OB03126 Saṁgamu Vihāra
IN03153 Saṁgamu Vihāra Rock Inscription
The inscription is cut into the rock near the ancient Buddhist monastery situated on the low, rocky hill by the Meddeketiya tank at Saṁgamuva, a village about two miles to the north-east of Gokarälla, in the Häḍahaya Kōraḷē of the Kuruṇǟgala District. A series of over one hundred steps, cut into the bare side of the rock, lead up the side of the hill to a plateau, upon which stand the ruins of an old stupa and other monastic buildings. The inscription is engraved at the top of the steps, to the left as one ascends the hill. It was copied for the first time by Senarath Paranavitana in 1931 (see Archaeological Survey of Ceylon Annual Report for 1930–31, p. 5). The text is written in Sinhalese, apart from the last four lines, which consist of a Sanskrit verse in the Vasantatilakā metre, though nearly half of this verse is no longer legible.
The inscription is of exceptional historical importance, since it records an alliance between two princes called Gajabāhu and Parākramabāhu, who can be identified as Gajabāhu II (r. 1131–1153) and the future Parākramabāhu I (r. 1153–1186). The Mahāvaṁsa records how Parākramabāhu, after consolidating his position in the principality of the Dakkhiṇadesa to which he succeeded on the death of his uncle Kittisirimegha, undertook a campaign against his cousin Gajabāhu II with the object of making himself ruler of the island of Sri Lanka. Eventually, the two princes came to a peace settlement, as recorded in the present inscription. The two princes speak in the first person in this inscription. After introducing themselves by name, they come to the matter of the agreement. The first clause states that they will not wage war against each other for the rest of their lives. Although now partly damaged, the second clause seems to declare that, whichever prince dies first, his possessions will pass to the surviving prince. Since Gajabāhu was by some margin the older of the two, this clause essentially amounts to him bequeathing his kingdom to Parākramabāhu. The third clause is now almost completely illegible. By the fourth and final clause of the treaty, the two princes enter into an offensive and defensive alliance, declaring that any king who is an enemy of one of them, is an enemy of both. Paranavitana interpreted this clause as being directed against Mānābharaṇa, the ruler of Rohaṇa, who also had designs on Gajabāhu’s throne. The agreement concludes with imprecations against both princes if they act contrary to its terms. It is not clear why this record was engraved at the Saṁgamu Vihāra. Although it was within the territories under Parākramabāhu’s rule, there is nothing to prove that the place was close to his residence, even temporarily. Paranavitana posited that the treaty may have been brokered by a monk who resided at the vihara but this is only conjecture.
OB03075 Dim̆bulā-gala Cave 2
Dimbulagala Hills, Sri Lanka
IN03095 Dim̆bulā-gala Mārā-vīdye Rock Inscription
The inscription is engraved on a smooth raised panel on the roof of a cave in the scarp near the summit of the north-westerly side of Dim̆bulā-gala (referred to in the text as Dum̆bulā-gala), a range of hills about ten miles to the south-east of Poḷonnaruva or sixty miles from Anurādhapura in the same direction. The Archaeological Commissioner, H. C. P. Bell, recorded the inscription during his exploration of the locality in September 1897. The text seems to be complete but its unusual ending raises the possibility that it is in fact continued on other nearby panels. Consisting of seven lines, the inscription records that Sundara-mahādevī, the chief queen of Vikrama-Bāhu I and the mother of Gaja-Bāhu II, caused the construction of a road at Dum̆bulā-gala between Sanda-maha-leṇa (the great Moon-cave) and Hiru-maha-leṇa (the great Sun-cave); that she had it paved with stone and had also cave temples built with statues, dāgabas, and sacred bodhi trees; and that she further testifies to a certain benefaction which she had made to Demaḷǟ-pähä.
The text gives the date of this benefaction as the twenty-seventh year after the coronation of Jaya-Bāhu I. However, as Wickremasinghe points out, Jaya-Bāhu I’s reign is believed to have lasted considerably less than twenty-seven years: he ascended to the throne in 1110 and was deposed the following year by his nephew Vikkrama-Bāhu I. The latter reigned for a number of years before being succeeded in 1132 by his son Gaja-Bāhu II, who in turn ruled until 1153. By this chronology, the twenty-seventh year after Jaya-Bāhu’s coronation would have been around 1137, when his great-nephew Gaja-Bāhu II was on the throne. Wickremasinghe therefore dates the present inscription to Gaja-Bāhu II’s reign. Assuming this interpretation is correct, it is highly curious that the inscription’s date should be given from the coronation of a deposed (and by this point deceased) king.