Saturday, April 24, 2021

Sanskrit Inscriptions in Sri Lanka

A small number (20 or more) of Sanskrit inscriptions have been found in Sri Lanka (Dhammaratana, 2000). However, there is a significant number of inscriptions written in other languages (such as Sinhala and Tamil) with some portions of Sanskrit prose or verses. Devanagari, Pallava Grantha and Sinhala are the common scripts used in these inscriptions (Dhammaratana, 2000).

Scholars have dated these inscriptions to the period between the 5th-13th centuries A.D. (Dhammaratana, 2000). 

The list of Sanskrit inscriptions
This is an incomplete list prepared by "Lanka Pradeepa".
 
No. Inscription Remarks References
1 Kuchchaveli inscription
(Trincomalee District)
The script is unique (similar to early-Grantha script)
5-8th century A.D.
Paranavitana, 1933;
Dhammaratana, 2000
2 Trikayastava inscription
(Anuradhapura District)
Pallava Grantha script
7-8th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
3/4 Tiriyaya inscriptions
(Trincomalee District)
Pallava Grantha script
7-8th century A.D.
Paranavitana, 1934;
Dhammaratana, 2000
5 Jetavanarama gold plates
(Anuradhapura District)
Sinhala script of the Pallava Grantha type
9th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
6 Indikatuseya copper plaques
(Anuradhapura District)
Sinhala script
8-9th century A.D.
Paranavitana, 1933;
Dhammaratana, 2000
7 A verse from Sigiri graffiti
(Matale District)
Pallava Grantha script
8-10th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
8 Jetavanarama slab inscription
(Anuradhapura District)
A variety of Magadha Nagari script
9th century A.D.
Wickremasinghe, 1912;
Dhammaratana, 2000
9 Anuradhapura copper plaques
(Anuradhapura District)
Devanagari script
9th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
10 Indikatuseya gold sheet
(Anuradhapura District)
Sinhala and Devanagari scripts
9th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000;
11 Rajagirilenakanda inscription
(Anuradhapura District)
Devanagari script
9th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
12 Vijayarama copper plaques
(Anuradhapura District)
Sinhala script
9th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
13 Abhayagiri Dharanis
(Anuradhapura District)
North-eastern Nagari, Sinhala scripts
9-10th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
14 Pabalu Vehera copper plaques
(Polonnaruwa District)
Sinhala script
9-10th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
15 Jetavanarama copper plaques
(Anuradhapura District)
Devanagari script
10th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000;
Paranavitana, 1933
16 Kapararama slab inscription
(Anuradhapura District)
Grantha and Sinhala scripts
10th century A.D.
Ranawella, 2004;
Dhammaratana, 2000
17 Trincomalee fragmentary inscription
(Anuradhapura District)
Pallava Grantha
12th century A.D.
Dhammaratana, 2000
18 Anaulundava slab inscription
(Polonnaruwa District)
Sinhala script
12-13th century A.D.
Wickremasinghe, 1928;
Dhammaratana, 2000
19 Padaviya rock inscription
(Trincomalee District)
Pallava Grantha script
13th century A.D.
Pathmanathan, 1975;
Dhammaratana, 2000
20 Diyagampala inscription
(Gampaha District)
??
??
??

References
1) Dhammaratana, I., 2000. Sanskrit Inscriptions in Sri Lanka: A thesis submitted to the University of Pune in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Sanskrit. Department of Sanskrit & Prakrit Languages, University of Pune, India. pp.172-445,510,519.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) A note on the Abhayagiri copper plate inscription. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. III. Printed at the Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) for the Archeological Department. pp.158-161,169-171,199-212.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1934. (Edited and translated by Codrington, H.W.; Paranavitana, S.) Tiriyay rock-inscription. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. IV. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. pp.151-160. 
4) Pathmanathan, S., 1975. The Velaikkara inscription at Padaviya. சுவாமி ஞானப்பிரகாசர் நூற்றாண்டு மலர். pp.25-29,80-81.
5) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon: Containing pillar inscriptions and slab inscriptions from 924 AD to 1017. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. pp.286-287.
6) Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon: Vol. I. London. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. pp.1-9,39-40.
7) Wickremasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol, II. Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford. pp.235-237.

This page was last updated on 8 May 2021
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