King Parakramabahu II of Dambadeniya

Coins of Parakramabahu II
Parakramabahu II (Sinhala: දෙවන පරාක්‍රමබාහු රජ; Tamil: இரண்டாம் பராக்கிரமபாகு) was the King of Dambadeniya Kingdom, Sri Lanka from 1236 A.D. to 1270 A.D. He ruled the country from the capital at Dambadeniya until he was succeeded by his son Vijayabahu IV (Ray, 1960). He is known for his magniloquent title of Kalikala-sahitya-sarvajna-panditha which means the Doctor omniscient in the Literature of the Kali age (Ray, 1960).

The king of Dambadeniya
Parakramabahu II succeeded to the throne after the death of his father Vijayabahu III [(1232-1236 A.D.) Ray, 1960]. He appointed his younger brother Bhuvanekabahu who had taken up his abode at Kurunegala as the Yuvaraja [(or Mapa) Ray, 1960]. As found in a document dealing with Aluthnuwara Devalaya, Sunetradevi of the Girivamsa was the queen of Parakramabahu II (Ray, 1960). He had two sons; Prince Vijayabahu and Prince Buvanekabahu (Ranawella, 2014; Ray, 1960).
Chandrabanu's arrival
In the eleventh regnal year of Parakramabahu II or in 1247, a Javaka called Chandrabanu with his followers tried to invade the country but it became fruitless when the king sent his nephew named Virabahu with troops to meet the invaders (Ray, 1960). Virabahu, after hard fighting, repulsed Javakas but the place where the final battle occurred is not mentioned in chronicles. According to Sri Lankan chronicles such as Elu-attanagalu-vamsa and Dambadeni Asna, Javakas were Buddhists and had come from a region called Tambalinga [(Tambralinga: an ancient kingdom spanned across Thailand, Malaysia and Sumatra) Ray, 1960]. As per details in the Jinakalamalini, a religious history of Siam (Thailand), it has been suggested that Chandrabanu's arrival in Sri Lanka probably occurred due to his desire to possess of the religious object, Sihalapatima (Ray, 1960).
Minister Deva Pathiraja
In 1258 or his twenty-second regnal year, Parakramabahu II was affected with an incurable disease that made him stammer in his speech (Ray, 1960). Therefore, the king entrusted his works first to his minister named Deva Pathiraja and in 1262 he placed his elder son Prince Vijayabahu in charge of the administration (Ray, 1960).
Chandrabanu's second attack
Although Chandrabanu was repulsed by Virabahu in 1247, he was ruling a large area of north of Sri Lanka by 1262 as evidenced by South Indian inscriptions and some literary sources (Ray, 1960). After his kingdom of Tambalinga was annexed by neighbouring Sukhodaya Kingdom (Thailand), Chandrabanu may have chosen Sri Lanka as his new territory. He challenged Vijayabahu, the son of Parakramabahu II, when that prince and his cousin Virabahu were at Yapahuwa.

The two princes attacked Chandrabanu, defeated him in battle and his treasures including his royal insignia, elephants, horses, and women were sent to the king at Dambadeniya (Ray, 1960). The chronicles Pujavaliya and Elu-attanagalu-vamsa indicate that Chandrabanu lost his life during this battle (Ray, 1960). However, the South Indian king, Jatavarman Vira Pandya (1253-1275 A.D.), in his inscription dated in 1263 claims to have taken Ilam (Sri Lanka) and the crown of the Javaka (Chandrabanu), together with his crowned head (Ray, 1960). Therefore, it is suggested that both Sinhalese and South Indian Pandyas attacked Chandrabanu at the same time as allies and defeated him (Ray, 1960).

Parakramabahu II died in his thirty-fifth regnal year and his son Vijayabahau ascended the throne as Vijayabahu IV in about 1270 (Ray, 1960).

Services & monuments
As mentioned in chronicles, King Parakramabahu II has contributed to the development of the Buddhist order and monasteries in the country as follows; 

1) Attanagalla Viharaya: Parakramabahu II repaired the Vatadage and built an octagonal image house and a Cetiya over the spot where his father, King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236 A.D.) had been cremated (Nicholas, 1963).
2) Devinuwara Devalaya: Parakramabahu II visited the temple, worshipped God, and erected the Nandana Pasada. Later, he restored the whole temple and celebrated an Asahi festival every year for the god (Nicholas, 1963).
3) Dimbulagala Viharaya: In the reign of Parakramabahu II, a Maha Thera of Dimbulagala Viharaya assisted the king to restore order in the Sangha (Nicholas, 1963).
4) Galapatha Viharaya: The king celebrated a festival for the Tooth Relic of Mahathera Mahakassapa which was enshrined at Galapatha Viharaya (Nicholas, 1963).
5) Hatthigiripura: Parakramabahu II built a Viharaya (Nicholas, 1963).
6) Kelani Viharaya: The king restored the 5-storeyed Pasada and the temples of the Recumbent and Tivanka Images, paved the courtyard of the Stupa with stone slabs and erected in front of the Stupa a large Mandapa (Nicholas, 1963).
7) Sri Pada: The king visited the Peak and granted to it the land for 20 Gavutas around it. He improved the roads, repaired bridges and causeways, rebuilt the parapet wall on the summit, constructed a Mandapa over the footprint (Nicholas, 1963).
8) Vijayasundararama Viharaya: Parakramabahu II embellished the temple built by King Vijayabahu III (Nicholas, 1963).
Four inscriptions belonging to the reign of King Parakramabahu II have been found from several places in the island (Ranawella, 2014).
1) Devundara slab inscription (from Matara District)
Set up in front of the Devinuwara Devalaya, the purpose of engraving this inscription was to register certain regulations designed to maintain the religious endowments at Devinuwara, to prevent the degradation of customs dues at the seaport by unscrupulous traders who were in the habit of bribing the king's officers, to ensure the civil liberties of the people, to protect the holy places, and to maintain religious buildings and observances (Ranawella, 2014).
2) Yapahuwa rock inscription (from Kurunegala District)
Dated in the 29th regnal year of Parakramabahu II, this inscription has been set up by his two sons Vijayabahu and Buvanekabahu (Ranawella, 2014). The purpose of the record was to grant certain paddy lands by two princes to a monastery named Kanne Yahapavuva which had been built by a gentleman named Nosama Velanna (Ranawella, 2014).
3) Anuradhapura pillar inscription (from Anuradhapura District)
This inscription records a grant of land named Kavudawatta to a Pirivena constructed by the heir-apparent (Mapa) Bhuvanekabahu, son of Vijayabahu III or the younger brother of Parakramabahu II (Ranawella, 2014)
4) Galapatha Vihara Rock Inscription (from Galle District)
This inscription is dated in the 30th regnal year of Parakramabahu II (Ranawella, 2014).

1) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). pp.41,70,73,105,120.
2) Ranawella, S., 2014. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. VII. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-9159-62-9. pp.1-15.
3) Ray, H.C. (Editor in chief), 1960. History of Ceylon: Vol. I: Part II. Ceylon University Press. Colombo. pp.616-629.

This page was last updated on 28 June 2022
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