The Story of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan History
Image: Stamp Wench

A beautiful land full of mysteries… A King with lion paws… The history of Sri Lanka is filled with secrets making it a perfect place to explore. Once you start to dig into the history of this magnificent island, no doubt, you will be wrapped up with fascination.

The era before the arrival of Prince Vijaya (the 1st King of Sri Lanka) was not well recorded. So there is not much known of the previous native rulers of Sri Lanka. It is believed that four main clans lived in Sri Lanka before King Vijaya’s period – they are Yaksha, Naga, Deva and Raksha. It is believed that these names indicate their professions. Yaksha people were believed to live in the mountains where they molded iron; Raksha people were said to be farmers who used the steel products of the Yaksha people in their farming work; the Naga people were believed to be traders while Deva people were the rulers and most respected.

Out of all the fascinating stories connected to the history of Sri Lanka, the stories of King Ravana and the story of King Vijaya tops them all. This is the story of King Vijaya, the 1st King of Sri Lanka…

Long ago in the land of Vanga in India, the King had a beautiful daughter who was later kidnapped by a Lion and kept in a cave which he blocked with a huge rock. Years went by and she gave birth to twins, a son Sinhabahu, who had hands that resembled the paws of a lion, and a daughter, Sinhasivali. As they grew older, having known the sad fate of his mother, Sinhabahu pushed away the rock and escaped with his mother and sister to their grandfather. When the Lion returned, he was outraged to find his family missing. The heartbroken lion king had then started attacking villages. Sinhabahu was sent to stop the Lion and he accidentally pierced his own father’s heart with a bow, killing him.

The King of Lala country built a city for Sinhabahu, named it Sinhapura and crowned him King of the city. Years later, Sinhabahu married and had a son named Vijaya. Prince Vijaya kept company with unsuitable group of friends. People often complained to Sinhabahu about his son’s behaviour and Sinhabahu no choice but to banish Prince Vijaya from Sinhapura. The Prince and seven hundred of his friends were given a ship and asked to leave. After sailing for several days, they landed in Lanka.

When prince Vijaya arrived in Thambapanni, he saw the Yakka princess Kuveni whom he fell in love with (or used for his advantage). The marriage of Vijaya and Kuveni took place immediately, and Kuveni helped Vijaya to kill the Yakka leaders who were ruling the country at that time. Soon Vijaya with the help of his seven hundred friends defeated the Yakka leaders and became the King. King Vijaya and Queen Kuveni had two children, Jeevahaththa and Disala. Later King Vijaya wanted to marry an Indian princess and he drove Kuveni and the two children away to the jungle. Kuveni and the two children lived there helplessly. Jeevahaththa and Disala were believed to be the first Veddha couple in Ceylon.

Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is the perfect place to find out more about the colourful history of Sri Lanka… Stay at one of our hotels in Dambulla to visits ancient sites and ruins of a magnificent bygone era.