Ads 468x60px

Featured Posts


The Maurya Empire And Mauryan Arts

The Maurya Empire was established centered round Maghada between 321BC and 185BC. Chandraguptha Maurya (321BC - 300BC) was the founder of this empire. He conquered a large number of states around Maghada with the help of his chief minister Kautilya.

This empire consisted of North India and some part of Decan. Chandraguptha Maurya established and organized their rule in India. He helped a lot to develop arts and crafts. Bindusara (300BC - 273BC) became the emperor after the Chandraguptha Maurya. He made the empire powerful. After his death King Asoka (273BC - 232BC) who ruled over Pataliputra became the emperor.

Emperor Asoka continued to expand the empire. In his 9th regnal year in 264BV he declared war against the state of Kalinga. The Kalinga invasion was considered the last invasion of the Maghada Dynasty. In this battle about 100,000 soldiers were killed and about 150,000 soldiers were captured as prisoners of war.

This bloody battle against Kalinga was an unpleasant experience to emperor Asoka. It marked a turning point of his career. The sight of the dead and the wounded made Asoka give up fighting. He swore himself not to engage in war again. Instead of war he embraced Buddhism and began to follow the Buddha's teaching. He ruled and developed his empire on Buddhist principles.

Emperor Asoka's hereditary religion was Jainism. After the Kalinga war he became a devout buddhist. Today he is honoured and respected as the first Buddhist Emperor of India. He extended his royal patronage to organize the 'Third Buddhist Council'. Theravada Dhamma Sangayana under the guidance of Venerable Moggali Puththa Tissa Thero.

He relinquished conquests through war and bloodshed. Instead of 'Dig Vijaya' he started to rule the country following the 'Dhamma Vijaya' advocated even by Lord Buddha. He sponsored missionaries to the following countries and areas in order to propagate the teachings of the Buddha after the third Buddhist Council.

  1. Thambapanni (Sri Lanka)
  2. Swarnaboomi (Burma/Myanmar)
  3. Maheesha Mandala (Mysore)
  4. Vanavasi Desh (North Kanara)
  5. Aparanta Desh (The Areas around Port Supparaka)
  6. Maharastra
  7. Yonaka Desh
  8. Kashmir/ Gandara
  9. Nepal
Following the stanza 'Sawe Purisa Paja Mama' given in a rock inscription, King Asoka considered all his citizens as his own children. In one rock inscription he strongly criticized the early kings and rulers who had done nothing for the spiritual development of the people.

He advised his countrymen to be honest, merciful, pious, compassionate, truthful and dedicated. Not only he requested his people to follow his religious principles or 'Asoka Doctrine' but also he appointed officers namely 'Dharmamatra' to check whether the people followed his religious admonitions.

In his 12th rock inscription he had strongly advised the people not to harm the followers of other religious and also not to boast about ones own religion. He planned his administrative principles called 'Asoka Dharma' providing to respect all other religions in the same spirit.

In one of his rock inscriptions he requests his subjects to protect their king as a baby given to the care and protection of a nurse. King Asoka visited a number of religious places such as Lumbini, Kapilawastu, Saranath, Shrawasti, Buddhagaya and Kusinara to pay his respect. He established a column (pillar) in Lumbini where prince Siddhartha was born, to commomorate the birth of Lord Buddha. In the inscription at Saranath it is stated that king Asoka had constructed a dagaba depositing the relics of Konagama Buddha. According to Buddhist Literature, King Asoka had constructed 84,000 chaityas as a mark of respect and honour to the Dhamma.

King Asoka instituted rock inscriptions in the following areas.
  1. Sha Basgar.
  2. Mangera.
  3. Kalsi.
  4. Ruwindei.
  5. Nepal.
  6. Kashmir.
  7. Nigliver.
  8. Alahbad.
  9. Girinar.
  10. Masti.
  11. Loriyan Tangai.
The South Indian state Chola, Pandya, Sathiyaputra and Kerala are neighbouring kingdoms of the Maghada Empire. The Maurya Empire declined after the death of Emperor Asoka. Between the period od 232BC - 185BC the empire was divided to form three kingdoms as Shunga, Chetha and Sathavahana. After that in the North-Western part of India a new empire emerged as the Kushan Empire.

Hello History Enthusiast Wanna Let Me Know Your Feeling?
Read More


The Sixteen Great States in India

According to 'Anguttara Nikaya', by the 6th century BC India was divided into sixteen states or 'Janapadas'.
  1. Anga - Champa
  2. Maghada - Giriwraja
  3. Kasi - Baranasi
  4. Kosala - Kusawati, Shraswati
  5. Vajji - Vesali
  6. Malla - Kusinara, Pada
  7. Vatsa - Kausambi
  8. Cheta - Soththimati
  9. Avanti - Upajayani
  10. Matsha - Virat
  11. Surasena - Mathura
  12. Kuru - Indraprasta, Delhi
  13. Panchala - Abhichatra, kampilya
  14. Gandara - Thaksila, Pushkalawati
  15. Kamboja
  16. Asmaga - Pratistana 
During this period in the Western part, known as Panchaladesh, new Aryan settlements were formed. In Brahmin chronicals it was mentioned that Videgha Mathawa, a leader in the state of Sarasvati worshipped the God Agni - The god of fire.

So it is believed that Videgha Mathawa had introduced the 'Agni Pooja' of the Aryans so the Western side of the India. Videgha or the North Bihar was ruled by a king named Janaka. The capital of Bihar was Mithila.

As presented in Yajurveda, Settlements were formed in South Bihar or Maghada. But Maghada was considered a semi non-Aryan settlement. Two Aryan tribes, 'Wrathya and Nishada' formed their settlements in Anga Pradesh situated to the north of Maghada.

Meanwhile, in 'Udichidesh' in northern part of India, Aryan tribes Uttara Kuru and Uttara Madhu formed settlements. Finally, settlements were formed in the dakshinadesh and the tribes, Andra, Pulinda, Muiniba and Sabara lived in them. Spreading from the north-west, the formation of the Aryan settlements in India started around 1500BC. By 600 century BC the Aryans completely settled in India. From India they migrated to Sri Lanka and other nearby countries and formed settlements.

Champa was the capital of the state of Anga located in the North Bihar. Geographically this state was very important to engage in business transaction. Port 'Thambraputra' was in the delta of the Ganges. From that port merchants in the Anga were able to visit other South India ports. They were able to keep contacts with the neighboring Burma - Present Myanmar.

Maghada had the facilities to become an empire and its oldest capital was Giribaja. later Rajagaha and Patali Putra(patna) became its capitals respectively. Maghada provided a suitable environment to experiment political ideologies. Atarveda was the first chronical to mention about Maghada.\

In later years, the state of 'Kasi' joined with the state of Maghada. Kasi was a prosperous state in the Ganges valley. Its capital 'Baranasi' became famous as it was located between the rivers 'varuna and Asi'. The river 'Sarabhu' geographically divided the state of Kosala into two parts.

This made the Kosala have two capitals. 'Sarasvati' became the capital of north kosala and 'Kuasawati' became the capital of south kosala. Saketa, Ayodya, Setawaya were some cities in the south Kosala. Later Kosala state too went under the rule of Maghada.

Vajji, in the North Bihar, was the kingdom of Lichchavi. wesali was its capital and this state was formed of nine tribes. The state of 'Malla', had a republic called 'Ghana'. It had two capitals as Kushinara, Pava. Kaushabi was the capital of Watsa. Udena was one of the kings who ruled the state of Watsa. taking the character of Udena as theme, Three dramas were written as Priyadarshika, Swapna-Wasawadatta and Ratnawali.

Chedi or Cheta was a state situated to the south of Vajji. Sottimati was the capital of this state. The people in the Cheta tribe later formed the Chetha Empire in kalinga. A stone inscription found in 'Hastigumbha' mentions a name of a king called 'Kharawela' belonging to the Chetha dynasty.

The state of Avanti was located at present Malawa area. Maheesmati was the oldest capital of this state. Later Ujjaini became its capital. The road leading from the Rajagaha Nuwara to prastisthan, the capital city of the state Asmata went across the state of Avanti.

Avanti Putra was the ruler of the state Surasena and the capital of Surasena was Mathura. In later years Mathura became a very religious place among the followers of God Vishnu. Indraprasad or Delhi was the capital of the state in Kuru. During the period of Lord Buddha, a king named kaurawa ruled Kuru.

The capital of the Matsya state was Virat or Wairat. Panchala was another state that existed during the time of Lord Buddha. Abhichatra and kampilya were its capitals. Peshawar and Rawalpindi were two north-western districts in India. They were in the state of Gandhara. Takshala was the capital of Ghandara then. In the days of Lord Buddha a king named Pukkusathi ruled Ghandara. The present Kandhahar is the ancient Ghandar. The state of Kamboja was situated to the north of Ghandar. The state of Asmatha was in the upper reaches of the river Godhavari. Pratisthan was its capital. It was also known as Potali, Potana and Paitan.

The 'Dhiganikaya' gives information about the 'Gana Rajya' or republics that functioned in the days of Lord Buddha in India. It tells about the Sakyans in Kapilawastu, the Mallawas in Kushinara, the Lichchavis in Vasali, the vedehas in Mithila, the Koliyas in Ramagrama, the Bullians in Allakappa, the Kalamas in Keshaputra, the Borias in the Pippili Jungle and the Bhaggas in Sunsumaragiri.

All this information tell that during the days of Lord Buddha the majority of people in Bharata preferred Ghan Rajya method of ruling which had more democratic features than in the monarchy.

People had even the voting rights to select their leaders under the democratic rule of the Lichchavis. The sixteen states that functioned in India during the time of Buddha, vied with each other to gain hegemony. As a result of this competition Maghada, Kosala, Vatsya and Avanti emerged more powerful than the other states.

Ultimately, Maghada became the greatest of all. Under the regimes of Bimbisara, Ajasatta, Sisunaga and the Nanda dynasty, Maghada laid the foundation to the status of an empire. During the reign of King Maha Padmananda the state of Maghada extended to North India and to a part of South India. Later the invasions by the Persians and Alexander the Great paved the background for the first establishment of Maghada or the Maurya empire in India.

Hello History Enthusiast Wanna Let Me Know Your Feeling?
Read More


The Aryan Settlements in India

The Aryans migrated from Central Asia to establish their settlements in India during the period 15th century BC to 6th century BC. As presented in a rock inscription in Boghascoy in Kapadoshia in Central Asia, the Aryans had established their first settlements in India in the 15th century BC.

As first they established their settlements around the seven tributaries of Indus. This area was known as 'Saptha Sindu'. According to the 'Rigveda', Saptha Sindu was made up of the following rivers.

  1. Veenastha (Jhelum)
  2. Asiknee (Chenab)
  3. Parushni (Rachvi)
  4. Vipash (Bias)
  5. Shuthushree (Suthej)
  6. Sasrasvathi
  7. Drushadwani
Out of these seven tributaries, Saraswathi and Drushadwani are not found today as they were dried up long ago. According to Rigveda the Aryans had settled by these rivers as tribes.

The Himalaya mountain was known to the Aryans mentioned in the Rigveda. But they did not have any knowledge about the areas beyond the south and west of the Jamuna river. The Rigveda does not mention anything about the Vindya mountain. Hence, it is clear that the Aryans had formed their settlements around the 'Saptha Sindu' area between 1500BC and 1000BC.

The period between the 1000BC to 600BC is known as the post vedic era. The vedas, Yajur, Sama, Atharwan and other Brahmin inscriptions contain further details about the Aryan settlements in India.

In Aitriya Brahmin five areas are mentioned as the settlements of Aryans as follows.
  1. Apachchyadesh in western India.
  2. Madyamadesh.
  3. Udichidesh or Uththrapradesh.
  4. Prachyadesh. A polluted area in the west.
  5. Dakshinadesh where Andra, Sabara, Muniba tribes lived.
During the Rigvedic era most of these tribes had joined together. Anu, Yadur, Thurvasa and Ravi were some of the tribes united to form the 'Panchala' tribe and they constructed their permanent settlements in Madyamadesh around Delhi.

Similarly the tribes 'Puru and Bharata' mentioned in Rigvedic united to form 'Kuru' tribe in Hastinapura in Madayamadesh. In later staged powerful kings emerged from this tribe.

As mentiioned in the Mahabharata, 'Drutarastra and Duryodhana' were two great kings who emerged from the Kuru tribe in Hastinapura. Yuddishtra, Janamejaya and Parikshita were some kings who emerged from the Panchala tribe.

In the 9th century BC Kuru and Panchala tribes waged war against  each other. This war is known as the 'Kuru Kshetra War'. In Madyamadesh there lived another tribe called 'Sanjaya"
Read More


Archaeological Sources of Sri Lanka : Inscriptions

Inscriptions can be classified into two types. They are

  1. On Metals - Eg. Panakaduwa Copper Plate.
  2. On Stones - Eg. Galpotha in Polonnaruwa.
Horizontal Stone Inscription
Horizontal Stone Inscription
Stone Inscriptions

The stone inscriptions are important sources to study the history of Sri Lanka. they help to verify the correctness and the authenticity of the information contained in literary sources.

The Stone Inscriptions are of 4 types
  1. Len lipi        (Cave Inscriptions)
  2. Giri lipi        (Rock Inscriptions)
  3. Tam lipi       (Pillar Inscriptions)
  4. Puwaru lipi   (Slab Inscriptions)
Vertical Stone Inscription
Vertical Stone Inscription
In the local sources of literature very little is mentioned about the local readers. But the stone inscriptions in Thammenna, Habessa, Kusalanakanda, Sandagiri Vehera, Yatahalena and Bowattegala mention about some of them. The Stone Inscriptions very often confirm the information given in the literary sources.

The information given about 'Dasa Maha Yodha' or ten giants(commanders) of king Dutugemunu in the 'Mahavamsa' is confirmed by stone inscriptions. Sithulpauwa stone inscription tells about Nandimitra (one of the dasa maha yodha). Well-elalugoda stone inscription gives information about Pussadewa(another one of dasa maha yodha).

The information get from these stone inscriptions proves that the 'Dasa Maha Yodha' in 'Mahavamsa' were real historical Characters and Not fictitious ones. 

Thought you enjoyed the article about Stone Inscriptions. With the hope of meeting you with a new post saying happy day for you!.
Read More


Archaeological Sources of Sri Lanka : Coins

Coins are an important source that helps us to study the history of Sri Lanka. The oldest coins found in Sri Lanka are called the 'Has Ebu Kasapana' (Sealed or branded coins). Among the carvings on the 'Vahalkada' (gateway to the city) of the Dakkina Vihara in Anuradhapura a carving of a dwarf(Vamana) counting coins from a pot can be seen.

The symbols on coins, the dates mentioned on them, the metals in which they are made of, the finish or the craftmanship of coins and the places where they were found are some of the important aspects of coins as historical sources.

The guardstones of Abhayagiri are decorated with strings of coins. Of the two dwarfs 'Sanka and Padma Nidhi' in the lime tablets in Abhayagiri, falling coins can be seen in the Sanka Nidhi image. These "Has Ebu" coins were made of copper, bronze or silver. The following are some symbols found in "Has Ebu" Coins.

In addition to "Has-Ebu" coins, some other kind of coins were found at excavation sites in Anuradhapura, Kiribath Vehere and Digamadulla. These coins have the image of a tusker on one side and 'Svasthika' on other side.

Rankahawanu (Golden coins made out of gold) was another kind of coins used in Sri Lanka. These coins carried the image of "Kuvera" on both sides.

Sri Lakshmi coins too were found in different parts of the country. They were found specially in Mullaitiv, Kattarodei and Wallipuram. Every Lakshmi coin carries the image of Lakshmi on one side and the Swathika on other side.
Read More


Foreign Literary Sources of Sri Lankan History

Perplus of Erythraean Sea Book
Foreign literary Sources.... about History of Sri Lanka. There are number of foreign literary sources and below I'll mention them to let them know about it.

Aristotle's 'De Mondo' written in the 4th century B.C. was the first foreign source which helps to get information about Sri Lanka. The books and reports written in Greek, Roman, Chinese, Arabic and Sanskrit are the main foreign sources available to us. When studying the history of Sri lanka, one has to refer to these sources too. These foreign sources give us very important information about the international trade relationships of Sri lanka.

According to the book 'Periplus of the Erythraean Sea', it is mentioned that the ancient Sri Lankans had well developed transactions with people in the North-West Indian coast. The book 'Persian Wars' of the prothopias describes the competition among Ethiopian, Persian and Indian merchants to promote trade links with Sri Lanka in the sixth century A.C.

The Pearl and Gem trade of Sri Lanka was highly discussed in 'Arthasasthraya' a book on economics written by Kautilya in India. Further information about the trade links between India and Sri Lanka can be found in the 'Divyavadan, Manimekalei and silappadikaram', all of which are Indian literary works.

The celebrated Chinese monk Fa-Hsian, in one of his records states that he had seen a silk fan donated by a Chinese monk to a Sri Lankan temple. The Chinese 'Thripitaka' has a list of names of the Sri Lankan monks who had visited China. From the records of Ibn Batuta, Cosmos, Marco Polo, Baldeaus, Robert Knox, Juan Rubeiro and John doily we can get valuable information about the ancient Sri Lanka.

With the hope of meeting you with a new post saying happy day for you!.
Read More


Local Literary Sources of Sri Lanka

local literary sources
Literary Source
In my previous post I talked about Historical Sources and I classified them. So as to that classification the first one is Local Literary Sources. From this post I'll let you know about Local Literary Sources. So here we go..

Local Literary Sources are crucial when studying the history of Sri Lanka. The main local literary sources are chronicles (Dynastic Histories) written in Sinhala or Pali. The oldest chronicle written in Pali is the "Dipavamsa". It was written in fifth century A.C.

'Dipavamsa' provides historical information about the island from the pre-historic era up to the time of king Mahasen. The main local literary source available at present to study the ancient history of Sri Lanka is the "Mahavamsa". The first part of 'Mahavamsa' was written in the fifth or sixth century A.C. The writing of this historical chronicle continues. Even today it is written in Pali as the ancient writers had done. The first part of 'Mahavamsa' provides information till end of the period of king Mahasen.

"Samanthipasadika" is another historical source that provides valuable information. The other important local literary sources are Thupavamsa, Bodhivamsa, Dahatuwamsa, Dhatawamsa. All of them were written in Pali.

Literary Source Letter
Later all these sources came to be written in Sinhala as "Sinhala Thupavamsa, Sinhala Bodhivasa, Sinhala Dhathuvamsa, Dalada Siritha and Daladha Poojawaliya". Apart from them 'Nikaya Sangrahaya' and the last two chapters of 'Rajavaliya' are considered valuable local literary sources.

In addition to these main literature sources number of other sources are also available 'Sandesha Kavya (Epistles), Kavyasekaraya, Amavatura' etc.

In order to establish the authenticity of the contents of these various literary sources, It is essential to leave out the exaggerations, false and unreliable information contain there in.

With the hope of meeting you with a new post saying happy day for you!.
Read More