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Kingdoms In Sri Lanka

 Kingdom of Anuradhapura

The Kingdom of Anuradhapura is the first kingdom established in Sri Lanka among the Sinhalese people. His reign began with King Pandukabhaya and the kingdom flourished from 377 BC to 1017 AD. One of the important events of the Kingdom of Anuradhapura is the introduction of Buddhism. This was made possible by the strong union between King Asoka of India and King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka.

Let's look at the remarkable successors of that era. Some of these rulers are also of South Indian origin.

King Pandukabhaya

Founder and ruler of Upatissa Nuwara from 437 to 367 BC and the first monarch of Anuradhapura. He had two sons, Mutasiva and Suratissa. King Mutasiva reigned for more than sixty years (367-307 BC) and built Mahamevnawa Park. Mutasa had 09 sons; among the well-known successors are Devanampiyatissa, Uttiya, Mahadeva, and Asela.

King Devanampiyatissa

The son of Mutasiva, Devanampiyatissa ruled from 307 to 267 BC. An important monarch like Buddhism was introduced during his reign. After his reign, King Uttiya was in power for a short period from 267 to 257 BC. His brother and King Mahasiva succeeded him from 257 to 247 BC.

It was only after Mahasiva's reign that King Pandukabhaya's youngest son, Suratissa, ruled from 247 to 237 BC. However, his reign was short-lived. Two merchants from southern India, Sena, and Guttika killed King Suratissa and ruled the kingdom for 22 years. After their reign, another son of King Mutasiva, Asela, came to power from 215 to 205 BC but was killed in action by a member of the Tamil Chola dynasty named "Elladan".


Having gained supremacy over the Pandukabhaya dynasty, Ellalan ruled Anuradhapura for more than 44 years. During his reign from 205-161 BC, he was known to be a wise ruler until he was defeated and exiled by King Dutugamunu in 161 BC.

King Dutugamunu

Perhaps among the kingdom's favorite rulers, Dutugamunu was also known as Duttagamani Abhaya. An important ruler of the time, Anuradhapura, prospered during his reign (161-137 BC) and the kingdom expanded widely. The Dutugamunu was the best known and was accompanied by ten giant warriors or Dasa Maha Yodhayo. His well-known works include Mirisavetiya, Lovamahapaya, and 90-meter-high Ruvanwelisaya. His contribution to the kingdom is now one of the visiting itineraries of the sacred city of Anuradhapura.

Following his reign, the throne did not go to his son because he was married to a lower cast. His successor was his brother, King Saddha Tissa. Having reigned from 137 to 119 BC. His successors included his sons, Thulatthana, Lanja Tissa, Khallata Naga, and Valagamba.

King Valagamba

After leading the Pacific kingdom for only five months, before being driven out by the invaders of southern India in 103 BC, King Valagamba was in exile for 14 years, hidden in the caves of Dambulla. After a long exile, Valagamba defeated the invaders and took over the throne in 89 BC. In recognition, he converted his house of exile into a temple and also built the Abhayagiri Dagoba in Anuradhapura.

After the time of Valagamba, many members of his family ruled the kingdom of Anuradhapura from 76 BC to 66 AD. King Subharaja was the last known king of the house of Vijaya.

During this period, however, it is important to talk about the very first queen in power from 47 to 42 BC. Queen Anula was also the first female head of state in Asia. Having been in power for five years, history says she poisoned at least four husbands and consorts during her time to stay in power.

The Kingdom of Anuradhapura after Vijaya

Vijaya's house ended in 66 AD with the murder of King Subharaja by King Vasamba, and a new era began. During his reign, Vasamba built 11 reservoirs and 12 canals to support rice cultivation in the country, from 67 to 111 AD. After his reign, his son, grandson, King Gajabahu I, and many others continued to rule the kingdom of Anuradhapura.

Here are some other interesting facts about the kingdom of Anuradhapura.

King Mahasen (277-304 AD) built the tallest Jethavanaramaya stupa, sixteen large reservoirs, and two irrigation canals, the largest of which is the Minneriya Reservoir.

King Dhatusena (455-473 AD), another great successor who was responsible for many developments in the kingdom. He built 18 irrigation reservoirs, a large canal where Yodha Ela (Jayahanga), and the iconic 43-foot statue "Avukana" of Lord Buddha.

The Anuradhapura era ended with King Mahinda V (98-1017 AD). The kingdom was the beginning of Buddhism and saw the beginning and increase of the number of temples, dagobas, and stupas and steered the development of the country towards rice with reservoirs and canals.

To this day, the beauty of Anuradhapura continues to amaze and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.