ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41
Funday Times- Mahavamsa funday times logo

The coronation ceremony

By Halaliye Karunathilake
Edited and translated by Kamala Silva
Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

1. When the king ordered the army to stop the battle, all fighting stopped. The soldiers of Adimalaya were watching this in surprise. The king was kind to these soldiers. He said, "I know, you have been misled. If you wish you can join the royal army now." They agreed and joined the royal army. One thing great about this battle, is that it silenced whoever still remained loyal to the Cholas. They decided never to scheme against the king.

2. In Anuradhapura, all arrangements were finalized, for the king's coronation. By this time, the king was about 33 years old. It is said, that a new palace was built for this coronation ceremony. It was a simple building, that was put up, using all the building materials, found abandoned here and there. It shows how poor the country had been at this time. However, in 1071 AD, King Vijayabahu was crowned as the sole ruler and king of the entire country.

3. He had spent 18 years as 'Yuvaraja,' by this time and it was three years after the final defeat of the Cholas. This event was celebrated all over the country, as the 'Thun-helaya' – that is Pihiti, Maya and Ruhunu-Rata – the entire country, was free of foreign power after a long spell of time. The people honestly felt the difference. The temples that were ruined were rebuilt and a lot of religious work was attended to, by the king.

4. As the kings of yore did, King Vijayabahu began to patronize the Buddhist clergy. He treated all other religions equally well. The Hindu kovils, that were quite hostile to the Sinhala people were given donations by the king. He conferred the title of 'Yuvaraja' on his brother, Prince Veeraba. He was appointed as the ruler of the south.

5. His other brother, Jayaba, was given the post of 'Epa' and was made a provincial ruler. King Vijayabahu gave recognition to everybody who helped him, in this struggle of unifying the country. They were gifted with land and honorary titles were conferred on them. Then he selected Polonnaruwa, as his capital. It proved to be better protected than Anuradhapura and he wished to continue his rule from there.

6. Those who came from Ruhuna had to cross the Mahaweli River to reach Polonnaruwa. This made things difficult for internal enemies. It was difficult for the South Indian powers too, to come to Polonnaruwa. As the river was a natural barrier, even if an enemy were to come, the king had enough time to organize himself. He could stop the enemy at the bank of the river.

7. King Vijayabahu built a huge wall around the city of Polonnaruwa. He built hospitals, recreation halls and a 'Dalada Maligawa' too, in Polonnaruwa. The king introduced new rules and regulations to build a good society. He tried his best to eradicate poverty. The coastguard was also strengthened. Amidst all this there developed trouble. The brothers, Chattagahaka, Dhammagahanayake and Situnayake, fell out with the king.

8. They migrated to India. They organized armies there and came back to Sri Lanka. They went to Ruhunu-Rata and Malaya-Rata and rose up in revolt. They set fire to houses and began a campaign of looting.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.