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Dambadeniya Temple

  Province North Western
  District Kurunagala
  Nearest Town Giriulla
  Period 1232–1236 A.D.
  Ruler King Vijayabahu III


It is believed that the Dambadeniya period was the 'Golden Era' of Sinhalese Literatu. King Vijayabahu III is the first king of Dambadeniya kingdom. Native Sinhalese began to move to the south or Maya rata because of the hard Tamil ruler Kalinga Magha as mentioned in Polonnaruwa kingdom. While he was the king of Polonnaruwa, king Vijayabahu III (a descendant of king Sirisangabo) became the king of Dambadeniya.

He conveyed tooth relic and Lord Buddha's alms bowl to Dambadeniya from its hiding place Kotmale. His reign was largely spent reconstructing the shattered Buddhist infrastructure of the Sinhalese.


Dambadeniya, about 30 km south-west of Kurunegala, became prominent in the mid-13th century. It was selected as the capital of the kingdom of Sri Lanka by King Vijayabahu III (1232–36). The sovereignty of the country was at stake as a result of invasions, which dislodged Polonnaruwa as the capital. Vijayabahu, the king of the Dambadeniya dynasty, fought the invaders and established Dambadeniya. On the summit of the Dambadeniya rock he built fortifications and sturdy walls and gates. The city was made secure by a moat, a marsh and ramparts around the royal palace. During the reign of King Parakramabahu (1236–70), Dambadeniya reached the zenith of its glory.


Little remains of the palace buildings. Excavations have uncovered remains of the temple of the Relic of the tooth of the Buddhaand the Royal Palace, ponds and garden layouts, moats, and city walls. The two storey temple of the Tooth Relic has Buddha images, and is identified as the Vijayasundaramaya. It has some interesting wall paintings dating from the 18th century, when it was restored 1236 to 1284 – Lanka Dambadeniya Period - Massa Coins The Sinhala king Vijayabahu III (1232-1236), who had attained the sovereignty well on in life, made his capital at Dambadeniya in Kurunegala District, and calling back the priests from India conveyed the Tooth and Bowl Relics from their hiding place in Kotmale to the seat of government. He only reigned four years, and before his death committed to the care of the priesthood his sons, ParakramaBahu and BhuvanaikaBahu, both of whom were children.

Pandita ParakramaBahu II (1236-1271), was born at Sirivardhanapura not far from Dambadeniya. His first act after his coronation was to bring the Tooth Relic and lodge it at the capital. He then turned his attention to the recovery of Polonnaruva from the Pandaya, and achieved this purpose by 1244. The rest of the reign according to the contemporary records was spent in pious works ; the king also held a convocation for the purpose of reforming the priesthood, whose discipline had been relaxed during the Pandaya occupation. After reigning thirty-three years he abdicated in favor of his eldest son VijayaBahu. The new king occupied himself in works of piety, and in completing the restoration of Polonnaruva. Having attended to restorations at Anuradhapura, VijayaBahu sent for his father to Polonnaruwa, where he was crowned a second time. The Tooth Relic having been brought, Parakrama held his ninth ordination festival at Dahastota, and then returned to Dambadeniya, where he died in his thirty-fifth year. VijayaBahu IV (1271-1273) now was sole king, but was assassinated, by his general Mitta, who seated himself on the lion throne. His younger brother, BhuvanaikaBahu succeeded in escaping; the usurper failing to secure allegiance of the south Indian mercenaries, who had been won over by the true heir, was murdered, and the BhuvanaikaBahu I (1273-1284) crowned and reigned eleven years. Early in his reign he had to deal with a Pandyan invasion, which he repelled ; thereafter he lived for a few years at Dambadeniya, and then removed to Yapahu. A Dhamila general Ariyacakkavattin laid waste Lanka and the sacred Tooth Relic and all the costly treasures he seized and made over to Pandu king Kulasekhara (1268-1308). BhuvanaikaBahu's son ParakramaBahu III (1302-1310) seeing no other means visited the Pandu King and by friendly negotiations, inclined him favourably and brought back the Tooth Relic to Lanka.

Mitchiner #845-847 King Vijayabahu IV - Sri vi ja ya ba hu

Mitchiner #848-849 King Bhuvanaikabahu I - Sri bhu va ni ka ba hu