Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 23 November 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

King Kashyapa

King Kashyapa's story is like a Shakespearean tragedy. He built the most spectacular Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka 1,600 years ago. It is a tale of cruelty,intrigue, patricide, vision, grandeur, chivalry, betrayal and abandonment. Kashyapa ruled between 477 and 495 AD. He was the second monarch of the Mauryan Dynasty of the Anuradhapura Kingdom.

He acquired the throne by overthrowing his father, King Dhatusena, and usurping his brother and rightful heir to the throne, Moggallana, in a palace coup. He imprisoned and later executed his father. Kashyapa was also known as Pithru Ghathaka Kashyapa (Kashyapa the Patricide), after this incident. He was later defeated by Moggallana who had fled to South India and returned with an army to regain the throne.

Though Kashyapa was the eldest son of the king, he was not the heir to the throne. Moggallana was the son of the royal consort and the rightful heir to the throne, while Kashyapa was born to a non-royal concubine. However, Kashyapa sought to acquire the throne by ousting Moggallana. He was assisted by the Commander of the king's army, Migara, who sought vengeance for a disagreement between himself and the king. Assisted and encouraged by Migara, Kashyapa carried out a palace coup and overthrew Dhatusena.

Dhatusena was imprisoned and Kashyapa became the king of the country in 473 as the second king in the Mauryan Dynasty of Sri Lanka. However, Moggallana fled to South India, fearing that his brother would assassinate him. Migara led Kashyapa to believe that Dhatusena had a treasure hidden away and Kashyapa demanded it from the imprisoned king.

Dhatusena took his captors to the Kalaweva, a large irrigation tank he had constructed, and told him that it was the only treasure he had. Enraged by this, Kasyapa had his father murdered by entombing him in a wall.

Kashyapa incurred the wrath of the public and the Bhikkhus. He earned the name Pithru Ghathaka Kashyapa which means Kashyapa the Patricide. Due to this and fearing an attack from Moggallana, Kashyapa moved his capital and residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure location of Sigiriya. At Sigiriya, he constructed a large citadel and his palace was built on top of the Sigiriya Rock.

Sigiriya was a large rock rising above the surrounding plain offering an unhindered view in all directions. It was chosen as the capital because of the strategic advantage this would give the defenders during an attack. Large ramparts and moats were built around the city. An elaborate and large garden was built around the rock. The gardens consisted a number of pools, fountains and other structures. A complex underground irrigation system supplied water to the pools and fountains. The fountains are functional to this day.

The constructions on top of the Sigiriya Rock include the king's palace among several other buildings and pools. The Sigiriya frescoes which depict maidens carrying flowers were also created during Kashyapa's reign at Sigiriya.

Moggallana organised an army in South India and returned to Sri Lanka to claim his right to the throne. In the battle that ensued in the plains surrounding Sigiriya, Kashyapa's army was defeated. He killed himself with his own sword. Kashyapa's reign as king of Sri Lanka ended with the defeat in 495 and Moggallana became the king as Moggallana I.

Donate Now |
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lank
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)

| News | Editorial | Finance | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | Montage | Impact | World | Obituaries | Junior | Youth |


Produced by Lake House Copyright 2014 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor