Allai Copper Plate Grant

Neelapola Vihara Copper Plate Grant, also known as Allai Copper Plate Grant (Sinhala: අල්ලෙයි නීලපොල විහාරය තඹ සන්නස), is a copper-plate charter discovered at Neelapola Raja Maha Viharaya near Allai in Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka. This artefact is considered the second oldest copper-plate charter so far discovered in the country (Fernando, 1978).

The plates were discovered in or about 1963 by a resident in the village of Allai near Seruwila while digging the earth near the remains of some ancient buildings (Fernando, 1978). They were brought to the notice of P.E.E. Fernando in July 1968 by a Buddhist monk named Matale Sumana Thera of Neelapola Raja Maha Viharaya (Fernando, 1978).

The copper plates
The charter is inscribed on five copper plates measuring 8.5 inches in length and 3 inches in width (Ranawella, 2007). The obverse of the first plate is inscribed with the figures of the moon (on the left side) and the sun (on the right side) and its inner side is left blank (Fernando, 1978; Ranawella, 2007). The rest of the plates have writing on both sides while the figures of a man, a dog, and a crow are found inscribed on the reverse side of the last plate (Fernando, 1978; Ranawella, 2007). In the center of the left-hand margin of each plate is a hole used to bind the plates together using a wire.

There are 7 lines of writing on the first written plate while 6 lines on the last one (Ranawella, 2007). All other plates contain 8 lines of writing (Ranawella, 2007). The preamble of this inscription is similar to that of the Pateyala slab inscription of Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) and the Devanagala Rock Inscription of Parakramabahu I [(1153-1186 A.D.) Ranawella, 2007].

The inscription records a grant of one Yala of land by King Nissankamalla (1086-1197 A.D.) pronounced in the Council of Ministers (Fernando, 1978; Ranawella, 2007). The grant had been made to a chieftain named Nisyamkha Lamkesvara Rak of Helavana who had successfully completed a diplomatic mission to the Kalinga country and another country named Panduruva [(probably Pandya country, India) Fernando, 1978; Ranawella, 2007]. This information is not found in local chronicles and therefore it is considered as an important fact for digging out the history of the Polonnaruwa Period (Ranawella, 2007).

Period: 12th century A.D.                         Reign: King Nissankamalla             Language & Script: Medieval Sinhala
Number of plates: 5 copper plates        Length & width: 8.5 X 3 inches       Weight: 5.512 lbs
Discovered: in or about 1963, from the village of Allai near Seruwila

See also

1) Fernando, P.E.E., 1978. Allai Copper Plate Charter of King Nissankamalla. pp.73-91.
2) Ranawella, S., 2007. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume VI. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-61-2. pp.149-154.

This page was last updated on 29 January 2023
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