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 Post subject: Land grants to nobility by King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 2:30 am 
Land grants to Kandyan nobility by King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha

by Deepthi Anura Jayatunge
The Island

Dr. (Mrs.) Lorna Devaraja PhD, has published several research papers on the above subject. Further we have been able to trace wall paintings of several of these nobles who received large land grants at Talawa temple in Marassana.

First is a palm leaf copy of Galagoda Sannasa of 1750 found in the British Museum. The extract of the second is published in the "Uve Seettu" and dated 1765. The third is a copper plate sannasa found at the Edinburgh museum dated 1772.

Galagoda Dissawa - recipient of second and third Sannasa - Thalawa Temple Marassana
The first sannasa identifies the family tree of Galagoda stating that the Galagoda Adikaram was the grand son of Munwatte Bandara. He was the playmate of King’s father Narendrasinghe (1706- 1739). This sannasa shows that he was much respected by the king as he had mentioned Munwatte Bandara’s name in this royal document. Recipient of this sannasa is Galagoda Wijewardana Nawarathna Vahala Mudiyanse, who become the Maha Adigar in 1760. He was made the Adigar when he saved the King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha from being assassinated. This plot was to make the king fall in to a falls pit fitted with spikes when he came to the Malwatte Viharaya. They have also had invited a Siam prince to come to Sri Lanka to become the next king.

Munwatte Bandara was a poet. He wrote a book called "Sangarajawatha" in 1779 giving a detailed description of the life of Weliwita Sangaraja and his students.

The reason for the first land grant was to please the powerful Kandyan nobles as the new king was of Indian origin, brother of the queen who had come from Madurai India. King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha ruled for 34 years and was powerful enough to wage war with the Dutch destroying their forts located in south. He has also built large number of temples, and brought priest, Siam Upali to Ceylon. This seems to be the golden era of the Kandyan kingdom.

The second was given to Galagoda Rajakaruna Panditha Vahala Mudaliya who was one of the brothers of Galagoda Adikaram. This sannasa also states that king appreciated the gallantry shown in "Mathra Katuwana Hatana" destroying the Dutch fort dated 1760.

By 1760 Galagoda family held the post of Maha Adigar and was the most powerful person in the kingdom. He held more than 16 offices. He had two brothers the one was disawa of Uva & the other was the Raterala of Harispattuwa. When king declared war with Dutch in early 1761 this Maha Adigar together with his brother Disawa of Uva successfully planned and destroyed Dutch forts in South.

The King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha has given the third sannasa to Disawa of Uva, namely Rajakaruna Panditha Vahala Mudali dated 1772 for the faithful service rendered. Dutch has reported that he has fallen from grace after the Katuwana Battle but this shows it is not so.

Galagoda family had a tradition of military service, dating back to 1600. They are from Megodathiha Hewaheta. They were in the royal service of King Senarat (1604 - 1635). A Galagoda Disawa was decorated in the battle of Randenivela (1630). He also mobilized troops for the battle of Gannoruwa (1638) and was awarded the Governorship of Hewaheta by Rajasinha II (1629-1687). Another Galagoda served under Vimaladharmasuriya (1687-1707). King Sri Vijaya Rajasinha (1739-1747) had a member of this family serving in the provincial administration. The last signature in the Kandyan treaty in 1815 belongs to Galagoda Nuwarakalawiya Disawa.

There is also a sannasa called Karawile sannasa in the possession of the grandchildren of Galagoda Adikaram. This speaks of a very large land grant to the family in 1806 by the last King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. Palm leaf copy of this is found in National Archives and also this sannasa is published in Uve Seettu. Late Mr. A. B. Galagoda who was the Ratemahaththaya of Bibile owned this. He died while on duty being shot by Thisahamy when he accompanied the Police team to arrest him at Ambilinna.

The financial value of each sannasa would have been immense as several villages were given to the beneficiary under each land grant. These grants of "Praveni" land gave their heirs the right to inherit it. The first land grant has been from Egodathiha Hewaheta, Unantenna village and the second from Udunuwara Ellepalewela. Third land grant was from Hewaheta Karandegama, and the forth from Atimole and Karawila Pallegama from Uva District.

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