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The March to Anuradhapura

Homage to the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Highest Self—Enlightened One!

Sunday Times


This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa’, the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history.

King Dutugemunu. Click on the image to download a larger version.

Warrior Nandimitra, who crushed the huge wall of the fortress at Vijithapura, looked at Suranimala with pride. He nodded, looked at the other warriors and smiled. In a moment all the warriors jumped inside the fortress. They attacked the Tamil soldiers with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on. Velusumana, mounted his horse and rode into the city, as fast as lightening. The Tamil soldiers who surrounded him to attack him, were all crushed.

Meanwhile, the elephant Kandula took a cartwheel in his trunk and chased the enemy. The enemy did not want to give in. They too, fought bravely. They had very clever commanders manning the fortress at Vijithapura. So it took four long months for King Dutugemunu to win.

The battle ended. The Sinhala flag was hoisted in Vijithapura. The entire ground of the fortress was covered with blood. Dead bodies lay all over. But the king saw to it that they were given a proper burial. The Sinhala soldiers celebrated their victory. They feasted and rejoiced the whole day. The very next morning, they attacked the camps at Girinil. The commander there and his soldiers were killed.

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Their next target was the camp at the city named Manel. Here too, they had to face strong resistance. According to Thupavamsa, it took nearly four months to destroy these two camps. The Sinhala army celebrated their victory. The king rewarded all his warriors with gifts.

At the end of the feasting, an alms-giving was organized for five hundred monks. At the end of it, the king was blessed by the priests to face the last battle courageously. The king summoned all his warriors and the entire army and announced that they were proceeding to Anuradhapura the next day. The king got on to the elephant Kandula, and accompanied by his army, set forth to Anuradhapura. They went as far as Ellinallankanda and rested there.

After marching a great distance, the next day, the king and his army camped near place called Kasagalugalpakada, close to Anuradhapura. There they built a tank, which was named Posonnane. The king and his army camped here for quite some time. The king had a water festival here. The village found there was called ’Pajjotha’.

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By this time, King Elara had heard about the power of King Dutugemunu. When he got to know the king had come close to Anuradhapura, he summoned all his ministers and the army. After an important discussion, the king told them it was a crucial moment and they had to act with caution.

King Elara’s warrior Dighajanthu was not scared of the strength of the Sinhala forces. He commented that as long as they had ministers who act wisely, there was nothing to worry. The others too, agreed and said that Dutugemunu’s soldiers would in no way compare with their strength. They got ready to face the Sinhala army.

May all be happy and well!


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