The Sinhalese Too Migrated to Sri Lanka from India: Part 4 – Tamil Brides from Madurai

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Vijaya’s ministers were quite intrepid in founding their own villages around Tambapanni. After they had founded settlements, the ministers spoke to prince Vijaya.

“Sire, please consent to be consecrated as the ruler of this land,” they said.

In spite of their request, the prince refused the consecration for want of a maiden hailing from a noble house to be consecrated as his consort at the same time.

The ministers, sent emissaries entrusted with many precious gifts, jewels, pearls, and other valuables, to the city of “Then Madurai” (the modern-day city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu), in the Pandya kingdom of the Tamils in southern India, to woo the daughter of the Pandya king for their lord, and the daughters of others for his ministers and retainers whose wives got separated from them during their voyage from the Lála country.

Since then, there are several recorded instances of intermarriage between ruling families of Sri Lanka and the major royal South Indian Dynasties, in particular, the Pandya, Chola, and the Chera.

The messengers from Tambapanni, on reaching Then Madurai laid the gifts and letter of request before the Pandya king. After consulting his ministers, the king agreed to send his daughter to the island of Tambapanni to become the consort of Vijaya. So, he proclaimed with the beat of drums:

Those citizens who are willing to let their daughter depart to the island of Tambapanni shall provide their daughters with a double store of clothing and place them at the doors of their houses. By this sign we will know that we may take their daughters to ourselves.”

The Pandya king thus obtained a hundred maidens. After compensating the families of the maidens, he sent his daughter, bedecked with all her ornaments and all that was needful for the voyage, the maidens whom he had fitted out according to their rank, elephants, horses, waggons, an so forth as dowry. He also sent craftsmen and a thousand families belonging to the eighteen trade guilds.

This multitude from Then Madurai disembarked at the port of Mahatittha (Mantota or Manthotam).

When Vijaya heard that the princess from the Pandya kingdom had arrived at the port of Mahatittha with her retinue he said to Kuveni: “Go thou now, dear one, leaving the two children behind; men are ever in fear of superhuman beings.”

When Kuveni heard this, seized with mortal fear of the yakshas she started wailing.

Vijaya then told her, “Delay not! I will give you a thousand (pieces of money).”

Kuveni leaving Tambapanni with her son Jivahata and daughter Disala
Kuveni leaving Tambapanni with her son Jivahata and daughter Disala (A still from the film ‘Wijaya Kuveni’ produced by Sugath Samarakoon).

Kuveni implored again and again, but Vijaya did not relent. Outraged, Kuveni scorned Vijaya with words of wrath and cursed him and his city of Tambapanni. She then departed from the city with her son Jivahata and daughter Disala, for Lankapura, the capital of the yakshas, knowing very well that evil would befall her.

Kuveni being attacked
Kuveni being attacked (A still from the film ‘Wijaya Kuveni’ produced by Sugath Samarakoon).

On reaching Lankapura, she left the children outside the city in the forest glades and went alone into the city. The yakshas in the city on recognizing her took her for a spy, and a violent yaksha killed Kuveni with a single blow of his fist.

yaksha, an uncle of Kuveni on her mother’s side, saw the children waiting in the glades for the return of their mother. On learning that they were Kuveni’s children, he said: “Your mother has been slain, and if the other yakshas see you they will kill you also. So, go away immediately from here!”

Sripada also known as Adam's Peak
Sumanakuta (modern Sripada / Adam’s Peak in the Ratnapura District)

They children trekked towards Sumanaküta (Adam’s Peak in the Ratnapura District). When they grew up Jivahata took his sister Disala for his wife. Their offsprings are the Veddhas of Sri Lanka.

The envoys of the Pandya king delivered their princess, the maidens, and the dowry to Vijaya. The prince offered his hospitality and bestowed honours on the envoys of the Pandya king. He distributed the maidens to his ministers and retainers according to their rank.

Prince Vijaya marries Pandya princess
Vijaya marries the Pandya princess(A still from the film ‘Wijaya Kuveni’ produced by Sugath Samarakoon).

The ministers solemnly consecrated Vijaya as their king and the Pandya princess as their queen. King Vijaya bestowed wealth on his ministers. Every year he sent a valuable pearl to his father-in-law, the Pandya king.

Vijaya forsook his former evil way of life. He reigned Tambapanni for thirty-eight years from 543 BC – 505 BC, in peace and righteousness.


← Previous: Part 3 – Kuveni                                     → Next: Part 5 – Panduvāsudeva




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12 thoughts on “The Sinhalese Too Migrated to Sri Lanka from India: Part 4 – Tamil Brides from Madurai”

  1. Some people say that the veddhas are the original inhabitant, but they don’t read history properly. The ancestors of Veddhas are Jivahaththa and Disala and they were aryan as their father was Vijaya. So how come they are the original inhabitants. The yakkas tried to kill them as they were aryans and in Sri Lanka the orgin is claimed by the father. Pandukabhya was the first Sinhalese king of Sri Lanka with an aryan mother, he was of yakka origin, which was inherited by his father Chittaraja. My point made is true because he’s known to end the conflict between the local and sinha clan and it makes sense as he’s a hela from his father’s side and aryan on his mother’s. Every great king is linked to each other for example The Great Warrior King Dutugemunu is a descendant of Pandukabhya and is a Sinhalese of Hela Yakka origin. if you go down the family line its Chittaraja, Pandukabhya, Mutasiva, Mahanaga, Yatala Tissa, Gotabhaya, Kavan Tissa and Dutugemunu and his descendants and his brother’s. Every Sinhalese King is native to the Island.

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    1. If anyone is reading this article past 2020, it has now been found that the Sinhalese islanders stem from the Australoid race from prehistoric African migrations. They are not Indo-Aryan people (Odisha/Bengali/Other Indian peoples) as previously thought. The information on old historical books (such as the Mahavamsa, etc) have been proven incorrect. This has also been backed by DNA evidence and is reflected in our difference in culture. The Sinhalese also share some Caucasian genes, mainly from Portuguese and British colonisation.

      When the original Australoid islanders arrived on the island ~125,000 years ago, they evolved with the tropical conditions. They later split up into 4 ‘tribes’: the Yakka/Yaka, Naga, Deva, and Rakku; With the Yakka people (who worshipped nature and mythical spirits) and Naga people (who grew to worship snakes) being the prominent ones that lasted. The Yakka islanders dominated, with their culture eventually spreading to the modern-day Sinhalese. The Veddhas were not a separate tribe, but is the name for the modern people who avoided the introduction of Buddhism and kept to the ways original islander ways.

      When King Vijaya was exiled, records only show that ~700 followers left with him. It is believed only around ~200 made it to Sri Lanka. His arrival influenced the original islander language into Sinhalese and also affected its writing style (the old Lankan islander writing is lost to history), but did not have as much of an effect as the Portuguese did on the Sinhalese language.

      Therefore, Sinhalese culture is an original culture established by the island’s original islanders whose only significant deviation was through colonisation.


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