the Trincomalee Sanskrit inscription who landed
in Ceylon in 122.l, (d ) Colagangadeva who invaded Ceylon some
time before 1284� or (e) any one of the princes of the Eastern
Ganga, Western Galiga or Cola family or one of the feudatories
of the CoJ.as or P-a.J}9-yas.
To consider the first possibility, we find that
Co}.a angakumara was a hli.Ae,a prin1re who lived in the court of
Gajabahu II around 1153. The only ev•dence which may be used in
support of the identification of our prince, Ku+akkotta.n, with
Co+agangakumara is to be found in the Tamil chronicles. In the
Ta�.!..9:a-kailaca-pur�_!!!!, Tiri-ko�acala-pur�� and the Ko�ecar­
kalvett.!! , Gajabnu and Ku+akkottaa are closely associated with
the Kol}e�varam temple� The �ttakkal-ap-pu-manmiyam, which refers
to �akk�tfa.A as Ma.kacenan (Ma.hasenat, states that this
prince married a KaliAga princess who was an adopted daughter
of Gajabahu��hese traaitions ma, pz eeerve some memozy of a
tloue as.ociation oetween Kulakkottaa and GaJ abanu. Is it
likely that Gajabahu was closely associated with two different
lB.aiEt!l princes named C6}.ag a.Jiga or are we to treat them as one ?

1. �- ' V , p . 1 1 3 ·
2. f.:!• ' ; o : 3 'l-
3. lli · ' 7 : 8 ff. ; !P_., Kayavakuppat alam, P • 170 ff. ; �-, p. 20.
4. Mm.' P• 2 •
The evidence of the Tamil chroni£les is not s trong enough for
s uch an identifieation. Though the traditions concerning t he
��e,varam temple were preserved by the temple authorities for
a long time, it may be difficult to base our conclus ion on the
evidence of the late works which embody these traditions . I t
is not impossible that Gajabahu and Kulakk�tta.u lived in different
periods, as indeed the T�i�a-kailaca-pur�am and the Tiri-ld5�acala­
pur�am treat them, but were brought together b7 late tradition
owing to their close association with the Kl>�e,varam temple.
Co+aga.Agakumara who lived in the court of Gajabahu II ma-,,
therefore, be different from Ku+akk�ttB-11•
The Kali.Aga prince C o9-aga.Aga who seized power in
1196 is said to have been a nephew of Ni66dka Ma.J.la: It is not
s tated in our sources whether he invaded the island in 1196
or whether he had gone there some time before that date and
captured power in 1196. If he had gone to Ceylon in 1196, it is
unlikely that he is the sam� as the Co+agaz\ga who effected
repairs to the J:a>�§varam temple and settled Vaw.iyara in
Ceylon, for he was ousted from the throne within a year and
it is hard to think that under very insecure conditions he wou1d
have undertaken the task of re airing temples and settling peo le
from South India. Moreover, if he was a nephew of Ni.§'anka. hal.l.a
33 1
and aspired to the kingship o f the island he may have been a

Buddhist and not a �aiva. It s eems unlikely that he is the

Co+agai\ga whom we are seeking to identify.

The Sanskrit i nscription from T rincomalee, discovered

among the ruins of the �:g.e 6 varam temp le, refers t o a personage

named Co4aga:nga who went to Ceylon in 122J; l?aranavitana has i

identified this perso n wita Ku+akk.otfB.I!• The inscriptio n is

fragmentary a nd is engraved on a part of a sto ne door jamb.

Among the decipherable wo rds is the name Gokar�a , the ancient

name of T rincomalee and the root f rom which the name of the

temple is derived ( Goka.r�e�vara) . Since the epigraph is

inscribe d on a part of a building, Paranavitana feels that

it ' may reaso nably be assumed t o have reco rded the building o f

the monument o f which it fo rmed a part ' � He therefo re argues

that ' it is very unlikely that there were two Co�agangas who

both came f rom a fo reig n country , landed at T rincomalee and

busied themselves effecting improveme nts t o the Saiva shrine

there' � He adds further that the date of Co�aganga ' s ar rival

being 1223, it ' agrees with the s tatement o f the !!!• that
this prince had dealings with chieftains known as Vanniyars,

1 . �. , V , P• 17 3
2. S . Paranavit ana, ' The Arya Kingdom o f No rth Ceylo n • , .21?,• ill•, p . 1.79.

3 . �-
for it is only from the thirteenth century that Vanniyars or
Vanni s are mentioned in the contemporary writings
. •. 1
. Paranavitana
is also , of the opinion that this Co�agaAga is an Eastern Ga.dga.
There is, however, no evidence for such an assumption. But there
is no evidence Jo the contrary either. Gokar�e§vara was the
favourite deity of the Eastern GaAgas2. The fact that a Cogaganga
from outside the island interested himself in the affairs of
a temple of Gokarve�vara in Ceylon may indicate that he was an
Eastern GaJ5.ga . Probably Paranavitana is right in identifying
him as an Eastern Ga4ga prince. Paranavitana's arguments for
the identification of this Co9aganga with Ku+ak�tta.i1 seem
quite tenable. But let us consider the other possibilities,
too, before we arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.
The ctilav�a has also a reference to another
Cofagangadeva who is stated to have invaded Ceylon some time
before 1284. From the manner in which this event is introduded
to in the chronicle it does not appear to have been a major
invasion. It is said that Bhuvanekabahu I 'drove back all
the Damila forces, like Kali:dgarayara, Cofagangadeva and the
rest who had landed from the opposite coast • � Apparently these

1. S .Paranavitana, ' The Arya King om of North Ceylon • , £1?.• ill• , p. 180.
2. •ee infra ,-p-. F-I .
- IV-,
, __
r - 1 1i2:..
3. .21:. , 90 : 32 .
enemies had led punitive raids which were not o! much s ignificance
and in time Bhuvanekabahu got rid of them. The nature of the
expedition of KutakkottB-ll also seems to have been similar,
according to the Tamil sources which state that he had an army
with him but did not effect any conquest. But there is one main
difficulty in identifying Colagailgadeva with KuiakkoffB-ll•
The former's invasion took place not long before 1284, the
year of Bhuvanekab'ihu ' s death. If we are to accept the testimony
of the Tamil sources that Kulakkot taa introduced Vauniyars
into the island, this event must be places before 1270 when
we first begin to hear of Vannis in the literary sources.2
Unless we take that Ku+akkottaa only introduced a further
band of Vayiyars in to the island, it may not be possible to

identify Kulakko ttaa with Colagaiigadeva. Cotagaflgadeva may be

different from Kulakkottan•
It is possible that Kulakkot taa is different from
any of the four Co�aga.Agas known to have been in Ceylon in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. He may have been a Cola, Eastern
Ga�a or Western Ga.Aga prince or a South Indian feudatory ruler
whose visit to the island is not recorded in the Sinhalese and

1. f!•, Yv . , p. 10.
2. £!•, E.!_. , P • 109.
33 4
Pali sources. The !!lFP�a-vaipava-malai, T�!V:a-kailaca-pura:pam,
Tiri-��acala-pur�am, Ia5:Q:ecar-kalvettJ! and the Munne�vara-m"gnmiyam
maintain that Ku+�ttau was a Cola prince� The last mentioned
worksgives CWrya Kulo,t)Aka (SUrya Ku1�ttu.Aga) as one of the
titles ot the father o! Kulakko{faa• It is unlikely that this
is a reference to Ku1ottwiga Cola . Of the three Cola rulers
named Kulott'l.mga, only KulottuAga I is known to have had a son
named Co'.J:agruiga (or Co�aga.ii.ga)� This prince ' vanished into
obscurity after his viceroyalty at VeAgi ' � What happened to this
prince after his viceroyalty at VeAgi ? Did he go on a pilgrimage
to Ceylon and effected repairs to the Ia5,9,'e§varam temple ? We
can only speculate on this point. There were also other Cola
princes named Colaga.ii.ga. We know of at least one, whose other
name was �.IB.dhurantakaa, figuring in one of the ilµlcriptions
from Bangalore Taluq.4 There were also several Co!a-P-�4ya feudatories
named Co+agruiga. One of them figures in about five inscriptions
dated in regnal years of Rajaraja III and Kulottun.ga III,
between 1210 and 1222� Another feudatory named Periyq AJ.akiyapperUJ?lall

1. I!!!!•, p. 8; �- 7 : 23; !._. , Varara a.tevar varu pat;alam, v. 4;

Kk. , P• lf �e �vara-man iyam , P• g •
2. K.A.Nila.kanta Sastri, The Colas, p. 3 1 1 •
3 • .!J?.:.g.
4 . --=--.• , IX, Tamil section, p. 17.
5 . ¥ • • • for 1913, Noe. 535 , 546, 549, 556, 55? and 559 of 1912.
alias Co+agaAga whds mention in a number of records of the t ime

of Ra'.jaraja III: Certain other Co+agaAgas are known from Pav-�ya

inscriptions � The Upasaka-janalatkara refers to a P-a.:Q. �ya
feudatory named ColagaJiga who was himself a va.!'1na (Vanniyan) �
This may mean that some of the Van_niyar chiefs were themselves
known as Colagai\ga and one such chief may be Kulakkottan who,
after establishing himself in the eastern part of Ceylon, s ettled
there some of his kinsmen or Vanniya subjects . It was from
South India that Magha obtained a large part of his troops .
Probably there were V�iyars among his mercenary leaders.
In the folk traditions included in the }.ia.t takk�appu-man.miyam
it is stated that the Mukkuva Vawiiyars (Mukkuva chiefs) of
the Batticaloa area went there as leaders of l-mgha's troops
and that they were granted vannipams (chieftaincies) by
Magha, who is often referred to in this work as Kalidka� (Kalinga)�
The first mention of the Vannis in the time of }!agha5 and the
tradition associating him with the Vanni chiefs of Batticaloa
sug es t that there may have been some connection between �ha

1. ¥. E. R. for 1908, Noa . 202 and 205 of 1908 ; Y.E.R. for 1926,
194 of 1926.
2. £!• , M.E. R. for 1921, No. 14o of 1921; �.�.R. for 1922, No, 203 of
1922; ¥.E. R. for 1915, Noa. 409, 410, 413 of 1914.
3 . Up'!s aka-janalru\kara, p. •�'1 •
4. L· , P• 104. 5. See supra, P• '31� •
and the Vannis. Va_m.iyars were probably among the me rcenary
leaders in the army of M agha. It is poss ible that a Vanniyar
chieftain named CoJaga.Aga was among them. Magha may have grante d
him a chieftaincy in the Trincomalee are a where he became as
Ku+akkott�• A ll these are, however, matte rs of speculation and
in the absence of any re al evidence no certain c onclueions can
be drawn.
It is , therefore, a difficult task to identify
Kulakkotta.a Colak:ankau with any degree of ce rtainty. A s the
traditions concerning him are very strong one cannot doubt his
historicity. The chances are that he is the s ame as Co�a.ganga
of the Trincomalee inscription. In the first palce , as Parana­
vitana has argued, Co�aga.Aga of this inscription is associated
with the Ko�"'esvaram temple like Kulak!wttaa• Secondly, the
dates of the ir activities in Ce ylon also seem to agree.
Kufakko ttan appe ars to have been in the island in the thirtee nth
century whe n we first hear of Vannis. Co4a.g a.Aga, according to
the inscription, was in the island around 1223. It is probable
that Kulakko tt� is the same as this prince . He was presumably
a scion of the Eastern GaAga family. The refe rence in the Tamil
chronicles to him as a Cola prince may be a confusion resulting
from the name Colaga.Aga. In the Tamil chronicles he is credite d
with not only the renovation of Saiva temples but also the
repair of irrigation works such as the Kantafc[y, Allai and
Ve�4arasau tanks: This accounts for his sobriquet ' Ku+�t t an '
(Builder of Tanks and Temples) .
The personality of Ku+akk�ttaa has been obscured
in Tamil tradition by several factors. His fame as a repairer of
tanks, for instance, has led to a confusion of traditions relating
to him with those of the earlier and better known tank-builder
Mahasena. In fact, the Mattakkalappu-man.miyam refers to Ku+akk�ttaa
as Ma.kace&lm� Although Kulakk�tfan seems to have taken an interest
only in the repair of the major irrigation works in his
principality, Tamil tradition has credited him with the building
of those tanks. The Matfakkaiappu-manmiyam also refers to him
as a Vaitulliya Caivan (Vaitulya Saiva)� an obvious confusion

with Nahasena who, according to the C1Ilavall§a, was a Vaitulya

Buddhist� Similarly, while Mahasena is recorded to have destroyed
Brahmanic temples in Trincomalee, Ku+�ttB.A is stated to
have destroyed Buddhist structures in the same place� Evidently

1. Q!. , �. , Tirupp�i cey patalam, v. 85.

2. kl!!!•, P• 32.
3. _!ill. , P • 33.
4. l:!·, 36 : 111.
5. Ibid. , 37 : 41 ; �. , p. 34.
t hese t radit ions are due to a confusion between Mahasena and
Ku+akkott au in the eyes of later chroniclers and story-t ellers.
There has also been a confusion bet ween Kuiakkottan and
UkkiraciAkq (Ugra Silllia) , a legendary king ment ioned in � he
chronicles of Jaffna: Traditions relat ing t o Ku+akkott an and
those about Magha also appear to have been confused in the
Tamil works.2 As a re sult of these confusions the personalit7 of
Ku+akkott au is shrouded in myst ery and his ident ification Me­
is rendered difficult. Divest ed of all these legends that
have surrounded his personality, Ku+akk�tt au appears as a
powerful chieftain of t he Trincomalee principality in the
t hrieenth century, probably in the reign of Magha. He was
probably an associat e of }Tagha. G,:b.anapragasar has attempt ed
t o ident ify him with Jayabthu, who, according t o the C Ulav�_!,
was a powerful associat e of Magha� It is difficult to say

whether Ku+akko ttau was known to the Sinhalese chroniclers as

Jayabahu. There is, however, no person by the name of Jayabahu
in the Tamil works. All t hat we can say is that Ku1akkott aa
was probably a owerful chieftain of t he Trincomalee principa1ity
under Magha and earned his fame by renovating t he e1t-esvaram.
t emple and repairing some of the t anks in his chieft aincy.

1. See infra, jG. . '1, •

2. See infra, pf.'J lt? tf" •
3. s . Gnanapragasar, Y-lpp� -vaipava-vimarcana.!!!, p. 64.
In the light of the evidenc e that emerges out of
the c onfused sourc es at our disposa1 we have to assign the
migration of the Vanaiyars who settled in northern Ceylon to
about the first quarter of the thirteenth c entury. We are inclined
to believe that they were among the erc enaries who went to
Ceylon with 1-mgha or with some of his assoc iates, chief among
whom ap ears to have been the personality known to us as
Kulakko f t�• After the conquest of northern and eastern Ceylon
was effec ted by the invaders, the p resent Vavuniya, Mullait�vu,
Trinc omalee and Battivaloa districts were probably divided into
several chieftainc ies and granted to Vawiiya and other mercenary
leaders. Ku+akkott au seems to have been res onsible for the
c reation of such chieftainc ies in the Trincomalee and Vavuniya
distric ts. �lagha, according to the Battic aloa traditions, c reated
similar ,!_ann.ipams in the Batticaloa distric t� It was in this
manner that the Tamil Vanni chieftaincies a pear to have emerged.
Once the term vanni became current in Rajaraftba, it was
p robably applied to similar chieftaincies in the depopulated
Sinhalese areas of Imjarat tha as well and came to stand for
any jungle chieftaincy. Those Vanni people who were settled
in the areas which later came to be re-colonised by Sinhalese
gradually evolved into the Sinhale e Vanniya c aste while those

1. See infra, p.37� •

of the Tamil regions remained Tamil Vamliyars. This is how we
have to reconstruct the story of the Vanniyars with the meagre
evidence at our dis osal. The picture may change when further
evidence comes to light but the genera1 outline is likely to r
remain almost the same.
The Tamil chronicles refer to seven Vanni chieftaincies
in the island. These corresponded roughly to the present
Vavuniya, Mullait�vu, Trincomalee and Battic aloa districts,
and possibly included some parts of the North-central Province.
By about the nineteenth century only the VavuniJa and Mullait�vu
districts continued to be known as the Vanni. The Tamil
chronicles do not mention the Sinhalese Vanni chieftaincies
that covered the major part of the North-central and North­
western Provinces. There is evidence of these regions having
been settled by Tamils in the thirteenth and fourteenth centurie s:
Even now two of the revenue divisions in these provinces is
are known as Vanni Hatpattu and Demala Hatpattu (Seven Tamil
Like Jaffna, the Tamil Vanni districts of Vavuniya,
Mullait�vu, Trincomalee and Battica1oa districts were settled
by Sinhalese before the conquest of the �!as. E igra hica1,
archaeological and place-name evidences bear testimony to the

1. See infra, P• J 7, •
Sinhalese settlements that once covered these regions. Proto­
Sinhalese and Sinhalese inscriptions ranging from about the
third century B.C . to the tenth century A.D. have been found
in these regions: Almost the whole of the area is spotted with
ruins of early Buddhist structures. The present Batticaloa
district and parts of the Trincomalee district were included
in the kingdom of Roha�a and it is needless to say that these
were peopled by Sinhalese before Tamils settled there. The inscrip­
tions of these districts preserve the Sinhalese names of many
of the places which now bear purely Tamil names or Tamilised
forms of earlier Sinhalese names� Only a few Sinhalese inscrip­
tions of the eleventh and twelfth centuries have been found here
and after the twelfth century we do not come across any . Tamil
inscriptions occur in these regions from the eleventh ceni:ury.
With the Cola occupation a slow and not too visible displacement
of the Sinhalese by the Tamils seems to have begun. �la

1. g. , U.C .H . c. , I , pt. 1 , �pigraphic map opposite p. l b •

A.S. C.A.R. for 1905 , pp.42-43 ; A.S.C.A.R. for 19 7, P• 2 9;
E .Z., V, pt.2 , pp. 240 ff.; !.:_!. , I , p.70 ; A.S.C.A.R. for 1933 ,
2. P • 14; A. S.C.A.R. for 1935 , P• 10 ; A.S.C .A.R. for 194 -45 , P• 39;
A.S. C .A.R. for 1953, PP• 21, 2 ; A. S.C.A.R. for 1954, PP• 29, 36.
2. �• , Gangatala (Kantaiay) , A.S.C.A.R. for 1937, p. 1 ;
Pa�agamu (Pa�an,ka m) , E.Z . , I+ P • 3 9; C.W.Nicholas, P• 81.
Velaka or Velagama (Vela.k'.amam), A . S.C.A.R. for 1934, P • 8.
inscriptions and temples have not been discovered in the Batticaloa
dist rist. In the Vavuniy� district, it is on1y in the regions

bordering on the Trincoma.lee district and the North-central

province that we get a few Tamil inscriptions and � aiva temples
dating to the eleventh and twelfth centuries� But in the Trincomalee
district several Tamil inscriptions and Saiva t emples dating
from the �la period have been found� This dist rict seems , therefore ,
to have attracted Tamil settlers earlier than t he other three
districts. It is in the thirteenth century , wit h the invasion
of 1-:agha , that widespread Tamil and Kerala settlements appear
to have been established in these districts.
The establishment of Dravidian settlements in the
Vanni districts is dealt with in the Ko�ecar-kalvet t� , ­
ko7t:acala-pur�am, Vaiya, Vai:yapa�al and the Yal.Pp�a-vaipava­
malai. The Ko�ecar-kalvett� and the Tiri-kc5'�acala':"pur�am are
both chronicles of the ��esvaram temple and therefore embody
the same tradition. The account in these two works 1JJaY be
summarised in the following manner. The prince Ku+� ttaa,
after effecting repairs to the K'oi'esvaram temple, decided to
invite some families from South India and entrust to them the
task of maintaininm; the different services in the temple.

1. See supra, ;p. d.. !J,

2. See supra, -; cl.. r
According to the �uecar-kalve�t�, Ku+� ttaa went in person
to invite the familees while the othe r chrmnicle states that
he sent his ministers. In response to the invitation thirty
families went from Y.arullkiir. They were of the Valava caste .
They were assigned the duties of �attar and were se ttled in
Trincomalee . Twenty familie s we nt from rarai (Karai�l) , They
were confe rred the title of Pa�tarattar and assigned various
duties. Pa+lave+i, in the Trincomalee district was grante d as
to them for se ttlement. A nobleman of the Karalar family was
invited from Tirunelveli (Tinneve llyl and conferre d the title
of mutanmai ( chief) . He was assigned duties concerning the
conduct of festivals and was granted the villages of Kattu­
kulattur and Nilave+i• A minstrel from Kaflci was assigned the
duty of singing hymns at the temple .-nd was se ttled at Campur
in the Kottiyar division of the Trincomalee district. The prose
section of the K#ecar-kalvett� adds that five acaris (maste r
craftsmen) were invited from the Cola country and were settled
in Trincomale e. When all these people we re assigned different
duties and were settled in and around Trincomalee a nobleman
from }iadurai was invited and •as a ointed as the ir !._a.n.nipam
( chieftain) ;

1 . �. , pp . 2 , 3 , 3 6 , 37 f !E.•, PP • 13 1-135 .
I n the Yalpp�a-vaipava-malai this account has r at ly

been g reat ly modified. Acco rding t o this chro nicle o f Jaffna ,

the fJince Kulakkot tan , aft er having completed the renovation

of the temp le, assigned fields and estates i n seTen dist rict s

t o the t emple. He then invited and sett led Va,nniya rs i n those

dist rict s and ent rust ed them with the task of cultivating the

t emple lands. The seven dist rict s in cou rse of time bevame the
seven Vanni ch ie l
. ft aincies.
' .

The Vaiya and the Vaiyapatal co ntain a different

versio n of the Tamil sett lement in the Vanni dist rict s. The

co nfused account i n these wo rks may be summed up in the following

manner. When Vararacaciflka.Q (Va ra Raja Silha) , a son o f Ukkira­

cinkan ( Ug ra Sillha) and a king of Ceylo n married � t;oe (),. r -rir\CU.S

f rom the P-
aJJ.4Ya count ry , she b ro ught with her a retinue o f

sixty VaDJ1iyars. O ne o f the Van

_niyars stayed behind at the

capital of the kingdom a nd the rest were asked to t ake over

the chiefships o f the Atankapauu region , which co rrespo nds

rou hly to the p resent Vavuniya dist rict . These Van


then i nvited �om South I ndia a number of people belonging t o

the eighteen castes . They were settled i n different part s o f

At�P a.au as well as in the peninsu1a o f Jaffna , as me ntio ned

earlier . ladurai , l'ar unkur , Ti ruccira alli ( T ric i nopoly )

1 . Yv�. , PP• 11-12 .

Ma1a1yakam, Tu+uvai, To:o,tai ma9ta1am, Vatakiri-natu and KcSvanati
were among the lace s from which immi rants went to settle in

Afte r this follows a long and confuse d list of

places in the Vanni districts where various cast e s and prominent
pe rsonalities went and settled. T he se place s are Mu+limllnakar
(Mut?iyava,lai), �ii, TB.11ikkal, KiJ.akku-mtI1 1, Me1:ku-mUlai,
Ka.raippan:,u, Karuvatt u-��i, Kattukkul-a-pan:u (Ka�4ukkul'.am
Division), Tirukk�:o,ai (Trincomale e ), Ve rukal, Tampal�mam,
Kottiyaram (Kft iyar), llafivayal, Van:,appa+ai, T�u�r (T�u�),
Iffimafu, Netmike:o,i, Noccim�ttai, Pulvefi, Akkaraip auu,
T iriyay, Varaveft i, Cet t ikku}.am, and Pa,aa.Akamam. ill the se place s
are in the moiern Vavuniya, Mullait�vu, Trincoma1e e and
Battica1oa districts. Among the caste s and communitie s mentioned
are C-
an._ar, (oil-mongers), PA1:aiyar (drummers), Akampat iyar
(Agampa�i mercenarie s), Kaliilkar (KaliA as), Malaiyaka.m (Kerafa4)
and Vamiiyar:
It is intere stin to note that the Vaiyapa{a1
mentions 'P1lpala Van_nimai, � naa and othe rs• among the
prominent people who went and settled in Tiriyay and Katt ukk.ulam�

1. !I?.•, vv. 29-81 ; Vaiya, P• 26 ff.

The name of the Vanni chief appointed by Kul�ttaa is given
in the Ia5':i;ecar-kalvett.!!. and the iri-k:'?5:rilicala-pur�am as
P1ipal.a.a. P1ipila Vamlimai of the Vaiyapatal appears to be the
same person as P1Ipala Van_aiyq. Like the chronicles of Trinco­
mal.ee, the Vaiy'ap•tal mentions Kaft ukku+am, Trincomalee and
Koftiyar among the pl.aces where immigrants were settled and
Y;arwlldir among the places from where settlers �ent to Ceylon.
Some of the traditions in the Vaiyapatal may have been based
on those of Trincomalee.
The Matt akka+appu-man,miyam deals with onl.y the
origin of the castes of Battivaloa. The creation of these castes
as wel.l. as the assignment of duties to them are attributed to
Magha. Except in the case of a few, it is not stated whether
these castes migrated to Batticaloa in the time of !mgha or
earlier. The Mukkuva Vamiiyar are stated to have gone from
Ka+ikatt am ( unidentified). They belonged to the Pataiyatci
(military caste) and it was the llliJikau (Kalin a ruler ) who
chose the best among them (e:dkal ti�attorai ) and took them to
the island as commanders of his army l.. The Kuru-natar (Skt. uru
Nathas) simil.arly went to Ceylon with the Dlilikau� Those of the

l.. !::!!•, P• 104.

2• .!ill• , P • 105.
34 7
P1lpala �ttiram (Bhll ala Gotra) and the P1lvaciyar (a mercantile
community) also went to the island with the nlinka��
It is difficult to reconclie these different
vers ions and separate the historical sections from the res t.
As we have already noted, the chronicles of Trincomalee and
Batticaloa s eem to preserve a more reliable tradition than
those of Jaffna. An analys is of the above versions reveals certain
important points. In the first place, it becomes doubtless
clear that there has been a confusion of traditions relating

to 1-mgha, Kulakk�tfaa and possibly other prominent personalities

connected with either the Tamil settlements or the creation of
petty chieftaincies in or about the thirteenth century. Shorn
of their details, the accounts of Ku+akk�i taa and 1'.i!gha
appear very similar. In the Matiakkalappu-manmiyam, the account
of J.lagha has four main strands which are similar to those of
the account of Kula.kla5ttElll in the chronicles of �Jje�varam.
Firstly, Magha is described as an ardent Saiva who was intolerant
of Buddhism and even the Vai� �ava faith� Kul�t taA, too,
is stated to have been a very devoted Saiva although there is
nothing t:e' in the Trincoma.lee chronicles to indicate that he
was a bigot. It is in the l:!�J takk�appu-n@lmiyam, where be is

1• .!!!• , PP • 105-106 .

2 . �• • PP• 53 , 7 0.
called �nan, that he is said to have destroyed Buddhist
temples in Trincomalee. Secondly, Magha is associated with
the building of the Tir�vil temple and its tanks and with
the invitation of priests to perform service in that temple�
Kutakk�ttan is credited with the renovation of K'lS��§varam tw
temple and with the building of tanks. Thirdly, 1-mgha is stated
to have assigned various duties for the different castes of
Batticaloa� This account is remarkably similar to the assignment
of duties by Ku+akkot ta.A to the various castes he invited from
South India for the performance of services at the ����varam
temple. Finally, while Kul�ttaa is said to have created
the chieftaincy of Trincomalee, the foundation of chieftaincies
in the Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Mannb- and Jaffna districts is
attributed to Magha�
In the second place, there has been a confusion
of the traditions relating to Kufakkotta.i. with those about
Ukkiracinkan, who may not have been a historical personality.
Ukkiraci.Akaa's association with Jaffna is in some ways similar
to Kulakkott aa's association with Trincomalee. The story of

1. L· , P• 34.
4 • Ibid. , P • 77.
3• .!ill • , PP• 70, 71, 95-97.
4. Ibi . , PP• 74 , 75, 104.
Ukkiraciftau , as it ap ears in the Tamil chronicles, is basically
a different version of the Vijaya le end: Sinhalese traditions
as well as some South Indian legendary material have gone into
the creation of this story which forms the starting point of
the history of the Jaffna kingdom in the chronicles of Jaffna.
Traditions of the RohB.-9-a kingdom, which once included parts of
the present �rineomalee district, also appear to have helped
the growth of the story of &�in.co�. This is seen in the
story of ltakacavuntari, the queen of Kulakkottaa in some of
these accounts. In this story, traditions similar to those about
Viharadev't, the mother of Dutthag�i, are to be found� The
confusion of many of these traditions seems to have been the
result of a belated attempt on the part of the later Tamil
chroniclers to reconcile the different floating traditions in
the Tamil regions and to give these a historical sequence.
In the story of Ukkiraci�ka�, for instance, we see an atte pt
to reconcile the stories of Vijaya, Ku+akkottau and possibly
a third personality associated with t he kingdom of Jaffna�
In this story, as we shall discuss later, we could see the

1 . See infra, ll•C."· �-,

2. See infra, l>•'"· t •
3. See infra , p . c.i.. - .
character Si�ha and Silhabahu of the Vijaya legend in the
personalities named Ukkiraciuka a and Varar;cacinka.n r s ectively.
Vararacaciiikaa combines the characters of Silii>.avnu and Vijaya.
The matrimonial mission sent by him to the P-��ya cour t and the
arrival of the P-��ya princess with a large retinue, as
mentioned in the Vaiyapatal, are both based on the Vijaya
legend. The coming of the Va_m.iyars and the invitation of t he
different castes from places like Ma.runkUr in South India,
their settlement in parts of the Trincomalee district and the
arrival of the chief called PUpala Va.imimai are clearly vased
on the story of Kulakkot �B.U• The rest is an elaboration of
these main aspects possibly basedAother traditions and on
the conditions that o btained in the time of the writing of the
chronicle, that is, from the knowledge of the different eastes
that were found in the Vanni districts. The later chronicle

!!lPP�a-vaipava-malai attempts to reconcile the discre ancies

seen in the traditions of the Jaffna and Trincomalee chronicles.
The invitation of the Vanniyars is, therefo re, attributed to
Ku+akkott a.A and the invitation of Tamil settlers by the
blind minstrel YalPati is included in the Ukkiracilika.u story.
Thus it has only helped to confuse the traditions further.
Thirdl1, we fin that some of the traditions in
the above accounts of the settlement in the Vanni districts
are drawn from popular etymology og place names. Such names
as Kantaf-,-, P-aaakai and Camptlr have formed tha basis of these
traditions. We have a1ready se en how the author of the !1!:,!­
k��acala-pur�am has incor orated a tradition which attempts
to derive the name Kanta+aY (variant: hnta+ai) from the Tamil
words kai;,. ( eye) and -
- ( to grow), weaving a story round it,
(a.lso G-cl��td li)
whe reas it is actually derived from the Sinhalese name GantalavaA
(Pali , Gangata\aka.) through the later form Gantale; Similarly ,
the h.oi;,.ecar-kalve tt�, !!!t takka+appu-manmiyam and the Tiri-�i;,.acala­
pur�am contain a story that has be en woven round tha place
name P-a.Jiamai, in the Batticaloa district� According to this story,
P-a..amai was the place where the Kalinga infant princess liaka-
cavuntar� drifte d as hore in he r woode n cradle. Since the baby
was found here smiling, the place was named nlar-nakai (
jPalar = baby or young one ; nakai = smile ) which later became
P-�akai and eventually Paa,amai. But in fact �amai is derived
from the Sinhalese name Phama. In the Sinhalese inscriptions
of the pe rio4 between the fifth and the seventh century found
in this place, its ancient name occurs as Phava� The final !!

1. See supra, P• 34-', ln•"-

2. �. t P • 33 '. �- , Pafalam XII, v. 12 ; !!!!· t P • 28.
3 . C .W.Nicholas, !?I?.• ill•, P • 22 ; C . J. Sc . (G) , II, PP • 113 , 114.
3 52
was replaced by �1 in course of time and, when it became
Tamilised after the Tamil settlement there, the final a was
substituted with .!!.•2 In this way some of the traditions preserTed
in the Tamil chronicles can be traced ultimately to the work of
popular etymologists.
Thus we see that a number of unreliable traditions
have got enmeshed in the story of the Tamil settlement narrated
in the Tamil chronicles. As things are, it is very difficult
to extract from this anything more than a bare sequence of
events. Compared with the chronicles of Jaffna, those of
Trincomalee and Batticaloa are less confused. Of the later
chronicles, that of Batticaloa, name ly the !=:t i akk��-
1!!._'all.miYa , is certainly more reliable. It is the only Tamil
chronicle which contains a number of episodes from the history
of the Sinhalese before the thirteenth century, many of which
tally with the accounts in the Mah�ValJl:!.! and the CUlav�a.
Further, the ,!!!�t akkatappu-man.miya.m is the only Tamil chronicle
which mentions Migha by that name and deals with his activities
in a manner that compares favourably with the Sinhalese accounts.
The miraculous and legendary elements which mar the accounts

1. The interchange of !.! and !!!. is common in Sinhalese,

.!.:.!• , navaya namaya .
2. This is in keeping with Tamil practive, �• • Gampola Kampa1ai,
Polonnaruva Polo41la.1:uvai.
in the chronicles of Trincomalee and Jaffna are found to a lesser
extent in the Batticaloa chronicle. These qualities do not, however,
entitle the account of the Mattakkalappu-manmiyam to be wholly
acce ted. By a comparison of this and other Tamil accounts
with those of the Sinhalese and Plrli chronicles we may be able
to arrive at some of the basic facts, decide which statements
are acceptable and � leave aside the dubious details that
have to be treated with some amount of scepticism.
As we have already seen, the Sinhalese and Plrli
chronicles leave us in no doubt that the invasion of :tmgha
resulted in the occupation of several parts of mtjara;tha by
Tamil and Kera1a soldiers and in the dislodgement of many Sinhalese
from that area. Under the tyrannical rule of Magha Bud hist
institutions were destroyed and what is called a ' false faith '
was propagated: ' Villages and fields, houses and gardens • were
' delivered up to the Kera.}.as • 2. Damila warriors were • settled
here and there in the country• � Even in Mayarattha there were
' Damila warriors who dwelt as they pleased in the sin le
villages and houses • � The forces of �Mgha and Jayab'!hu had

1. .2.!.. t 80; 75.

2 . .!E,g . ' 80: 76 •
3. �- , 83 : 12.
4. ng. , 81: 14.
set up fortifications in several places in R!jaraftha. These
included Polonnaruva, Kotthasara (Koftiy'�ram) , GaA�talaka
(Kantalay) , Xakalaya (Kokkilay) , Kavuc1avulu (Ka�4ukku+am Pattu) ,
Padi (Padaviya) , Kurund'I (Kurunt9.11Ur in Karikka��umUlai South) ,
Mrulama.tta (possibly near Giant's Tank) , Mahatittha (Mat�tfam) ,
Mannara (Mann,�) , Go�a district (Trincomalee district) ,
alikagama (Valikamam) , Sukaratittha (�t�ttutai or Kayts) ,
Gonusu district (Kala�pi region) , Madhupadapatittha { possibly
Iluppaikkafavai) , Pulacceri and Debarapatan.1 The las t two laces
have not been identified. It is not known whether Debarapatan
is a variant of Dema:J.apaH anama, by which name Jaffna was
sometimes called, as evidenced by the Nampota.2 On the o ther
hand, Debarapatan and Pulacceri may well be places in the
Eastern province. The element ceri in the latter name suggests
that this is a Tamil name.
In the light of this account in the Sinhalese and
Plli sources we may accept some of the statements in the Tamil
chronicles. The information in the !!!.ftakka:J.appu-�yam that
Magha had in his arm:, � ukkuva mercenaries who were given

1. _!• , 83: 15-17 ; E?_. , p. 116 ; ��,.S:mi-. , p. 3. For the

identification of the pl ce names, see C.W.Nicho las, �- cit. ,
PP• 45 , 46 , 1, 84, 86. Kmcalaya is sometimes i entified with
2. ampota, P• 5.
!!Wl,ipams ( chieftaincies ) may be based o n some genuine t radition.

The Mukkuvas , as we shall see. in the se uel , were f rom Kera.la.

The fo rt ific atio ns in the T rincomalee dis t rict , Kanta+aY and

Kottiya ram , all in the Eastern P ro vince, were doubt less in the

hands of mercena ry leaders who probably became chieftains o f

those regio ns. Parts o f the p resent Batt ical.oa dist rict may have

been occupied in this manner by Magha ( s mercenaries , amo ng whom

there may have been Mukkuvas. The c reatio n o f the .!.8:Ill,ip m o f

o f Trincomalee may be related to the est aclishment of the

fort ific atio n in hhat dist rict and may not be an independent

event c o nnec t ed with the ��eivaram t emple. Lat e r t radit ion

may have separated it from the general s t o ry o f the establish-

m nt o f chieftainc ies all over no rthern a nd eastern Ceylo n

a nd t reat ed it with special si nific a nce owing t o the connec t io ns

o f the chief o f T rinc omalee with the t emple o f ��e§varam.

Simila rly , s ome o f the statements in the Vaiya , Vaiyapatal

a nd the Ul:Pp�a- vaipava-mal i regarding the settlement of the

Vanaiyars a nd other castes may be acc epted. The list o f fo rt i­

ficatio ns est ablished by � ha�s soldiers c learly indic ate

their c o nt ro l o f the areas which lat er became the Tamil Vanni

ist rict . Many o f the new Tamil s ettl.ement s ites mentioned

in the V iya and the Vaiyap-t al are t o be loc ated in the ist ricts

mentio ned i n the Sinhale e sourc es as the areas where ��ha ' s
Kerala and Tamil soldiers had established fortific ations.
Mujl,iyavalai, Ka:i;,.ukke;.i, Tauikkal, Vau�ppa+ai and KaruvattukkeQ.i
are in the Kurundl region. Kilakkumalai and Nocc�ttai are in
the Pad! region. Tiriyay and Kattu.kku+am Pattu ar e in the
Kakalaya-Kavu9,avulu r egions. Tiru-k�9-ama1ai, Veruka.1, Tampalakama111.
and Kottiyaram are in the Go0,a-Kotihasara regions . These areas
form a major part of the Vanni districts where, according to
the Yalpp�a-vaipava-malai, Ku+akk�ttaa settled Vam1iyars.
If we discount the details provided in the Vaiya and the
Vaiyapat al, which we are in no position to confirm except to
say that the settler-castes enumerated in these works were
FQhably found in those places in later times! we may not be
wrong in concluding that several parts of the Vanni districts,
especially those along the north-eastern coast from Kurundi in
the north to Kotthasara in the south, were occupied by the soldiers
or �ha and his associates. These soldiers established forti­
fications in these places and settled there. Their 1eaders
probably invited more settlers from among their kith and kin
on the main1and . The Van_Jliyars, Mukkuvas and other mercenary
leaders appear to have become chieftains of these nev settlements.
Presumably they were appointed by 1-mgha and his associates.

1 . J.P . Lewis, A Manual of the anni Di tricts, pp. ro - ,,.

Probably Ku+akkottan and poss ibly PU lla Va.uiya� were among
these associates. We know from the Sinhalese sources that
Jayabahu was definitely one of them. All the settlements
described in the Vaiya and the Vaiyapat al may not have been
es tablis hed in the thirteenth century. The process of settlement
which began in that century probably lasted till the fourteenth
century. However, among the ma.in settlemntss established in the
first half of the thirteenth century were those along the north­
eastern coast, namely in Kurund� (Kurunta_a1Ir) , Kakala1a (Kokki+�Y)
Kavucjavu+u (Ka�C,-ukkutam Pattu) , Pad� (Padaviya) , Go9-a (Trincomalee)
and Kotthas ara (Kot tiyaram) . Tamils had begun to settle in
most of these places in the eleventh century.1 The new immigrants
would have helped to s trengthen the older settlements and to
establish the semi-independent Tamil chieftaincies.
This much could be gleaned from the literary s ources.
The archaeological and place-name materials not only confirm
this as far as the Tamil s ettlements are concerned but also
point to the sudden occupation of the major part of the Namiar
and Vavuniya districts by Tamils. The majority of the place names
in these dis tricts are Tamil - a feature which is in contrast
with the place names of Jaffna. The number of Tamilised

1. See supra, �- lj •
Sinhalese names is very small. These names are mainly confined
to the coas tal regions where peaceful penetration of Tamil
settlers had begun earlier than the thirteenth century and,
therefore� the retention of Sinhalese elements in the place
names could be explained. In the Vavuniya district, for ins tance ,
nearly eighty-two per cent are in Tamil. Three percent are
Tamilised forms of Sinhales e names . About four per cent are
Tamil-Sinhales e compounds. Less than two per cent are Sinha-
les e names. Nearly nine per cent are of doubtful origin, where
the constituent elements in the majority of the cases are common
to both Sinhalese and Tamil. Less than one per cent of the names
have the elements �ikkan and pulavu indicating Kera+a
association. The remarkable feature of the place names of
the Vanni dis tricts is the large number with the final element
kufam, meaning tank or reservoir. In the Vavuniya district,
for ins tance, nearly sixty-three per cent of the names end in
kufam: This may mean that by far the majority of the small

1. The percentages refer only to village names. These have been

calculated on the basis of the list of village names found in
the following works : a) azetteer No. 49: Ceylon, Official
Standard Names A proved by the U. S. Board on Geographie Names,
Office of Geo raphy, Dept. of the Interior, washin ton, D. c . , 1960f
b) J . P. Lewis, Manual of the Vanni istricts, �• cit. , t r · '� -1, .
settle ents of Dravidians that spread over the major part of
� arqtha after the fall of Polonnaruva originated as peasant
settle ents around the many tanks that were built during the
time of the Sllnhalese rulers. It also seems to indicate the
original home of many of the new settlers in these areas, for
the element .!8!+am is more common in the place names of KeraJa
than in those of the Tamil country. In fact a large number of
the names with the element 18!1.!!! occurring in Ceylon are to be
l This may su gest that several of the
found in Kera.la as well.
newwsettlers in the Vanni regions hailed from Kera+a• The Sinha ­
lese sources, as we have seen, repeatedly state that the Keraj.a
soldiers of Magha played a prominent part in the confiscation
of lands and the establishment of settlements. The Tamil

Kollakulam, Mai\kulam, etc. There are also other names,

without the element �t�, which are common to both regions.
A comparative study of the place-names of Kerala and the
Northern and North-central Provinces is likely to yield
much interesting information rel ting to Kerala settlements
in Ceylon.
chronicles, too, mention Malaiyalam or Malaiyakam (Kera.la)
among t he places from which sett lers went t o t he island�
Ma.ru.AkUr, in Keraia, is mentioned in t he Vaiya, Vaiyapatal,
!£�ecar-kalvet t� and t he T iri-�cal .-pur!!Jam as t he home of
some of t he settlers in t he Vanni districts� The t radition
t hat t hey came from Ma.runk'IIr was current among t he Vanaiyars
even in t he nineteent h century. J. PU.ewis records t his t radition
in t he followin manner: -
The Tamil V�niyas are descendant s o! Vap_ni chiefs.
The local e xplanation of t he origin of t his cas t e is
t hat they are descendant s of t he chiefs (Palaya a��us)
who ea e over from Murunk�r in India, and became rulers
of t he Vaa_i. 3
The na e J urwUdir is evident ly a corruption o! Yiarwik:tir.
Furt her, t he Mukkuva mercenaries who figure prominent ly in
t he MattakkafaPpu-Illall iyam a ong t he soldiers of Magha were
from Kerala, as we shall see present ly.
Apart from t he indication t hat t he place name s
provide about t he original home of t he new settlers, t he
absence of Sinhalese element s in t he majorit y of t he names
may mean t hat the occu ation of t he Vanni regions of nort he rn

1. See upra, p--J. 2. , o ·

2 . See upra, f• 2- 1 0 •
3. J. P.Le wis, ¥,anual or the Van i Di t rict s, p. 7.
C eylon by the Dravidians was not as peaceful as it a ears to
have been in the case of the Jaffna peninsula. In these res ects
the pl ce na es of the Vanni areas preserve valuable information
that may well o a long w� in confirming the statem nts in the
Sinhalese sources that Magha's army consited of many Kerai as,
that these mercenaries occupied several villages and were settled
here and there in Rajarattha and that their occupation was
far from peaceful. T he caution that we have to exercise in the
use of to onymic materials which still await a proper examination
prevents us from drawing any definite conclusions. But it should
be stated that the evidence of these names and that of the
literary sources point in the same direction.
The archaeolo ical material, thou h disappointingly
small, also seems to confirm some of the above points. In the
Tamil Vanni districts only a few Dravidian-style Saiva temples
of the thirteenth century have been foun , Among these the
temples at Tirukk�vil 1 Kapuralla, and Nallatav.�i-11:akkam and the
Saiva remains at Uruttirapuram and KuruntanUr are notable!
These certainly indicate the existence of Tamil settlements
in those places in the thirteenth century. But monumental

1. S. Paranavitana, 'Archaeolo ical Summary', C . J.Sc. II, p.160-1 1 1

5 _.C .A_.__.....,.f_o_r__l�9�
......,. , P• 19 ; A. S.C. A.R. for 1907, P• 27 ;
3 3�
A.S . C . A • • for 195 1 p. O.
remains ot a different type attest to the destruction wrou ht
by the invaders and the conversion of Buddhist institutions
into places of Saiva worship, effected by the new settlers,
thus confirming thee of the statements in the Sinhalese sources.
The many scattered ruins of Bud hist monateries and temples all
over the Vanni region preserve the memory ot the Sinhalese
Buddhist settlements that once covere these parts. Several of
the pilimages ( image houses) attached to monasteries in places
like Kovilkadu, �+ikai, ?5mantai, Kanakarayau-ku+am, Iracentirau­
kuiam , CiwiappUvaracanku+am and ¥a4ukanda were converted into
Saiva temples, often dedicated to G8.\).e6a: Bud ha images or
inscribed slabs from the Buddhist struc tures were used to make
the Ga�e§a statues� A number of small Saiva shrines have been
found in association with Buddhist remains� The destruction of
several of the Buddhist edifices and the conversion of pilimages
into Saiva temples may have begun in the time of >�ha. In the
North-central Province, too, we find evidence of such activities.
On the Minn�riya Road, close to Polonnaruva, were discovered a
few Saiva edifices which were built of materials from Buddhist

1. J.P.L.ewis, Manual of the Vanni istric ts, pp. 297, 30 -3 6, 311.

2• .!ill• , PP• 297, 303, 306.
3 . �-
structures: A door-jamb from one of the �aiva shrines there was
found to bear part of an inscription of Parakramabahu I� A broken
pillar shait with Sinhalese writing of the tenth c entury was
recovered from the enclosing wall of 4Ulether shrine: In one of
the Vii�u temples of Polonnaruva, fragments of Niliaftka l1alla' s
stone inscriptions were found� In the same place , two fragments
of a broken pillar with Sinhalese writing of about the tenth
century served as steps to one of the Vai��ava shrines� A p illar
in the ma�4apa of Siva Devale No.5 at Polonnaruva as discmvered
with a Sinhalese inscription of the eleventh century on it� In
Siva Deval� No.7 a square stone �sana with an inscription of
Ni��anka. Malla was used as a base for a li�ga? Another of the
Saiva shrine s unearthed at Polonnaruva yielded a pillar with
a Sinhalese inscription of Jayabahu I.8 These examples leave us
in no doubt that materials from Buddhist structures were used
in the building of Saiva and Vai§�ava temples. The date of most

1. A . • C .A . . for 19 2, PP • 7-13.
2. �- , P• 7 .
3. P• 11.
A.S.C . A. . for 19 8, P • 9 .
5 . A .S.C .A . . for 19 7, P • 8.
6. Ibid. , P • 5 .
7. A • • C . A. . for 19 ' P • 11.
8. A. . . A . R. for 19,24, P• 16.
of the inscriptions found on the pillars and slabs is the twelfth
century. The date of the construction of these Saiva and Vai��ava
shrines is cert inly later than that. It is not possible to
surmise that these were built before 1212 1 when Buddhist rulers
were on the thorne. Nor is it possible to date them after �mgha
was ousted from Polonnaruva, for with that ev�nt this city
appears to have been abandoned by the KaliAgas, Tamils and
Keralas altho� it is possible that some of the settlers
continued to be there even after that. In all probability the
destruction of Buddhist edifices and the construction of several
at least of the � aiva and Vai��ava shrines took place in the
time of Magha. In fact, this is the testimon1 of the Sinhalese
and Tamil chronic les, too. In the light of the examples at
Polonnaruva we may not be wrong in surmising that some at least
of the Saiva shrines found in association with Buddhi t remains
in the Vavuniya district were the work of the inTaders and
new settlers in the time of }- ha. It is possible that some
were built of materials from an abandoned or ruined Buddhist
structure at a later date. Some may have been converted into
Saiva temples at a time when the Buddhist po ulation of the area
ceased to exist due to either slow mi ration or ass imilation

1. See SU ra, p,. 1 n-1..11

to the Tamil population, as in Jaffna.l The absence of Sinh lese
lements in the names of many of the laces where such temples
have been found, which speaks against a lon survival of the
Sinhalese o ulation in tho e places, may preclu e t e last
possibilityin most of the cases. However, to some extent at
least, the archaeological evidence may be said to confirm the
information in the Sinhalese sources ab ut the occu ation of the
Tamil knd KeraJa mercenaries in the time of M agha.
The main sequence of events that emerges from the
different types of evidence that we have discussed may be
summarised now. Till about the tenth century A.D. the Vanni
regions of Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Mullait�vu and Batticaloa were
almost entirely populated by Sinhalese. By about the beginning
of the elventh century Tamil settlements were established
along the eastern coast nei hbouring Vavuniya district. In
the twelfth century there were notable Tamil settlements in the
area from Kurund� (Kurunta,aUr) in the north to Trinco lee in
the south as far west as Padaviya and Kantalay. These were,
however, scattered settlements. In the thirteenth century,
with the invasion of Magha, T mil and Kera+a mercenaries occupied
several parts of these istricts, particularly alon the eastern

1. See upra, •
coast. VB.W1iY rs and Mukkuvas a ear t o have been p rominent

a o ng these mercenaries. There seems t o have been a visible

dislodgement o f the Sinhalese po ulatio n f rom the Vavuniya and

� ullait�vu dist ricts f rom this time. Some uddhist st ructures

were probably dest royed a nd Saiva temples built in their places.

The co nquered pa rts o f no rther n and easter n Ceylo n were probably

co nt rolled by mercenary leaders. P resumably they were appointed

as chiefs by Ma ha and his associates. These principalities were

t he Vanni chieftaincies which later owed allegiance t o either

the S inhalese ruler in the south o r the Tamil king of Jaffna.

Thes e Vanni chiefs appear t o have invited set t lers f rom South

I ndia and st rengthened the Kera.la and Tamil elements in the

local populat io n. This p rocess of sett lement may have gone o n

well into the fou rteenth century.

I n thes e Vanni dist ricts , the areas of Dravidia n

s et t lement in the thirteenth century seem t o have been mainly

co nfined to the Vavuniya , Mullait�vu and T rincomalee dist ricts.

Neither the ch ro nicles of Jaff na no r the �.at takkalappu-manmiyam

refer to extensiwe Tamil-Kera+a sett lements in the Batt icaloa

dist rict o r in the Magar dist rict in the thirteenth century .

As we have s een earlier , there were a few �la st ro n holds in

the Batticaloa dist rict in the eleventh century . Amo ng these

1 . See supra , p . � � •
36 1
Chaggama. (S�mam) finds mention in the ClilaJr�.,..!•1 The others

are nmt named. No inscription in Tamil belonging to the �la

period or, for that matter, to the twelfth century, has been
discovered here. Of the fortifications set up by the soldiers
o f Nagha and Jayabahu, none is to be locate d in the Batticaloa

district. There are at least two of these fortifications which

have not been identified, namely Pulacceri and Debara atan,
and possibly these are to be lov ated in the Batticaloa region.
A Siva temple in the ��ya style of architecture has b een
at Tirukk�vil, a few miles from Sala!mam. On grounds of style
this temple has been dated to the thirteenth century. In the
traditions preserved in the ¥.ia�t�tappu-man,miyam this
temple is associated with Magha� Probably it was built in the
reign of this ruler. There is another Siva temple at Ka uralla
datable to about the same period. Except for these, no s ignificant
archaeological materials or inscriptions indicating Dravidian
settlements in the Batticaloa district in the thirte nth century
have been found. All the Tamil inscriptions of the Batticaloa

1. See supra, P• �1 •

2. S. Paranavitana , 'Archaeolo ical Summary, ' C.J.Sc. (G ) , II,

PP • 160-161.

3 . a,e e ,nHil!'e.9 P•

4. A.S.C.A• • for 1933 , P• 19.

area are of a later date. The place names here are largely
Tamilised forms of earlier Sinhalese names, as in Jaffna. But
unlike in the latter place• the earlier forms are readily
recognizable in these names. This seems to indicate the relatively
late date when the Tamilisation occurred. It would appear that
the Batticaloa district was not extensively settled by Dravidians
in the thirteenth century although Magha's mercenaries seem to
have occupied the area and become its chieftains. Extensive
Dravidian settlements here were probably established after the
thirteenth century.

prominently among the mercenaries who were given chieftaincies

in Batticaloa by Magha.1 The Mukkuvas are an influential and
strong caste among the Tamils of Battiealoa in the present day.
Members of the Mukkuva caste are also found in the Jaffna, Vavuniya,
Mullait�•u, MaWl'ar and Puttal- districts • .An analysis of the
social organization and legal institutions of this caste has
shown that there exists a close affinity between these }hJ.kkuvas
and the Keralas of South India. The Mukkuva law, which forms a
separate code in the traditional law of the Tamils of Ceylon,
is largely based on the Marumakkattayam law of the Kera+ s.

l. See supra, P • 1 �� •
2. Cf. , H• •Thambiah, The Laws and ustoms of the Tamils of Jaffna,
PP• 8-12 ; _ C.Brito, Mukkuva Law, Colombo, 1872.
The Kerala origin of this cas te is further c onfirmed by the fact
that the only area in South India where we find the Mukkuva
c aste now is the Malayalam-speaki ng westoral littoral.1 The name
Mukkuva, too, is of Ma.layafam origin, as we shall see in the
sequel. Acc ording to some traditions in Kera.la, the Mukkuvas,
like the Tlyars and �+avars of Kera+a, originated immi grated there
from Ceylon.2 But there are some other traditions whic h c laim
that the Mukkuvas are the only indigenous people of Kerafa�
The Mukkuvas , being a fishing c aste, may have maintained
c lose and c ontinuous c ont c ts with the c oastal areas of Ceylon
and this may have given rJ.S e to a tradition in later times
that they migrated from Ceylon. The traditions among the
Mukkuvas of Ceylon regarding their and date of their migration
are rather late and are clouded by attempts to enhanc e their
social position among the Tamils. One of these is the attempt
to relate their anc estry to Kuga, the ferryman who ap ears in
the Ra.may�.! as a friend of Irama. This is bas ed on the final
syllable of the name Mukkukar C a variant of Mukkuvar), namely

1. C .A.Menon, Cochin Stat e Manual, (1911), p. 104;

J.Sturrock, Manual of South Canara, (1894), p . 169-170.
2. C.A.Menon, .21!.• ill • , p. 204.
• L.¥.110ore, Ma.la bar Law an Custom, p. 1.
kukar (equated with Kukau = Skt. Kuga). Such attempts at claiming
descent from personalities appearing in the epics are co on
among some castes of South India and Ceylon.
The name Mukkuvar is to be derived from the
Malayal,am ill:ukkuka, •to dive• (Tamil �l.uku) Malayalam mulukuka >
mukkuka)� Mukkukan literally means a diver� Probably the
Mukkuvar were a caste pearl-divers who later took to fishing.
Some of the early foreign notices of this community confirm
their maritime profession. The Italianatraveller Varthema (1510)
and the Portuguese writers Correa (1525) and Barros (1552)
refer to the Mukkuvar of Kera+a as fishermen� But it appears
that sometimes the term mukkuvar had a general application

l. S.Caaie Chetty, Manual of the Puttalam District, p.24.

2. See supra, P• I 10 , the example of the Kurukulas who claim
descent from the Kurus of the Mahabharata.
3• • urrow and M.B.Emeneau, Dravidian Ety ologic 1 Dictionary, (1961),

PP• 337-338.
4. £.!., H.Yule,and A.C. urnell, Hobson-Jobson, London 1903, p. 592.
5. L.Varthema, The Travels of Varthema, Tr. T.W.Jones, (1863), p.142,
'The fourth class are called Y�chua, and these are fishermen•;
E.J.Stanley, Thre Voyages of Vasco a Gama and is Viceroyalty,
f_ _r_o __t_he
_ _L_e_n_a_s___ I_ n;.....;;i;.._...o...f___s_.p_ar�_c...o...r...r...e�a , (1869), p. .
'Macuas which are fishermen'; J. de Barros, 'Decadas de Asia, etc.,
Lisbon 1778 : ' ucuaria, a fisherman's village', quoted in
Hobson-Jebsoh, �• :!!•, P• 592.
meanin mariners or boatmen. As a sea-faring community they were
considered to be a low caste.

There is little reliable information in our sources

regarding the mignation of the Mukkuvar from South India. They

do not find mention in our sources before the thirteenth century.

The earliest known reference is in the Dambade�i-asna, where

the Mukkuva mercenaries of the time of Parakramabahu II are

mentioned� The next references to them are to be found in a

number of Sinhalese and Tamil works of later times. The most

important among these are the Mukkaru-hat™, Vanni-upata,

Ra;java+i-kathava and the U�arata-vitti and the iamil chronicles

of Jaffna and Batticaloa. In the Sinhalese works, there is an

account of an invasion by a people called the Kaka Mukkaru,

identifiable with the Mukkuvar, in the time of Bhatika Tissa

(140-164)� According to this account, Kaka. Mukkara was a Tamil

1. Pyrard de Laval, Discours du Voyage des Francai� awe Indes

0rientales, I, (1887), p. 314; 'These mariners are called Moucois•,

2. A.T.Pringle, The iary and Consultation Book of the Agent,

Governor an Council of Fort St.George, Ist Series, III, p. 131:

'Maquas or boatmen•.

2. Mahuan (A.D.1409): 'The 1.aikkuvas, the lowest and poorest of all',

quoted b� V.Nagam Aiya, Travancore State lianual, I, (1906), p.280.

3. Dai a e�i-asna, P• 4.
4. g., Vanni-upata, (Colo bo Y�seum �.18.lluscript), p. 15.
who , with his chief Na+a Mudali� and a host of Tamils,
appropriated the territory between the Kala Oya and the Ma Oya.
These Tamils are also called the Kaka Mu.kkara. The above area

was peopled by Tamils, chief among whom were the )ukkuvar, in

the time of Portuguese r•le. The account of the invasion of the
Kaka Mukkaru is not found in any of the earlier Sinhalese
chronicles. It appears to have been based on a later event
connected with the settlement of the Nukkuvar in the north­
western coast. In the Yalppa�a-vaipava-malai, 'the fishers called
Mukkukar' are stated to have been settled in the ports and
coastal regions (karai-tu�aikal) of the Jaffna peninsula in the
time of Pa�gu (433-438). On account of their disrespect for
and defilement of §aiva temples, it is said, they were punished
by P��u and driven away to Batticaloa where they settled in
places likePPanakai (�am.a) and Valaiyi�avu: Ucu.ma.ii and �ntq
are mentioned as two of the Mukkuva chiefs who were punished in
this manner and who later established Nu.kkuva settlements in
Batticaloa. It is also stated that the places Ucuman-tUt:,ai
and Centq-kalam in Jaffna were two of the �.IUkkuva settlements
that were abandoned.2 This story in the ,!_alp@a-vaipava-mal i
has certain similarities with the story of two Mukkuva chiefs

1. Yvm., PP• 9-10.

2. �•t P• 10.
narrated in the Vaiya and the Vaiyapaia1. According to this
story, a P-a_v�ya ruler, desirous of obtaining a �a dia.mong
from Ceylon for the anklet of Ka..Q.�aki (!!.£), the heroilD.e of
the epic Cilappatikaram, sent a chief of the Karaiyar community
called Mtkaman to Ceylon. The latter defeated two Mukkmva chiefs,
Vefi-arac&.A and Mtri-aracaJl, and obtained the Naga diamond.
The defeated Mukkuva chief went to Batticalo�'and
settled there
while the other chief settled in Vitattal-t�vu, also ilD. the
Batticaloa district: The account in the lll.I?I?!�a-vaipava-�lai
is apparently a later fabrication based am the story in the
other two chronicles. The author of the Ya�a-vaipav -malai
has carefully discarded the story of the ��a ruler �btaining
a diamon� for the anklet of Ka.Q.�aki, an obvious contradiction
with the account in the Cilappati�aram. Instead of the JPao.�pa
ruler and Mfkarnaa, he has introduced the Ceylonese ruler Pa.t1�u
into his story. In place of Veti-aracan and M!ra-araca,n, the
two pirates whose memory is still preserved in the fol.k tradition
of Delft, Puttalam and Batticaloa, he has introduced two other
Mukkuva chiefs called Ucumaa2 and Centa,a. These two characters,
as Gnanapragasar has su ested, are probably creations of
folk-etymolo ists based on the place names Ucwnu-tu�ai and

1• .Yl?.•, vv.53-55.
2. Ucumaa seems to be a Tamilised form of the !'J.Uslim name Usman
and ma:y be associated with Muslim tra ers at this port, i.e.
Ucuma.l-tu.:ai (Port of Ucumaa).
Centau-kaJ.am. Further!il the !!lPP�a-v ipava-malai states that
it was PB.\l�u•s queen who sent troops to prevent Kula.k:k:2Sftau
:f'rom building a temple at ��e§varam� But the �rincoma1ee
cheonicles have it that lfakacavuntari, who later married
Ku+akkoftq, was the queen who attempted to prevent the work o:f'
Kulakkottan at Trincoma1ee� Presumably the author of the lllPpapa­
vaipava-malai was drawing from several. sources when f bricating
the story of the Mukkuva settlements in Jaffna and Batticaloa.
This account has little claim on our confidence. The account
in the Vai:y- and the Vai:yapa�al is clearly based on the popular
tradition about the Mukkuva pirate Mtra.-araca.a, sometimes known
as Veti-aracau, and is probably related to a later period.
In the Ma�takkalappu-manmiyam , the Mukkuvar are
referred as those of the Kuka !9:!,!!, the origin of which tradition
4 �y
we have alre dy explained. ea: id:e•re said to have been military
leaders under Magha. Their place of ori in is given as Dlikattam,
which may be a distorted form of �ltltlaStu (Calicut) in Kerala•
This tradition seems to preserve some ilement of truth in it,
for in the thirteenth century we hear from other sources of the

1. S.Gnanapragasar, !!lPp;t} -vaipava-k.aumiVEE',,!!!,

y;.. ....,.G"'-t'\-
p. .5.
2. !!.,_. , P• 10.
3. !I?_., 'TirukkulankaQfa Patalam', v.2 ff.

4. 999 supra I p
-IV\M. 1f·IO\f-
presence of l1ukkuva mercenaries in Ceylon: The Mukkuvas being
Keralas were probably among the Kerala mercenaries of 1-mg�a.
As we have already suggested, this tradition may well be accepted
as true.
There are also other traditions among the Mukkuvas
of Ceylon regarding their migration from India. There is one
recorded by Casie Chetty about the Mukkuva settlement under
Vefi-aracau� This relates to the western and will be discussed
later. Veti-aracau may have been a historical personality
whose memory has been perpetuated in the folk traditions of the
Mukkuvas: He probably belonged to a period later than the
thriteenth century.
From the foregoing discussion it ap ears that the
}1Ukkuva settlement of Batticaloa began in the thirteenth century.
Other Kera+a and Tamil mercenaries of fflgha and other invaders
may also have settled there at this time. But it does not appear
that the Batti•alo•�istrict had extensive Dravidian settlements
before the fourteenth century. Probably widespread settlements
of Tamils and Kera+as in this district took place in the fourteenth

1. Daffibade�i-asn , P• 4.

2. See infra, p. �.81> IS.Casie Chetty, Ceylon Gazetteer, p. 278.

3. S.Gnanapragasar, Yal.Ppap -vaipava-vimarcan.!:!!!, P• 4.
and fifteenth centuries, when for the first time Tamil inscriptions
become available there.
There is a dearth of evidemce regarding the Dravidian
settlements on the western coast in the thirteenth century. The
Tamil-speaking region from Y.IB.IW,ar in the north to Chilaw in
the south has no independent chronicle similar to those of
Jaffna, Battica1oa and Trincomalee. The ancient temples of
Tiru-ket�§varam and MuGe§varam on this coast do not seem to
have possessed any early chronilce or pur��• The Mum1e6varam
temple has a chronicle entitled �e§vara-maumiyam which is
of recent origin� Some of the earlier sections of this work are
based on the traditions of the ��e§varam temple. Although no
formal chronicle of events has been preserved in this region,
there are still folk traditions concerning the Kera+a and Tamil
settlements there. Some of these have been collected and recorded
by British civil servants in the nineteenth century! As in the
case of most folk traditions, these lack a pro �r chronology.
This has resulted in a confusion early and later traditions.
and it is difficult to extricate the genuine traditions from

J. F.Modder, A Manual of the Puttalam District, Colombo ;

F.Modder, azetteer of the Puttalam District, Colombo 1908;
S.Casie Chetty, Ceylon Gazetteer, Colombo, 1834.
the rest. Consequently we are not in a position to reconstruct
a satisfactory account of the Dravidian settlements on the western
littoral in the thirteenth century.
The island of Man_llar and the coastal distr�cts of
Mantai and Puttalam were formed into Vanni chieftaincies in the
time of the Jaffna kings. These owed allegiance to the rulers
of Jaffna. According to Queyroz, Putela� (Puttalam) and Mantota
(Mato{a or Mantai) were two of the kinglets into which the
territories outside the �tt� kin dom were divide4 at tme
beginning of the �t'te period (beginning of the fifteenth century)�
He mentions Puttalam among the smaller principalities rtl.l.ed by
the VaneAz (Va.m.iyars)� in the sixteenth century� This is
confirmed by a copper sannasa of Bhuvanekabahu VII dated in
the Saka year 1469 (A.D. 1547) according to which a Mu.kkuva
chieftain called Navaratna Vanni� was ruling in the Puttalam
region with his residence at Lunuvila� He owed allegiance to
the ruler at �ft'e and not to the ruler of Jaffna. However, it
appears that it was generally considered that on the western
coast Chille (Chilaw) was the southern-most point of the 'lands
of the Vani (Vanni , which belong to the Kingdom of Jafa.napata�•

1. F. de Queyroz, The Temporal an Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon,

Tr. S.G.Perera, I, (1930), P• 32.
2. �-

3. Casie Chetty, Ceylon Gazetteer, PP• 190-191.

(Jaffnapatam, now Jaffna): In the Portuguese period, 'from

Nigumbo [Negomb� to Jaf anapatal5 they speak the Tamil language

better •. To this day this holds good to some extent. There are
still Tamil speakers in Chilaw and Negombo, many of whom also
speak Sinhalese.
As we have already seen , the settle ent of the
Dravidians on the western coast began at a very early 4ate!
There were sporadic settlements at places like Pomparippu
and Mahatittha before the Ci5la conquest. Tamil inscriptions
attest to the settlement at Mahatittha in the eleventh century.
Inscriptions of the twelfth century reveal the existence of
Tamil settlements in the region bordering on the Puttalam
district� But there is not sufficient evidence to warrant the
conclusion that the whole of the western coast from Mauar
to Chilaw was settled by Tamils or Kera+as by about the twelfth
In the thirteenth century, the soldiers of Magha
and Jayabahu are stated to have set up fortifications in
Mbama.tta, Ma.nnara,and Y.iahatittha� According to the Ma,ttakkal�-

1. F. de Queyroz, .21?.• ill•, P• 47.

2. �•, P• 46.
3. See su:12ra, PP-it-� lf ·
4. See su:12ra, f 1.1\-

5. See su:12ra, P• '3ftt

!f!nmiyam, the Kalilga ruler (!mgha) gave the principality of

���u (�ar) to 'those who bore the flag of the Tiru-ku1a

vammicam' (Kurukula 2,!!>• As in the other parts of northern
Ceylon, �Mgha and his associates probably created chieftaincies
in the Mao� district, too. The Kurukulas who are the leading
caste in this region were probably among the Tamils who settled
there in the thirteenth sentury.
As mentioned earlier, some Sinhalese works of
later times and traditions of the Puttalam district refer to
the establishment of Mukkuva settlements on the western
littoral. According to the Sinhalese worp, the area between
the Kal�ya and the >mpya was occupied by the Kaka Mukkara
(Mukkuvar) in the time of Bhatika Tissa� As we have pointed out,
• it is unlikely that the Mnkkuva settlement on this coast
originated at such an early date. The Sinhalese works seem to
refer to a later event. A tradition recorded by aasie Chetty
seems to preserve a germ of truth regarding a Mukkuva settle­
ment in the Puttalam district. It runs as follows: -

1• .!!!•, P• 75.
2. See upra, P• �,t.
When the coast of Ma.labar was overrun by the Muhammadans
from Arabia, the natives were persecuted, with the view
of causing them to embrace the doctrines of the Koran;
in order to avoid which the Mukwas transported themselTes
to Ceylon, and established their residence in the
Ma.labar Provinces frami1 province� •
It appears that the place where the Makwas first
landed was Kudrama.lai, whence they emigrated to other
parts of the Island, and in course of time formed several
settlements. Some time after the arrival of the Mukwas
in the District [Puttalam1, their chieftain named Vedi
Arasan, had to contend with a rival called Manikka
Taleivan Ma�ikka Talaivaul, who then resided over the
people, denominated Karai� (Kurukul <, and possessed
a settlement on the south side of the istrict. Manikka
Taleivan despatched some of his officers to Vedi Arasan
for the purpose of soliciting his daughter in marriage,
but, meeting with a refusal, he collected a considerable
body of armed men and declared war against the Mukwas,
threatening their total destruction. As the Mukwas were
at that time a weak and defenceless people, they
concerted with a crew of an Arab vessel which was then
at anchor at Kudramalai, and with their assistance
slew the rival chieftain and put all his troops to
flight. In turn for the service rendered them by the
Arabs, the whole of the Mukwas embraced the Muhammadan
religion which many of their descendants renounced in
favour of Christianity, through the influence of the
Portuguese. After the defeat of the Karaiyars, the
Mukwas determined to send an embassy to the court of
the emperor in order to ingratiate themselves into his
favour. They accordingly made choice of certain individuals
for the purpose and despatched them to Sitawaka with
many costly presents. When these delegates reached the
capital and presented themselves to the emperor, he
reseived them with uncommon kindness, and granted them
several copper sannasas or receipts, whereby the land in
the whole District of Futtalamaand Kalpentyn were allotted
to them for their maintenanve as paraveni • • • • • • • • • • • •
Besides the assignment of land, the emperor constituted
a royal tribunal at Puttalam called Mutrakudam, and
appointed ei hteen of the Mukwas to be members of the
same, under the authority of a Dissawa or Pro-Consu1, who
was to be annually sent from the court; and also conferred on
the said members the title of Vanniya, • • • • • • 1

1. S.Casie Chetty, Ceylon Gazetteer, p. 278.

This tradition seems to refer to a �'ukkuva settlement of the KlSt�
period (1415-1505). It ap ears that the Mukkuvar had to contend
with the Kurukulas who were settled along the Puttalam-Chilaw
coast in that period. The Vanni chieftaincies of the Mukkuvar in
the western coast probably originated in the KlSy� period. The
Sinhalese ralers of iasfte seem to have been acknowledged by them
as their overlords, although sometimes the Jaffna rulers, too,
seem to have claimed suzerainty over them. The ias�fe rulers
appear to have assigned lands as parave�,! to the Mukkuvar in the
Puttalam district. We know of at least one instance when a �tte
ruler, Bhuvaneljabahu VII, granted the region of Pomparippu to
the Mukkuva chieftain Navaratna Vanniya as his parave�! in 1547�
The reference to the Muslim invasion of Kera+a and the subsequent
migration of the Mukkuvas from there may preserve the memory of
an earlier wave of Mukkuva mi ration in the fourteenth century
when the Muslims invaded South India. It is not known whether
the Mukkuva migration to the western coast of Ceylon had begun
earlier than the fourteenth century. In the thirteenth century
the invasion of Magha seems to have led to the occupation of
this part of Ceylon, too, by South Indian mercenaries. It is
stated in the CUlav�a th t Dami+ warriors dwelt as they

1. See supra, p. 377 .•

pleased in sin le villages in Mayara}tha and that Vijayabahu III
drove them a ay from there: The Puttalam-Chilaw region, which
formed part of Mayarart1ia, was under the direct rule of the
Sinhalese rulers in Da v bade�iya and it is doubtful that there '-lefc.,

Tamil chieftaincies in that region during the thirteenth century.

The place-name evidence in this coastal region
claarly indicates that at one time a large part of the present
Puttalam district was occupied by Tamils. The high percentage
of Tamil names along the coast may mean that there was a
concentration of Tamils there. One of the revenue divisions of
this district still continues to be called Dema+a Hatpattu
( Seven Tamil Divisions) although a large section of this division
is now occupied by Sinhalese speakers. Traditions in this area
preserve the memory of Tamil chiefs having ruled in the
Rajavanni and Kumaravanni Pattus of the Dema+a Hatpattu. This
was probably after the thirteenth century.
The �ru.,e�vara-mawniyam contains a detailed account
of the Tamil settlements established by Ku+��tau in the
region of 1mmie§varam, in the Chilaw district. According to
this account, Ku+akk�tf8.il after having completed the renovation
of the temple of �i,eivaram went to Muye!varam in the Kali

1• ..:!.•, 1: :J-4.

2. S.Casie Chetty, eylon azetteer, P• 86.

year 512 (2590 .c. ) and undertook the renovation of the MumieSvaram
temple. After the completion of this work, the Brahlla.JJ.a Iru�ta
Sivacariyar, his wife Visal�i Ammal and several learn d
Brah�as were invited from the C?Sla country to con uct :the
Kumbhabaileka festival. In order to ensure the continuance of
the various services in the temple, KulaldaSttall decided to
invite settlers from South India. He, therefore, went to places
like Madurai, To:p<J.a�9-alam, Karaikk.al, Tiruccirappa+li,
KUtalUr t �k.1lr, selected people from among the Pirama.J}ar
(Brahrna:pas), Caivar (Saivas), Cettis, vei+a+ar (cultivators),
nra-mufti C�kamar (a class of V,:ra Saivas), Tatar (Va::i.�;o.ava
mendicants)of the sndra caste), Kollar (blacksmiths), Kayar
(braziers), Tatta:t (goldsmiths), Cic,ar (sculptors), Taccar
(carpenters), YalPati (minstrels), EQ.:o-ai-v�iyar (oil mongers),
Akampatiyar (Agampag.i mercenaries or servants of the inner
apartments), Mullai-Matappal-l,iyar, Caruku-Matappa+liyar, Canku­
Matappa+l,iyar1, Ka�1ar {weavers, also temple officia1s and
aoldiers2 ) , Clniyar ( a class of weavers), Ilai-v�iyar (sellers
of betel-leaves), Vi�aku-vetti (wood-cutters), TUtar (me sengers)
Navitar {barbers), V�v-ar {washermen), Timilar {boatmen),
Valaifl.ar {caste of fishers), Varu.v-a Kulattar {those of the Var:pa �),

1. See supra, p. '.lCj � •

2. See supra, p. 11-S ; Travancore Archaeological Series, VI,
pt. 2, P• 116.
Kuyavar (potters), Ma.:avar (Ma£ava tribesmen), Paflar (a low caste),
Kattikkarar (swordsmen) and Pa�aiyar (drummers). These immigrants
were assigned different services in the temple and were granted

lands in the vicinity of the temple for their settlement.and

maintenance. A nobleman from Madurai, named T8.l!,i-���-p1Ipala.A,
was appointed as their chieftain. The lands belonging to the
temple were divided lhnto sixty-four villages. Twelve officials
from among the Cutta Vet+a+ar (Pure Ve+lalas) and the .Akampati
Vella+ar were appointed at Mumie!varam and in ten of the villages,
namely Pampalai (Pambala), Pakala-pirama;a-ta+uvai (Pahala­
brah�a-daluva), Ko�vil (Ko�vila), Tampaka1 (Tallibagala),
Curuvela (Suruvela), Pa++amai (Pa.llama), Takampavai (Debambava),
Ma�tal�ai (Ma;,.�alana), Miuikku+am (Minikkulama) and Ukampitti
(Uhampitiya). The two who were assigned duties at Muml�svaram
were conferred the titles of Cantira-sekara-mutali Pattaiikatti
(Sinh, Patabltlidi) and Pattailltatti �ra+ai (Sinh. Patab�di eral'.a)
while the others were conferred the title of AttukkZra+ i
(Sinh. Atukorala).
The assignment of villages for the settlement of
the different castes was as follows:- a) The Akampati Ve++a+ar
were settled at Elivetti (Elivita), Kakkappa++i (� pa.J.liya),
Ma.Q.avari ( .ian.avari), Karavetti (Karavita), �a.nka:tti (Ga_v.a.nkllte),
Iha.la-pir�a-ta.iuvai ( Iha.la-br�a-da.luva), Mniiki 1 vet tuvau
(Mugunuvatavana), Villattavai (Vilattava), Ma.\ltalauai (��alana),
V'!ra-korapan-ta+uvai {Vira-komban-daluva), Pirap anku+i (Pirappanku+iya),
Ollitta+uvai (Olidaluva)� Marutaflltulam (Maru.danku+ama> an
Tittakkatai {Tittaka�e); b) the virampf\i P�tarams were settled
at Paftariyamillai in Munae6varam; c) the Cic,ac�is were settled
in the southern part of Mum.eivaram; d) the blacksmiths were
settled in Karavetti {Karavifa) and Vankattan,ai (Bangade�iya);
e) the Taccar were settled in Vankattanai (Ba.ngade�iya); f) the
Kawi,ar were settled in Pala.kkuµm (Plllaku+ama> and Calapam (Chilaw);
g) the Me+akarar (drummers) and the Tevatacis {temple dancers)
were settled in Mu!m'e6varam and Chilaw; h) the Kuyavar were
settled in Vatakal Ulai (V fakahagala ?) and MunJ.esvaram;
i) the Cu�a-v�iyar {lime sellers) were settled in Marave+i
{MaraTila); j) the KaikkZ+ar were settled in Chilaw and Munne§varam;
k) the �tarikkarar (wood-cutters) were settled in Pakalakamam
(Pahalagama) and PonDanka�i {Pon.nankanniya); 1) the Timilar
were settled in Timilai (Timilla); m) the C-�ar were settled in
Mao-akkulam; n) the Karuppakkatti.kkarar (jag ery makers) were
settled in IAikotave+i {Inigo�avela); o) the Ca.nldrtis (conch blowers)
were ettle in K.akkap al+i (Kakapal+iya), Iluppata.ni (Iluppade�iya),
Ciy mp lakasve+i (Siy balagasvel ), Karu.kkuli (Karukku.Jiy )

an Tl..kamve+i {Di amv 1 ); p) the M�lai-katti (the arland makers)

were settled in Munne6varam and Timilai ( imilla); q) the V�ar
were settle in Yamkanta+uvai (Mllngandalu1Ca) and CempukkaHi
(Sembukattiya); r)the PB.1:aiyar were settled in V'!rap�tiyau
The above account of the �g,ne�vare�.man ·yam is in
many respects untrustworthy. In the first place, it has fla rantly
incorporated traditions from the Trincomalee chronicles and
claims them as those of the Mun��varam temple. The renovation
of the temple by Kuf�ttau, the invitation of different castes
from South India, the assi nment of different duties to them
and their settlement in several villages surroundin the temple,
the invitation of Taui-uiwa-plI ala.A from Madurai and his
appointment as their chieftain are elements from the Trincomalee
chronicles. Secondly, some other elements h ve been eorrowed
from the Jaffna chronicles. For instance, the invitation of
the Br'n.ma:i;i.a N'!la�ta Sivacariyar, the Brabma9-a la y Vis'alak.1/i
Am.ma+ and other learned Brahma:,as from the C'?Sla country is
found in the Yalppa� -vaipava-malai in connection with the story
of Vij ya� The list of castes and the places from which they
came is very similar to that found in the aiy� and the Vaiyapat_!
in connection with the Dravidian settlements in other arts of
the Vanni� It appears that such pers nalities as Ku+akk�ttaJl
and the Brah�a N'!lakal}ta §1vacariyar have been associated

l. Mub.e�vara-man.miya.m 1 PP• 8-11.

2. !!_., PP• 4,6.

3. See upra, P• 31t�

with MttlUle�varam in order to give it a special sanctity and
antiquity which it lacked in comparison with the temple pf
Kc5�6varam. The appointment of At�r-tas is something based
on later lmowledge. It is in the Sinhalese inscriptions of the
fifteenth century that we first hear of the officials called
Atukorafas: Similarly the account of the settlement of the
different castes in the villages adjoining Mumle�varam seems
to be based on later knowled e. It is difficult to accept this
as authentic. It is possible that South Indian families were
invited to perform services in the temple and were settled
in the lands belonging to the temple. But the Dravidian settle­
ment at Munnesvaram, Chilaw and other nearbp villages may not
be the result of a policy of settlement followed by the temple
authorities. These settlements have to be treated as part of the
Dravidian settlements along the whole coast from Mam.ar to Chilaw.
Thus, we see that neither the Sinhalese traditions
nor the Tamil traditions help us to know anything definite
about the Dravidian settlem nts alon the western coast. The
evidence of place names, though indicating extensive settlements
of Tamils along this coast, does not help us to fix the chronology.
ill that we can say now is that the settlements of Mukkuvar

1. U. C •• • , I, pt. 2, p. 739.
Kurukulas and other South Indians was a process that seems to
have one on for a long period. New bands of immi rants probably
settled down on the western coast in the thirteenth century as
well. As some of the traditions suggest, the invasion of South
India by the l1Usliws probably further migration of Mukkuvar
and Kurukulas in the fDurteenth century. During the Kott�
period there were Tamil Vanni chieftaincies in this region,
some of which were contrmlled by Mukkuvar. The Tamil chieftaincies
of the Puttalam-Chilaw region seem to have owed allegiance to
the Koft"'! rulers, although according to de Queyroz the lands
as far south as Chilaw belonged to the kings of Jaffna. This
coastal region appears to have been a bone of contention
between the Sinhalese and Tamil rulers owing to its im ortance
in the control of the island's pearl fishery. The !_al.Ppay.a­
vaipava-malai refers to the struggle between Ceyav�ra-cinkai
Ariyan, one of the kings of Jaffna, and Bhuvanekabahu, probably
the fourth of that na e, over the control of the pearl banks.1
Another invasio� of Mayarattha, in which was included the
Chilaw region, by the Tamils from the northern part of the island
in the time of Parakramabahu IV (1302-1326) is alluded to in the
Naranb�dda inscription� The Tamil chieftains of the Chilaw-Puttalam

1. !L•, P• 421 S. ParanaTitana, 'The J,rya Kingdom of North Ceylon', p. 22

2. U.C •. C., I, pt. 2 1 P• 634, fn. 74.
region may have been forced to change their alliances from time
to time. In the thirteenth century probably yhere were no Tamil
chieftaincies in the Puttalam district. But probably there were
such chieftaincies in the Ma.an� district, here Miigha and
Jayabahu had established fortifications.
Outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the
Puttalam district, there were Vanni chieftaincies in the North­
central Province in the thirteenth century. This province,
which formed the central part of Rajarattha, was the scene of
much ravage and plunder during the occupation of 1-mgha. As we
have seen earlier, it was this region which was most affected
by the foreign invasions and the consequent drift of the Sinhalese
population to the south-west. The chim of the C,Xlava�a that
Miigha's soldiers seized •illages, fields and houses in Rajarattha
may not be wholly untrue. We have seen that there is some
archaeological evidence in Polonnaruva and Mj_nn�riya which
attest to the destru�tion of Bu dhist establishments and the
building of Saiva shrines by the invaders. We h ve also pointed
out that a good percentage of the place names in this province
is Tamil in origin. Certain traditions of the Nuvarakalaviya
district of thi province indicate the aettl nt of T mil Vanniy s

in that re ion¼ The Tamil an Kera:J.a soldiers of Ma ha as well

1. See upra, P• 3:l� · •

as the mercenaries of the later invaders like Chan rabhanu
probably established settlements in parts of the North-central
Province. The ctilav�_! has references to Sinhalese Vanni rinces
ruling in Raj ratiha in the thirteenth century. Probably there
were also Vanni chieft ins of the Tamils in this area at that
time. It is difficult to determine with t e evidence at our
disposal how extensive or strong the new Dravidian settle ents
were in the thirteenth century. The North-central Province was
lar ely abandoned after the thirteenth century by both Tamils
and Sinhalese and only a few pockets of Tamil and Sinhalese
settl ments seem to have been left. In the thirteenth century
the Dravidians were probably scattered all over the province in
small groups. These settlers have not left behind Tamil inscrip­
tions or Dravidian-style temples. The only evidence of their
settlement is found in the local nomenclature. The disa earance
of the earlier Sinhalese names s eaks both for a sa den and
a violent occupation of the area by the forei ners as well as
for settle ent by Tamils after the total abandonment of the
area by the earli r settlers. Th retention of the Tamil na es
by the resent-day opulation which is largely Sinhalese- eakin ,
shows that the Ta ls, howev r small in number, had continu d
to live in this province till the ti e of the Sinhale e resettlement!

1• • C • . • , I, pt. , PP• 713-714.

The wi es rea occurrence of Tamil pl ce n s sugge ts that
the province w s at one time extensively settled b7 Tamils. This
was certainly not before the thirteenth century when the Norta­
central Province was the heart of the Sinhalese kingdGm. Tamil
settlements on such a wide seal would not have taken lace
long after the thirteenth century wh n this region was ab n oned
to a great extent and was covered with jungle. The Tanm.l
settle ents that were res onsible for many of the new lace
names have to be dated to the thirteenth century. In course of
ti e several of the settlers ap ear to have drifted to the
Tamil kingdom in the north, where there was soon a concentration
of Tamil population. But small groups seem to have lingered on
in the jungle villages�
In the Sinhalese ki�gdom of the south� there is
little evidence of any Dravidian settlem nt in the thirteenth
century. The only evidence relating to the presence of Tamils
is that concerning the mercenaries. Tamil ercenary forces
continued to be in the service of Sinhalese rulers in the
thirteenth century as in earlier times. �h amba e�i-as a refers
to twelve thousand amil soldiers, doubtless an exagg rate
number, who drew their pay from the p- ul chest in the tim
of Parakramabahu I I? �ong them were the Agamp �i forces and
the Svalakkar s. }. B.Ariyapala attempts to relate the?\ t o the

1. vidence of this found in the ad.ministr tion reports of the

Dutch an British erio s.
2• Dam ade9:i-asna, P• '3 •
Cavalaikka.rar, a caste of weavers in the Tinnevelly district�
He also oints out the similarity betwe n the name Sval�a
and the Tamil Cavalakkarar, a class of fishermen or ferrymen�
The Svala.kkarar are not mentioned in the South Indian sources
among the mercenary bodies. Perhaps they were a minor body of
mercenarie . In the fourteenth century, too, there were Tamils
in the army of the Sinhalese �ngs, as is evidenced by the
Ga�alade�i inscription of Bhuvaneka ahu IV {1341-1351)� No
Tamil inscription of the thirteenth century has veen found in
the area covered by the Sinhalese kingdom. But Tamil inscriptions
of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries have been
found in some places there. There is, however, an inscription
written in the Sinhalese and Tamil scripts and datable to the
thirteenth century, found at •..iyankandura in the Kamdehena Tea
Estate at Namunuku.la, Badulla district,. The Tamil script has been

1. M.B.Ariyapapal, ociety in Y�dieval Ceylon, p. 161.

2. �-

3. S.Paranavitana,'Ga�alade;i ock Inscription of bhuvanekab'!bu IV',

�., IV, p. 106.
4. A.S.C.A.R. for 1952, P• 42.
used in the inscription for 'words specialising magical power•.
This is hardly evidence for an1 Tamil settlement in that area.
In the unsettled conditions of the thirteenth century few
Tamil settlers would have found their way into the Sinhalese
kingdom which was at war with the foreign invaders. The only
Tamil settlers there were probably the mercenaries. In the four­
teenth and fifteenth centuries when better conditions prevailed
in the south and new ports were mpened up for foreign trade
the South Indians who were affected by the Muslim invasions
as well as Tamil traders seem to have settled in Ceylon, not
only in the Tamil kingdom but in the ports and towns of the
Sinhalese kingdom as well. This is attested to by the Tamil
inscriptions, Sinhalese literar7 sources and Saiva archaeolo ical
. 2

1. A •• C.A.R. for 1952, p.42.

q. Tamil inscriptions: a) S.Paranavitana� 'The Tamil Inscription
on the Galle Trilingual Slab', (1410), __:.!., III, p.335;
b) In cription from Nayimmana, A.D. 1422, see S •.Paranavitana,
Upulvan emple, Memoirs of the Archaeological urvey of Ceylon, VI,
PP• 71-75; inscriptions from Colo bo, Kalutara and KurunUgala
districts, S.Paranavitan� 'Epigra hical Summary•, C . J.Sc. (G), II,
PP• 189, 191, 212.
Siva te les: a) H.C.P.Bell, Kieialla eport, PP• 63-65;
b) S.Paranavitana� 'Epigra hical Summary•, .J.Sc. (G), II, P• 1911

c) S.Paranavitana, Upulvan Temple,�• ill•, p.75.

Sinhalese literary references to Aiva temples: a) Kmdla Sande�a,
vv�oo, .C.H.C., I, pt.2, pp. 768-769; Paravi ande§a, v. 68,

U.C •• C., I, pt. 2, P• 768; S�lalihini Sande�a, v. 22.

From the foregoing analysis it becomes clear that
the settlements of the thirteenth century mark the most important
stage in the course of the early Dravidian settlements in Ceylon •
From the beginning of tais century for nearly aeeadea decades
,,... .. f.,

a quick succession of foreign invasions, which brought into the

island fresh mercenary forces, led to the establishment of new
Dravidian settlements. The nature of the invasions and of the
settlements that followed was in many ways different from that
of earlier invasions and settlements. While the earlier invasions,
including even the �la invasion of 1017, could be treated as
episodes in the history of the island, the invasions of M!gha,
Chandrabhanu and the PIDJi4yas in the thirteenth century cannot
be dismissed as mere episodes. The settlements of the earlier
periods, though not quite unimpressive, did not result in the
visible dislodgement of the Sinhalese population from any area.
As far as we can see, those were not the result of forcible
occupation of the lands of the Sinhalese. Those early settlers
may have become assimilated to the Sinhalese population in due
course. But it was the events of the thirteenth centul'J' that
prewented such an assimilation in the greater part of aorthern
and eastern Ceylon. The invasion of Mlgha with the help of Ker�a
and Tamil mercenaries was far more Yiolent than the earlier
invasions. Its chief importance lies iD the fact that it led
to the permanent dislodgement of Sinhalese power from northern
Ceylon , the confiscation by Tamils and Keralas of lands and
properties belonging to the Sinhalese and the consequent migration

of the official class and many of the common people\o the south-
western regions. These factors , more than any other , helped the
transformation of northern Ceylon into a region occupied by
Tamil speakers and directly led to the foundation. of a Tamil
kingdom and several. �ami J Vanni chieftainc.ies there . It may
be concluded that in the major part of the thirteenth century
it was the Tamil and Kera.la mercenaries who foun.de.d the new
settlements. These were spread over a good part of Imjaraffha.
Once the kingdom o� Raffna and the Vanni chieftaincies were
founded, it appears that Tamil rulers invited families from
South India for settlement. Towards the end of the thirteenth
and the beginning of the fourteenth century , therefore , a
peaceful migration of s ettlers from the Tamil and Kera+a
countries seem to have taken place. The prominent mention of
Kera+a mercenaries in the Sinhalese and Tamil sources and the
occurrence of Kerafa places among the original ijomes of the
new settlers , as listed in the Tamil chronicles , indicate that
there was a st rong Kerata element in the new population of the
northern districts. This is also revealed by the similarity pr
that exists between the social organizations of the Tamils of
Ceylon and the Malay'!.}.is of Kera+a and the affinity between the
Ma.rumaklratta1am laws of Kera+a, and the Mukkuva and Th1Fsavatamai
laws. The settlement of peaceful migrants seem to have been
confined ma.inly to the northernmost regions of the island.
The difference in character between the settlements in the Jaffna
district and those of the Maim,ar , Vavuniya, Mllllait�vu and
Nuvarakalavi7a districts is not onl7 borne out by the evidence
of the literary sources but is also demonstrated b7 the place­
name evidence. Whereas in the Jaffna district ve come across
a large percentage of place names with Sinhalese elements,
in the local nomenclature of the other districts the Tamil
element is predominant. The former indicates slow and peaceful
penetration of the Tamils and the latter a violent and sudden
occupation. The survival of Sinhalese place names, especially
of Sinhalese territorial names, in Jaffna tells against
a wholesale extermination or displacement of the Sinhalese
living there. At the same time, Tamil names of estates denoting
family settlement which are found scattered acroos the peninsula
remarkabl7 confirm the evidence of Tamil chronicles retarding
the settlement of prominent families from South India by the
early kings of Jaffna. 'l'he settlements of the :t-.orth-central
Province and of the major part of the North-western Province
did not last long and soon there was a concentration of Tamils
in the Northern Province. The Trincomalee district of the
Eastern Province and the Puttalam district of the North-western
fyo,,, ;nc�
J were a1so areas hwere lasting Tamil settlements were established.
Dravidian s ettlements in the Batticaloa district had also begun
in the thirteenth century although the bulk of the settlers
may have migrated to this district in later times.


fflgha and Candrabhanu

After the drift of S1nha1ese power to the south-

• western parts of Ceylon , the only political authorities in the
northern regions about whom we hear in the nli chronicle are
the Vanni chieftains.1 If we had to depend solely on the
CUlav�...! for information, we should conclude that after about
the middle of the thirteenth century the whole of the former
Rijaraf{ha was split into minor chieftaincies under Vanni rulers
who owed a11egiance to the Sinha1ese ruler at the capita1 in the
South-western region. But the Rehla of Ibn Batuta,2 the Sinhalese
chronicle Nilatya-sai\grahaya3and the Sinhalese poems S�lalihini­
sande§a! Gira-sande�a� and ekila-sande§a6 as well as later
chronicles like the RaJavaliya and the Tamil and Portuguese

1. £!· · 88: 8? , 89: 51.

2. The Rehla of Ibn Batuta � Tr . Mahdi Hussain, Baroda 1953 , P• 217.
3• �• t P• 2 ?.
4. S�lalihini-sande§a, ed. M.C.Fernando, Moratuva 1956 , v. 29.
5. Gira-sande§a, ed. T . Sugathapal.a , ilutgama 1924 , vv. 138-140 .
6. ekila-sande�a, ed. P.S .Perera, Colombo 1906, "• 263-264.
works testify to the existence of an independent kingdom in the
northernmost part of the island. The rulers of this �dom are
referred to in these sources as Ayri Shakravarti1, .,._
&riya Sakviti2,
Ariyaxaca Varati and )riyar4. The first three are variants of

the Sanskrit lryacakravartin while the last is the Tamil form

of the Sanskrit Arya. The capital of these rulers , according to
the Sinhalese sources , was at Iapa-patuna (modern Jaffna)�
Ibn Batuta visited this northern kingdom in A. D . 1344 and his
notice is the earliest clear reference to the kingdom. Of the
Sinhalese references , the earliest is that of the Nikaya-sa5rahaya ,
written in the last decade of the fourteenth century. We have ,
therefore , definite evidence in our literary sources regarding
the existence of an independent kingdom in the northernmost

1• • The Rehla of Ibn Batuta , P• 217

2 . K'md.la-sande§a , v. 263.

3. F. de Queyroz , �• ill· , P• 49.

4 . !!!• • PP• 25 ff. ,• !£!• • P• 6.
5 . �kila-sande§a, vv. 263-264.
6. U.C. H . C . , I , ptll , P• 5 7 .
part of the island in the fourteenth cent1117.1

1. In the latest issue of the J. R.A. S . (C . B. ), Paranavitana has

claimed the discover,- of a Sanskrit inscription dated Saka 1211
(A. D . 1289) . According to him, it is ' inscribed in faint letters
on the earlier writing on a stone slab in the Abhayagiri-vihara
at Anuradhapura ( Ep . Zey. , Vol.8 , No. 20) 1 and 'refers to
the king who ruled at Subhapatfana ( Jaffna) on that date
, ,
with the full style of tr�pati Sr! SUryya-rar�atie Sr:i Candrabhhu
Maharaja • ( J. R.A.S . Cq,B.) , N . S . , VIII, pt. 2, P• 264) . This
would, therefore, be the earliest known reference to the
kingdo• of Jaffna. But unfortunately the inscription has not
been published yet and considering the nature of the inscription
it is somewhat difficult to use Paranavitana•s note with
confidence. The editor of the original inscription, over
which this inscription is claimed to be incised, has made no
mention of any later writing on the slab nor is any such
writing visible on the photograph of the estampage appearing
in the Epigraphia Zeylanica (Vol. I, No. 20 and not Vol. 8, No. 20) .
In a paper read at the University of Ceylon (see infra, pp.�s-, ),
Paranavitana has stated that these later writings are of such a
nature that they may be totally overlooked when one's attention is
focussed on the original inscription. In these circumstances, it is
preferable to wait till the inscription is published by
Paranavitana before its evidence is used in a work of this nature.
4 02
When did this independent kingdom originate and
who were its founders 1 These are questions which have led to
some amount of controversy among Ceylon historians in recent
years. The origin of the independent kingdom in northern Ceylon
or, to be more precise, in the Jaffna district has been traced
back to pre-Christian times, as far back as the fifteenth
century B. C . ,by some while some others have traced it to the
eighth century A.D. The generally accepted theory is that the
kingdom was founded some time in the thirteenth century. The basis
for the first claim is a reference in the Mahabh'!rata as well
as some references in the nli chronicles of Ceylon and the
Tamil epic �aimekalai to a Naga kingdom in northern Ceylon,
then known as NagadYpa, in the time of the Buddha.1 The basis
for the second claim is the evidence of the Tamil chronicles
of Jaffna, especially the !!l.Pp�a-vaipava-mlrlai. In a learned
article contributed to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Soc iety
(Ceylon Branch) recently, Paranavitana has analysed at length
the spurious arguments brought forward by some writers in support
of these two claims.2 In our opinion, he has convincingly set

1. c.Rasanayagam, .21?.• .ill• , P• 7 ff.

2. S. Paranavitana , ' The lrya fingdom of North Ceylon•, J. R.A . S. (C. B. ) .
N. S. , VII , pt. 2, 1961, PP• 174-224.
aside these arguments and shown that there is no reliable
evidence for the existence of an independent kingdom, ruled by
Tamils or others, in the Jatfna district during the period
preceding the fall of Polonnaruva. It is not our intention ,
therefore, t o discuss these arguments here. But since these
theories have a direct bearing on our aubject , we shall briefly
outline them along with the counter-arguments before we proceed
on our inquiry.
C.Rasanayagam is the chief protagonist of the
theory of an independent kingdom having existed in the pre­
Christian centuries� His argJ1D1ent that an independent kingdom
of the ?mgas existed in Jaffna from the fifteenth century B. C.
is based on a reference in the Mah�bh�rata that Ar juna married
a princess of M9.Vipura, a place beyond KaliAga. Rasanayagam has
identified Ma;.ipura with Jaffna, for the latter is sometimes
referred to in the Tamil works of the fourteenth c entury A.D.
as Ma:Q.avai.2 He has argued that 'Ma.;.avai seems to be a contracted
poetical form of Ma.\lavltr or Mav,ipuram' and that , therefore,
Ar juna married a :tmga princess from Jaffna� Such an identification

1. C.Rasanayagam, �• ill•, P• 33 ff.

2. �• , P• 80.

3. C. Rasanay-agam, �• ill.•, tr f 3 - lf- 't

ot place names without regard to chronology or relevant hiatorival
facts is hardly acceptable. As flirther evidence of his theory
that there existed an independent kingdom in norhhern Ceylon
in the pre-Christian centuries, Rasanayagam addaces the reference
in the Mahava� and the �inm'kalai to a Naga kingdom in the
Jaffna district� In the Mahava� there is a legend about two
W--aga kings of Nagad�pa who fought over a gem-set throne and were
reconciled through the efforts of the Buddha.2 !he same legend
appears in the Tamil Buddhist epic �im�kalai� in whi�h the
scene of the event is given a s Mav,ipall.avam, which is identified
by Rasanaygam as lr
agad�pa or the Jaffna district. We agree with
Paranavitana that these legends ilte not based on an-y historical
event and that ' in the MahaTM15
_! and the �inm'kalai, as indeed
in the ancient Sanskrit and PD.i literature in gem.eral, the
ngas are never represented as human beings, but as a class of
superhuman beings , who inhabited a subterranean world' 4
. We have
also pointed out earlier that Rasanayagam's attempts to prove
that the lmgas of Ceylon were Tamil in language and culture and
that their independent kingdom is referred to in Tamil literature

1. C . Rasanayagam, P• 7 ff.
2. !:!!• , l: 44-70.
3 . �ui�kalai, XK'v11 .
4 . S.Paranavitana, ' The J.rya Kingdom of North Ceylon• , P• 181.
as well are based on the erroneous identification of some
place names in the SaAgam texts.1 Neither the visit of the

Buddha to Ceylon nor the existence of a N'!ga kingdom there

can be taken seriously on the strength of these legends.
Rasanayagam has argued the continued existence of
the northern kingdom in the seventh century A.D. on the basis
of a statement by Cosmas Indicopleuates , who visited Ceylon
in that century , that there were two kings in the island:
This cannot be an argument for a kingdom in northern Ceylon for ,
as Paranavitana has pointed out , the account of Cos.mas itse1f
indicates that by the two kingdoms he meant those of Anuradha­
pura and Rohatia�
The Tamil chronicles refer to a person called
UkkiradJ5kaa as a ruler of some part of Ceylon in the eighth
century A. D. It is stated that he was a descendant of a brother
of Vijaya. Rasanayagam has argued that he was a ruler of northern
Ceylon and that he was a DliAga. He has also contended that
the KaliAga rulers with whom the Sinhalese kings from Mahinda IV
had alliances were actually the QliAga rul.ers of Haffna�

1. See supra , p . 3 1
2. C. Rasanayagam. , £..l?.• ill• , PP• 120-121.
3. S.Paranavitana , ' The Ir,-a Kingdom of North Ceylon• , p . 184.
4. !!!!!• , PP • 13-23.
5. C. Rasanayagam, �• .ill• , P • 272 ff.
There is, howeTer, not the slightest evidence for a line of
XaliAga rulers in Jaffna in this period.1 Besides, as we sha11
see presently, the legend of Ukkiraei�kaa iannot ba relied upon
for the history of the northern kingdom.
While rejecting the chronm.logical basis of the
account of Ukld.raci�ka.A, Paranavitana has attempted to identify
this personage with Clikakumara.a of the �v�car-kalve{t.!!,•2
According to him, ' if we can have faith ill the legend given in
the ��car-kalve:ff_!, the lion-faced king, Ukkiraci:okaQ or
Ciilkakumaraz;l, llJa1 be taken to have flourished about the same
time as Magha, whether he was identical with the latter or not•�
By making such a statement he does not seem to have much doubt
about the historicity of Ukkiraci:oka.a. But the authenticity of
ghe whole account o:! Ukld.rac1ilkaQ, as it appears in the Tamil
chronicles, is questionable. We have already briefly pointed
out that the story of Ukk:Lrac1J'lkaQ and hia queen Marutappiravalli
is based on the Vijaya legend and has also certain elements
borrowed from folk-etymology. It has also been indicated that
there is a c onfusion between the legend of Ukkiraci:okaQ and

1. S. Paranavitana, 'The Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon • , p . 186 .

2 . �. , P• 191.
the account of Kufakkl5tfq in some of the Tamil chronicles:
Here we shall digress a little to show why the story of
Ukkiracinkaa has to be treated as just another of the popular
versions of the Vijaya legend.
The story appears in different versions in six of
the Tamil chronicles, namely the .!!,l,PP�a-vaipava-malai,
&ft�f.appu-ma;g.miyam, Tiri-klS�cala-put!-v-2, -g_�"ecar-kalve�t.!,
Vaiyapatal and the Kailazamalai. It has hardly any historical
foundation and is clearly based on the V�a.ya legend. It appears
that the Vijaya legend found its wa:, into the historical tradition
of the Tamils in this garbled version through the residents of
the northern regions who in course of time became assimilated
to the Tamil population. The striking resemblances that one
finds between the Ukkirar.16kaA story and the story of Si�ab'lhu
as given in the P'!li and Sinhalese sources cannot be explained
as mere coincidences. The different versions of the story
reveal the stages by which the story of Si.lltJ.abahu
• became
transformed into that of Ukkirac16kaQ.
The !!J.pp�a-vaipava-malai has the following version
of the story.2 Ukkiraci 6kSA, a prince of the line of Vijaya• s

1. See supra, PP • 3'3 1 fJ. ·

2. !!!!• t PP• 13-22.
brother having a leonine face and a human trunk, invaded Ceylon
from North India in the Saka year 717 (A. D. 795) and conquered
half of the island. In the eighth 7ear of his rule in Ceylon,
a C'l5la princess named Marutappiravalli, who had an equine face
and was suffering from a strange disease, came to Ceylon on a
pilgrimage. On the advice of a sage, she bathed in the springs
of Kirimalai, in Jaffna. As a resu1t , she was cured of her i.llness
and her equine face beqame human. She tarried there for some
time and effected repairs to the temple at that site. One
night , when she was asleep 1n her camp outside the temple,
she was abducted by Ukki.rae1�kau who was enchanted by her beauty.
Ukkirae14ka� 11arried her and ruled from Cenkataka-nakari
(Senka�aga1a , i.e. Kand7) . In time ?-mrutappiravalli bore twin
children, a soa named Nara-ciAka-racq( Skt. Nara-si,Jha-r�ja),
who had the tail of a lion, and a daughter named C�p�vati
(Skt. Campakavat'!) . NaraciAkarac q married his own sister and
reigned from Cei\kafaka-nakari after his father ' s death. It was
during his reign that a blind lutiat (�t! or t!ll?pa�9)
came from the C8la country to CeAkafaJrak•kiri , sang the praises
of the king and obtained the peninsula of Jaffna as his prize.
Thus he became the founder of the kingdom of Jaffna. The story
of Ukkirac1�kaa ends abruptly with this event.
�he character Ukltiracilka� (Skt. Ugra Si9ha) of
this legend, who is described here as a descendant of Siphab'!hu,
resembles in many ways the lion who is the father o f Si\lhabahu
in the Vijayallegend. In the different versions o f this story
one can distinguish the stages b7 which the lion of the Vijaya
legend becomes transformed into an ordinary human being. In the
Kailayamalai, on which the author of the !!lPp1tpa-vaipava-malai
seems to have depended heavily for his story, we find this
character as a half-leonine and half-human being whose abode
was i.n a big cave in the hills (tasla malai ma mulai!lcu ) , to
which he carried away M!rutappiravalli when he abducted her:
The !!J.ppa�a-vaipava-�lai states that he as well as his son
had leonine features, but it does not mention that his abode
was a cave� In the Vai@af,!! we find that he is a normal human
being although his son is said to have pessessed certain leoni.ne
features� In the Tiri-�:p'acala-purap.a.m even that element
disappears altogether� In the ���car-kalveftJ:!. and the .!:!!ftakkaf�­
manmiyam he is confused with Ku+akk�ffau and Mahasena respectivelyf­
With the exception of the last two sources, a11 the others
give the name of this personage as Ukkiraci�ka11 (Fierce Lion)
or use variants of this name, such as Ukkira-c�aa-r.1nka11 (Skt. Ugra
Sena Si:6.ha� and Ukkira-ma-c'eWl-clika11 (S'.lj;t. Ugra � Sena Si:IJ.ha/f

l. !!• , P• 2.
2. !.!!•, PP• 13, 21.

3. !:e.· ' v.15.

4. � sul?ra , P• 'l'31
5. h• , v. 17 ; � - , Tampainakar-patalam, v. 31.
This also indicates the manner in which the lion o t the original
story gradually became a person called Fierce Lion and 1ater S•na
the Great Fierce Lion.
The transformation of the Vanga princess Suppade�
of the Vijaya legend into Marutappiravalli, or 4fa.ka11ravuntari
as she is known in some versions, can also be s een. to an extent
in the Tamil versions. In the �'1�car-kalveff! and the MB:ftakkal,!I?I?!­
t@J!mi:yam the Va.Aga princess becomes a Dli.Aga princess : In t he
Kailazamalai, YalPp�a-vaipava-dlai and the Tiri-�:Q.a cala-
pur�.!! she becomes a �la princess� That she was ' very fair'
and •very amorous', like the Vanga princess� is clearly stated
in the !!lPp�a-vaipava-mlrlai and is also borne out by t he
name "ifakacavuntari (Skt. 9taka Sundar�) in some of the versions.
Just as it is said of SuppadevY 1n the Mahav�a that • alone
she went forth from the house, desiring the joy of independent
life ' , it is stated that Jmrutappiraval1i went out with her
maidens and led an independent life , but, ot course, with a
different mission! Like Suppadev'!, she was abduct e d and carried
away to a cave, or palace in some sources, where she bore t win

1. �. , P• 32 ; !:!!!!•, p.3 0.

2 . � • P• 15 ; !!•, p.2 ; �- , Tampainakar-pata1am, v. 3.

3 • .!T! · , 6 : 3 .
4. !!!• 6: 4; �• • PP• 15-16.
children, a son and a daughter. In the Tiri-�i�cala-pur!\lam,
�:o:�ear-kalveff� and the Vai;r:!p"atal the birth of only a son
is mentioii.ed.
In a similar manner, it appears that the children
of Ukkirac1�ka� and Marutappiravalli are no other than SiJ!lhabmtu
and S1+Jias�val�, the children of the lion and SuppadeV,: in the
Vijaya legend. In the Mahava�a it is stated that Si�abahu's
'hands and feet were formed like a lion•.1 In our sources, the
son of Ukkirac1�kaA is stated to have had the face and the
tail ,of a l.ion2 or onl;r the tail of a lion� His name is given
in the Kaila:yamalai and the Yalppa;!a-vaipava-dlii as Nara-ci.Aka­
raca». (Skt. Naras�a Raja = Man-Lion King)� in the Vai,!pat'!,!
as Ciffkau (Skt. Si(lha = Lion)� in the !'!!ftak:kalappu-manm1yam
and ��car-ka1vetf.!! as Ci.Aka-kumara». (Skt. S�hakumara) = Lion
Prince)� while in the Tiri-��cala-pur�.!!!! his name appears
with the fulsome epithets Ce;ratuAka v!ra P?Jka Varar�ca Cink.all
(Skt. JayatuAga nra Bhoga Vara RKja Sii\\ha)? In all these names

1. �- . 6: 10.
2. .Yl?.• ' Te 18
3 . Km ., P• 3 ; !!!• ' P• 23.
4 . !!!• , P• 3; !!.!• ' P• 23 .
5. .Yl?.· t v. 18 •
6. �- , P• 3.5 ; !!!•, P• 3.5 •
7 . � - , Tampainakar-patalam, v . 32.
the element si$ha (lion) is preserved. Like S�ab'Elu, this
prince married his own sister and attained kingship. ilthough
this prince is the counterpart of Sithabahu in our legend,
certain elements of the story associated with Vijaya have also
been included in the story of this prince in the Vaiy'apa�,!!
and the Tir��acala-pur�_!!• The Vai:y'apa�,!! states that this
prince, Naracil\ka.r"!cau, sent emissaries to Madurai and s ought
the hand of the P'IJ}�ya princess. The princess arrived in Ceylon
with a large retinue of people belonging to the Tarious c astes
as well as sixty maidens� This reminds us of the wooing of the
Pai4,ya princess of Madhura b1 Vijaya and the arri.val of
'craftsmen and a thousand families of the eighteen guilds •
as well as seven hundred maidens.2 The Tiri-��"!c a1a-pur�am,
though not containing all these details, states that the s on
of Ukkirac1flksa married a P!J;�a princess� This e1ement in the
story further strengthens our contention that the legend of
UkkiraeiflkaD is clearly based on that of Vijaya.
It is interesting to note the position occupied
by this legend in the traditional history of the �amils of
Ceylon as it is recorded in the Vai;r!patal, Kail!:a.dlai ,

1. !:e• t vv. 21-22.

2. l:!!:• t 7: 55-57.
3. !J?• , Tampainak:ar-patalam , v. 33.
and the Yal.pp�a¥Vaiapva-dlai. In these sources it is associated
with the beginning of the independent Tamil kingdom in norther�
Ceylon in much the same way as the Vijaya legend marks the
beginning of the Sinhalese kingdom in the Sinha1ese sources .
The manner in which the Sinhalese legend came to assume this
position in the traditional history of the Tamils may not be
difficult to explain. The Sinhalese of the Jaffna district, as
we have already seen1, were at no t ae completely dislodged by
the Tamils. Many of them probably became assimilated to the
Tamil population in due course. The story of Vijaya would have
been current among these people at the time of tbe Tamil settle­
ments. When the Sinhalese became assimilated to the Tamil population ,
a garbled versiou of the Vijaya legend wou1d have still
linfered in their memor1. At a t llle when their origins were
forgotten , these people mq have used this legend to expLa.in
the origin of the Tamil kingdom instead of that of the Sinhalese
kingdom. The legend may also have been current among the other
inhabitants of the Jaffna district. Gradua11y it appears t o
have undergone changes that would have made it more suitable
to explain the origins of the Tamil kingdom. Hence the representation
of Mlrutappiravalli as a ClSla princess and Ukkiraei�k•A as a

1. See supra , 'Jt-1, . �

C"6la prince, in some of the versions. In the _!!lppaf.a-vaipava­
dlil and the Kaila:ya.malai it ends abruptly and is used to
introduce the story of the blind lutist who is claimed to have
founded the kingdom of Jaffna. This is an attempt to c ombine
the UkkiraciAJtaa legend with the story of the lutist based on
fo1k-etymology.1 In the Vai,;!Paf!! it is used to explain the o rigin
of the Tamil settlements in northern Ceylon and of the Vanni
chieftaincies. Here the activities of some of the early rulers
of the Jaffna kingdom as well as those of the associates of
Magha seem to have been attributed to Ukkirac1DkaQ and his son
NaraciAka.rac&A• This is why some are b.clined. to think that
Ukkirae1i'kaQ of the Tamil chronic.lea is Mlgha.2 Gaanapragasar
has attempted to identify him with Jayabahu , the associate o f
Among the other elements in the 1Jkkirar.1pkan story
are those derived from folk-etymology. One of these is the
account of Kavi V!ra R!kav&A (Poet Vira Btghava) , a blind

.t!ll!!t! or Y!lPP�� (lutist). It is said that this lutist

visited the court of Naraci.Akar�c&A, sant a panegyric on him

1. See infra, p . �'2.. 0

2. S . Paranavitana, 'The Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon • , P• 191.

3• S .Gnanapragasar , !!m�a-vaipava-vimarc an!!!, P• 64.
and obtained the arid peninsula of Jaffna as his prize. Be then
invited settlers from South India, gave them lands in that
peninsula and ruled mTer them, thus becoming the founder o f
t he Tamil kingdom of Jaffna. Since it was founded by a l!,!PP�,!ll
t he kingdom was named YaJ..pp�am� This is the traditional account
of the foundation of the kingdom of Jaffna. It has been rejected
by all serious scholars as lacking any historical basis� We
are inclined to agree with Gnanapragasar that this story is
based partly on the pop�lar etymology of the name TIIlPp�am (Jaffna) ,
a Tamilised form of the Sinhalese name Yapa-patuna, and o; t he
story of the blind South Indian poet Kavi V'!ra REtavB.A, who
lived in the sixteenth or seventeenth century: Unfortunately
the earliest forms of the name llJ..pp�m ue not known. This
makes it difficult t o trace the process of Tamilisation . The
early forms of the name, as recorded in the South Indian
inscriptions are : a) Iy'qpp�am (1435)� b) YaJ..pp'!J}.am (1532 ?)?
T!JJ,�am (1604) � c ) Yapp�a-patfa.Dam (168.5 ) i d) Iyalp'alla-t'lcam (1715) �

1. !.!!• , PP• 23-24.

2. S. Paranavitana, 'The J.rya Kingdom of North Ceylon', p�. 176, 201-202 ;
S.Gnanapragasar, X!lPP�a-vaipava-vimare.an!!, PP• 15-19.
3 . s.Gnanapragasar, !!J.pp�a-vaipava-vimarcan2, p. 18.
4. S . I . I. , VII , No . 778.
5. M. E.R. for 1916 , No . 614 of 1915 .
6.J.Burgess, Tamil and Sanskrit Inscriptions, Setupati Grant No. 1, p. 62.
7 . llli • , Setupati Grant No. 9 , P• 81.
8. Ibid., S tupati Grant N . 10 , �.03 .
e) Yafp�a-tecam (1734)1and f) nn,�am ( 1734)� The earliest occurrence
of this name in the Sinhalese sources is around 1450, in the
sande�a poems of the time of Parakramabahu VI� The form. in
these poems is �-pafuna. In a11 the Sinhalese works till
the British period this form has been retained without change.
In the Tamil chronicles the name occurs in the present form of
Yl:l,ppa;am, except in one instance in the Vaiyapafal when the
form nfp�am occurs� This exception is evidently a copyist ' s
erroz; for there are several orthographic mistakes in the
Vai;y!paf.!!• In the Portuguese works the form Jafanapata� is
common� According to de Queyroz, ' its name without corruption
is said to be Jafana-en-Putalam, which means the • Town of the
Lord Jafana• , and is the name of him who first peopled it • �
Ja:fana-en-Putalam has been restored as Yal,pp'!Vauia-paft�am
(the Town of laJ,.pp'!Vau) ? De Queyroz also mentions another

1. J. Burgess, Tamil and Sanskrit Inscriptions, Set•pati Grant No. 13,

P• 90.
2 • ..!!?,g., Setupati Grant No.14, P• 93.
3. Gira-sande�a, v. 138 ; mila-sande§a, v. 263; Sttlalihini-sandesa,
v. 29.
4. !E.•' v . 4 1.

5. F. Be Queyroz, £E.• ill· , p. 47.

6. ..!!?,g.' PP • 47-48•
7. Ibid., P• 47, fn. 1.
derivation of the name and that is ' Jafan.apatanature, which
means long harbour•.l It is not slear how Jafanapatanoture could
be interpreted to mean long harvour. S .G . Perera has suggested
that it may be T'llYa11&-pa��4attu�ai meaning deep harbour�
This is not very convincing. From the first interpretation
given by de QJleyroz it appears that iD the period of Portuguese
rule the legend of the z!lPP�,!A or lutist was already current
among the people. In the Dutch records there are several forms
of the name, among which Jaffnapatam is common� By the time
of the British rule the final element was dropped and the place
came to be known only as Jaffna. The present Sinhalese name of
Jaffna, namely Dp.a:,RJ, seems to be a recent form derived from
YalPp�am. It does not occur in any of the Sinhalese works

before the nineteenth century. We do not agree with Gnanapragasar

that Y'tlPp"a.#am is a Tamilised fo m of npaneand that the latter
: 1
form is a variant of Yapa-pafuna. Gnanapragasar•s opinion that
Yapa-pafuna is only a Sinhalese translation of the name Nall1Ir,
which is now applied to aprt of Jaffna town where the last

l. F. de Queyroz, .2J2.• cit. , P• 48.

2. �• • P• 48 , fn. l.
3 . Memoirs of Rijck:1off van Goens, 1665 , Tr, S .Pieters, Colombo, 1910,
P• 105.
4. S.Gnanapragasar, Y!J.PJ>!Va-vaipava-vimarca.n.2, P• 18.
rulers of the Tamil kingdom had their court, is also unacc eptable.1
It seems improbable that the Sinhalese translation of the name
of a city founded by the Tamil rulers of Jaffna came to be so
popularly accepted by the Tamils who applied it not only to the
city but also to the whole peninsula and to the entire district.
From the early forms that we have shown above, it appears that
the Sinhalese Yapa-pa\una first became Uppa.;an-pafta;.am, then
Yapp�am and then YaJ.pp�am. By about the first hallf of the
fifteenth century , when we get the earliest recorded form of
this name in Tamil , the form YaJ.:pp'a\iam seems to have been current.
The earlier form Yapp'a4a-pattafam, however , continued to be in
use as late as the seventeenth century. Paranavitana•s attempt
to derive a!, in the name Y'tpa-pafina., from. Javi is not
convincing� The element yapa may be either the Sinhalese word
meaning good, as in Yapahuva (Pali Subhapabbata), or the title
used by Sinhalese princes in medieval times, the variant of ipa�
In a medieval inscriptional document entitled Mn:gha-vrtthta ,
the discovery an d contents of which were announced by Paranavitana

1. s .Gnanapragasar , _!!J.pp�a-vaipava-vimarcan.l!!, p. 18.

2. S.Paranavitana, ' The Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon•, P• 202.
3. U . C.H. C. , I, pt. 2, P• 732.
recently, there ocfurs the name Subha-pattana which is identified
1 The same name occurs , according to Paranavitana , in
as Jaffna.
a palimpsest inscription from Anuradhapura dated !aka 1211
(A. D . 1289) 2. Subha-pattana is a direct translation of the
Sinhalese name Yapa-pafuna an4 seems to provide a clue to the
meaning of this place-name . If subha is not just a wishful
rendering into Sanskrit of the Sinhalese element yapa in these
inscriptions, then we may well accept the meaning of the place­
name as the ' good port • . But Paranavitana ' s account of the nature
of these records and the manner of their discovery throws much
doubt on the ir authenticity and even their existence� Until
these inscriptions are peroperly edited and published, it is
impossible to base any argument on their evidence.

1. S . Paranavitana, 'Newly Discovered Historical Documents

Relating to CeFlon, India and South-east Asia ' , Paper
read on 4 . 11.1964 at the University of Ceylon, Peradep.ya,
Ceylon (unpublished). See infra, P. �> 1
2. S .Paranavitana, ' An inscription from Padaviya' , J.R.A. S . (C . B . ) ,
N.S. , VIII , pt. 2 , P • 264, fn. 13; see supra, p. �01
3. See infra , p.�.>1 -
Although we are inclined to believe that the Tamil
name Yal,ppavam is only a rendering of the Sinhalese llp•-pa\una,
it must be admitted that this derivation is not certain. The
earliest forms of this name in both Sinhalese and Tamil occur
around the same time, the Tamil form occurring nearly fifteen
years earlier than the first recorded Sinhalese form. It may
well be that the Sinhalese name is just a Sinhalese rendering
of a Tamil name which may or may not be associated with the
term z!J.pp�5. But this seems unlikely. It is more likely
that YaJ..ppavam is one of the large number of Tamilised forms
of Sinhalese toponyms in the Jaffna peninsula.
The other element that has gone into the creation
of the JJlPP�.!!.A legend is the story of the blind poet V'!ra
�akavar, whm lived in the sixteenth �r seventeenth century.
He is said to have visited the court of one of the last kings
of Jaffna who bore the consecration name of Pararacacekarall
and received an elephant and a plot of land as gifts: While
the earlier work Kailayamalai does not mention the name of
the lutist or that he was blind , the !!l'PP�a-vaipava-malai
names him as V!ra Imkavar and states that he was blind�

1. s.Gnanapragasar, Y!J.Ppapa-vaipava-vimarcana,!, PP • 16-18 ;

S . Kumaracuvami, •va;a �attulla Cila IfappeyarlteJiA Varal�u • ,
!!J.pp�a-vaipava-kaumuti, op. cit. , P• 127.
2. !!!•, P• 23.
This statement is evidently due to the confusion of the story
of the lutiat created by popular etymologists and the later
story of the blind poet. The whole story of the blind )utist
has to be treated as a mere legend devoid of a:ny historical
basis , o-ft..c...,. -t1,,,a.... ""'· ��t ... sso c.,�tc..l �, it-. \/ rv.. R.� �-"O..Y ,
Another element of folk-etymology in the Ukkiraciokaa
legend is the story of the equine-faced lmrutappiravalli. While
this charqcter is based on Supp'llde� of t he VijSJ'a legend, certain
features in the story are based on the popular etymology of the
place-name Mlviffapuram, in Jaffna. In the YIJ.pp�a-vaipava-nallai
an ingenious derivation has been given to this place-name.l It
is stated that it was so named by !mrut appiraYalli on account
of the miraculous change her equine face underwent near that
place (Tamil ,!!!= horse, viffa = left, puram = city - The
Cit y where the (face of the ) llorse Left ) . As Gnanapragasar
has explained, !mviflapuram seems to be a Tamilised form of
the Sinhalese name Ma-Tata-'V'Wra.2 The change o! the Sinhalese element
!!!! into puram in Tamil is demonstrated in several names in
the Jaffna peninsula:
Besides these main elements, several others drawn
from a number of folk t ales can be found in the different Tersions

1. !!!•, P• 19.
2. S . Gnanapragasar, !!lPp�a-vaipaTa-vimarc an.8:!, p. 13.

3 . �-
of the UkkiraciflkaD story. One of them, for instance , is the
story of the 1egenda.ry Pal}�ya princess with three breasts named
Tafatakai. In the versions where Marutappiravalli ' s name is
given as ita1tacaTUlltari , she is said to have had the epithet
Mummulai (Three Breasted)! This physical abnormality , the
Amazonian natire of the two princesses as well as the simi1arity
of the name, Tafatakai and ifaka suggest some affinity between
the two legends� .As we have already pointed out, some other elements
in the story of lfakavavuntari are based on the account of
Viharadevl: as found in the Ma.havawsa�
In this manner it could ve shown that the story of
Ukki.raci�Jra11 in the Tamil chronicles has no historical basis
and is only another garbled version of the Vijaya legend with
elements from popular etymology and several other folk tales.
In our opi�ion it has to be rejected outright. Any argument
for the existence of a Tamil kingdom in Jaffna before the
thirteenth century based on this legend is unacceptable.
Rasanayagam has further argued the continued
existence of the kingdom of Jaffna in the twelfth century on

1. !!•, P • 32.
2. S . Gnanapragasar , !!J.PpJua-vaipava-vimarca;.am, P• 10.
3. See supra , P• J41 •
the basis of certain references in the literary sources.
The 4riyadesa referred to in the CU1ava112 as the place from
where a king named V'Iradeva invaded Ceylon in the t:lme of
Vikramabahu I ( 1111-1132) i.s identified by him with Jaffna�
This reference in the Pali chronicle, as Paranavitana has indicated,
is to a country outside Ceylon� Probably it was a kingdom in
India� Rasanayagam' s argpments for the rule of Tamil kings in
Jaffna ;t.n the twelfth century, based on the late Tamil-�valar­
c aritai and the �la-�tala-catakam, are also unacceptable. As
Paranavitana has s tated , neither o f these works can be considered
as having been written in the twelfth century.4 The reference
to Kolumpu (Colombo ) in the verses attributed to Pukal�nti

1. C. :Rasanayagam, .2P. • ill• , P• 286.

2 . S .Paranavitana, 'The -Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon•, P• 18 7.
3. The c,:JlaVM15
_! s tates that ffradeva was a sovereign of
Palan�pa, (cv. , 61: 3?) . The only Palad'Ypa that we hear of
in our sources in this period is the Maldives, which are
re referred to as Palant'Yvu in the ClSla inscriptions (S.I.I. , II , p. 91)
But i.t is very unlikely that the two are one and the same place.
4. C. Rasanayagam, !?I?,• ill •, PP• 284-286 ;
S . Paranavitana, ' The Arya Kin�dom of North Ceylon ' , PP• 187-188.
in the Tamil-navalar-caritai and the reference to Kal).�i (Kandy)
in the other work showsthat the evidence of these works is
unreliable for the events of the twelfth centur1, for both places
were known by that name only after the �ixteenth c entury:
Rasanayaga.m' s identification of Zabig with Jaffna bi order t o
argue for the existence of an independent kingdom :in Jaffna in
earlier than the thirteenth century is also erroneous 2. Zab�
of the Arab writers, as :is well known to students c� the history
of South-east Asia, corresponds to .mvaka (Sumatra or Malay
Peninsula) and not to a place in Ceylon.
Certain C?Sla inscriptions of the eleventh century
refer to the defeat o� death of su Ceylonese kings at the
hands of the C?Sla rulers . These kings are Vikramabihu ( Ilallka.iyar­

�mau -King of the Ceylonese )� Vikrama-p�fi:,B.A- ( I1a.Akecurq -

Lord of Ceylon)� nra-cal'amekaa (Ci.tllca.1attaraica.u - ling of
Si.!hala�5, C"Irvallava-matqar'ijq (jlattaraicau. - King of C e ylon)6,

1. C.Rasanayagam, .21?.• ill• . P• 28?

2. Ibid., PP• 81, 192.
3 . S.I . I . , III , P• 54.
4• .!lli•
5. .!lli ·
6 • .!lli·
Vl:ra-cal�lta.A (Kalinkar-man - King of the Ka1ilgas) 1 and
J.muaparai,aa (IlMkaiyarkk11:aivaa - Lord of the Ceylonese)�
It has been possible to identify the first three kings as
three of the rulers of Rohav,a mentioned in the CUlava��
The identification of the others presents some difficulty.
Rasanayagam and Gnanapragasar have attempted to overcome this
difficulty by arguing that they were rulers of Jaffna! But
there is no justification for such an identification. Now,are
in the Ceylonese or South Indian sources do we get any reference
to the existence of a kingdom in Jaffna which resisted the cn5la
occupation. On the other hand, after A.D. 1017, the northern
half of the island was securely in the hands of the C?SJ.as and
it was in the south that they encountered opposition. The
rulers mentioned in the �la records were probably in control
of parts �• southern Ceylon. As we know froa the CUlaV�_!, there
wer• ae•vra1 petty rulers in the south during the period of
�la rule, offering resistance to the foreigners� The fact that

1. S . I . I. , III, P• 61.
2. Ibid.
3. U . C . H. C . , I, pt. 2, PP• 418-420.
4. C .Rasanayagam, E.P.•�• , PP• 278-284 ;
S.Gnanapragasar, !!lpp�a-vaipava-vimarcan,2, pp. 52-53 .
5. £!· , 56 & 57.
some of them are not mentioned in the CUlav�.....! is no argument

to treat them as rulers of a kingdom in the north, the existence

ot which is nowhere mentioned.
The arguments of Rasanayagam and Gnanapragasar for
the existence of an independent kingdom in Jaffna be!ore the
thirteenth c entur1 are, therefore, untenable. Rasanaragam• s
methods of historical anal1sis are wholly unsatisfactory and,
therefore , it is unnecessary to examine all his other arguments
besides those pointed out aboTe. Many of these are based on
erroneous identification of �lace-names on the strength of
superficial similarities without regard to chronology or relevant
historical facts, as shown by some of the examples aboYe. A
number of unidentified or unnamed places in some of the literary
sources and inscriptions are used as evidence for his theories
by a process of argument that they • must have been ' or •ought to
have been• Jaffna. For instance, it is stated in the Vakkaleri
plates of Caluqa llrtivarman II, dated .l.D. 757 , that
Vinaraditya Satydraya levied tribute from the • rulers of Xavera,
Para6ika, Sifhala and other islands • : According to Rasanayagam,
' by the words • other islands ' were meant Jatfna and its dependent

islands • and it can be inferred that a separate king was ruling

over them' i This is a conclusion unwarranted by the statement in

l. L.Rice, ' The Chalulqas and Pallavas • , !:!• , VIII, '1an .. 18 79, p.28.
2. C. Rasanayagam, .2.1!.• ill•, P• 23 9.
the inscription. Similarly, the conquest of the • old islands of
the sea numbering twelve thousand' by Rl:jaraja I, be says, 1 11USt
indubitably refer to the Jaffna is1ands'.1 In his opinion, the
Maldives and the Laccadives were the dependent islands ot Jafrna�
Such methods of historical analysis, it is needless to say, need
not be taken seriously.
The paucity of references to the Jaffna region in
our sources may suggest that this area was not of much significance
in the island. The few referenc�s that we come across in the
Pali chronicle seem to suggest that it was part of the Sinhales•
kingdom till the twelfth century. The authority exercised by
Devanampiya Tissa over this region in the third century B . C.
is indicated by the account of his reign in the Mahava�!
�he port of Jambukola in the Jaffna peninsula was under the
control of the Sinhalese monarch and it is stated that he built
the Jambukola vihara there. There is no mention of that region
having been ruled by any other independent monarch at that time.
As Paranavitana has suggested, it appears that this northern
region, which was then known as !r
agad�pa,was administered by

l. C . Rasanayagam, �• ill• , P• 23 9.
2. �• • P• 262.
3 . !!•, 11: 23, 38; 18: 8; 19: 23 ff. , 60 ; 20: 25.
a provincial governor who seems to have held the title of
- 1 The evidence for this is the reference in the
SammohavinodanY to a prince calledDYparaja ruling over Nagad�pa�
There is also a reference in one of the pre-Christian Brah�
inscriptions at Mihintale to a certain DYparaja who was the son
oil a king of A.nuradhapura� mparaja was probabl,- the title of
the governor of N'!gadYpa. That lfflgadYpa was undoubtedly a
province of the Anuridhapura kingdom in the second century A. D .
is clearly established by the gold plate inscription found at
Vallipuram in Jaffna! This inscription informs us that in the
time of Vasabha ( 67-111), Nakadiva ( ?fflgadl:pa) waa administered
by a minister (amete) of that king. In the �i chronicle there
are only a few references to N!'.gadYpa. Sometimes for long periods
there is no mention of this palce at all. Such silence is explained
by Rasanayagam in an incredible manner. To him, 'the presumptio�
therefore , is that in those years the northern principality was
quite independent and quiet • � It is a well-known fact that the

1. S . Paranavitana, 'The uya Kingdom of North Ceylon ' , P• 189.

2. SammohavinodanY, P.T.S. ed . , P• 443.
3. u.c.H. C . , I , pt. l , p.229. In No.231 of 1930/31 ( M. E. R . for 1930/31)
a subordinate of Rajendra I is ca11ed D'rpattaraiyq (Skt. dv�par�ja ) .
It is not known whether he was associated with Jaffna in any way.
4. See supra, p. '--70 ·
5. C . Rasanayagam, 2.E.• �•, P• 66.
Pali chronicle deals mainly with the rulers at Anuradhapura and
the late� c apitals and does not inform us of what happened in
the other parts of the island, except when the affaizrs of these
p arts affected the course of events at the centre. The silence
of the Chronitk on matters regarding ?mgad'!pa, Roh�a and
Kalyavi is no argument to say that these regions of the island
were independent. From time to time, when the rulers of Anuradha­

pura built a vihara or sent troops either to suppress rebellions

or to repel invaders, the northern district finds mention in
the Chronicle. In th� seventh century, for instance, when
Aggabodhi II (604--614) presented the U"alomaghu-a temple to
the lm�yatanadh'!tu vihara and an umbrella to the ,4ma].acetiya,
both in mgad'!pa, the event was considered to be.. important
and bas been recorded in the Chronicle: In the time of Sila­
meghav��a ( 619-i28), when Sirin'lga attempted to take possession
of Uttaradesa, of which }mgad'tpa formed a part, the king
promptly advanced to that district and regained control of it�
In the time of Mahinda II (777-797) , when the district chiefs
of Uttaradesa revolted, they were immediately crushed by the
king� At this time Uttaradesa appears to have been under a

1 •..£!. , 42: 62.

2. _!ill . , 44: 70-75 .
3 . !!?_g. , 48: 83-85.
prince of Anur'idhapura, who had the title of 4dipada.1 In the
time of Mahinda IV ( 956- 972 ) , when a Vallabha ruler invaded lmgad�pa,
the king sent an army from Anuadhapura to fight him. Mahinda's
troops were able to free that part of the kingdom from the
South Indian invader� In the •leventh centur1, Vijayabahu I restored
the ancient Jambukola vihara in lfflgad�pa� These references in
the �li chronicle show that the northernmost part of the island
was considered to be an integral section of the Sinhalese
kingdom and treated as such by the rulers of Anuradhapura and
Polonnaruva. The evidence of the later inscriptions also shows
that in the twelfth century, too, Jaffna •as under the control
of the Polonnaruva rulers. In that century, Parakramabahu I had
strong nava1 bases at ,.,att�ai Ciratotar. now Kayts ) , Maffivi.l
( Ma.f{uvil) and Vallikama.m (Val1kamam) , all situated in the
western part of the Jaffna peninsula, According to the Tiruvala.Aga�u
inscription of Ra;fidhiraja C?Sla II (1178) , Parakramabahu built
ships and assembled troops •in these places in order to launch
an attack on the ClSla killgdom! A Tamil inscription from Naiaat�vu,

1,. Q!., 48: 155.

2. � • , 54: 12-15; W. M. K.Wijetunga, 'Who was Vallabha, the invader
of North Ceylon', u. c.R. , XX, pt. 2, Oct. 1962, PP• 287-2 91.
3. Q:!• , 60: 60.
4. v.Venkatasubba ilyyar, 'Tiruvalangadu Inscription of RIJadhiraja II',

E.I. , XXII, PP• 86- 92.
4 31
an island off the peninsula of Jaffna, contains an edict promu1gated
by Parakramabahu I.1 These inscriptions attest to the authority
wielded by Parakr amabahu over the northern.most parts of the
island. Thus we see that whatever little evidence is avail.able
to us regarding the Jaffna district indicates that it was p art
of the kingdom ruled by the kings of Anur'idhapura and Po:Lonnaruva.
There is no evidence to suggest that it was independent at an,­
time during the historical period before the thirteenth century.
We are informed by the Sinha1ese sources that in
the thirteenth century mgha had fortifications at �r�toia
(�li SUkaratittha), besides severa1 others in northern Ceylon.2
This would mean that in the early part of that century Jaffna
was under the rule of the monarch at Polonnaruva. Mlgha was
the last ruler of Polonnaruva who wielded authority over the
whole of Riljara�tha. He is known to have been ru1ing at :Pol.onnaruva

at least till 1236� We may , therefore, reasonably conclude that

at least up to 1236 there was no independent kingdom in the
Jaffna district. The earliest definite mention of the ld.mgdom
of Jaffna is in the travelogue of Ibn Batuta, who visited the

l. K. Indrapa)a, .21?.• ill• P• 70.

2. See supra, P- ls-lt·
}. See infra, -P• 41, ·
4 32
kingdom in 1344! It must have been , therefore, founded before
that date� Bence we hav• to place the foundation of the kingdom
of Ja.ffna between 1236 and 1344. An examination of the events
of this period should help us to narrow down these limits and
t o understand the c ircumstances that led to the rise of the
new kingdom.
We have already pointed out the significance of the
invasion of l«gba and of the events of his regin in the history
of t he island! Magha began his rule at Polonnaruva in 1215.
It is agreed that he was still ruling there in 1236 when
Parakramabihu II ascended the throne at Dallibade�iya� But there
has been some amount of difficulty in determining the date
of his defeat and the duration of his reign. The c.Iav��
g ives the length of his rule as twenty-one years� In the

Pl!Javaliya, too, it is generally g!ven as twenty-one years , but

in one version it appears as nineteen (ekunvisi) years� It has

l . See supra, P• t,-oo •

2 . See infra, P• J,.S"C. ; it the palimpsest inscription of

Candrabhanu at Anuradhapura, discovered by Paranavitana , is
authentic, the lower limit for the foundation of the kingdom of
Jaffna can be advanced to 1289.
3. See supra , � - i! -
4. u. c . H.C . , I , pt. 2 , PP• 616 , 849.
5. £:!• , 80: 79.
6 . !:!,• t p.109; U . C.H . C . , I , pt. 2 , P• 8�9.
4 33
been suggested that this may be an error for twenty-one (ekvisi) 1
This explanation is palusible for the PU;f!valiya, in another
place, seems to imply that Magha was in occupation of Rajarattha
for twenty-one years when Parakramabahu II ascehded the throne (1236)�
If we are to accept the evidence of the chronicles, we have
to conclude that M!gha's reign ended in 1236, some time after
the accession of Parakramabahu II. It is not stated in our sources
how Mlgha met his death or how his reign came to an end. In the
account of Parakramabahu's campaign against the Dami+a a.ad
Kera4a forces, it is claimed that the mercenaries were completely
routed but no mention is made of the fate of fflgha� What then
happened to Mirgha 1 Did he die in 1236 or later T Was he defeated
by the Sinhalese army or did he meet his death before the final
debaclet These are questions to which our sources do not provide
any definite answer. It has been suggested that Magha's rule did
not end in 1236, although the CUlavaf.sa and the PU:J!valira have
allowed him only a reign of twenty-one years� According to this
view, Parakramabahu I I, unlike his father,Vijayabahu III ,
proclaimed himself as the sole monarch of Ceylon in 1236.

1 . U.C.H. C., I , pt. 2, P• 849.

2. E!.• ' p.116 ; see i n fra.1 �
3. 2:!• ' 83: 20 ff. ; !2• ' P • 117.
4. U.C.H. C. , I, pt.2, PP• 620, 621, 849 A.Liayanagamag�, 'Decline

of Polonnaruva and the Rise of Ddbade:v,iya• , thesis submitted

to the University of London, 1963.
It is, therefore, explained that the ' historians who wrote under
Parakramabahu II would thus have reckoned !mgha ' s reign as
having terminated with the accession of their sovereign, even
though Magha continued to maintain his position in the Rljaratfha
for several years after this • .l This seems to be a reasonable e
explanation, for the silence of our sources regarding the fate
of Magha c asts some doubt as to whether his reign really ended
in the year when Parakramabahu ' s accession took place. lf
}mgha had died or left Ceylon in that year, the chronicles
would not have failed to mention this. It is, therefore, very
likely that Magha continued to rule even after 1236, although
the Sinhalese historians did not recognise him as a legal ruler
of Ceylon after that date .
This brings us to the question of when Magha' s rule
really ended. Paranavitana and Liyanagamage are inclined to
think that Magha continued to rule in Polonnaruva until 1255
and that he was finally defeated by the Sinhalese armies in that
year. Paranavitana bases his arguments on two considerations.
Firstly, he says; ' the Pltj'avali1a definitely states that Jmgha
had been ruling at Polonnaruva for forty years before he was

1. U.C .H.C . , I , pt. 2, P• 849.

2. �• • P• 621 ; A.Liyanagamage, �• ill•

obliged to abandon it•! This would mean that ' Magha abandoned
Polonnaruva in or about 1255'� But there is room for doubting
that the figure ' forty • in the P1tjavaliya statement is aorrect.
In the first place, the campaign against the Dema:J.a and Mafala
forces, in c onnection with which the reference to the forty-year
occupation oclurs, is dealt with in the PU javaliya before the
the campaign against Candrabhanu, which took place in 1247.
The Cltlava�a, too, deals with the two campaigns in this order.
If we assume that the campaign against Magha ' s forces took place
in 1255 after the invasion of Candrabhanu, it is difficult to
explain why the two chronicles chose to deal with them in the
reverse order. It is not possible to argue that at this point
' the chronicles do not follow a chronological order in dealing
with the various campaigns•� for the PUJ,valiya specifically
st�tes that the invasion of Candrabhanu took place at a time
when the island of Laflk'a was freed of the foreign enemies and
rehabilitation was being undertaken in the country (mes� Lakdiva
parasaturan sadha ra�a samruddha karavamin siti ka1hi)� This
shows that the chroniclers was c onsciously placing the defeat

1. u. c.u.c. , I , pt. 2 , Pl h 620-621.

2. .!E_g . t P • 621 •
3. .!lli•
4. !:! • , P• 117.
of Jwlagha's forces before the invasion of Candrabhanu. Secondly ,
the Cl!lav�....! judicious!� avoids lilJ.Y mention of the forty-year
occupation, although this work is later than the P1!:favaliya
and its acco1U1t of the campaign against the forces ot Magha is
remarkably similar to t hat of the PU;l!valiya. This, too, casts
some doubt on the validity of the Ptt;l!valiya statement. It is,
therefore, possible that the figure 'forty • in the statement of
the PU;f!vali:ya is a mistake. It may also be possible that
Mlgha was ousted from Polonnaruva before 12 47 but his forces were
not completely routed till 1255 . The forty-year occupation may
refer to the presence of the enem, in the northern parts of
Ceylon and not to lmgha' s ru1e in Polonnaruva.
Paranavitana ' s second argument in favour of 1255
as the date of Magha ' s defeat is that
If we take that Polonnaru and the Rajaraftha were
recovered by Parakramabahu before 1247, in which year
the invasion of Candrabhanu was repulsed, he had no enemies
t o contend with until the second invasion of Candrabhanu ,
which, as will be shown later, occurred in or about 1260 •
and the P-a.v-�ya invasions, the first of which was in or
about 1254. He was, therefore� free on this supposition,
to realise his ambition of being crowned at Polonnaru,
and of restoring the Tooth Relic to its ancient shrine
at that city. But, for about ten or fifteen years after
the first defeat of Candrabhanu, Parakramabahu paid no
attention tq,- J>olonnaru. ill his religious and other
activities during these years were in t he �afa, or
in t he south-western or centra1 districts of the island.
The reason for this must have been that Polonnaru·.rwas
still in the hands of the enemy, who abandoned it aftet
an occupation of forty years, as stated by the P1Ijaval1,
in 1255. 1

l . U . C . H.C. , I, pt. 2, P • 621.

This is not quite convincing. During the whole period of his r
reign, Parakramabahu had to contend with a number of enemies.
First Magha, then Candrabhanu and possibly the P'l.;.�yas as we
shall see later, gave constant trougle to the Sinhalese ruler.
If one asks why Parakramabahu failed to hold his coronation at
Polonnaruva between 1247 and 1254 when there were no foreign
invasions, one may also ask why he failed to achieve that
between 1255 and 1260 when, according to Paranavitana, Parmtrama­
bahu had freed Polonnaruva of the enemy. The date of Candrabh'inu ' s
second invasion is not definitely known to be 1260. Some place
it in 1262 and some others later on� If we accept 1262, the time
lapse between 1247 and 1254 is almost the same as that between
1255 and 1262. If during the seven-year period between 12 47
and 1254 Parakramabahu was pnevented from realising his ambition
by Ml'.gha' s presence in Polonnaruva, what prevented him from
achieving his aim during the seven-year period from 1255 and
h<-4 \I.er- rro�
12 62 , when Magha ,- any other enemy was at Polonnaruva ? It is
not possible , therefore, to argue that fflgha was ruling at
Polonnaruva :till 1255 on the basis that Parakramabahu failed
to hold his coronation in that city before 1255. As we shall
aee later on, whether M!gha was defeated in 1255 or before 1247,
what is important is that the Sinhalese rulers could not get

1. A.Liyanagamage, �• cit.
rid of the foreign enell\Y from northern Ceylon after the fal1
of Polonnaruva. The enemies were there even after 1262. Northern
Ceylon had permanently slipped out of the hands of the Sinhalese
rulers in 1215. As we shall see in the sequel, what made it
possible for Parikramabahu to enter Polonnaruva in 1262
was apparently the temporary subjugation of the enemy- in northern
Ceylon by the Pa.9�yas. This, more than any other factor, prevented
Parakramabahu not only from holding his coronation but a1so
from restoring Polonnaruva to its pristine position.
We are , therefore, inclined to think that the

defeat of fflgha and his forces took place before the first
invasion of Candrabhanu in 1247. fflgha was ousted from Polonnaruva
possibly not long before that event. His forces may have c ontinued
to resist in their fortifications in Imjaraf{ha even after that
The 8inhalese sources do not inform us that Magha
was killed in battle by the Sinhalese. It appears that Mlgha
was only dislodged from Polonnaruva but not ousted comp1ete1y
from mtjara�tiia. However, we have no evidence at all as to
what happened to fflgha or about the events in Rajaraf{ha
after his defeat. In all probability, Magha and his associates
established their authority somewhere 1.u the northernmost part
of the island. In 1247, some time after the defeat of }Mgha ,
Candrabhanu invaded Ceylon. He was defeated by Parakramabnu
4 39
and driven away from the Sinhalese kingdom.1 We do not know what
Candrabhanu was doing between this event and hi� second abortive
attempt to capture power in the Sinhalese kingdom, which probabl1
took place in 1262� Between the defeat of Mlgha and the second
invasion of Candrabhanu certain important events seem to have
taken place in northern Ceylon. The Sinhalese chronicles mention
nothing of these events. But the information contained in some
of the contemporary Pa•�ya inscriptions, inadequate though it
may be, helps us to extent in conjecturing the course of events.
The inscriptions of Jatavarlllall Sundara �ba I,
from the ,:ear 1258, refer to a �ha invasion of Ceylon which
presumably took place before 1258� No details of this invasion

l. The invasions of Candrabhanu have been discussed in great

detail in the unpublished thesis of A. Liyanagamage mentioned
above .

2 • Paranavitana dates this event in 1260 (U.C.H.C. , I , pt. 2, p.621) ,

Krom in 1264 (Med. Kon. Akad. van Wetenschappen, Afd. Letterku.nde ,
Deel 62 , Serie B. No.5 , PP • 8-9) and Coed6s in 1256 (B . K . I . ,
83 , PP• 459-472). Li;ranagamage (�. ill• > has discussed
these views and .dated the event in 1262. We are inclined to
accept this.
3. There is no evidence to date this event to 1254.
are given except for the fac t that Sundara Pli��ya exact ed tribute
fro.il the Ceylonese ruler.1 The Sinha1ese chronicles make no mention
of this invasion. It has been surmised by Paranavitana that
there was an a1liance between the Sinha1eae and the ��yas
and that Sundara Pli�d:ra invaded Ceylon to give assistance t o
Parakramabahu against }mgha.2 Ac cording to him, ' the silence of
the monks who chronicled these events with regard t o the
assistance which their patron re•eived atrom a great Tamil.
power for eubduing a band of �ami1 and Ma.la.yali mercenaries
is easily understandable l i He a1so contends that Magha was in
league with the �!as.4 But there is hardly any evidence for
such alliances between Ceylonese and South Indian rulers at
this t ime. In support of his c onclusion Paranavitana adduces
the statement in the chronic1es that the monarchs of foreign
lands had c ome under the influence of Parakramab�u� But it
must be remembered t ha Paranavitana himse1f has stressed that
t he acc ount of Parakramabahu' s campaign against M�gha in t he
chronicles, 'given b7 monks who wished to glorify their patron,

1. Sen Tamil, IV, PP• 514-516; K. A. Nilakanta Sastri , The ��yan

Ki!!;gdom, P• 162 ; M. E. R . for 1894, No. 166 of 1894.
2. U. C . H . C . , I , pt. 2 , P• 621

3 . !lli ·
4 . ll!2.· t P • 622.
5 . Ibid., P• 621..
is meant for those who were accustomed to believing without
question anything stated by themand does not carry conviction
to a critical historian of today'. In the light of this
much credence cannot be attached to the statement that foreign
monarchs came under the influence of Parakramabahu. Furtheri;i
Paranavitana tries to identify the Ceylonese p:eince Parakramabahu ,
who died fighting for the �las in South India in 1230 , with
Parakramabahu Nii!anka Malla c;,f the Pa.�4uvasnuvara Tamil
inscription� The latter is termed �nnilazika�n {King of
'South Ceylon • ) in this inscription. On this basis Paranavitana
argues that 'if the ruler of South Ceylon took the side of the
enemies of the �J.a empire , it is reasonable to infer that 1-mgha
ranged himself on the side of the Cotas • � The unlikelihood
of this contention has been fully demonstrated by Liyanagamage�
It has also been pointed out in an article on the P��uvasnuvara
inscription that Parakramabahu Nil§a.Aka Malla of that record
is no other than the Kaliiiga ruler N�§anka Malla who reigned
in the twelfth century� When the Pa��uvasnuvara inscription

1. U. C . H.C. , I, pt. 2 , P• 620.

2. �• • P• 622.
3. Ibid.
4. A. Liyanagamage , � • ill•
5. IC.Kanapathi Pillai , 'A Tamil Inscription From P��uvasnuvara' ,
U.C . R. , XVIII , Noal, 3 ' 4 , July-Oct. 1960 , P• 157 ff.
expressly mentions that the Parakramabahu in whose reign it
was set up had the surname Ni,Uumka Malla it is not clear why
Paranavitana prefers to identify him with another Par'ikramabahu
who is known to us only from a South Indian inscription. Fr om
bis Sinhalese inscriptions we know that Ni6&dka. Malla had the
name Parakramabahu as well.l Since it has been discussed elsewhere
in detail, we do not propose to enter into a discussion of this
point . But we would like to point out here that it il erroneous
to take Tem.ila.Akai to mean the southern part of Ceylon and, on
that basis, to build up a theory of the ruler of South Ceylon
ranging himself' on the side of the enemies of' the �l.as and the
ruler of North Ceylon tak1 ng the side of the �l.as. Tem.ilankai
has been used in Tamil literature as well as in inscriptions;

1. S.Paranavitana, ' A Slab Inscription of Ni66anka Malla at Polonnaru ,

wrongly attributed to Vijayabahu II ' , E.Z. , V , pt. 2 1 p. 202.
2. a ) Tiru-!lanacampantar TEfvara TiruppatikaAk:at, Kalaka ed. , No. 243,

P• 520 ( 7th century) ; b) Cuntarar Tiruppatikam, No. 147 (c.8th century:

c) �ikkavacakar Tiru�cakam, ed. c.Pillai ( Mad. 1949) , p. 326.a
Cc. 9th century) ; d) M. E.R. for 1923, No.505 of 1922 (12th century) ;
e ) M. E.R. for 1915 . No.406 of 1914 (13th century) ; f) -™• • No.407
of 1914 (13th century) ; g) !!E.•, Ci�appuppayiram & T.4, p.4 (c. 15th
century) ; h) !!!•, P• 6 ( c . 16th century) ; i) YE.• , vv.90, 91 (c. 16th
century) ; j) !1?.• , PP• 18, 170 (c. 18th century) ; k) !!!!!:,, ntau­
kalveftu , P• 18 (c. 18th century) .
almost always in poetry , for a 1ong t ime since the seventh
centur1. In all these instancea this name stands for the whole
of Ceylon and not for any part of it. The name IJ a:Aka i was also
used for some places in �outh India, besides Ceylon.1 The
prefix !!_u, meaning south, was used to distinguish Ceylon from
the other Ilankais. In the ear� centuries of the Christian
era, one of the South Indian Ildkais had the prefix .!!!! (Ma-ilankai) �
In the CcSla period, we find that it had the prefix uttara,
meaning north (Uttara �)� The La6k'a in the south was , therefore,
known as Teu-ilaAka.i (La.Aka in the South). Perhaps the best
example that one can show to prove that Ten-ila.Akai does not
stand for the southern part of Ceylon only is its occurrence
in t he Kailayamalai. In t his Tami.1 chronicle of Ceylon, one of
the kings of Jaffna with the throne or consecration name of
Cekaricacekarau is styled Cekaracan Teim,ila:r:\kai mam1avq (Cekarac a,u,
the king of Tem.ilankai)� No one woul4 contend that the king of
the northern part of the island is here referred to as the king
of southern Ceylon. What is really meant is that the king of
Jaffna is t he monarch of the whole of Ceylon. Tem.ila:Akai , in

1. See supra , P• 3�
2. I1Jid.; there was also a Mayilailgai in f,\ysore, !:.£· , III , pp.147-148.
3. M. E.R. for 1913, No.77 of 1913; K.A.Nilaka.Dta Sastri , The ClSl.!:!, ,
P• 443, n. 83.
4. Km., P• 6.
this instance, stands undoubtedly for the whole of Ceylon. In
the Pav�uvasnuvara inscription, too, as in all the other instances,
it stands to� the whole island. It is, therefore, difficult
to accept Paranavitana ' s theory that Parakramabahu of the
South Indian inscription , mentioned above, was a king of
southern Ceylon who aided the enemies of the ClSlas • Consequently
there is no basis for the theory that the �4ya invasion that
took place some time before 1258 was aimed at assisting Parakrama­
bahu I�against Magha, the alleged �la ally.
The silence of the Sinhalese chronicles on the
Pafgya invasion and the true significance of this event may:
be understood to some extent if we analyse the evidence of
some -P-
��ya inscriptions of 1263 and 1264, which refer in detail
to another ��ya invasion of Ceylon under JatavarJna.I1 nra
��ya I (acc. 1 253). In one of his inscriptions of 1263, nra
��ya is credited with the feat of having taken ' Ilam and the
Cavakan' s crown together with his crowned head ' 1. In an inscription
of 1264, a detailed account of the campaign in Ceylon is given�

1. M.E.R. for 1917, No. 588 of l916f K.A.Nilakanta Sastri,

' The Ceylon Expedition of Jatavar.man V'tra ��ya• , Proceedings
and Transactions of the Eighth All�India Oriental Conference,
Bangalore 193 7, P• 509.
2• .!lli• t PP • 5 23 -525.
The terl of this inscription from Ku�umiyamal.ai is corrupt at
certain places and the details are, therefore , not quite
intelligible . In the words of Nilakanta Sastri,
we can see that there was some dispute in Ceylon, that
one of the ministers had invoked P- a_;�yan intercession,
and that the king's aim was to uphold in proper form
the ancient practise of royalty (ara.§iyal val.ak:kam
ner,ippa�a natt�iPpiru!l ) . Then we learn that among
the kings of Ceylon one was killed in the battlefield
and all his troops, treasures and parapherhalia confiscated
(arai§u ke�u dayam a�ai a vari), after which the double
carp (the P- av-�ya emblem3 was put upon the fine flags
waving on the Kog.amalai and the Trik."C1agiri, another
king ( of Ceylon) was compelled to sur;-ender his elephants
as tribute . Finally, the son of the Savaka, who had
formerly disregarded commands and evinced hostility ,
came and prostrated (before n'.ra n4ba) and was dul.y
rewarded. The text is difficult here and so far as I can
make it out, the Savaka ' s son was presented with the
anklet of heroes (v'trakkalal ), was taken rormd dn
procession on an elephant and was perlllitte� to proceed
at once to Anurapuri because it was thought (by V"Ira
P'td�ya) that it was only proper that the son should
rule the vast land of Ceylon formerly ruled by his father. l
The two inscriptions are generally taken to refer to the same
expedition and rightly so. The expedition is not mentioned in
V'!ra FaJ;.�ya ' s inscript ion of the early part of 1262� It appears
to have taken place e ither in the latter part of 1262 or in 1263.
As we shall see later, it took place probably in 12.62. These
P'!.g.�ya inscriptions inform us that around 1262 there were two
kings in Ceylon and that one of them was a �vakq ( �vaka).

1. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, ' The Ceylon Expe�ition of Jat7tvarman

vtra ��ya' , .2;e• ill•, PP• 511-512.
2. � .E. R. for 1929-30 1 No.480 of 1930.
The campaign of Sundara 'P!.1,4:,a, some time before 12.58, was
probably directed against this C'KvakaA and this may be the reaso n
why the Sinhalese chroniclers took no notice of it. The reference
in the Ku�umiyama.l.ai inscription to ' the son of the S�vaka, who
bad formerly disregarded commands and evinced hostility • seems
to support this conclusion. For, the person who was recalcitrant
was the Javaka and not his son, as some are inclined to take.
The phrase 'who had formerly disregarded commands and evinced
, ,
hostility• qualifies s�vaka and not the •son of the Savaka ' .
The J'avaka was killed in battle in or about 1262. Then the son
was placed on the throne by the -P-
aJJ.�Ya ruler. Before this
event, the Pa�4ya ' s commands would have been directed to the
father and not to the son. It is not possible that the son is
accused in our record of having ' formerly disregarded commands ' .
It is the father who would have disregarded commands earlier
and paid for it with his life. Once the father was punished,
the son was given fu11 ropal honours and placed on the throne,
' because it was thought that it was only proper that the son
should rule Ilam, surrounded by the vast sea, which was ruled
by his father•.l It foloows, therefore, that il was the father
and not the son who was recalcitrant earlier. For the elder

l . Nilakanta Sastri ' s rendering of this phrase is not quite

accurate ; 'which was formerly ruled by his father• should
read ' which was ruled by his father•.
44 7
Jl'.vaka. to be accused of having been recalcitrant , �1Mwst haTe
submitted to P'ai�a authority on an earlier occasion and later
failed to be submissive. When did this happen ? It seems to
hav-e occurred some time before 1258 , when Sundara ��7a
claims to have obtained tribute from a ruler ot Ceylon. The silence
of the Sinhalese chronicles regarding 8J11 �4-,a invasion of
the Sinhalese kingdom suggests that it was the Javaka and not
Parakramabahu II who was subdued by the ��yas. On the evidence
of the ��ya inscriptions we may , therefore, say that some time
before 1258 Sundara Pa��ya invaded Ceylon and exacted tribute
from a Jlvaka king who was ruling part of Ceylon, that this
ruler soon became recalcitrant and was killed by nra ��ya
in 1262 and that the son of that Javaka was then placed on the
throne by nra P-
��ya'' because it was thought that it was only
proper that the son should rule �lam, surrounded by the vast
sea, which was ruled by his father•.
Now, we have to identify the Jlvaka of the P-
� dya
inscriptions and the kingdom ruled by him. The Sinhalese
chronicles refer to the activities of on1y one Javaka in Ceylon
at this time , He is Candrabh�:nu, whcl is recorded to have invaded
the Sinhalese kingdom 011 two occasions. The defeat and death of
this i:nvader on the second occasion enabled the Sinhalese princes
to enter PoloD.llaruva and start restoration work there! Since

1 . A. Liyanagamage , .2P.• ill•

the Pa.v�ya inscriptions refer to the defeat and death of a
Javaka in Ceylon around the same time, it has been rightly
surmised that these inscriptions and the Sinhalese chronicles
refer to the same incident� Paranavitana, who supported this
view earlier, has lately attempted to identify the Javaka ot
the P'i��ya inscriptions with Magha� This change of opinion
has been due to his new theory that Magha hailed from ' Malaysia '
and not from Kaliilga, in Inllia, as recorded by the Sinhalese
and Tamil sources� We find this theory unconvincing and agree
with Nilakanta Sastri that it is based mainly on ' vague surmises
and plays with phonetic similarities•! Recently Paranavitana
has claimed to ha•e discovered epigraphic materials which
conclusively prove his theor� Until these materials have been
published , we will not be in a position to offer comments on
this theory. For the present, we are inclined to accept the
atatement of the chronicles that �t!lgha came from Kalinga in
India. Consequently, we believe that the only Javaka known t o

1 . A. Li;yanagamage, �• ill • ; K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, ' The Ceylon

Expedition of Jatavarman
.iYBctaN. ��ya ' , �• ill.•, p.520 •
2. U . C . H .C . , I, pt. 2, p. 627 ; s. Paranavitana, ' The Arya Kingdom
of North Ceylon' , P• 194.
3. S . Paranavitana, ' Ceylon and Malaysia in Medieval Times • ,
J. R . A. S . (C . B . ), N . S . , VII, pt.l , PP• 1-42.
4. K.A. N . Sastri, ' Ceylon and Sri Vijaya' , J.R. A. S. (C. B), N. S.,VIII,p.12
5 . See supra, P• l,.o I
have been active in Ceylon in the third quarter of the thirteenth
centur1 is Candrabhanu. It may not be wrong to conclude ,
therefore , that the Javaka of the �gya inscriptions was
Candrabhanu , that he was ruler of a kingdom in Ceylon for some
time and that he met his defeat and death in 1262 , the year
in which the Sinhalese princes entered the old capital , Polon­
naruva! It has been mentioned earlier that the campaign of
nra n.��ya in Ceylon can be dated either in the latter part
of 1262 or early in 1263. Since the death of Candrabhanu , on
the basis of the Sinhalese chronicles , appears to have taken
place in 1262 , nrapPaJ.i�ya•s campaign against the Jlvaka ruler
has to be dated in 1262 and not in 1263� As Paranavitana and
Liyanagamage believe , the P'!.JJ.�yas were probably the allies of
Parakramabahu II� The ��ya inscriptions are not clear on
this point. The Ku�umiyamalai inscription refers to the request
made by a minister , presumably to intervene in the war in
Ceylon between Parakramabahu and Candrabhanu. It is not stated ,
as has been claimed sometimes , that the minister came from Ceylon.

1. A. Liyanagamage , �• cit.
2. Ibid.
3 . �- i u. c.n . c. , I , pt.2 , P• 627 .
4. U • • H . C . , I , pt.2 , PP• 627 , 685 .
4 5a
Re c ould very well have been a.minister of nra ��ya himse.l.f.
But probably he was a in:tnister of Par"!kramabahu who appeale d
to the �wa ruler to intervene in the Ceylonese war. Such
an appeal would have been made to the Y-� �ya ruler because, as
we have indicated. earlier, Candrabhanu was probably a tributary
of V"!ra P-
� �ya , at least in name if not in fact. The Pal;.�ya
inscriptions claim that after the J'!vaka was killed , Vtra
P'!�ha levied tribute from the !other king'! If this other king
was Parakramabahu, it would mean that the Sinhalese ruler was
treated only as a subordinate ally. Raving successfully intervened
in the war and punished his recalcitrant tributary with death,
V"!ra ��ya raised the Javaka's son to the throne of his father.
It is clear that the ��ya monarch did not intervene in the
Ceylonese war as an ally of Parakramabahu with the intention of
conquering the Javaka ' s kingdom for the Sinhalese ruler. Re
appears to have been settling a dispute between his own trJi.butar y ,
who had become refractory , and another subordinate ally , who too
was probably one of his tributaries. This is how we could possibly
interpret the evidence of the Sinhalese chronicles and the �ba

1. En.ai venta.nai ( o�ber king) is the phrase used in the
Ku�u.miyamalai inscription, K. A.NilakaDta Sastri ,'The Cey1on
Expedition of Jatavarman nra P!JJ.ba' , � • .ill•, p. 524.
4 51
inscriptions regarding the events of the period between 1247 and
If the little evidence we have favours the identi-
fication of the cfflvaka or the 'P'aI}.�ya inscriptions with Candrabhanu,1
the next question we are faced with is the location of his king­
dom. The Sinhalese sources do not inform us of the existence of
an independent l:ingdom in southern Ceylon, other than that
ruled by Parakrama.bahu II, in the middle of the thirteenth
century. But we do not know whether there was any ..independent
kingdom in northern or eastern Ceylon , which at this t ime was
not under the control of the Sinhalese monarch. Candrabhanu•a
activities prior to his second invasion of the Da.15.bade�iya
kingdom were confined to the northern part of the island. He
is stated to have landed at Mah�tittha with Tamil mercenaries
from t he -P-q�ya and �la countries and 'brought over to his
side the SDia1as dwelling in Pad�, Kurund.Y and other districts•�

1. Paranavitana has claimed that a certain Candrabhanu Mahar1:ja

is mentioned as the ruler of Subhapatfana (Jaffna) in 1289 A.D.
in an inscription found at Anuradhapura. If this record is
authentic, this ruler may be the son of Candrabhanu , the invader.
This ma:, confirm the identification of the Javaka of the
Pav,�ya inscriptions with Candrabhanu. See infra, P • �� -
2. �- . 88: 63-64.
4 52
Pad� and Kurund�, as we have noted earlier, are Padaviy-a and
Kuruntanlir 1.n northern Ceylon. Possibly nmt a.At the Tamil
mercenaries o f Candrabhanu were from South India. He may have
recruited some from the northern parts of Ceylon, joo. If
Candrabhanu had a kingdom 1.n Ceylon, this must have been in
the northern region of the island rather than in any other
part. It was probably the forerunner of the Tamil kingdom of
Jaffna which was ruled in the fourteenth century by a line
of lings called the A.ryacakravartins. The evidence of certain
place names in the Jaffna district, revealing Javaka association,
also points to the conclusion that it was in northern Ceylon
that the Javakas had some sort of authority at any time in
the history of the island. There are at least t.wo village
naJJes the Jaffna district with the element Javaka. lJ,ar�Y-c.
Uvc;.�A�- c.\Wli. (.T&Vo--kA'.S. e ....... c1......,)
Cavaka-ceri (Jlvaka-ceri = Jlvaka settlement � and Ca:v�ffai
(Cavakan �ttai • Javaka �ftai = Jlvaka fort) . These two names,
still in use, find mention in the !alPpa;,a-vaipava-malai, the
�la-sande�a and in some of the Sinhalese !!,�aimpotas (Boundary
Books ) 1. It appears that the Jaffna peninsula and some parts of
the Jaffna and Mullait�vu districts had the territorial name
Jlvagama. This name occurs in one of the Sinhalese ,!!dailllJ:)otas�

1. !!!•, P • 60; �kila-sande§a, v. l.t,o ; Tri Si:dha+'e Kagaim saha

Vitti, ed. A. J.W• .Marambe, 1926, p. 21 ; s -'K14""'u�c.... v«-i, �c�- , )>- ,o�,

2. Tri Si.Ahale Ka�aim saha Vitti, op. c it., p.21.

Paranavitana takes Javagama to be derived from Javaka , through
Tamil, ' just as Sinhalese ��agama is derived from Sanskrit
.!!!t� through Tamil• : This is plausible, although it need not
necessarily be so . If it is derived from Javaka, it indicates
Javaka rule in the northern regions more than the other two place
Paranavitana has adduced further evidence in support
of the conclusion that the JI.Vakas were the predecessors of
the .Aryacakravartins in the kingdom of Jaffna.2 In a fourteenth
century Sinhalese inscription found at Mldava1a a p ersonage
named Ml!rtta�cjam Peru�lun, who entered into a treaty with
Vikramab�u III (1357-1374) is mentioned. He has bee n identified
by Paranavitana with Martt�ta Cinkai .lriYB.11, one of the Arya­
cakravartins of Jaffna mentioned in the !!JJ>EaRa-vaipava-�1ai.
In this inscription , he is given the epithet Savalu-pati.
Paranavitana is inclined to equate the word savalu with Javaka.
He argues that 'Java is pronounced ill Tamil as Cava or Sava,
to which !!,, 'person' , has been added on the ana1ogy of
Ma.layali from Malaya + !l� On this basis, he says, �+ or

1. S.Paranavitana, 'The Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon ' , p. 195.

2. � . , PP• 197-200.
3• ilia•, P• 199.
4 5J
nv1:ti would denote a person ot Jiivaka race. 'The final vowel
� (in Savatu) suggests tha influence of Telugu which is known
to have been the language of the rulers of the J!vaka kingdom
in the Malay peninsula•: Having thus derived Sav4u from J11va ,
Paranavitana explains the manner in which u �yacakravartin
came to bear the title of Savalupati.
If , as we have demonstrated , fflgha came from Malaysia
with a following of Malay warriors , and if he founded
a kingdom in the North , the ruling class of that ki.ngdom
would have been cfflvakas or Sav1:+• And further , if an
lriyan from �Avaram became master of this kingdom
as a result of a matrimonial alliance , the .fflvakas or
.§a�+i or Savalu people would have referred to this
Ariyan and his descendants as their lord. 2
This seems to be a far-fetched theory. In the first place , the
identification of fflrtt��am of the M!ldavala inscription with
an iryacakravartin of Jaffna is not certain . Even if this is
granted , the derivation of Sava4u-pati from J!va is rather
ingenious . It is true that Java is pronounced in Tamil as
Cava or Sava. But the analogy on which this is made the
first element of S1:v1:li is certainly wrong. Malayali is
not derived from the two words Malaya and !l, but from Ma18i''a+am,
the Tamil name for Kera+a , meaning •valley' , in the same way
as Va:dka+1 (Bengali) is derived from Va.Alal+am (Ba4gata - Bengal).

l. S.Paranavitana , 'The Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon ' , P• 199.

2. � -
No one would say that the latter is derived from Vanke. (Va.Jiga)
and !I , although it would appear quite logical. The derivation
of Savatu , occurring in the Sinhalese works, is disputed by
scholars. Various other interpretations have been given to it 1.
It doe s not occur in any Tamil work and it is doubtful whether
any Aryacakravartin bore this title. Further, the inscription
in which it is claimed to occur as the e pithet borne by a certain
Martt�,.i.�am is badly damaged . Paranavitana admits that ' the
record is badly weathered, and from it s sixth line, only a
few letters are legible here and there ' and that even 'some
letters in the first five lines are also indistinct•� The term
Savalu-pati occurs in the fourth line and two letters of this
word, namely .!! and ll, are not clear. Under these circumstance s,
one cannot be sure that the epithet is Savalupati and not some
other word. This evidence adduced by Paranavitana in support
of the rule of �Vakas in northern Ceylon is , therefore ,
unacceptable, although it does not go against our conclusion
arrive d at from other evidence .

l. D. B. Jayatilaka , Sahitya Lipi, 1956 , P• 114 ; H.W.Codrington,

' The Gampola Period of Ceylon History • , J.R. A.S. (C.B.) ,
Xllll, No. 86 , P • 301.

2. S. Paranavitana , ' The �ya Kingdom of North Ceylon• , P • 197.

In the light of the meagre evidence that is &Tail.able
to us we may- not be wrong in locating the kingdom of Candrabh�u
somewhere in the northern part of Ceylon. In all probability ,
- 1
it was the kingdom of Jaffna which the 4I"yacakravartins inherited.

1. The Sanskrit inscription from Anuradhapura mentioned earlier

(see supra, P• 4'3" ) refers ,to a Candrabhanu as the ruler of
Subhapattana (Jaffna). If this is an authentic record and if
Candrabhanu is identified as the son of the Javaka who invaded
the Sinhalese kingdom, the identification of the Javaka ' s
kingdom with Jaffna will be beyond dispute. See infra, p. 1,,.s·, •
In the VaiJ'aI>atal (v.36) occurs the following reference:­
'Tanikkal ennum Taraiyatanil Cakar�r em:um Karar ent.1:!
_!!lnta kula vefar pat;ai utan� k.1JJi tar�itanil Caka�}.um natg•
(When the C'!ka, with the ex� of low caste hunters called
Cakarar and Karar , were ruling this world from Tqi kkal).
The only manuscript of the Vaiyapatal now extant, from which
this chronicle has been edited and published , is full of copyist's

---- - • ------- -
errors. The words Caka v!l'.um can be emended as Caka.vara}.um

(&rt la �ff' \5 \0 to8-ftl».SQ'ff'5 LO� by adding one letter !:!. ( '1 ) ,

which would then mean 'being ruled by the CEta.var ' (a varia nt
of Cavakar). If this is admissible , the reference here may be
taken to preserve some memory of Javaka rule in Tanikkal , in the
Northern Province. But we cannot be certain that only this
emendation is possible. Caka. �l� is obviousl1 an error.
If1 as we have suggested earlier, the invasion of
Jafavarman Sundara P!�cJya I I some time before 1258, was directed
against this new kingdom, its foundation has to be placed before
that date. We have already laid down that the upper limit for
the establishment of an independent kingdom in northern Ceylon
is 1236. The lower limit may now be reckoned as 1258. Our
sources do not mention anything about the events in northern
Cey1on between these two dates, except for the defeat of 1-mgha,
which, we believe 1 occurred some time before 1247. In the present
state of our knowledge we can only resort to conjecture in recons­
tructing the course of events that led to the foundation of
the new kingdom in northern Ceylon. The only basis for our
conjecture is the vague evidence of the Tamil chronicles.
Although Magha was ousted from Polonnaruva some
time after 1236, he seems to have continued to exercise
authority further north. The Sinhalese monarch was in no
position to recover the whole of R!jarattha or even to secure
his position at Polonnaruva for a long time. The reason for
Parakramabahu's failure appears to have been the presence of
the enemy in the northern part of the island. The failure of
the Sinhalese to oust the foreigners from the island was an
important factor that led to the rise of the new kingdom in
the north. lmgha presumably set up a new capital somewhere in
northern Ceylon, probably iD Jaffna, and exercised authority
in that region . We do not know what fate eventually overtook him
and it is useless to surmise on this point. He probably died a
natural death and was succeeded by someone else. In all
probability this new kingdom of northern Ceylon is the same
as that ruled by the Javaka prince around 1262. It is not known
how a Javaka came to be on the throne of a kingdom in northern
Ceylon. As we are inclined to identify the Javaka of the
��ya inscriptions with Candrabhanu, it is possible to
conjecture that this Malay ruler, after his defeat at the hands
of the Sinhalese, fled to the northern kingdom. In course of
time, by some means he was in a position to succeed to the
throne.there. Probably he won the favour of Magha, if he was
still living at that time, and succeeded him. Or, it is possible
that he was able to wrest power from the ruler of the northern
kingdom. If such was the course of events, it would appear that
it was as ruler of the northern kingdom that Candrabh?!nu launched
his second attack on the Sinhalese kingdom, which turned out
to be fatal to him. After his death, his son ascended the throne
as a feudatory of the ��yas with the blessings of Jatavarman
V'tra P-
a.J}�ya. This reconstruction of the events in northern
Ceylon seems to fit the meagre and vague information that we are
able to extract from our epigraphic and 1iterary sources, chief1y
the Tamil chronicles:

l. In his contribution to the U. C . H . C. ( I, pt. 2 , P• 627),

Paranavitana held that 'the independent kingdom in North Ceylon
appears to have originated with Candrabhanu • . Later, he
changed this view and attributed the foundation of the kingdom
to �gha and agreed that it was 'possibly also ruled for
sometime by Candrabhanu • ( J.R. A. S . (C . B.) , N . S. , VII , pt . 2 , p. 194).
But in a paper read at the University of Ceylon recently, he
claims to have discovered an epigraphic document entit1ed
Magha-vrttanta (which he sometimes calls fflgharaja-vrt thta)
which dea1s inter !!,!! with the '.foundation of the kingdom of
Subhapa!tana ( Jaffna) with Gai�agopala, fflgha's s on as its
first ruler, under the protection of the P"llJ.�yas , the carnr
of Candrabhanu , the son of Ga_v�agopala, • • • • • • the relations
between Candrabhhu of Subhapattana and Pa��ita Parakramabahu
of Kurunlgala, the supplanting of fflgha's descendants at
Subhapatfana by :mtjaputra 1}iakusa from Rble!vara (lrya Cakravarti) • • •
( S.Paranavitana , ' Newly Discovered Historical Documents
Relating to Ceylon, India and South-east Asia• , .21?.• ill• ) •
Although the light thrown by such a document would alter our
picture in many ways, it would confirm the connections of }mgha
and Candrabhanu with the northern kingdom. However, until the
new document is published no comments can be offere d on this
4 60
In the Tamil chronicles , as we have already seen,
the foundation of the kingdom of Jaffna is attributed to a
blind minstrel. It is said that this minstrel died without
an issue and that Jaffna was without a king for some time.
Eventually one of the nobles went to Ma4urai and invited a
prince called Ci.Akai Ariyaa (Irya of S�a(nagara) ) alias
Irnla:dkai �iyaa or Vicaya lrnla.Aka.i Cakkaravartti to be the
king of Jaffna. The invitation was accepted and Vicaya
lrn!aAka.i Cakkaravartti became the first prince to rule Jaffna.
This is the account found in the Kail�pamal.ai &.n:d the
nlpp�a-vaipava-mlrlai: As we have discussed earlier, it is
stated in these chronicles that several noble families as
well as members of the different castes were invited from
South India in the time of the king Vicaya Knla1'kai 8akkaravartti
and given lands in the Jaffna peninsula and the Vanni districts
to settle down� There are some reasons to believe that this
first princely ruler of Jaffn�was no other than 1-mgha. In
the first place, we are inclined to agree with Gnanapragasar
that the name VicaJ"a Irnla6kai 'f/Uq be a corruption of
VicaJ"a Kal11'ka (Vij aya Kalilga) � :t-mgha, as we know from the

l. !!!!•, P • 25 ; Km. , P • 6.
2. See supra, � - �
3. S. Gnanapragasar, !!m!J.ia-vaipava-m!:lai1 an!!, P• 65.
9Jcl"'�T..,-- ......¾ .... k-.Y"...'1c,..
Nik'aya-sai\grahaya and the HatthavanagaJ avi"Pa�a'-!!• had also
the name Kali.Aga Vijayabahu.1 This name could be easily rendered
into Tami.l as Vicaya Kal.i.A58,. Here the second element of the
name Vijayabahu is dropped and the name Dilinga is used at
the end, in the same aanner as �la or P'aV,�ya in Tamil�
Gnanapragasar has explained that in tha manuscripts lllilika
or its variant XaliAkai · may have been mistaken for IDiiankai�
Since K'tila:dkai makes no sense, it may haTe been altered to
K'tilaAkaj (crippled hand) in course of time. Hence the explanation
of the author of the ,!_alPpa�a-vaipava-malai that the king got
this name because one of his hands was disabled� But the posi,ion

2. Q!., Imjaraja �la, nra ��ya, etc. Vijaya is. written as

Vicaya in Tamil and Kali.Aga as Kali.Aka or Kalillkai.
3. In the cursive style of the ,2!!, manuscripts, where an angular
style is avoided to prevent the ,2!!, from splitting , Dli.Aka
would have been written thus : � • This could have
been easll.J'ymistaken for �A (DIJ.ailka).
4 . Yvm., P• 30.
of KUlaAkai a!ter Vicaya suggests that it may not be a nickname.
If it were, it would have been used in froat of Vicaya, the
surname (Dla.Aka.i Vicaya Cakkaravartti), as in the case of normal
nicknames in Tamil.1 Gnanapragasar•s explanation seems to be
plausible but it is rather unlikely that euch a well-known
name like Kali.:Aga was misread as KUlai\ka.• The corruption of
KaliAga into Kntai'Uta may have occurred in some other way.
That Kulaiiltai is a mistake for Kalinga is confirmed by the evidence
of the Ma�f.akka!appu-manmjyam. This chroni�le of Batticaloa
deals mostly with the history of the Eastern Province of the
island, but in one place it gives an account of the manner in

which the AriyB.lls came to establish their rule in Naka.t�vu

(Pali Nlgad�pa - Jaffna district)� While the !!lPpapa-vaipava­
malai and t he Kail-yamalai introduce the story of the blind
lutist in between the story of Nara-cinka.-raca.Jl and that of the
first :h-ya ruler of Jaffna, the !1!ttakkala6 pu-m'!tnmiyam has no
reference t o the YaJ.pati legend� Instead, the story of the £irst
AriY&A ruler follows that of Cinka.-k.umara,a (Nara-ci.tika-raca,a
of the Yalpp�a-vaipava-rnalai ) . According to this account,

1. Qf., Antaka (Blind) Kavi nra Raka.var, �aikkal (Short-legged)

Irumpo.:ai, Yanaikkav, (Ele hant-eyed) Cey.
2 . �' PP• 3 6-37.

3 . See supra, p. +2.0 ·

a �la prince named KaliAkai ¥ iYB.ll went from lriya-nafu to
Nakat�vu ( Jaffna district), invited several families from
Ariyanatu to settle down in that region and became their king.
The name of the first lriya_n ruler of Jaffna is thas preserved
in the �ftakk�appu-rn!Amiyam as Ka1il1kai lriYB.ll which corresponds
to Klilai\ka.i Ariyan of the .!!J.ppapa-vaipava-malai: This strengthens
our supposition that Rnlankai is a mistake for Kalilka.i.
Vicaya Klila.Akai appears to be Vijaya Kalil.ga or l-!agha , who ,
as we shall see�resently, has been confused with the first
iryaca.kravartin in the Tamil traditions.
Secondly, it appears that Cinkai Ariy� was not
the name of Vicaya K't'Ilaflka.i but a later addition of the
chroniclers. CiAka.i lriyq (�ya of CiAka.i) was the dynastic
name of the Aryacakravartins who ruled Jaffna in the fourteenth
and fifteenth centuries� In the list given in the �l,;PPru}�­
vaipava-malai, there are ten rulers after Vicaya Klila.nkai
who bear this dynastic name and they all have their personal
names prefixed to it� But in the case of the first ruler,
Vicaya Klllaiikai , there is no personal name prefixed to the

1. !.!.!!!., P • 30.

2 . See infra, �� -V.!.! ; in.ka.i is an abridged form of Cilkai-nakar

( Si,Jha-nagara) which was the capital of the lryacakravartins .
3 . �- , Iulacekara Ci:dkai 4riyaa, Kul�ttunka. Ci.Akai Ariyaa.
dynastic name. He is just called Cilllta.i lriyaa in the Kail-ya.mala.i.
and the !!J.pp�a-vaipava-malai. At the end of the account of his
reign the IDFp-�a-vaipava-malai gives Vicaya Klilankai Cakkara­
vartti and K.Ulankai b'iyaa as the other borne by Ci:6ka1 'Xriyau.
This confusion is not difficult to explain. In the historical
traditions of Jaffna the £1-yacakravartins have overshadowed a1l
earlier rulers of the Jaffna kingdom. At a time when these early
rulers were being forgotten , the name of Vicaya K1Ila:6kai may
have been still lingering in the memory of the story-tellers,
who, ignorant of the identity of this person, may have identified
him with the first Ariye.A of Jaffna. We agree with Paranavitana
that the chronicles of Jaffna were • written when the Cinkai
,4riy8,lls had ceased to exist, at a time when, after the dynastic
name had been at tached t o the rulers of Jaffna for about three
centuries, the belief had gained ground that all rulers of that
kingdom bore that name•� As a result of maki ng Vicaya K'IIlankai
identical with the first 'Xryacakravartin, the accounts of their
two reigns have also been mixed. It appears that somehow the
personality of Magha, under the name of Vicaya K'IIlankai, had
survived .in the traditions of Jaffna.

i. S. Paranavitaaa, 'The Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon' , P• 203.

The Vai;yapatal also refers to K'IIla.Akai as an 'Iriya.A, �• , v. 57.
4 6j
The conclusion that Vicaya Kllla:dks.i of the Jaffna
chronicles is !-Zgha is further strengthened by other considerations.
In the Sinhalese chronicles it 1s stated that Magha settled
several Tamils and Ker4as i:n northern Ceylon: In the Tamil
chronicles, Vicaya Imlankai is said to have been responsible
for the settlement in northern Ceylon of people from India� But
more important than this is the consideration that the adopt ion
by the Jaffna rulers of the couchant bull (nandi) as their royal
insignia, GaAga as their �� or � name and Ci.Akai-nakar
(SiAha-nagara) as the name of their seat of government indicates
the Kali.Aga origins of the northern kingdom� The emblem of the
couchant bull (nandi or !.f§abha la!lchana) , with the crescent
moon above it, was used by the Eastern Ga.Agaa of Kali.Aga, as is
evidenced by the seals of their copper plates4 as well as by
their inscriptions� The kings of Jaffna used the same emblem
on their flags and coins.6 On these coins, not only do we fi.D.d

l. See supra, Jf-4 - !.Y

2. See supra, i,u_.� . ; !!!•, P • 2 7 f f.; �• , P • 37.
3• S .Gnanapragasar, www
PP• 60-61.
4. !:_!. , III , P• 130.
5• !:.,!. , IV , P• 192.
6 . �- , P• �4 ; !!- , P• 5 ; �- , P • 7; !!ltai-vifu-t�tu , v . 152;
S.Gnanapragasar, ' The Forgotten Coinage of the Kings of Jaffna•,
C . A. L. 2.i.V, pt. 4 , P�• 172-179•
the couchant bu11 but a1so the crescent moon above it. In the
Tamil literary works produced in the Jaffna kingdom, the ru.1ers
of that kingdom are sometimes referred to as those of the Ganga
countey- (Kal\kai-naf�)1 or simply as ,4ryas of Ganga ( Kanka:L-
Ariyar).2 In the Kailayamalai some of the noblemen who served
under the first ruler of Jaffna (Vicaya Imla.Akai) are stated
to have belonged to the GaAga � (Ke.nka-kttla)� These
references seem to reveal the GaAga connections of the
founders of the Jaffna kingdom. We agree with Paranavitana
that the Kalil.gas who :tounded the norhhern kingdom must
have regarded their GaAga connections with pride and that
the 4riya.As who inherited the kingdom might very well have
continued these traditions. GaAga 1n these epithets seem tc

1. �- , Ci£appupp1lyiram, v. 11;
�- , Ci�appuppayiram.
2. Irakuvammicam. 2 X, v.223, XIII, v. 107.
3. !!• , P • 12. This term may refer to the Vetl'Jl+a caste
called Ka�kai-kulam •
denote some connection with the I;astern Gangas . Paranavitana
originall7 expressed the opinion that the 'claim of the
Ariy8.ll rulers to be of the Gai\ga 1ineage can be upheld if they
are taken as successors of the J'lvaka kings of the Kalinga-VaJJlSa1
and that when the Ka.11:Agas founded a kingdom in northern Ceylon
'they must have regarded their GaAga connections with sentiment
and pride• : But in a subsequent article, while attempting to
refute the view of Nilak:anta Sastri�s, he has argued against
bis own conclusion above. Here he has stated that Kankai
is the form that the Sanskrit Ga.4g'I'., and not Ganga, assumes
in Tamil and that Ka6kat ma:y be taken to be the name of a community .
He then quoted from the Madras Tamil Lexicon, in which Kankaikulam
is explained as a Vellafa tribe who claim to have misrated
from the Gangetic region. ' As the Ja!fna tradition refers to
ir:ra Cakravartis who had Ve�� consorts•, he has argued,
' it is very likely that Kankai in both these epithets is used
with that meaning 1 � It is true that normally Ganga takes the
form Ka�ka in Tamil. But just as lCalinga sometimes assumes
the form ICalinkai and Sinha becomes Cilika.i, Ga.Aga can take
the form Kankai. The name GaAga-pac} i , for instance, often

1. S. Paranavitana, 'The 4rya Kingdom of North Ceylon', P• 201.

2. S .Paranavitana, 'Ceylon and Malaysia', J.R. A . S . (C.B . ) , N. S . ,
VIII, pt.2, PP• 370-371.
4 68
occurs in the Tamil inscriptions as Kauka-p�fi, but sometimes
it was also written as Kankaippaii, as in the ��ya inscription
found at Vemba..m', in Trichinopoly district� The fact that
one of the epithets, mentioned above, refers to Kaiikaj-natu
(the Ga.Aga country) shows that Ka.Akai, in this instance at
least, does not refer to a Vel1Ua community. For the kings
of Jaf!na to have used the epithets Kaukai Ariyar and Kankai
Naiar, it is more likely that Kankai was the name of a. dynasty
rather than that of a caste into which they married. But it
must be admitted that we cannot be certain that Kaukai in these
epithets used by the Jaffna kings refers to the Eastern
Gangas only.
The capitaJ... of the early rulers of the northern
kingdom was known as Ci:dkai-nakar (Si'1a-nagara) or Ciiikai�
Consequently the lryacakravartins who ruled from there
were known as Clllkai lri;rar or CiAka.i-nakar lriyar� The capital
seems to have been named after the Kalinga city Sinhapura.
Sinhapura was the seat of one of the dynasties of Kalilga in
the fifth century A. D? After about the sixth century A.. D.

1. M.E.R. for 1923 . No. 366 of 1922 .

2. See infra, P• r-1 1 .
3 . See infra, p.S-/� -
4. The Classical Age, ed. R. C . Yajumdar, (Bharat�ya Vid7a Bhavan),
PP• 212-213 ; !:.!• , IV, P• 143.
nothing is known about this city from the Indian sources.
In the Sinhalese inscriptions of the twelfth centUJ'y, the
Kali!ga ruler Nil6a.Aka Mallatlaims to hawe gone to Ceylon
from S�apura, the capital of his father Jayagopa, in
Kali:dga! From this it appears that as late as the twelfth

century Si�apura was the capital of a dynasty in Ka1i.Aga,
probabl1 a minor branch, which had escaped notice in the
Indian sources. Magha and some of his associates probably
hailed from Si'l\hapara, like Ni§!a.Aka Malla. The new capital
founded by the invaders in northern Ceylon was probably named
after their city in KaliAga. Here, too, we agree with
Paranavitana that Jwmgha • would have named the capital of
his new kingdom after the city which was the home of the
Kalil!gas! 9 although we do not support his contention that
the home of the Kal�gas was in ' Malaysia ' � These considerations
lead us to think that the kingdom established in northern
Ceylon in the thirteenth century had its origins in a dynasty
which was c onnected with the Eastern Gangas of Kaliliga.

1. D. M.de Z.Wickramasinghe, ' The Slab Inscription of llrti

Nil§ali.ka Malla at Ruvanvlli �aba, Anuradhapura • , �- , II,
PP• 80 , 85.

2. S. Paranavitana, ' The Arya Kingdom of North Ceylon ( , P • 201.

4 70
These Kal i �ga origins of the northern lfingdom
must date from a period before 1262: There is no eTidence of
a Kalilga invasion of Ceylon after that of !mgha. From at
least 1262 the northern kingdom appears to have been ruled
by Javakas who seem to have enjoyed the protedtion ot the
powerfu1 nvhas� At the turn of the century, the lr,acakravartins
of South India inherited this ld.ngdo:J It is unlikeJ.T that
there was a atali.Aga invasion of Jaffna between 1262 and the
date of the cUeession of the first 4I';yacakravartin, which is
not definitely known. This was the time when Pa:o-dya influence
seems to have been at its height in northern, and even in
southern, Ceylon. KaliAga rule in the independent kingdom
of northern Ceylon should, therefore, be dated to a time

1. Some place names in the Jaffna peninsula�seem to preserve
these Kalilga origins. '?here is a place called Xali:nka­
ra;raa-cYma and another called ClSla-ka:nka -riya,u-t�ffam.
The personal names KaliAka-r'5yaa (Kali.Asa Raja) and
ClSla-ka:nka-riyaa (Co�a-ga:Aga-r�ja), which form the first
elements in these names may denote their association with
people from the Kali.Aga country. But we cannot be too sure
of this, for both these persona1 names were used as titles

in the Tamil country.

2. See supra, P• 1./.t,-J"
3 . See intra, �-iii
4 71
before 1262. As we know, between 1236 and 1262, the Xalligas
who wielded power in northern Ceylon were M!gha and his
associates , among whom there see.ms t o have been at least
one probable GaAga prince , Co�aganga:
In t he light of these considerations, the foundation
of a kingdom in northern Ceylon by fflgha and his followers
after their defeat by the Sinhalese see.ms to be a strong
possibility. The beginnings of this new kingdom are shrouded
in obscurity. The earliest rulers have not left behind any
datable coins or inscriptions. The chronicles of this kingdom
are very late and do not seem to preserve many genuine
traditions about its beginnings. With the meagre evidence
that we have, it is not possible t o .assert anything with
any degree of -certainty. Easing our assumptions on the
course of events in the middle of the thirteenth century,
as reflected by the Sin.halese chronicles and the Pq.gya
inscriptions, it appears that fflgha and his associates and
the Javaka invaders were closely connected with the beginnings
of the northern kingdom and that M!gha and his associates
rather than the Javakas were responsible for its fpundation.

1. See supra, � - 1�
We ma, now summarise the main c onclusionsoof the
foregoing discussion. In the first place , the date of the
foundation of the Jaffna kingdom cannot be traced exactly.
That this took place between 1236 and l.262 appears to be
more or 1ess c ertain. It was probably between 1336 and 1258 ,
possibly between 1236 and 1247 that it was founded. l«gha and
his followers who seem to have been defeated some time after
12,6 , in all probability , shifted their seat of government
further north to the Jaffna peninsula . and founded a new
kingdom. The cffl:vaka invader Candrabhhu appears to have
found his way to the throne of this kingdom some time after
1247. Re was probably subdued by Su.ndara �4ya around
1258 . and killed by V'Ira ��ya in 1262. It was probably his
son who was allowed to be crowned in full. regal style as
the ru1er of the northern kingdom in 1262 , under the
protection of VYra ��ya.
Whatever the uncertainties regarding the beginnings
of the northern kingdom may be , the c ircumstances that led
to its foundation are HA' .difficult to understand. In the
first place , the foreign invas�ons of the thirteenth century
played a significant part in paving the waJ for the rise of
an independent kingdom in northern Ceylon. The invasion of

Magha l.ed to the c ontrol o! northern Ceylon by :tera}:a and

Tamil elements and possibly some from Kalinga like Co�aganga.
1 73
These invaders could not be ousted from the island, although they
were defeated and driven aw� from Polonnaruva. Once they lost

Polonnaruva, the •next natural step would have been to set up

another capital and continue their hold on northern Ceylon.
If Magha and his associates were led, by their loss of Polonnaruva,
to found a new kingdom, the Javaka invaders who vame next seem
to have found refuge in this kingdom and helped to consolidate
its position. The Pa��yas , who invaded the island after the
Javakas, seem to have given the new kingdom fill recognition
and protection, thus rendering it difficult for the Sinhalese
rulers to wipe it out. In this manner, the invasions of the
thirteenth century, while being fatal to the Polonnaruva kingdom
and limiting the power of the I>ambade�iya kingdom, helped the
rise and consolidation of a new kingdom in northern Ceylon.
The foreign invaders of former times were able to wield power
in the island only for short periods. On all the earlier
occasions Sinhalese princes were in a position to drive the
enemies out of the island after some the. But in the thirteenth
century, when enemy after enemy .sacked the country, the Sinhalese
kings were in no position to oust them completely from the islabd.
Magha and his Kerata-Tamil forces left Polonnaruva but not the
island. The Javakas were defeated but were apparently allowed
to find refuge in the north. The;eicpansion of the P'l.f.g.yas could
not be contained by the Sinhalese. They were allowed to reduce
the new kingdom in the north to the position of a tribut&r7
and thus give it recognition, dashing the hopes of the Sinha1ese
to wipe it out. It ParakramabEiu II invited the help of the
a�41as , which he probably did , against Candrabhhu and if he
had an1 hopes of annexing the new kingdom and re-unifying
Ceylon , the result s showed that the P'IJ}nas were onl� willing
to keep the peace in the island but not to allow the annexation
of the northern kingdom which was trivutary to the••
The fall of Polonnaruva and the driftJ of Sinhalese
power to the south-west were also notable factors that helped
the rise and survival of a kingdom in northern Ceylon. With the
shift o f the Sinhalese c apital to the south-western parts o f
the island effective control of northern Ceylon was lost. This
made it easier for an independent kingdom to emerge in that reg�on.
The foreign elements, who were driven to that part of the island,
exploited the circumstances t o found a new kingdom. With the
abandonment of the region around Polonnaruva , the northernmost
regions were virtually cut off from the south, The chieftaincies
in the southern part of t he former RAjara\ tha acted as a buffer
between the northern and southern kingdoms. The re-unification
of the island became difficult even on occasions when either- o f
the kingdoms was subjugate the other, as the1 did in the fourteenth
and fifteenth centuries. In the thirteenth century perhaps
the abandoned regions of Rajuattha 1DJJ:3 not have provided such
a barrier to the subjugation of the north. But it would have
given protection to the new kingdom from the Sinhalese capital
which now lay farther south. The political conditions of the
first half of the thirteenth century were , therefore, favourable
in many ways for the rise of an independent kingdom in northern
Ceylon. The conditions in the second half helped to consoli4ate
its position.
The power of the Dravidian elements in northern
Ceylon, with whose support the invaders held that area under
their control, is a factor that cannot be overlooked in this respect.
In the thirteenth century, the Dravidian elements were more powerful
than ever before. They had grown from strength to strength
with almost every invasion that rocked the island since the
onslaught of the �Ji.as. There was a steady increase of the
Dravidian element in the island, especiall1 in the northern
parts , from the time of the C?Sla invasion. !he invasion of
Magha let loose in the island a further band of Keral'.as and
Tamils whose leaders established their authority in..unany parts
of northern and eastern Ceylon. These were the elements that
provided the greatest strength to the anti-Buddhist regime of
Magha. More South Indians seem to have been invited for settle-
ment at this time. The inevitable c ulmination of the forces that
were at work there was the establishment of an independent authority

that enjoyed the support of the Dravidians. Those South Indian

leaders who established petn ehieftaincies in the Vanni districts
seem to have acknowledged the authority of the new kingdom.
However, the northern kingdom was not a Tamil kingdom at the
begiJ:1.ning , ,though Tamils and Keralas probably formed a substantial
section of the population. It was with the advent of the
Aryacakravartins that it became a kingdom ruled by a dynasty

from the Tamil country and gradually evolved into a kingdom of

the Tamil-speaking people.
47 7


The Dynasty of k1acakravartins

The Tami1 chronicles do not mention any Kal.inga or

Javaka ruler as having ruled over the northern kingdom. It is the
�yacakravartins who are described as the first princely rulers of
this kingdom and are given the credit for its establishment on a
firm footing. In his paper entitled 'The Arya Kingdom (,r\ North
Ceylon•, Paranavitana has dealt with the origins of the dynasty
of lryacakravartins and their rule in northern Ceylon! This paper
forms the latest contribution to this sub ject and revises in many
ways the views held earlier by Rasanayagam and other writers on
the history of the Jaffna kingdom. We are inclined to agree in
the main with the conclusions of Paranavitana , although we find
some of his arguments unacceptable. His contention that the
�yaca.kravartins of Jaffna came from Rame�varam in South India
is convincing and is supported by evidence not adduced by him.
The earliest source in which an Aryacakravartin is mentioned
is an inscription from Chaturvedima.Agalam, in the Tiruppatt1Ir

1. J.R.A.S. (C.B. ) • N.S . , VII , pt. 2, , 1961, PP• 174-224 .

taluk of the Rimnad district� The astronomical data in this
record has been worked out by Swamikkanuu Pillai as being probably
equivalent to September 9 , 1271� But since it was inscribed in
the fifth regnal year o! Ma;tavarJiaA Kula6ekhara I , who ascended
the throne in 1268, this inscription may be dated to 1272.
' .An agent of the chief Ariyachakravartigal' is referred to in this
record� Another inscription , from Sivapuri in the same taluk and
dated in the same regnal year, mentions a certain Devar :§riyacca.kkara-
varttikal• Re was probably the same as the chief mentioned in the
first inscription. The astronomical data in this record , according
to Swami kkannu Pillai , correspond to September 5 , 1274� But this
seems to be a mistake. The third inscription , which Paranavitana
erroneously quotes as the first record mentioning the lryacakravartins ,
is found in Sr�rdgam in the Trichinopoly district and is dated
in the tenth regnal year of M�ravarman Kula!ekhara, which is 1277�

1. M.E.R . for 192U28 , No. 290 of 1927/28 .

2. ,!kg. ' P• 46.
3. .!!!.!2.• ' P • 57 . As the record is unpublished , no details are available .
4. l • E. R. for 1928/29, No. 21 of 1928/29. Unpublished.
5 . �- , P• 53 .
6. M. E. R. for 1936/37, No. 7 of 1936/37 , PP • 8 , 75 .
The astronomical details in the record, which correspond to
December 6 , 1277, confirm this date� It records the grant of a
plot of land by one Matitu�kaa (Ma.titunga) who bore the title
of Aryacakravartin as well as the epithet Tqi nim:u ve�a perud*
( ' the chief who stood alone and wmn) ). He hailed from Cakkaravartti
NallUr, in Cevvirukkai-natu. Cevvirukkai-natu has been identified
as a territorial division in modern Ramnad distrtlct� A fourth
inscription from Tiruvaraiigu:J.am, in Pudu�ttai, ' registers
a political compact between Iabaa lryacakaravartin and S1Jryq
on the one side and A�iyarkkunallaa and Kuppq on the other ' 3•
The record is dated in a regnal year of nra Pll��yad�va. But
since it is damaged, neither the year nor the throne name of
the monarch is clear. There were two V!ra 'P'a.IJ.4yas in the period
of the second Pa.Q,gya empire. Both had the throne name Jat�varmaa.
One ruled between 1253 and 1268 and the other between 1296 .and
1340.4 There was also a prince called nra P-cqt �ya whose rule was
confined to the South Arcot district, as is evidenced by his
inscriptions� He may not be the same as the nra FIJ}.�ya of our

1. M . E . � . for 1936/37, P• 48.

2. S . Paranavitana, 'The 'irya Kingdom in North Ceylon • , p. 207, fn. 127.
3. M. E.R. for 1915 , No. 276 of 1914.

4. K. A.Nilakanta Sastri, The P'a��yan Kingdom, PP• 174, 201, 240.

,5. �• , PP• 233, 245 ; T . V. C . Pantarattar, !:!V-tiyar Varala�, P • 147.
inscription, which is from Pudukk15ttai. The latter may, therefore ,
b e either JatavarJllall TI:ra Pa:g.�ya I o r II. Lastly, there are
two inscriptions from Tiruppullao,i, in the Raanad district,
mentioning the i,ryacakravartins.1 One o! them is dated in the
thirty-eighhh regnal year of MJ'.._avarm.aa Kul�'!khara I, which
is either 1305 or 1306� It registers a grant by Devar �iyacakkara­
varttika¾• He is identifiable with Devar Ariyaccakkaravarttika1
o f the second inscription mentioned above , which is also from the
same district and belongs to the same reigm. The other inscription
from Tiruppull�i , which is badly damaged, gives the names o f
two personages , Teyvaccilaiy
a.A Ala.ka.11 alias 4I'iyaccakaravartti
and Iramaa alias Va• • kka.1 Ariyaccakkaravartti, the amman of
Parakkirama n�tiyau (Parakrama n��ya)� Unfortunately the date
of t he record is not known. But the fact that one of the persons
mentioned here is called an aroma� (uncle or father-in-law) o f
Parakrama PavOYa may help us in the dating. We know of at least
five Parakrama PaJJ.has who ruled in the southern territories
of Ramnad and Pudukk�ftai in the fourteenth century, after the
fall of the second empire.4 The first of them, Ja.tavarmau Parakrama

1. M • . R. for 1904, No. 110 of 1903 1 S.I.I. , VIII , Nos . 396 & 398.
2• • I.I. , VIII, no. 39G .
3• !E,g. , No. 398.
4. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The �han Kingdom, pp. 245 - 246 .
Par;.g.;ra I, began his rule in 1�15 and the last o! them .ruled till
at least 1415� There are certain considerations which lead us
to think that this inscription belongs to the early part of
the fourteenth century. This record is from Tiruppull�i, in
the Ramnad district. The other inscription from the same site
mentioning an Aryacakravartin is dated 1305/06. Further, all
the other inscriptions from the Ra.mnad district referring to
the Aryacakravartins are datable to e ithe+ the latter part of
the thirteenth century or the early part o f the fourteenth
century.There was no �dya ruler called Par'!krama in the thirteenth
century. It is • therefore, likely that our inscription belongs
to the time of Jatavar:ma.u Parakrama. n;1ra I, who lived in
the early part of the fourteenth century. Ir"al:nall alias Va• • kkai.
Ariyaccakkaravartti was probably the ammaa of this P-��ya ruler.
The evidence of these six inscriptions is practically all that
we learn about the iryacakravartins from the Indian side.
That the -4I"yacakravartins were minor chieftains
is clear from the information
we get from the Sr�ra:Agam inscription

1. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The ��yan Kingdom, P • 245. The five

'P'a:rj�y� rulers are : a) Jat�var.maa Parakrama FI.JJ.�ya, 1315-1347 ;
b) 1'Jai:avarlllall Parakrallla �9ya, 1335-1352 ; c) Jafavarmq
ru;.�ya, 1357- c.1380; 4) Parakrama P-��ya, 1367 -
Parakrama P-
till after 1387; and e)Para.krama PaJ;9ya, c. 1384- till after 1415.
about one o f them . As Paranavitana has remarked, ' the title
' Devar ' applied to this lry-a-cakravarti, the fact that his
order is called a tirumukam (ver�al order) and that there was
an officer whose duty it was t o write down his orders, indicate
that he was a ruler, but his record being dated in the regnal
years of the P-ai;. �ya emperor establishes that he was a feudatory•.1
All the other inscriptions, except the last one, are also dated
in tTegnal yeaxs of the Pa��ya kings. The last inscription, from
Tiruppull�i, shows that some of them were related to the P-��yas,
presumably through marriage. From the Sinhalese sources we learn
that in or about 1284 there was a P-
ai;.�ya invasion o f Ceylon
under the command o f an 'Iryavakravartin! This, too, supports
the conclusion that the lryaeakravartins were subordinates
under the ��yas. It is, therefore, clear that they were
feudatory chieftains o f the ��ya country. The fact that t wo
persoe with the name iryacakaravartin are mentioned in one
record, namely that from TiruppuJ.ll.vi, mq1 indicate that this
name was used as a fami1y title or name, unless the two persons
mentioned here are o f different generations. This is not clear
from the record.

1. S. Paranavitana, 'The Arya Kingdom in North Ceylon • , p. 207 .

2. £!.•, 90: 43-471 Dalada-sirita, ed. Sorata Nayala, Thera , 1950 , p.45.
Of these six inscriptions , four are from the Ramnad
district. Of the other two, that from Trichinopoly gives the
home of the lryacakravartin mentioned in it as Cevvirukkai-natu ,
which was an old territorial division in the RaJmad district.
The sixth, �from Pud�ffai, does not indicate that the Aryacakra-

vartins held authority there. This inscription records a political

compact that an lryacakravartin and another person entered into
with two others.1 Such a compact was probably made at the end
of a battle or a political mission in which an 'Jryacakravartin
was representing his �ciya overlord, as an lryacakravartin
did in Ceylon, or which he conducted himself as a petty chieftain.
The details are not known owing to the damaged nature of the
record. We do not get information regarding any iryacakravartin
in any other part of South India. We are , therefore , inclined to
agree with Paranavitana that it is reasonable to conclude
that the home of the iryacakravartins was in the Ramnad district.
as is indeed claimed by one of them in the inscription from
Trichinopoly� They probably had their chieftaincy in that district.
Of the six inscriptions under discussion , the four
datable ones belong to the period between 1272 and 130G, which

1 . See supra , P • t,q

2 . See supra, P • 4'fri ·

is in the reign of Ma.,avarmaa Kula.Aekhara I (1268-1310). Of
the other two, that from TiruvaraAkulam may very well belong
to this period if the nra PaJJ.41a mentined in it is Jat1ivarD1a.A
nra ��ya II! If he is the first of that name, whose accession
took place in 1253, thia inscription wo�ld be a few, at the
most niaateen, years earlier thu the four datable ones. On
the other hand, if the inscription belongs to the latter
part of the reign of V'rra P'al}.ba II (1296-1340) , it would be
later than the others by a few years . The sixth inscription ,
as we have already seen� may belong to the early part of the
fourteenth century. We see, therefore, that most of the South
Indian inscriptions mentioning the Aryacakravartins, or probably
all of them, belong to a period of about four or five decades
in the latter part of the thirteenth and the early part of
the fourteenth century. It is in tha same period that the
Sinhalese sources refer to an "Iryacakravartin who led invasions
on behalf of Ma.:avarmau Kula.Aekhara I. It is interesting to
nite that all the datable inscriptions in which the 4rYacakravartins
find mention belong to the reign of z.Ia.:avarJ!18.ll Ku1atekhara I.
It appears that the lryacakravartins belonged to a short-lived
dynasty of feudatory chiefs who held sway in the Ramnad district
in the reign of �avarJ!lall Kuld�khara and possibly a little longer.

1. See supra, P• 4-7i

2. See supra, P• ��•
Their inscriptions are not found in the Ramnad district after
this period.
As mentioned earlier, Paranavitana is right in
tracing the origin of the lr;yacakravartins of Jaffna to this
family from Ramnad. Apart from the fact that the 1atter are the
only other \r7acakaravartins th t we know of, there are other
considerations that lead ud to this conclusion. The chronology
of the Aryacakravartins is in favour of such a conclusion . The
last reference to the lr;yacakravartins in South India occurs
in the inscriptions of the early part of the fourteenth
century. The first definite reference to an hyacakravartin ru1er
of Jaffna is made in 1344; not long after the South Indian
references. But more important than this, as Paranavitana has
indicated, is the fact that the �yacakravartins of Ramnad and
Jaffna used the word � in their' records in the manner of a
benediction, as is evidenced by the Tiruppull�i inscription of
an lr,acakravartin of Ramnad and the Kotagama inscription of an
.lryacakravartin ru1er of Jaffna.2 The word � was a1so inscribed
on the coins of the .lryacakravartins of Jaffna� They probably

l. See supra , P• 4-<>o �

2. S. I. I. , VIII , No. 396 ; H . C .P. l3ell, Report on the ID1ga1la

District, P• 85.

3. S .Gnanapragasar, 'The Forgotten Coinage of the Kings of Jaffna• ,

had this word inscribed on t heir shields as well , for de Queyroz ,
while describing the defeat by the Portuguese of one of the last
kings of Jaffna , mentions that he 'had a black inscription on
his white shield•.1 The Aryacakravartins of Jaffna had also
the title cetuk!vala� ('protector of the �•) � � (= dam
or causeway ) is the name applied to Ir� 4ai ( 1 Rama. 1 s Bund'
or Adam's Bridge ) , the narrow coral reef that �onnects the
island of Mamaar with that of Ra�§varam on the Indian side .
f!i!! is also applied to the temple of I®Jm'!var+d it is in
this sense that it is better known• The Aryavakravartins of Jaffna ,
till the rise of the Setupatis of Ra.mnad , considered themse lves
as the protectors or custodians of the temple of �§varam:
The occurrence of � in their records shows that the
lryac akravartins of Ramnad also had a special association with
the temple of Rad§varam which , being situated in Ra.mnad ,
probably came under theil" protection.
Further , there were traditions in Ceylon which
connected the lryacakravartins of Jaffna with R!me!varam. In
the Cekaraca-cekara-malai, one of the earliest Tamil works

1. F. de Queyroz , �• ill • , P• 366.

2. �- , v. 86 ; �. , Ci;tappuppJ iram.
3. S.Gnanapragasar , :!!lpPa�a-vaipava-vimarc aJ:lY'.!, P• 62.
produced in Jaffna, the ancestors of the :4I'yacakravartins of
Jaffna are said to have been Brfill�a ru1ers of Kantamat�am:
It is stated that Rama, after his campaign in Ceylon, want
to Kantamatanam, established a shrine there after his own name
(Rad�varam) in honour of Siva and invited five hundred and twelve
�upata BrahrnaQas to perform service in the temple. Two of
them were made kings and given the title of 1 ,4riya-v�ntu •
(Arya king) together with the insignia of umbrella, Brahmanic

thread and the bu11 standard. Kantamata.nam is the name given

in the literary works of South India to a hill in the vicinity
of Rame�varam� F. de Queyroz, too, records a tradition that the
ancestors of the kings of Jaffna lived in �§varam.� Although
the late ,!!l.Pp�a-vaipava-malai claims a C?Sla descent for the
J,ryacakravartins, the earlier work Kail�yadlai states that
the first 4ryacakravartin came from the ��ya country and that
he was a -Y-
a.v�ya prince! We have mentioned earlier that some of
the iryacakravartins of Ramnad were related to the P-
presumably through marriage. But there is no evidence to suggest

2,. Tevai Ula , vv. 179 , 220 ; Kampa mrnm:ya;iam, VI, Yutta-�tam,
Pataikk'atci Patalam, v.15, M!tci Patalam, v. 168; Kantapur��am,
Makentira �tam, I, v. 18.
t . .2£!!• , Cit,appuppayiram.
J. F.de Queyroz, �• ill• , PP• 48-49.
4. �• t P• 6 ; �• , P• 25. The !!!!!• states , however , that he came
from Madurai, the PiJJba capital.
4 83
that they were scions of the 'P'IJ}�ya family. The Kailayadlai
statement may be an exaggeration. That the ancestors of the
lryacakraTartins o f Jaffna cmae from the P'!ld:1a country is further
e*idenced by certain traditions relating to them which are
recorded in the Ceka.raca-cWka.ra-dlai . In the £.1,t,appup,iram

( introductory section) of this work, an eulogistic description

of the achievements of the ancestors of Cekarica-cekar8,ll, the
Jaffna ruler in whose time this work was composed , is given.
In this account, there id an allusion to 'the king who fouglflt
and defeated the Karunafakar (Kari�tas) at Antaravalli' (��
Karuna�akarai Antaravalliy11 porutu ceyitta �ntu ) 1 and to 'the
king who, having dismembered the trunk of the rutting elephant
that dashed angrily towards him, defeated the �c4q (Roysala) •
(!..._�i va!'um mata �lam karam t�ittu �ca1,5a!J�!Jinta �ntu)�
These two statements appear to be allusions t o the achievements
of one person. It is not known that a ruler of Jaffna ever got
involved in a battle against the Hoysa?as, the last of whom
ended his rule around 1343i It is not possible that a ruler of
Jaffna carried out a succesful expedition against ,- powerful
Hoysatas. The reference is evidently to an 4ryacakravartin of

l. �• , v.6.
2• .!!:?ll·
3 . X. A . Nilakanta Sastri , A History of South India , 1958, P• 231.
Ramnad who , as the ally of the Pa,V,�yas, probably won certai.n
victories over the Hoysa+as• This was probably before 1310 , for
by that date there were internal dissensions in the PaJ;�ya kingdom
and the Y-
� �ya princes were in no position to attack their
neighbours� The epigraphic sources inform us of victorious
Y-q.�ya campaigns against the Hoysatas only after the accession
of Mar_a�armaa Sundara ��ya in 1251. In an inscription of
his seventh regnal year , Sundara P-
q�ya claims to have inflicted
a severe defeat on the Hoysa+as� Following this success , the
Pa;�yas seem to have been in occupation of �9.1.Ur , the
HoysaJ:a capital , for quite some time� The second time we hear
of a campaign against the Ho•satas is in the time of 1'la£avarDIG
Kul�ekhara I (1268-1310). In an inscription from Tinnevelly ,
Kulasekhara claims the subjugation of the Ho1salas� After this
we do not hear of any successful P'!.:s}�ya campaigns against the
Hoysala neighbours. The lryacakravartin , whose achievement in
a battle against the Hoysa+as is alluded to in the Cekar�ca­
ceka.ra-malai , may have been fighting on the side of the ��yas
in one of these campaigns. Probably he was involved in the

l. K. A.Nilakanta Sastri , The �c}yan Kingdom, p. 201 tr:

2. �. , � • 161 ff. ; . E. R. for 1 94, No. 166 of 1894.
3 • K.A.,Nil.akanta Sastri , he Pa;�yan Kingdom, P • 164 ; !:.!• , III ,pp.llf
4. � • . • for 1926/27, No. 29 of 1927.
battle of the time of Kuld'!ihara for , as we know from the
C1!lavaf!!!h it wu in the latter's reign that an ir1acakravartin
led s ome ot the ntba campaigns! The alluaion in the Cekar"lca­
c'lkara-dlai seems to be a genuine tradition preserved in the
courts of the lr,-acakravartina of Jaffna. In the light of all
these considerations , the conclusion that the hyacakravartina
of Jaffna were descended from those of Raumad becomes irresistible .
In his paper on the kingdom of northeu Ce1lon ,
ParanaTitana has made s ome intereeting comments 011 the origin
of the lr1acakravartins of Ramnad• .Arguing OD the basis that
the word 1 4ri7a <kz!) has a distinct c onnotation in Tamil
literature • , namel1 that ' it denotes the language , literature
and people of Borth India, as distinct fro• those of the
Dravidian lands ' , he has suggested a North Indian origin for
the lr;yacakravartins� He argues his case as follows : -
Even if , as stated in the Cekaraca-c'lkara-dlai and
reported by de Queyroz , the ru1ers of Jaffna were c alled
lri:,qs due to descent trom a Brahmin of �6varam, it
1a not the fact of this ancestor being a Brahmn, but
of his belonging to a partisul.ar class of Brabm1ns ,
namely hi1aa Brahi;ins , that wou1d have conferred OD
them the t itle o f 41"1:,q. For there are still at

2. S .Paranavitana, ' The 41"7• liDgdoa in North Ceylon ' , P• 204.

Bme6varam a sect of Brahmiu� called �iyappirwm.,ar ,
who ha"fe special rights in the t emple and who claim
to be immigrants from North India. The North Indian
origin of the Brahmins to whom the 'Iriy'&AS of Jaffna traced
their origin is admitted also bJ the Cekar�ca-cekara­
malai , for it says that they came with .Rhla. A atrq
vers e , ascribed to Pukal1fnt1 , included in the anthology
cal1ed Tami -n�valar-caritai, seems to support the
Northern origin of the ya kings. This stanza , which
expresses the poet's grief at the death of an 'Irya king ,
refers to him by a phrase which , in the printed text ,
1.s given as !!,�alb-iyar-k'lSmaa. The compound !!.�alW:ri:rar
can. only be analysed as !!�.!!+lriyar. But the first of
thes e two words , according to the Tamil Lexicon9 means
' banyan• , and giTes no sense in this context . As T
can be confueed with l in Tamil manuscripts , the -
correct reading appears to be !!�•�iyar-k:lJmJ'.11, the
king of the Northern lryas. De Queyroz definitely mentions
that these Brahnions of �6varam came from Gu jar•t
which , together with the adjoining regions , is called
Ariaka Clryaka) by classical. geographers. De Queyroz
further states that these lrya Brahmins claimed royal
descent. This is rather puzzling , for the rigidity of
the Hindu caste system of those days would not ha�•
permitted a Kfatriya being accepted as a Brahmi u. It
is possible that original.ly�here were at Imme6varam
and its neighbourhood Brabrnine as well as JCiatr•1as
who c alled themselves lryas , and that , at a later
dat e , when the BrahminA alone_succeeded in preserving
their separate identity , all 4ri;rqs of Rld§varaa
kn.own to tradition were held to be Brabmius. The fact
that the lr1&A rulers of Jaffna wore the sacred
thread need not necessarily prove that they were of Brabmin
origin; the Kfatriyas , too, were entitled to wear it. l
Having thus argued in favour of a North Indian , and possible
Kfatriya, origin for the lryacakravartins , Paranavitana proseeds
to • ascertain who the �as were•.2 For this purpose he takes

1. S .Paranavita.na, 'The lry-a Kingdom in North Ceylon• , Pi• 204-9 205.

2. I!id. , P • 205.
two independent references to lryas 1n the sources rel.ating
to the thirteenth century and , on. their basis , attempts t o
identify the lryas as Rajputa. The first reference is that
in. the C1Ilav�...! to 4I'iyakkhattiya (lrya-qatriya) warriors

who were mercenaries 1n the service of Vijqabnu IV (1270-12 72) �

These lr ya,kfatriya soldiers have been identified by C o4rington.
as Rajputs.2 The second reference :f.s that :f.n. the inscriptions
of Jaflvarmaa Sundara PIJJ.°b•
I (1251-c.1270)� In this record,
_ of fl.. T..,1,...�
certain. Aryas are mentioned as the •JJ 1 ea,( if Mudug1lr. �ishna
Sastri identified these lr1as as the �las , as it was belieTed
at that time that the ir1as of the CUlav�_,! references wer e
ClSlas . Disagreeing with Sastri, ParanaTitana argues
But, as it has now been established beyond doubt that
the 'ir,as of the CUlaV� _,! were Imjputs, the Aryas who
fought irith the Telugua must also be aimilarl7 identified.
In later writings , the lrya fulilies of Jaffna are
associated with a place named Ma�ap4Ji, the name of
which waa borne as a title by the descendants of the
last king of Jaffna. J. place of this name is aai.d t o
haTe existed in. the dominion of , the Dltat1:y-as , which
is called the kingdom of Motupalli by Marco Po1o. It :La
possible that the lryas referred to in. the inscript�on.
of Ja�varman Sundara �b• as the allies of the T elugu.a
liTed in. this place , and later , after the conquest of

1. �• • 90: l ff.

2 . H.W. Codrington, ' Notes on the Dai.bade;.! Dynasty• , C . A . L. R. , X,

3. M. E.R. for 1914, Kos. 332 , 340 and 3 61 of 1913.

4. Ibid. , PP• 91-92.
the Dkat�1a kingdom b1 the Muslims , the7 migrated
southwards and joined forcea with the Ir,-a-cakeaTartis
ot amelsvaram, to be mentioned in the sequel , and
ultimatel7 fouml, the ir wq to Ce7lon. It was at this
time , or somtwhat earlier , that the Rajp•t kingdoms
in North India collapsed wader repeated attacks b7
Melia invaders , and bands of warriors who surviTed
the diaaaters , but were not prepared to lead a dishonourable
existence under the 7oke of the foreigners , might very
well have come southwards seeking new homes , and taken
service under rulers of In4ian faiths and culture who
welcomed them and were ready to take advantage of ,
and pay for , their milit&l'J' prowess. It these Bijput
exiles c ame as far aa Ce,-lon , they might as well have
sought their fortunes under theirulei-s ot South India.
And there is epigraphical evidence for the presence c !
in the country near Rlme6varam of chieftains named
lrya-cak:ravartia about the close of the thirteenth
century. 1
Whatever the possibilit7 ot the �1acak:ravartins having been
Rijput in orisin, Paranavitana' s arguments in favour of it is
not quite convincing and the evidence he adduces is not alwa7s
correct . In the first place , he puts forward five arguments
to establish the North Indian origin of the lryacak:ravartins.
The first argument that the word � has a special connotation
in T amil , in that it denotes the language , literature and the
people of Borth India is general1J' correct. But there seem
to haTe been certain exceptions to this max1 m. An inscription
from Kuttnam, in the Tinnevelly diatrict , dated in the fifth
year of �aTarlllall Vikrama PiJ;.'1,-a (1288 ) , refers t o two Tamil

l. S .ParanaTitana, ' The �1• Kingdoa in North Ceylon • , PP• 207-208.


were assigned a c ertain extent of land b1 the local village

assembl1 and required to c u1tivate it and pay taxes t o the
t emple at Tiru-kuttnam. We do not know who the Ta.mil lriyar
were and how they got that name. But the fact that they were
cal1ed Ta..mil 4riyar shows that some people from among the Tamil.a .
were also known as 4%"iyar in the thirte enth -c entury. Therefore,
one cannot b e too sure that the element Arya in the name
�yacakravartin denotes North Indian origin beyond any doubt .
The second ergument of Paranavitana. that it is the fact ot
their ancestor belonging to the class of Arya Brahmaias that
would have c onferred on the Aryacakravartins, if they were
"" -
Br'iluna�as, the title of 4ri1aa is certain1y- a possibilit;r,
a1though it is only an assumption. Thirdly, his contentioa
that the North Indian origin of these rulers is ' admitt ed
a1so by the Cekar�ca-cekara-malai, for it says that they came
with Ra.ma' , is wrong. This Tamil work claarly states that.
Ira.ma built the t emple of �§varam on his way back from
Ceylon, ' invit ed five hundred and twelve P'l6upatas 1 (P'lcupatarkat

l. M. E.R. for 1918 , No.426 of 1917. The astronomical data in this

record corresponds to October 29, 1254, but there s e ems to be
a mistake somewhere for �aYarm&A Vikrama ��ya•s accession
was in 1283 ( Ibid. , P• 112) •
aimmttU panniruvarai varava.laittu) and requested them to perform
service at the temple (pUcauai. c ezmiu n� ena karu�ai purintt):
It ie not stated from where the Bribrna;•s were invited. In any
case , one c annot attach much importance to this legend. Fourth1y ,
he takes a stray verse in. the Tamil-n'!valar-caritai , makes his
own emendation to a phrase iD it and uses it in. support of his
argument. The following are the first two lines of the- Terse
in which the verse , giYen by b:i m as !,!�aftriyar k:'8mau and
emended as ��avlrizar �man, occurs : -
A a
TitiycJ afal 4riYU' k.odp.
E Tfalaril iranta nEJ.

(Ahl Is this fate 1 (Curse ) the day the Tali.ant king

of the lriyar died at the hands of the 11essenjera
(of Death) ) .
The phrase in question is actually i1,a1 lrizar k.15maa. uc1 not
:!!.fal lrizar �mJ;,. In the aboYe Terse , the word .!;.!! ia pre ceded
by- Titi1'• When the initial vowel !. (..BI ) of !.f.!! combines nth
the fin.al Towel ! ('j) of viti]!. the consonant � ('ll ) 1a
introduced for euphonic reuou , in accordance wita �amil.
grammatical rules. The whole line would then read as

1 • .QE!. , "· 1-4.

2. Tam1.J.-n1'.Talar-caritai , ed. !.Kan•kasuntarampillai , Kad. 1921, P • ,52.

When the words are separated, they would read as in the verse
quoted above . That the word which qualifies Jrizar-lg!pan is
�f.al and not �f.!! is further demonstrated �7 the fact that

the initial letter of this word, namely a Yl4 ) , alliterates with
the first letter of the whole line , in keeping with the rules

of the ve� metre:
Afal, meaning • strong' , • va1iant • , • tough'
or ' ability to ki11' , is a very common epithet � kings , h or
heroes , elephants , lions and armies , and has been in use from

l. Note the a11iteration in this verse :

E evalarJl iranta n'!t - �

Tar�ilum kulirnta t!.U.!1,i tantu lVf�
Ti:rnk:k:a$vj.num cub� ti ?

The alliteration:
rn r-----------@ -- i -------
ml "I -------- [!) ----- - 0 '8 ( vowel-vowel)
� - -------- �----ta-----

� -------------@
Te� early t imes� We ••• • therefore, that there is DO reason t o

l. l) �i-n�.!, XI , b , T. 16 (ed. Cuv'lmin'lta PaHitar,

Mad. 1909) ; 2) PiAkala-n�'fl!, X, sl!tra 15, (Rippon Press,

Madras 191?) ; 3) .!fal kari (valiant elephant) in �ikkavlc akar

Tiruvaeakam , nttal v1';appam, T.32, P • 182 (ed. Cuppirama;iya

P4tai, Mad. 1949) ; 4) .!1.al ari (valiant lion) in m:la.k'!'ci,

Tarumavurai Caruk:ksm, v• .55 , P • 24 (ed. J.. Chakravarti, Mad, 1936) ;

5 ) .!fal e;r matany caram (the fatal dart of Cupid) ill Kampa­

r'id;r�,!!, Plla-�aa, Xa�i.mava Patalam, T . ll, P• 834

(ed. v. mGopi'.la Kr1.i4amacariyar, Mad. 1953) ; 6) .!'f.al arakki.

( the strong Ri.k§as i) , �• , Ira8iya-iav,iam, CUrppqakai

Pata1am, T. � , P • 51!"
'l. l+"2.
(19.53) ; 7) .!f.!! Ir'IV!_V,!A ( the valiant
Rlv4a) , !ill• , Cuntara-�am, Pol.11-irutta Pafalam, v . 20,

P• 534 (1955) ; 8) .!fal vali a�akk•A (the lmk6asa wi.th atrength

and the ability to kill) , �•, Iutta-JaHaa, Iriv� Vatai.

Pafalam, v.18, P • 548 (pt . 2) (1948) ; 9) .!1al kelu t� t�

Tiry. (the hero with strong broad shoulders ) , Xant a-purJd!!!,

MakZntira-�fam, 'ffraTaltu Kantamatqam Cel Pafalaa, T. 22, p . 14,

(ed. M.T.J>aAukavi, Mad. 1907) ; ,!t.al katir �l manny. (the

Taliant king with the shining spear) , Pukalenti, !!t.aTe#.E_!,
KalJ.-tofar-u;.fam, v.3 7, P • 386, (ed. K.Rlghavacar:1 and

T . C . P-
ar ttacirati, Mad. 1938) .
4 98
emend the epithet of :Ari;rar �ab in the aboYe verse and to claia
llorth Indian origin for the �i7acakravartins on that buis .
Besides , the •uthenticity o f the verse under disci.asion is open
to question. It wou1d not be inappropriate to quote here
Paranavitana' s own c omments, in an earlier section of the same
article , on this and another verse attributed to Pukal.'lnti in
the �amil-navalar-varitai:
it may be stated that the anthology in question is a
recent compilation in which stray verses attributed t
by tradition to various poets , together with anecdotes
about the poets , have been collected together. It is a
work of the same tl[pe as the Sanskrit Bhojaprabandha ,
and in the attribuiion made in auch worka have to be
critical17 exam1n•d before they are accepted as correct.
�h• verses in qiestion do not occur :in anJ' of the works
which are attested to be of PukaJ.enti • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Nilakanta Sastrtialso admits that works with little
or no claim to literary merit have been fathered on
PukaJ.enti. It thus follows that the verses attributed
to PukaJ.enti are not be1ond question from the hand of
that poet , and that his date too is a matter of controvers7 ,
literary crltico being inclined to place him in the
late thirteenth century. l
In addition to the doubt that has to be cast on the authenticit7
of the verse , there is nothing in it to indicate that the
lri;rar �map. referred to there was none other than an �yacakra­
vartin. Fi.Dally , Paranavitana adduces the evidence of de Queyroz
who mentions that the Brahaai, ancestors of the 4r'yacakravartins
c ame from Gujarat. In this instance , despite the uny obvious �v---0�s

l. s. Para.navitana , 'The lr7a Xingdoa in North Ce7lon • , P • 187.

found in his work, aeems to be recordi.Dg a genuine tradition
tor we learn from inscription.a in Gujar•t that there was a
communit7 of people known as lr1as ill. the time of the PratDib-as .
A Sanskrit inscription of Kakkuka of the PratDlara d7nut7 ,
dated in the Samvat year 918 (A.D. 861) and found at Gha�iy"Ei ,
a few miles north -west of Jodhpur , mention.a ' that Kaklrnka

obtained great renown in the countries of Trava;.� , Valla , 1mda,

amongst (the people known as ) �7a, ill. Gurj jattara , and in Parvata
in the Lafa country-• � .Another inscription has a reference to
the Aj ja , which D . R. Bhandarkar has equated with the lr7a of the
first inscription� It is possible that some of these Ir1a people
migrated to Imme6varam after the Muslia invasions and the
Ir1acakravartins ma1 have been among the descendants of these
people. Of the arguments put forward b7 Paranavitana iD favour
of a North Indian origin of the ir1acakravart1Ds , that based on
the evidence of de Queyroz is the only convincing one.
The case presented by Paranavitana for the
identification of the ancestors of the iryacakravartiDs with
Rljputa rests entirely on the identification of the lrf.7akkbattiyas
of the C,U..va.Jsa with Rijput mercenaries. The latter identification

i� y. , ll , Inscription No. 38 , PP • 277-281.

2 . �• • P• 278.
nee d not be questioned. Codrington • s identification that the
iri.Ja mercenaries who were in t,he aervice of Vijayab'ihu IV
were Rljputa ma:, well be accepte d. As Paranavitana haa stated,
it 1a quite possible that there were �jput soldiers in South
India , too , at this time. But Rajputa were not the oD.17
Xryas known 1D South India in the thirteenth cent11r7. The
South Indian inscriptions refer to different groups of people
who were kn.own as lryas , all of whom. c&D.llot be identified as
Rajputs. As mentioned earlier , an i'\tecription from Kuttilam
refers to two Tallil Ariyar , who appear to haTe been cultivators l•
.Another from Taujore, dated in the fifth year of Kul�ttu!ga
�la , probably the third , refers to the Mah'!6vara lryas who
were attached to a temple 2. Besides the inscriptions of
Jafivarmaa Sundara P-ar;.�a mentioning the lryas of HlldugUr ,
another record of the same mona'flth, found at Cidambaram., alludes
to the defeat ot the ' fierce ar� of iriyar ' (vem pa�ai %riyar)�
.Another ntba record refers to � order authorising c ertain
lri1ar to guard the gold treasurr (J?i>r.Igval) of the temple o f

l. S e e supra, P• +9't
2 . M.E.R. for 1918, No. 23 of 1918.
3 . M.E.R. for 1893 1 Bo. 172 of 1192.
trhaAgaa: ill these lr7as of the South Indian inscriptiona ,
belonging to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries , cannot
be identified as Rljput• on the ground that the Ir,as mentioned
in the cttlav�...! were Rljputs. It is c lear from the evidence ot

the South Indian inacriptiona that there were severa1 groups

of people who were known as lryas. The Mih1iAvara iryas , for
ina:t:ance , were a class of Brihma�as. In the C'8la inscriptions
we get several references to these Mab.�Avaras in connection with
the administration. of temples and BribmaVa settlements� We do not
know the iden.tit7 ot the arsy of Iri,-ar mentioned in the inscription
from Cidambaram and of the Ariyar who were temple guards at
$r�raAgam. Judging from their occupation , the last two groups
� very well have been Rajput mercenaries. The foregoing
evidence , shows that it is not easy to trace the origin of
the element 1!:z! in the name ley-acakravartin to Rljputs •
.An ana1ysie of the little evidence that we have
shows that there are seTeral ways in which the origin of the
lryacalcravartina can be expM,ined. The first possibilit7 is
the lryacakravartins ••longed to a c ommunity of people called
the lri7ar who lived in the southern parts ot the Fl:4-b• c ountry'.

l. M. E. R. for 1938/39, No. 84 of 1938/39.

2. M. E. R. for 1923 . Ho537 of 1922 ; M. E. R. for 1926 , Ho . 94 of 1926 ;
M. E. R. for 1927. Ho.279 of 1927; K.A. Nilakauta Saatri , The Co12 ,
pp. 427 , 491.
We have seen earlier that the home of a1most all the ¥1acak;ra•
vartins mentioned iJL the South Indian inscriptions could be
traced to the �•d district! ilthough the title of Xryacakra­
Tartin seems to haTe gone out of use in. this region after about
the early part of the thirteenth century , we come across some
other titles , with the element ir:y;a , which were used iq the
Ranmad and Tinnevelly districts in. the thirteenth century and
later. One such title was Ayyq Clrya) , as in .Ayyau Mal:avar�q
C c . thirteenth century) 2 and qyq Bqia'Jll (A.D. 1582 ) � .Another
was �iyapperumat occurring in. an inscription from Sr�-villiputttlr
in the Ramnad district� It is dated Saka 1482 (A. D. 1560). About
the same time, a territorial division. called lriya-nafu) �a
coun.tey) is mentioned in. the inscription.a of Raamad district
and of the adjoining district of Tinnevelly. For instance, one
inscription from Sr�-villiputtttr, in the Rumad district• records
the gift of a plot of land in a village in Iriy'a-n.atu� But a
large number of inscription.a mentioning 4r'iya-nifu are found iD

l. See supra , P• 1,- 1'3 -

2 . M. E.R. for 1918 1 No. 428 of 19171 y. , XXV , P• 72.
3. B.E.R. for 1918 , Bo . 600 of 1917.
4. M. E. R. for 1926/27, Bo . 531 of 1926 .
5• nli• , No. 524 of 1926.
Te�i tiluk, in the Tinnevell.7 district! Most of them belong
t o the silcteenth century� In llW1J' of them the variant lri-dfu
is used instead of 4ri7a-na1,t , together with the prefix i!,a (south)
or :!!f.! (north) . That ir1-natu is a variant of 4r'iya-nafu is
established b7 the mention of •ertaill villages as being sit -J •d
in lri-na1u in some inscriptions and 4riya-�fu in some others�
The mention of Pully1Ir; TeAlclsi� Tiru-Jcun:Uam� Mll'lgaram' and
other villages � all situated in modern Te�i tnuk of the
Tinnevelly district , as being situated in lrJ'a-nafu helps t o
locate this old territorial division in the modern Tinnevelly
district . The referenc e to �iya-nifu in the inscriptions ot Ra.am.ad
district indicat es that this territorial division covered parts
of the modern Ramnad district as well. In this connection it
should be noted that the inscription referring to Tamil lriyar
states that they were from Tiru-Icuallam, which was in the

l. !:.&• , M. E.R. for 1918 , Boa. 397 , 401, 403 , 407 , 409 , 410 , 412 ,
416 , 41? , 418 , 529, 639 , 532, 582 and 603 of 1917.
2. There is at least one inscription dated &aka 1202 (A. D . 1280)
belonging to the reign of a c ertain Parakrama n$b'a, who IU.7
be identified with Par�ama PJv.ba ME>eli Vlnadir'iya. M. E. R. for
1918 , .Ho. 401 of 1917 ; X. J.. Jlilakanta Sastri , The �d,an Kingdom,
P • 187.
3 . M.E. R. for 1918 , 529 and 603 of 1917.
4. �• , Bos. 397 , 4ol, dt-03 T �? , �9 1 . 410 , 412 and 416 of 1917.
- l The occurrence of at least three titles ,
.ii... diYision.

one territorial name and the name of a community or a body

o f persona with the element A!:J:! in the Tinnevelly-R•muad
region suggests that there must have been some association with
this region of some people calle d Ir;ru. These lrJ'as ma, haYe
been a family of chieftaina from North India, possibly from
Gujarat , as de Queyroz informs us , who established their authority
in that region , or may haYe been Brihma$a.a , possibly Xrya
Br'ibma9as , whose descendants are to be found stil1 in Riia6varam 1
who wielded political authority there. The Iryacakravartina
mq have been their leaders or may have sprung from these families.
In this connection , there is an interesting ref•rence in the
�ffakka1,appu-m'ip..mi:y:u, which may- throw some light on our problem.
This Batticaloa chronicle refers to the first Ar-iyq who established
his authority in Jaffna as having hailed from iri.ya-nafu� If this
place is the same as the Iriya-natu in South India , its name �
be c onnected with the �1.J'ar who became rulers of Jaffna. On the
other hand , the 4r'i.J'a-na1,i of the Batticaloa chronicle my refer
t o Borth India. But tais is unlikely , for the chronicle atates
that the first lriya ru1er of Jaffna settled in that region

i. See supra, P • lt-14- •

2. l!!!• , P • 36.
people from �iya-niiu! nese settl ers , acc ording to the chronicles
of Jaffna, came from the Tamil country.
A s econd possibilit7 is that h7acakravartin was
jut a title conferred on c ertain cMeft ains of the Ramnad
region and d.a,otea only a fictitious connection with 4rJas.
In. some of the South Indian inscriptiona b e longing t o the t
thirte enth and fourte enth c enturies •• hear of such c aaavartin
titles being borne b7 officials and CGlue ftaina. For instance ,
in an inscription dat ed in the fourtlrl 7ear of a ffra PIJ'7ad�va ,
w e come across the title Mi'iuva-cakkaraTartti 1 which waa borne
b7 an official in the P'l#ba count �� In a s imilar manner , the
title �a-cakravarti was borne by some persons 1n the X.ooa�a
c ountr1 who had no authorit1 over the Pa#ba kingdom� bother
Pald1a inscription refers to a person with the title of
� 4
It is 1 therefor e , possible that T-
vartin was also a simil.ar t itle conferred on c ertain chieftains
in Ramoad by the �• rulers. But th.is s e ems unl.ikel.7. 'fhe
Tamil chronicles of Jaffna repeatedly refer to the Ir,.acakravartins

l. l!!• , P• 37.
2. M.E.R. for 19128/29, Be. 413 of 1928/29.
3• �• , Hos. lt,75 and 488 of 1928/29; M.E.R. for 1930/31 ,
No. 360 of 1930/31.
4. M.E.R. for 1931/32 , No. 104 of 1931/32.
as lr�AA• and kings ot the �i7ar Clri7ar tam k.'8dp.) , which may
suggest that their DaJU vu more than a title.
A third °' strong poaaibilit1 1a that the 417•­
cakravartins belonged to a Brnu,a communit7. We know from the
ClSJ.a inscriptions that Brahma.vu served in the army as commanders�
Aa Nilalcanta Sastri has c ommented, ' it is remarkable that ma.DY'
ot the leaders (senapatia ) 1n the army were ot Brahmin extraction.• 2.
It may be that one such sena:,t i distiDguiahed himself in battle ,
e arned the t itle ot Ir,acakravartin. and was granted a chieftaiDc1
in the Ramnad district by one ot the Prtha killga of the thirteenth
cent11r7. It -.uq- also be tb•t one of the Br'lhmaQa
chieftains of
the Ranma� region earned the till• in the service of the �a
rulers. We have already seen. that at leaa1; one 4?"7acakravartin
was � the service of M1£avarmq XuldWkhara I as a senapati�
There is a strong possibility that this sen�pati was the first
lryacakravartin. As diacussed earlier , the earliest datable
source mentioning an 'iryacakravartin is an. inscription of the
fifth year of �avaru.a XuluWkhara I (1268-1310): Around l.284 ,

1 . K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The ClSZ!!., P• 456.

2. !!?!!•
, . See supra, p. C,.t-2..
4. See supra, P• '+ ., -, •
nearl1 ten 7ears after the date of this iucription� an h7acakra­
vartin who was a sen'ipati. in the senice of Kl.:aTarJDaA Kula6�khara
led an i.nTaaion of Cey-lon! �ince the date of the first mention
of an 'ir,-acakraTartin is ve� close to that of the inwuion. of
Ce71on b7 an Ir,-acakravartill , the ::l.dentif'ication of the latter
person with the former seems possible. That the �acakravartins
who ruled in Jaffna were of Brahma�• extraction is stated b7
de Que1roz as well as the author of the Cekaraca-c'!'kara-dlai,
a work produced in the time of an lr7acakravartin. According to
de Queyroz , the rulers of Jaffna were ' Bramanes , natives of
Guzarate , c alled Arus , who claimed Royal descent ' 2
• The Cekaraca-
cekara-malai refers to the Aryacakravartin in whose time it was
composed as a BranmaJa fro■ 061 1 who belonged to the Dlsyapa
gotra of the Dtyay�a sl!tra and who knew the truths of the four
Vedas� The evidence of this Tamil work cannot be set aside easily.

1. See supra, p. 4-t'- •

2. F. de Que,-roz , �• ill• , p.48.
3. � • v. 204. Vaiya lllalmU DtJ!;rqa cl!trattu
�i;ra K'lcipa �taat:tgaruvu k.'lpai
Cena catur ma,r.ai vl;rmai Dci vanta
Cekar'lca-cekaran.am 118.Jm.Y, 'lti

Tuna pukal pl!cura lllam:lavar

It the h,'acakravartins were K#atriyas , the author of the Tamil.
• I
work could not have made a mistake 1D call"'t, hia patro1.1 a Brm>maoa
ruler. If the Ar)'acakravartin 1D whose time the Cekaraca-cekara­
malai was composed were a Bralunada , his ancestors must also have
been Brahmavas. The::, were probabl;r lrya Br�ma.4as and hence
the name b-i;yar.
We are , therefore , inclined to believe that the
b-;yacakravartins were Brahmavas , probably lr;ya Brihma.vas , who
may have hailed from Gujarat , as is claimed by de Queyroz. We
have seen that ill Gujarat there were at this t ime a people called
J.ryas.1 The ancestors of the Ir;racakravartins were probably
from this •ommunit;r• .As �ya chieftains they may have used the
title of Aryacakravartin.
Bow and when the Ir::racakravartins of South India
became masters of the kingdom of northern Ceylon is not clearl;r
known, !he Tamil chronicles state that the first �yacakravartin
was invite d b;r one of the nobles of Jaffna, called n$fi Malavaa ,
t o rule over the northern kingdom, which was without a ruler for
some time.2 This is rather doubtful. It is unlikely that the
kinsmen ot the previous rulers we11-l.4 hrH kept quiet without

1. See supra, p. 1,-,,

2. !!!• , P • 25 i !!• , P • 7•
5 09
attempting t o seize power. De Queyroz has recorded another traditioa
about the manner 1a which the lr1acakraTartins became kings of
the northern kingdom.1 According to hi.II, the .lrua (Xryas) of
Ramanacor (Bame6varam)
begaa t o haTe trade and .trie11dship with the kings of
Jafanapata'5 , and one of thelll married a daughter of
that ling ; and finally his descendants became heirs to
that kingdom.. Of these the first that tried to free
himself froa the subjection U the ling of Cot a CXotte l ,
was .Ariaxaca Varati (lr1acakravartin) who being naturally
proud and not b•oold.ng the haughtiness of the officers
of that ling, took the life of one who governed there• • • • 2
Paranarltana accepts this tradition and concludes that aa lri1aa
from Bllle6Taraa espoused a princess who was a descendant of the
Jivaka prince wa• w.,. ruling the northern kingdom ia the
thirteenth cent� In support of this conclusion he cites an
inscription from Hldavala. In this record, a personage named
Mlrtt�fam-per�un-vahanse , with the title S ava:u-pati, is
mentioned. ParaaaTitana identifies hi.a as Mlrttwtfa hyacakra­
..,artin of Jaffna and puts forward uti.efar-fetched hypothesis
on the basis of the title Sav4u-pati, which he interprets t o
mean lord of the Javakas.It, According to his argument

1. F.de Queyroz, �• ill• , P• 49.

2. ng.
3. S.Paranavitana, ' The wa Kingdom iJl North. Ceylon• , P• 19 7.
4. �• • P• 199 .
if an lr4q from. Rld6vara11 became muter of this
kingdom as the result of an -trimonial alliance , the
Jlvakas Rr �va:i or Sava.tu people would have referred
to thia �iyaa and hi.a descelldanta as their lord. The
epithet ' Sav._:u-pati' applied to an iriya-cakravarti in
the Mldavala inscription can thus be satiafactoril7
expkined on the hypothesis that the r•yal familT into
which the lr4aA married was that of the Javakaa. 1
.As we have pointe• out earlier, Paranavitana's interpretation
of the title of Sav&tupati cannot be acc epted� Consequentl7
there 1a no evidence in the Mldavala inscription regarding a
matrimonial allia&c e between the lr;racakravartills and the
famil7 of their predec essors in Jaffnaf and de Queyroz•a
information stands uncorroborated. Under these circumstances
we can take this matrimonial allianc e to be only a possibility.
Another possible manner in which the Iryacakravartills
of Ra.mnad gained comtrol of the northern Jclngdom in •••tlura Cey\OI"
is b7 conquest. The successful invasion of an 1/ yacakravartin
around 1284 resulted in the subjujation of the Sinhalese kingdom
in southern Ceylon b7 the �as� It 1a aot known whether the
general lr1acak:ravartin invaded northern Ceylon , too. His troops
presumablJ" landed in northern Ceylon. The ruler of northern
Ceylon possibly continued t o be a feudatoq of the �as and ,
therefore , there was no need t o wage a war against hilll. If that

1. S.Paranavitana , 'The lrya Xingdom in North Ceylon• 1 P• 199.

2. See supra, P• ',-S'"<t
3. See supra, P • lf.8"1-
was the case , the invasion of Xr,-acakravartin may not have resulted
1n an1 control of the northern kingdom b1 him. On the other hand ,
if the northern ruler had been recalcitrant , the P-
a.$�a general
ma, ha-re subjugated him, too, and begun. to extend his authorit1
there. These are matters of specu1ation. The suggestion that
this lr,.acakravartin who invaded the Sinhaleee kingdom around
1284 wu already a ruler of Jaffna is not acceptable� The ct!lav�_!

specifically states that this general was • sent with an &rDlif b1

the five brothers , the kings who held away in the Pql,i realm'
and , ha-ring sei.zed the Tooq relic as well as other costl;y
treasures , he 'returned with them to the Pq.l:,. kingdom • � 'fhe
Pi.11 chronicle clearly mentions that he was a ' Dam11a general'�
If the lr1acakravartins did not capture power b northern Ce1lon
around 1284 , this event has to be dated to the time of the
Mllslim invasion of the P'I.V,d:,a co1111tr7, when the forces of Malik
Kafllr rode triumpaantly down to Riae6varam! This was in 1310.
As Paranavitana has s'iggeated, 1n the fateful years between the
first Mualilll invasion of South India and the establishment of
the Madura Sultanate in 1344 , the political confusion brought

1. c.Ruana-,agam, � - ill• , P• 344 .

2• .£!:• , 90: 43.

, . �- . 90 : 44 .
4. K.J.. Nilakanta Sastri , The �"1:,u Ki.ngdom, P • 206 ff.
51 2
' -
about by these eventsr-a.7 have led the '17'acakravartins to seek
their fortunes in Ceylon. The eaal.l and probably weak kingdom
in northern Ceylon would have been a tempting t arget for their
designs. This ia , however , another possibility. In the present
atate of our knowledge we cannot be certaill about the Jll8llller
in. which the lryacakraTartina came to occupy the throne of Jaffna.
From the account of Ibn Batuta , we find that the
4i"yacakravartins were firmly established o• t he t hrone of northern
Ce7lon b7 1344 and were in c ommand of the aea ar ound , which was
infested with their piratica1 boats� Their rule in the island
must , therefore , have begun so• time before 1344. In the absence
of any evidence regarding the date of the accession. o f the
first lr7acakravartin. ruler , we can place this only within
rough limits. It certainly t ook place befoN 1344 , probabl7 in
the first quarter of the fourteenth c entury. p ossibly in the
last quarter of the thirteenth.
The independent kiBgdom of northern Ceylon that
emerged in the thirteenth cent11?'1' continued t o b e 1.D. existence
till 1620, when the last of the Tamil rulers was beheaded b7 the
Portuguese and the kingdom be•ame part o f tke Portuguese possessions
in. the island� Thia medieval Jd.D.gdom baa been c ommon.17 known

l. 'fhe Rehla of Ibn 'Batuta , �• ill• , PP• 21.7-224.

2. F. de Queyroz , �• ill• , ff• 628 ft, 691.
to historians as the kingdom ot Jattna. Commenting on this,
Gl1allapragasar has the followi.Jag t o say: -
It is an anachronism. to c all the North Ce7lon of the
Tand.1 period by the JlaJle ot Jaffna. Nor is it correct
to say that any Ruler of the North of the Island was
ltiDg of Jaffna... The aame Jaffna, now designating the
entire peninsula, was first giTen to the new town i.D
llallur in the 17th c :;��1'• The kings, whose brief
history is to be rec e d in the followi.D.g pages,
reigned first at S1nka1 Nagar, a town situated probabl7
on the sea-shore near Point Pedro,and then at lfallur,
t ill their downfall. 'fheir kingdom. was known in their
own days as that of Ilam, a na,me._ given a1ao to the whole
Island of Ceylon. As this old name is no more in use ,
and as •Jatfna• baa come t o indicate the northern
kingdom, we conf or• i1o modern usage in calling our ancient
ru1ers the kings of Jaffna. l
Thus seems to be a fair criticism� although it is wrong to say
that the name Jaffna was first used only in the seTenteenth
century� The Tamil form. of Jdfna, namei,. fflpp'aVaa, does not
seea to haTe been used for the.- northern k:1ngti0J1L in the .early
period o f its existence. Like the Sinhalese rulers in the d
south, the rulers of the north considered themselTes to be the
kings of the whole island. The South Indian inscriptions refer
to the northern ruler as one of the kings ot. ll&DL or Ilaf.k;ai
(CeJlon)� The Tamil works of Jaffna, written....bdore the fall
of the kingdom, also refer to him as the king of Ceylon�

i. S.Gnanapragasar, • sources for the Study of the Histor7 of Jaffna' ,

!a.mil Culture, II, llos. 3&4 9 Sept . 1953 , P• 303.
2 . See supra, P• 4 \�
3 . See infra P • 4- ft.9
4 . see infra. P• ru t
The titles of the Jr7acakravartins generally re fer to their

overlordahip of the cit1 of e16kei 1 as tor inatamc e , C16ke1

lri.Jaa (hi:,q of Ci.Akai)! CiAkai-tdkum-lri:,ar-k'lSil (Xing of

the lryas who resides at C1:tlka1) and C1 t\kai-em-ldSda (Our

Sovereign of C16kei ) � But there are a few other �itlea

occurring in the earliest Tamil works of Jaffna which ma:,- give

a clue to the Dalle& b7 which the northern Jc:l.ngdk vaa known.

In the medical work entitled Cekarl:ca-cekaram, _mrit_ten in the

time of an 4ey'acakravartin who had the consecrati.on name of

Cekaraca-cekar&A (Skt . Jagat-r'ija-,ekbara) and i.a.tab1e to

about the fourteenth century , refers to this ru!l.er as ' Ceyam

l!t,11 Ciflkai-nl:�u Cekarica-c�kara,;.' (the Tictor�ous Cekaraca-c�karaA

of C1:tlk:a1 -natu)! This is the on17 occurrence o f t;ha name

Ci.Alcai-natu (Country of C1 ilkai ) . It is obTious1y a reference

to the kingdom ruled b;r Cekaraca-c�&A , the c ap ita1 of which

was C16kai. This practise of extending the name of the c api.tal

to the whole kingdom 1.a common in Tamil literat-.re and tradition ,

u it is in several other countries , too . 'rhe names;�i. nafu

l. �- , C �appupp'iyu-aa , P • 7 .

2 .�• • v. 36.
3-. �- - v. 76.
Jt.. Cekaraca-c�karam, quoted in �• • P • xiii.

� .,,._ C.e�-.......\... •Y C.i,. &-vllc:G. - u �..... ..... t-11.-..y ,ls• \... cl..«:n v �
f-- Sil:,-.- \".3f. - �k"-.u,.
51 �
and �pafam for the kingdoms of Kandy and Jaffna, tor instance ,
are both derived from the names of their respective capita.le.
C1flka1-nafu waa , therefore, one of the names applied to the
northern ld.Dgdom after the capita1 cit7 , but it is not known
whether it was commonly used. Perhaps it was used only in literarJ
works. ADother title of the �yacakravartina that provides a
clue to the name of the northern kingdom is the one based on
the name Ma;avai. In the Cekaraca-cekara-malai, the lryacakravartin
in whose t ime the work was written is called Maiavai lriya
Varotayq Cir;ra Var"5daya of Maja:rai) ; Mava:rai7ar-�A Cekar'lca­
cekara-Jllall (King Cekara•a-cekaran,, Monarch of the people of
Ma.$avai) 2 and Mavavai-tanta-mal ( the Lord produced bJ �vai)�
Scholars dilfer regarding the identification of the place
Jofa.4avai. Some take 1.t to be a place near Imme6varam and conclude
that the Cekarica-cekaran, who bore the above titles was born 1n

Ma;avai, in South India.4 But the title Ma,;:avaiyar-k'8a,
� meaning
' Monarch of the people of Ma\1-avai' lllaJ' suggest that �vai was
not just a amall village but a luger t erritory over which

1. �. , v. 158.
2. ,!!li, , v. 269.
3 • .B?g. , v. 173.
�. U. C . H. C . , I , pt.2, P• 698.
Cekaraca-cikaraa wielded authority. In Paranavitana•• opinion ,
MafaTai mq have been an alternate name of Ci6ka1� If we turn
to the Tami1 chronicles of Ceylon , we find that the ancient
Tami1 name of the Jaffna peninsula was Mavatti , Ma;.attifal
or Ma:;aw-ear. il1 three are variants of the same name. Parana­
vitana and some other writers on the history of the Jaffna
kingdom have stated that �all!r and �av11r also occur aa
variants of these names� But no references are given to the sources
where these occur. We have not been able to trace these two
variants in u.y of the Tamil chronicles. The :!!J.pp�a-vaipava-
malai gives two of these forms , namel7 �atti�al and Mav-attifar�
The &ffekJsatappu-mJpmjyam gives the two forms �i and ��i�ar�
In addition, it gives two other names of the peninsula , namely
Ma;ipuram and the older name liikat'!pam (Pali ?r-
agad'tpa)� The form
Ma.$a.ui also occurs in a poem called C'lti-malai-pafu � !rhis

form is evidently an -abridgement of Ma:d,,a:itar or Mqaa:ifa1.

l. S.Paranavitana, ' The lrya lingdom in North Ceylon• , P • 202.

2. �- ; C . S. NaTaratnam, Tamils and Ceylon , P • 75 .
3. !!!• , PP• 9 , 24.
4 • .!!!:,, PP• iii , 14, 56.
5. ng. , PP• J?, 51 .
6. �tiw-malai-'Pft, quoted in J.. Muttuttampi Pillai, !!lPP�.!­
c arittiram, Ja:tfna , 1912 , p. 1.
Mavaa:ital :ia a compound of two words 1 !.!.�.!! and !!f.!! (sand + moUJld) .
llf.E 1a another for• of !!f.!!• How taia name c ame t o be applied
t o Jaffna is not known. It 1a possible that it is a translation
of the Sinhalese name Vlli-gama, which was applied to a part of
Jaffna as early as the twelfth centur1, when it first occurs UL
a C15la record; and is now applied to the western half of the
penhsula. The Tamil translation of ftli-gama would be �-Ur ,
which is also considered to be one of the names applied to the
peninsula. Kaiaa:i1al may be a Tariant of this Tamil fora. Possi'b1y
the name ft1igama was applied t o the major part or the whole of
the peninsula at one time, although it is now restricted to
on1y one ha1f of the region , UL much the same way as Nlga�pa,
which was once applied to the whole of-the mo4ern. Jatfna district ,
is now restricted to an island off the peninsula. WhateTer the
origin of the name �atti(al, it appears that Maqravai .iu:y
have been a variant or an abridged form of this name , just as
Ta!lcai is a shortened form of Ta!lc•vlh-� Ma;aTai and Ma$au1ta1
may- have been applied to the entire kingdom in the thirteenth
and fourteenth centtries. If these names represented on1y a
Tamil rendering of the Sinhalese name Vlli-gama, their disappearance

1. See supra, p . �o�

2. £!• , MlntlSffam > Mlntai , JaSyamputtUr > JaSvai, Aauratapuram > Aaurai.,
Cilka-nakar ).C1:Aka1.
1a not difficult to expl.aiD.. The Tamil rendering of the Sinhalese
name would have been used only in literary works while the old
Sinhalese name would have son.tinued to be used 1>7 the ord.ihary'
people in its Tami1ised form of Wl:lki:mam, which is still
current. Such a practice is in keeping with Indian literar,­
tradition. In the Ceylonese chronicles , we find that ver,- often
SiDhalese names are rendered in �1, as for instance Mahatittha
tor :Mlto�a. However , neither C:l:tlka:i -nafu nor Mafallifal and its
variants appear to have been commonl,- used as the name of the
northern kingdom. Tht•r disappearance in the later literar7
works supports this conclusion. We are inclined to agr•e with
Gnanapragasar that this northern kingdom. was kn.own as �•am or
IlaAkai, without an7 special epithets to distinguish it from the
southern kingdom. The T�a-kailaca-pur�.!! re?ers to a
Cekaraca-c'ika:rq, one of the rulers of Jaffna, as the king o f
IJ a:tlkai: The KailayamE.ai calls the first '417a ruler as
Teml!la:tlkai-mauavq (lting of Ila.Akai 1n the South)� The
Ku�umi.7'ima.1ai inscription mentioned earlier refers to the ruler
of the northern kingdom as one ot the kings of Ce7lon� We have

1. Tkp. , Ci.,appuppayiram.
2. !!!• , P• 6 .
3 . See supra , P• t',-f
also seen that the °?laa of the inscriptions of �aTarJDaA Sundara
P'14d:-,a I may refer onl7 to the northern kingdom: The inscriptions
of the Vijayanagara period, too , refer to the northern....ld.ngdom
of Ce7lon as �lam2• From about the beginning of tbe re1g,i.....of
H arihara II (acc. 1377) , Jatfna waa subdued by the Y1 jqanagara
rulers. But the subjugation of Jatfna is regarlied in...the earlier
inscriptions and liter&r7 works , auch as the ftr'ly�-vil'Ksam,
as the conquest or re-conquest of Ce7lon� But in the fifteenth
centur7 , the name YalPp'Klam came to be applied to the northern
kingdom and �lam was reserved for the Sinhalese kingdom in the
south. Thus , we see for the first time a Vidqanagar&- iiscription
from M1Ita1teri , dated
.. 1357
!aka (A.D. 1435) , re.fer.ring...to the
northern and southern kingdoms as YllPP� and ..
1.-■ re..spectively.
The name ?al.pp� llUst haTe gained currency in the �if.taenth
century. In all the grants of the Setupatis of Ramnad the
norther]l kingdom is referred to u Yll.Pp�am. or Y'll,pp�-tWcam
(the land of n.J,p�am)? In the Portuguese works , the kingdom is

1. See supra , P • t,..y..9-

2. M.E. R. for 1918 , Nos. 128 and 134; M . E. R. for 1923 . Bo. 92 of 1923.
3 , S.K:rishnasw&1111 .Aiyangar , Sources of Vija:ranagara History, p. 153 ;
U.C . H . C . , I, pt. 2 1 P• 687.
4. M.E. R. for 1901 1 No. 128 of 1901; S . I.I. , VII , No. 778.
5 . See supra , P• ft--1(
often referred to as Jafanapata�.1 The Sinhalese literary worka
ot the fifteenth c entury refer to the wacakravarti.ns as the
rulers ot Dpapafuna (the Sinhalese 'form of Jaffna)! Dp•pafuna
c ertainly designated the capital of the northern kingdom. This
is c1ear from the context in wluch it occurs in the Sinhalese
owrks� But whether it was app1ied to the whole of the no»thern
kingdom as well is not clear. Probably it did. The evidence of
the Sinhalese Nampota suggests that the whole of the Tamil
kingdom, including parts of the modern Trincomalee district ,
was also known to the Sinhalese as Dem4a-paffanama. In this
work, a number of villages which are now situated in the Jaffna ,
Mlillait'!vu and Trincomalee districts , namely- Nag�vila (Nnark.l5vil) ,
Kadurugo�a (Kantar'8fai) , Telipola (Tellippajli) , Mall'lgama ( Mall'lkam) ,
Minivdgamu (V!maa]amam) , Tanni-divayina (Kayts) , .Agni-divayina
(J.aalai-t'!vu) , raga-divayina (nkat'!vu or Nay�-t'!vu) ,
Puva.Agu-divayina (Puikufu-t'!vu) , Dra-divayina (Drai-t'!vu) ,
Molli�vala (Mu1�ava1ai) , ..!lrikvv'fm•l a,:a (Trincomalee J , Vilgam­
vehera (Natqar-k'8vil or Vil.gam-vih�a) , Tissamahavehera and
Ilandago�a, are mentioned as places in Dema1a-paffanama�

1. F. de Quey-roz , .21!.• ill.• , P• 48 .

2. See supra , P • lf-o-o

,. See supra , P• 1+00

4. Nampota , PP• 5 -6.

Demai-,-paifanama (Tamil Port ) was probably first applied to the
seat of the Tamil rulers iD the northern region and then extended
to mean the whole of the Tamil kingdom. There is also another
Sirlhalese name for the Tamil kingdom in an olcl _!!�aimpota ( Book
of Boundaries ). In this work, the whole of the northern kingdom
is referred to as Jivagama. 1 as mentioned earlier.1 This is the
only work mentioning this name. Perhaps it was not widely used
by the Sinhalese.
The capital of the northern kingdom, which we mq
now call the Jaffna kingdom for purposes of convenience, is often
given in the early Tamil works of Ceylon as Cijkai or C1:6ka1 -
nakar. These works, the Cekar'ica-cekara-malai, Ceka.r'ica-cekaram
and the Takf!«a-kailaca-malai, make it clear that (!1:6kai was
the place where the lryacakravartins resided� The only Tamil
inscription in the island mentioning an hyacakravartin also
refers to Ci�ka1 -nakar as his seat� Ci�kai 1a also mentioned,
along with All,urai (Anuradhapura) in the inscriptions of
Arik'iSari Parakra.ma �ba ( 1422-1461)! It is clear from these
references that CiAkai or C16kai-nakar was the capital of the

1. See supra, P• 4S 3
2. �- , v.36; Cekaraca-cnaram, quoted in the �• • p.xiv,b. ;
�- . p. 78, v. 109.
3. See supra, P• lt-t''°'
4. M. E. R. for 1912, Bo.4 of 1912.
Jaffna kingdom in the early period of its existence. The later
chronicles, howeTer, do not mention Ci.Akai as the capital of
the Tamil.kingdom, a1though these refer to the lry-acakravartina
as Ci�kai AriY'aa& 1• The Yllppga-vaipava-m'!lai and the Kailaya.m'l:le.i.
give Nall1Ir as the capital of the first Aryacakravartins� Na1111r
is not mentioned in any of the earlier Tamil works or in inscripti.ons.
It has, therefore, been suggested that CiAkai-nakar was the first
capital and Nall1Ir the second capital, established in the fifteenth
century after the conquest of the kingdom by Sapumal Kudrayaf
The Sinha1ese works of the fifteenth century refer to the seat
of the Jaffna rulers as np•pa1una� The fourteenth-century- traveller
Ibn Batuta states that he vi4ited an iryacakravartin at Battala ,
which some haTe attempted to identify- with Putta1am, on the
western coast of the island� But the topographica1 detail.a
furnished by- the Muslim traveller show,& that this town was
somewhere t o the north of Maw.� • Probably Ibn Batuta was referring
t o YaP'lpafWla. The element E!�a in this name has the variants

llffanama and l?.!ffalama in Sinha1ese� ln fact1 de Queyroz gives

1. I!!• , P• 27.

2. �. , P• 26 ; !!•, P• 7•
3. S . Gnanapragasar, ,!!lPp�a-vaipava-vimarcq&,!, PP• 106-107.
4. See supra, P• 'f-n .
5. S.Gnanapragasar, lllpp�-vaipaTa-vimare8Jlam, p. 88.
� 41Wiw>

6. S.Paranavitana., 'The ir1a Kingdom in North Ceylon • , P• 211, fn.136.

Jafana-en-puta1am aa a variant of Jatana-patae! Batta1a of Ibn
Batuta, like the putalam ill the name gj.ve:n b7 de Que7roz, may

b• related to l?.!ff.alama. However, i.t ia not impossible that Ibn

Batuta met the ruler o f Jaffna at a place whi.ch was not the
capital. The Portuguese sources inform us that at the time of
the arrival of the Portuguese i.n the island, that i.s i.n the
first decade of the sixteenth c entur7, the seat of the rulers
of Jaffna was Nal11Ir� Thus, we have C11'ka:1-nakar, np'lpafuna or
Yalt>P'ifam and Nal1Ur being mentioned in the llter&r7 works and
inscriptiollS as the capital of the Jaffna kingdom. Whether these
three names refer to the same cit7 or not is a matter of some
controvers7. Since Sinhalese literature contemporaneous with
the �acakravartins refers to their capital by the name o f

Y'ip'ipafuna, Paranavitana ia. inclined to presume that ' the

name C1flka1 or Ci"ka1 -nakar was restricted in its use to court
circles and literary men., aa Ga!g'lsiripura for Gdpaia, for
instance, and. that ' !ap'lpafuna • was the popular name • � Natesan
has suggested that it is possible that Ci:Akai-nakar was re-named
as Nal11Ir in later centuries. Rasanaqagam and Gnanapragasar have

1. F• de Que71"0Z t .21?,• ill.• t P • 47.

2• .!!?.!!• , P • 47.
3. S.Paranavitana, ' The 41'7a Kingdom in Borth Ceylon • , p. 201.
4. U . C .H . C . , I, pt. 2 , P• 695.
maintained that Nallllr was founded in the fifteenth c entUll:'7
after the invasion of Sapuma1 Kumar� of the eft'I ld.ng6oa
and that Ci1'ka1-nakar was the earlier capital, to be located i.J&
the region of Vallipuram, near Point Pedro. According to these
writers , the ancient potsherda and brickbats near the sea at
Vallipuram indicate that this place was the anciant c apita1 of
the kings oLJatfna. This is not an acceptable argument. 'ne
occurrence of ancient artefacts in a place does not nece ssaril.y
prove that that place was the seat of kings. Vallipuram , where
a gold p1ate of the time of Vasabha (67 -111) was discovered , i.s
the s ite of an ancient vih�a, as evidenced by the gold-'J)1.ate
inscription� But there is no evidence to indicate that i.t was
the capital of the kings of Jaffna.
If we group the different references chronolLogica117 ,
we find that the Tamil works datable to the fourteenth centurJ'

mention r.:hUrai-uakar as the capita1. The Kofagama inscriiPtion,

datable to the fourteenth centur,-, also ref era to the 4r.Yaa of
Jaffna as the 4ryas of CiAkai-nakar. The Sinhalese works of the
fifteenth century give Rp�pafuna as the capital of the �amil.
rulers . In the sixteenth centur,-, when the Portuguese we1t t o

1. C .Rasanayagaa, �• ill• , PP• 117-118 ;

S . Gnanapragasar , Rlpp�a-vaipava-vimarcanam , P• 6 7.

2. S . Paranavitana , 1 Vallipuram Gold-plate Inscription of the Reign

of Vaaabha 1 , !.:.!• , IV, P• 237.
the i.eland , it was Nall'Ur that was the capital of the Jaffna
ld.Dgdom. Ia it possible that the kings of Jaffna changed their
c apitala so often ? This is unlikely. Unl1ke the south-western
region. of the Uland , where the Sinhalese kings at this time
changed their capitala frequently , a change of capitals in a small
fl.at area 1ike the Jaffna penin.8ula would not have afforded
an7 real strategic e.dvantages. Further , there is no archaeological
evidence in. support of such a change of capitals. So far the oDly
place where evidence of secular buildiDgs datable to the time
of the kings of Jaffna is found is Nall1Ir. When the Portuguese
went there in the sixteenth century liallUr seems to have been
the onl,- cit1 worthy of mention in the peninsula. In the words
of de Queyroz, ' the7 never had any other cit7 save Nelur (Nall'Ur)
which is not half a league distant from the town and praqa of the
Portuguese • � The latter is the port of Jaffna which later grew
in.to the modern Jaffna town. This port is identifiable with the
Iapapafuna (Port of Y'lpa or tood Port) of the Sinhalese sources
and the IaJ.pp�a-paffa4am of the Setupati grants� Nallilr , where
the royal palace was situated , was within two miles of thia
t own in the sixteenth centur7 (today Nallltr comes within the
limits of the Jaffna Mmdcipalit7). It is possible that original),-

1. F. de Queyroz , .!?:£• ill•, P• ,50.

2. See supra , P• f/-1 �
the ro7a1 palace was also in the port ot Jatfn.a and 'that i.t was
later shifted towards the interior to NallUr. The fOUJLdation. of
Nallllr is sometimes attributed to Sapuma.1 KWllal'ay� who c onquered
and ru1ed the Jatfn.a kingdoa in the middle ot the filt een.th
c enturr� n1s Tiew is based on til, �eTidence that asaG>'Ciates hi.a
with the building of the Skmda. temple at Ba111Ir. A. .rormul.a
c alled the a,ffiyam which is recited b7 the priests h the
temple refer to a person named Sr� SaAghabodhi Bhuva:a.ekab1lhu2• •
He is identified as Sapumal Kudrqa who, after his rule a
Jattna , became the ru1er of K8ffi with the name ot Ehuvan.ekab'ihu
(VI , 1470- 1478 ) � The !!l,pp�a-vaipava-malai a1so credits a
person called Puvanekavmtu (Bhuvanekabahu) with 'the building of
the Skanda temple at Nallllr� He is described in. this chronicle
as a Bralunqa minister of the first Ariyq ru1er ancll :is also
credited with the building of the outer city walls of N'allUr-?
A stray Terse , published a1ong with the Kail1:ya.mE.ai , attributes
the building of the Skanda temple at Ballllr and of DlPP�-nakari.
( the Cit7 ot YaJ.ppa;am) to a certaia Puvanekavlku� rhe verse

1. s . Gnanapragasar , !!l:ep�a-vaipaTa-vimarc!A!!• PP• 106 -107.

2. S . P aranavitana , 'The -.X,7a Kingdom in North Ceylos• , PP • 192 -193 ;
U. C.H . C . , I , pt. 2 , P• 695 ; C . Ras anayagam , £!• ill• • P• 332.
, . �.
4. !!!• t PP• 31-32.

6. !!!!• , P• 23; !.!!!• , P• 32 , fn. 1 •

does not state whether he was a minister or a k:lng. Both this
verse and the Y'llpp�a-vaipava-malai date these activities of
Bhuvanekabahu to Saka 870 (.A.. D. 948). The PuvanWkav'aku of the
str&J" verse and of the lllPpqa-vaipava-malai is evidently the
same as Srl: S&.tgJt.abodhi Bhuvanekabahu mentioned in the !!�fizam
of the Skanda temple. A recitation preserved iD the form of
a formula and recited regularly it the temple for centuries is
likel7 to be more authentic than the late Tamil chronicle and
the atrq werse. The title Srl: Sa6ghabodhi used in the 2ffizam
for BhuTanekab�u indicates that he was a ruler of the Sinhalese
kingdom, for this title, as far as we know, was used only by
the Sinhalese rulers as their consecration name. The onlJ
Bhuvanekabahu who bad any association with the Jaffna kingdom
was BhuTanekabahu VI or Sapumal Xum'ir�, who ruled there for
some time before he ascended the throne of mffi. It is, therefore,
reasonable to identify Bhuvanekabibu of the ,2f{izam as Sapumal
Xumarqa. The Yal.pp�a-vaipava-malai has evidently confused him
with a minister of an �yacakravartiD. The date given for the
building of the temple is al.so unreliable . If, as is c1aimed :1.n
the Yllppi�a-vaipava-malai and the str&J" Tamil verse, Bhuvanekab'ihu
had anything to do with the building of the city of NallUr or
DJ.ppa4&-nakari, it is possible to conjecture that he may have
been responsible for the shift of the c ourt from Jaffna (town)
to Nallllr. It is not possible to hold that he shilted the c apital
fro• some other place to Jaffna, as maintained b7 Gnana.pragaaar,
for the latter place was well known as the seat of the �1acakra­
Tartins before the time of Sapumal lw.dray'l' s occupation. The
Sinhalese aande6a poems composed at the time of this occupation
refer to Sapumal Xumaray�•• sack of ffp'lpatuna, which ia described
as the seat of' the lr;racakravartins: A Vijayanagara inscription
dated $aka 1357 (A. D . 1435 ) , nearly- fifteen ;rears before the
occupation of Sapumal Kudray'I, mentiona tha campaign undertaken
by- leakka;:-4a Dav�anWyaka to destro1 Iy'IJ..pp�am (Jaffna)� It i.s,
therefore, clear that in the fifteenth century, certainly in
the first half of the century-, ffpapafuna or n.t,p� (Jaffna)
was the capita1 of the northern kingdom. When the Portuguese
went to the island, Nall'Ur was the place where the ruler of
Jaffna resided. As we haTe suggested, it was probably in the
time of Bapwnal Kumaray'I that the c ourt was shifted to Nallltr.
It � not be necessar7 to treat this as a change of capita1s,
c onsidering the close proximity of liallUr to RlJ>p�a-paff&4am.
As indicated above, C1�kai-nakar 1a mentioned as the
capital of the �acakravartina in the Tam.11 works of the fourteenth
century-. This is confirmed by epigraphic evidence as well.

1. See supra, pp. '3't'r - 4- oo .

2. S.I.I. , VII, No. 778.
But till ver:, recently there was no contemporary evidence regarding
the capital of the northern kingdom 1D the thirteenth cent11r1,
that is, during the early decades of its existence. But the
Sanskrit inscription from .Anuridhapura, recently deciphered by
Paranavitana¼ as we have already noted, refers to Subha-paffana,

identifiable with Jaffna. Subha-paftana is t he Sanskrit rendering

of Y'ipapatuna and, if we are to accept the decipherment of
Paranavitana, we have to conclude that in the earl7 7ears of its
existence, too, the capital ot the rulers of the northern
kingdom was Y'ipapatuna or RlPPi.\iam. This would mean that in
the thirteenth and fifteeath centuriea �patuna was the c apital.
In the fourteenth centur7 it was C16kai or Ciftkai -nakar. Was
C1�kai, therefore, another name for Ylpapafuna ? The answerJ
seems tobbe in the affirmative. Inscriptio11a of ...Ar�Aari
Parikrama P'i4,ba (1422-1461) , belonging to the period between
1449 and 1454, refer to the victories won at C11'kai and J.Qurai
( .Anuridhapura)� It would appear, therefore, that in the m.idclle
of the titt•enth centur7 the capital of the Jaffna kingdom
c ontinued to be C11'ka1. Since the S1nbalese works of the fifteenth
c entlll'7 and a Vijayanagara inscription of 1435 refer to the
capital as Rpapafuna or I�p�am, it is reasonabl.e to conclude

1. See supra, p . fto 1

2. Travancore Archaeological Series, VI, pp. 89-91.; ,!:_!. , XLIV, p. 254;
M. E. R. for 1894 , No. 17 of 1894 1 M. E.R. for 1997 . No. 395 of 1906 ;

M. E. R. for 1922, No. 564 o f 19J1..

5 30
that C1:l,ka1 was another name for Rp�pafuna. But there is one
difficulty. The mention of A,aurai, which iD these inscriptions,
as iD the Kofagama inscription, evidently refers to the Sinha1ese
capital ot the time of the epigraphs, shows that CiAkai could
very well have been the name of an earlier capita1 of the
Jaffna kingdom applied by South Indians, b7 mistake, to llp�pa\una
as well. !his is possible but unlikely. The evidence of de
Queyroz appears to go qainst such a possibility. According to
him, when the Portuguese landed at KoJ.umputt�ai, about two miles
from Jaffna town, :la 15 90 and marched towards :Na111Ir, they- had
to get past a stockade by the name of Chunguin.aynar� We are
inclined to agree with Gnanapragasar that this name is a corruption
of CiAkai-nakar� This mq indicate that Ci.Akai-118.kar was in the
vicinity of :Na111Ir. In the sixteenth century, the name Ci!ka1 -nakar
was probably 11.sed only for a fortified section of the capital.
Before the court was shifted to :Nall1Ir, the Jaffna rulers u:y
have held their court iD this place. C:f:l,ka1 and llp�pafuna Jlla1' ,
therefore, be considered as one and the same place. The silence
of the later chronicles regarding the;�stence of a capital called
C1dkai-nakar also points in the same direction. It is not likely

1. F. le Queyroz, �• ill.• • p.452,

2. s.Gnanapragasar, IlJ.Fp�a-vaipava-vimarcana;!!. p.68.
that CiAkai-nakar and Upapafuna were two different places and
that the capital of the Jaffna Jd.Mdoa was shifted fro• the
latter to the former place in the fourteenth c entury and back
to the latter place in the fifteenth c emt'QrJ'. It seems more
likely that Ci Akai-nakar , like Na1llir , was another fortified
place in the vicinity of the port of Jaffna. Ciflkai-Dakar ,
Nall'Ur and Y'ip'ipafuna have to be treate i as sections o f the
same city rather than as different plaees. Probably the court
of the Jaffna rulers was held in all three places at different
parioda. The capital of the northern ki.JAgdom has , therefore , to
be located in the region of the present-dq t own of Jaffna.
The emblem of the kings o� Jaffna , as we know from
their coins , was the couchant bull or nandi. That this emblem
was used on their flags , too , is evident fro• the references
in the Tam11 literary works� These works are the Cekaraca-cekara­
malai , Kailac a-puri4am 1 'f akf!�a-kailac a-puriv.!!• Kail!zadlai
and !!1:.ai.-v�f!!-ttltu . But ill the accoUJllt of Ceya�a Cii'kai
Ariyaa in the !!lPp!8.a-vaipava-mllai, il ia said that this
lryacakravartin brought the whole islan4 under his mituna ffl kof!
(MitUAa lute flag)� This raises the question whether the kings

l. Qs.!• , v. 76 ; Kail'lca-pur!-Q.2, Cil:appupp'IJ'iraa ; !!£•, Ci.,appup­

p�iraa ; !!• , P• .5 ; gttai-vilu-t1ttu , T. 152.
2. Mi.tqa ( Gelliai) lute is one of severa1 kinds of lutes used
in. India.
ot Jaffna used the lute emblem on their flags at any time .
Gnanapraga.aar has drawn our attention to the r eferenc e in the
KaliAkattu-p ary! to the ,!lJJ.� ( Skt . !!#! - lute or lyre )
flag which waa among the many flags that were lowered by the
ClSlaa when their tiger flag was raised everywhere.1 Gnanapragasar
haa posed the question whether this would mean that the lute
emblem wa.a used o� the flags of the Jaffna rulers in the eleventh
c entury , since we do not know of any other Indian dynaat1
having us ed that flag� As there is no evidence that an independent
kingdom exist ed in Jaffna in the eleventh c entur1 , it is not
possible t o suggest that the lut e flag wa.a that of the Jaffna
rulers . But there is Ul1Dliatakable epigraphic evidenc e that points

l. KaliAkattu-par �!• v . 18 , P • 25 ;
Dlal �11 kalai :rJli Y,:v..!4 cilai
!!,,fai e m:,u ip.ai.ya pal ko t!
'rtla. Meruvil u:y;ar•ta Cempi:y; ar
Tani puli kofi talaikkav'!.
The single tiger flag of the Cempiyar (C?SJ.aa) that is planted.
on the Mlru rises high , aa the boar , plough, deer , lion, lute ,
bow and fish flags and others are lowered.
(Boar - Cal.ulqa.a I plough - Rdavaa , deer - PD.as I lion - .Sinhalese ,
bow - CWraa and fish - P'l$.haa) .
2. S. Gnanapragaaar, !!J.pp!#a-vaipava-vimarcyam, P• 50.
t o the use of the �! flag in Ceylon in the twelfth century-.
An inscription of the second regnal y-ear of Kul�ttw\ga C?Sla III
(USO) mentions the �ai-kofi Ci�kY.!!, (the Sinhalese whose
flag is the !!VI) � There is no reference to the .!!;! flag in
an,- of the Sinhalese sources. Since the ialand had been unified
by USO under Par'Ecramab'ihu I, it is not possible to surmise
that the reference in the South Indian inscription is to one of
the minor rulers of the island. It would, therefore, appear
that the Sinhalese ruler• @ used")the � flag in the
twelfth century, although it was not probably considered to
be the main. banner. The re ference in the KaliAkattu-parg! is
probably- t o the Sinhalese. Paranavitana is incluae d to believe
that the !!� flag of the Sinhalese must have been used by the
KaliAga rulers of Jaffna. Be argues that the 'KaliAga ki.Dgs of
Polonnaruva claimed in their inscriptions to be the legitimate
successors of Parakramab'ihu I' and that they, after founding
the northern kingdom, • must have continued to use the royal
insignia of the Polonnaru kings, which included the lyre-flag'•2
This, however, remains only a possibility-. Since the evidence of
the earlier Tamil works and of the coins of the 4I"yaca.kravartiDs

1. S.I.I. , V, P• 269.
2 . A.Paranavitua, 'The �• Kingdom in North Ceylon • , P• 222.
c learl1 inform us that the couchant bull (nandi) was the emblem
of the Jaffna rulers o and since it is reasonable to presume that
Migha and his associates, who seem to have founded the kingdom,
introduced the e mblem of their home-land, we may conclude that
the main emblem of the Jaffna. kingdom was the couchant bu11!' The
lute flag may- also have been used as one of the minor banners
of the kingdom.
The exact limit4 of the Jaffna kingdom are somewhat
difficult t o determine with the evidence at our disposal. It is
onl.7 in the time of the Portuguese occupation that we get proper
information of the boundaries of the various kingdoms. A valuable
description of the territories of the Jaffna kingdom is given
by de Que;rroz : -
The modest kingdom is not confined t o the little
district of Jafanapatae , because t o it are also added
the neighbouring lands , and those of the Vani (!ann:D ,
which is said to be the name of the Lordship which they­
held before we obtained possession of them, separated from
the preceeding (sic ) by a salt7 river, and connected onl1
in the erlre.mii7 or isthmus of Pachalapali 1Paccilai-p4ai] ,
within which were the lands of Baliga.mo IYal1karnamJ_ ,
�emerache �eQ-maraccil , Bedamaraehe lvafa-maracc!J ,
and Pachalapait {j?accilai-p4ajl forming that pen:l,nsu1a,
and outside it there stretch the l.ands of the Van!
crosswise, from the aide of Manir to that of Triquilem11.I
�rincomalei] , being sepuated also from. the country of
MantSta (MintlSffaa,.or �titth� in the jurisdictiou of
the Captain of Muir Ma� by the river Paragali;

1. See supra, P• 4i.r

which (lands) end in the liver of the Cross in the midst
of the lands of the van! and of others which stretch as
far a.a Triquilemal,, which according to the map appears
to be a large tract of country. These lands are divided
into Pitua and the first near the River of the Cross
is Tanamavaraddi �eimamara-��{l , a very fine countl"J',
but almost uninhabited because of war, and because it
was thenroute of our arrayals, the huabandmen who escaped
fro■ the war betaking themselves to the woods, leaving
verr few for cultivation. From thence to the side of
Manar is the Province of Mnliauali fi-m11ifaval,ai] , which
consist• of three pltua, Varcama, Va!adadi and M!lpatu.
This Province is the principal one of all the lands of
the Vant, and is fruitful, though badly peopled on
acc ount of war and because it is unhealthy. Next co·mea
Carnap:tu (Kar�val-pattl!l and the province called
Panagi.mo Wa1ia�k'JmamJ , the � of the Vani� who resided
there. It c onsists of the Patu of Urugare and of Valavi
which border on the lands of Mantota, and along the coast
of theA aea or gulf of Ceylon there are the villages of
Parangal.1, Uerauil Punari, and others of leseer importance. 1
This evidence of the Portuguese writer is Cenerally corroborated
by the Sinhalese and Tamil works. Fro■ the references in the
NPp�a-vaipava-malai and the Vai;y'lpi'.�� it is clear that the
kings of Jaffna duectly ruled over the peninsula of Jaffna and
the adjoining islands. The Tillages that were assigned, according
to the Y'llpp)4.a-vaipava-dla1, to the nobles from South India
by K'Ula�kai