The Emblems of Royalty of Sri Lanka.


‘The Duties of a Monarch propounded by the Buddha stated that the root of all Social Evil was Poverty and Unemployment. A King who merely collected taxes had the duty to supply Seed and Food for those who lived by Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. Those who lived by Trade should be provided with the necessary capital. The Government Servant were properly paid or compensated so that they don’t squeeze the people. New wealth had to be generated, the Citizens was free from Robbers and Cheats, could bring up Children in comfort and happiness, free from Want and Fear. The best way to spend surplus accumulation, whether from the Treasury or from Private donations would be in Public Works such as Tanks, Hospitals, and Monasteries that provided Education, Health care, Banks etc along the Trade Routes maintained by the King.”

The Raja Anka or the heraldic Emblems of rulers of the Brihadhartha dynasty of Maghadha  was the Bull mentioned in the Mahabaratha. But the Bull symbol is a universal symbols used by other nations on the coins and art.Most  states of India too had their own Royal emblems that signifies the Royal authority of the King when placed on official documents and on coins. In fact in the text book Arthasastra of the Maghdan Empire ,the Master of the Mint was called Laksanaadhayasaka, Laksana in this name apparantly  refers to the Emblem of the King and State stamped on the coin.

Closer home, the independent states of the Southern India the Pandayan’s had the stylised fish, the Chola’s the tiger[ This Animal looks very much like a Lion, than a Tiger] , Cera’s the Bow etc. These heraldic marks was also placed on seals on copper grants etc. After about the 2 Cent AD, most  of these nations stopped using their  Emblems. The Sri Lankan used the Four Dots with a circle emblem or the Purangantha or the Vase Symbol after 2 Cent AD.After about the 6 Cent AD, they opted to inscribe on the face of the coin ,the the name of the Country and the Value  alongside the other traditional symbols. The gradual changes that took place , and why these changes took place over the last 2500 year of the  coins is a very interesting study.

The Elephant was a prominent symbol placed on coins of all different ancient Empires/Nations  in India and Sri Lanka. Most of these  different nations had their own Raja-anka on the other side of the coin.The Emblem on the reverse of their coins was a means by which   the people with in the area of Kings influence to identify  and accept  coins as money  or reject those with other emblems. A few examples of elephant and many Buddhist symbols on the obverse of the  coins with different reverse heraldic emblems is shown below.


The Swastika was the most popular symbol of the Indus civilisations , the later Aryan of India soon made this a religious good luck symbol. The ancient people of Sri Lanka too followed the suit and used the Swastika as a religious  or a good luck symbol .Some historian is of view this smbol also represented the Buddha or his taechings. But in ancient Sri Lanka  an emblem using swastika as the main component , standing on a central staff attended to by two short pillars on either side.This was called the Railed Swastika.

Two Important Factors is respect of the Railed Swastika.

a. Which is the most popular symbol  on ancient coins found in Sri Lanka?.  With out doubt it is this Railed Swastika, perhaps next to the Lotus- A rough estimate is that  over 10,000  ancient coins[ some of them dated to 3 cent BC]  with this symbols on them.  I have seen over 4000 of them at Museums,with Collectors and Dealers. A fair number  of ancient inscriptions of royalty has this symbol. A fair number of  seals inscribed with names and titles  of Royalty around the railed swastika has been published.

b. The Railed swastika is unique to the Island of Sri Lanka.


i.An unread inscribed Intaglio with a Railed Swastika, the mirror image of seal and this may read Ma Ha Sa[Se?] Na  Pa Tha…… an untrained eye. This needs be read by experts. Dr Paranavitane identifies Mahasenpathi as King Dutugemunu on an inscription at              .

ii. Many Seals and sealing’ s with Railed swastika was discovered , most of them  are inscribed.The two below are legible.

    1. A clay seals with railed swastika with letters Maharaja[ Great King] is visible.
    2. A sealing with railed swastika inscribed .. [Ma Ha Ra ] Jha Ga Mi Ni Ti Sa ha de Va Na pi Ya[The Great King Gamini Tisa Devanampiya.Perhaps of King Sadatissa [ Bopeatachchi and Wickremasinghe ] . The German excavation team has published many sealing found in the same location as above sealing. The rear of these sealing was affixed on to Ola leaf’s as  the outline  of the grain of the Ola is  still visible.
  1. Cave inscriptions In Inscription of Ceylon Volume I – S Paranavitane.
    1. N0 835 :-This is found on Rock Inscriptions of kings identified as King Sada-tissa at Dambulla Inscription.
    2. No 406 :- On Gamini-Tissa and Mijhi- Maharaja at Henannegala.
    3. No 563:On Inscription of Royal Prince and Princess at Kottadamuhela identified with Queen Viharamaha devi. Ms Chandrika Jayasinghe published a coins from the British Museum of a lady Standing on a Boat of the Obverse with a Railed Swastika on the reverse.In our history a lady on  a boat can only be connected to Vihare Maha Devi , the mother of our hero King Dutugemunu.

    1. No 1018:-1027 – of a Maharaja-Gamani Abayasa– at Gallena Vihare.

    A similar coins was found by PE Pieris at Kantarodi in the North of Sri Lanka.

    British Museum Coin.

    This symbols was good enough for the ancient Maharaja to place next to their rock inscriptions and on their  Royal Seals. Henry Parker suggest that the central vertical cross bar represents the royal Standard while the four lateral lines symbolize the four fold army of ancient kings ,ie the Corp of elephants, the  Chariots, the Cavalry and the foot soldiers, He admits it is far fetched. From the above data this is quite possible and this had a strong connections with Royalty. This symbol is flanked by either the Standard, the Asana or throne and the Triratna which according to reputed writers had implicitly expressed an regal authority.

  2. The Railed swastika is usually found on the most early coins of the Island. It does not appear alone. In  good condition coins, two symbols are found on either side. In all the types of coins with the railed swastika, a few examples having the Caitiya or three arched hill appears under it.  The associations of these symbols with the railed swastika and their  placement around is a special characteristic of the Sri Lanka early coins. The significance of these symbols is quite relevant to Kingship as discussed by TB Karunaratne. This will be dealt with later.  

Of the Coins shown above, Dr DPE Hettiarchchi has speculated that the Multi symbol Elephant and Railed Swastika coin is that of Devanampiyatissa. C14 and Thermoluminance dating of layer of undisturbed layer of earth in which this type of coin was found , justify the credence of this statement. It is possible that this king had the Railed Swastika on his coin.

The Standard

In an RAS Journal Mr P Weerasinghe suggest that Mahatissa in the inscription shown above was King Devanpiyatissa. If this is so, then this suggest that  in addition to Railed Swastika , the monarch would have palced a personel monogram on thier coins , which was Dhajaya or a Standard which King Asoka used. So perhaps the Railed Swastika was the emblem of  of a particular Royal family which ruled during the issue of these coins, perhaps that  known as those of the Devanampiya Kula on inscriptions. Could it be that the Kings used the Railed Swastika symbol as the emblem that belonged to the Kula or as family emblem.Did they have their  own mongrams in addition to this??. But on coins more than one such symbol is placed around the Railed Swastika.

The Standard  suggested as used by Devanampiyatissa on coins is also found on Tree and Railed Swastika Coins, Lion and Railed Swastika Coin.

The Throne or Asana

.Mr MH Sirisoma in Inscriptions Vol II 1990 gave a number of symbols associated with inscriptions of Kings. One of them is of is from Minvila , and is of King Katakanna Tissa[ 41-19 BC].The symbol on the inscription is simalar to symbols on coins of Sri lanka with the Railed Swastika. This is found on the the King Devanampiyatissa coin on the reverse of the coin shown above to the right of the Railed Swastika. There are various forms of the Asana found on coins . The Asana is a auspicious  symbol of India and also of the Sinhalese. These Lucky symbols are used extensively of Sinhalese art and mentioned in our chronicles.those on coins are analysed on Symbols around the Railed Swastika.


The Swastika is found with the Inscriptions of Kings. The Swastika with out the Railing is found on our coins too.

One of the earliest inscriptions that can be historically dated from ancient text is thatof a daughter of the King Uti or Uttiya the brother of king Devanampiyatisa, and reigned after him. The cave donated to the Sanga for the benefit of her parents. This has two symbols , the first is a T on Railing and a Swastika. Therailing is similar o that of the Railed Swastika.

The First Three Lines

A Swastika –        “Success| King Abaya the eldest son of King Kuakanna and grandson of great king Tissa, the friend of Gods[ Devanampiya] dedicated the golden Vase channel at Galatataka to the Community of bhikhus in the Payelipavata monastery”.

Last Line

A Swastika-  “The great king Naga gave therefore said channel to the Sanga”.

The King Naga is identified as King Mahadathika Mahanaga [9-21 BC].

This king ‘s inscription at At Vehera  Minhintale  shown below has a Swastika below it.

The First part is of King Batiya Abaya[ 19 BC]. Great-Great-Great grand son of King Sadatissa, whose mother was Queen Vihare Mahadevi.

The second part is of King Mahadathika Mahanaga [ 9 -21 AD]- a brother of King Batiya Abaya.

The Swastika as a minor symbol on coins

This is a round Treein Railing and Railed Swastika Coin. To the right of the Tree is a Swastika symbol.

The Fish and Railed Triratna

The Fish and the Railed Triratna is found on inscription that is linked to the parent of King Dutugemunu. The Fish emblem is associated with the Kastriya of Kataragama , Dr Paravitane suggest they have connection to the Sakayan Group of Princess Baddhkacchana who came from India and some on them sttleed in the South[ Mahavansa].

Dr S paranavitane links Abi Savera as Princess Vihare mahadevi

The Fish and Triratna is popular symbols on Coins and is very common on ancient Sri lankan art.  The Railed  Triratne is not yet found on coins.


A symbol on Inscription of King Sabha[ 59-65 AD]. A Scythe like symbol is seen on an inscription of King Sabha. No such symbol is found on coins, but the Deity or Standing Figure and Railed Swastika coins there are many such symbol fixed at the end of the staff .

Pahala Kayinattama Of King Saba

For  Emblem of Kings of later period.

King Gajabahu II – Peace Treaty placed on a Rock Inscription

A few symbol on coins and similar symbol on Rock Inscriptions of Kings.



Ancient Sri Lankan coins



. Sinhalese (Sri Lanka)

Photo: sharyn morrow

Considered one of the most expansive alphabets in the world, Sinhalese has more than 50 phonemes, though only 38 are frequently used in contemporary writing. Still taught in Buddhist monasteries and schools, the language is the mother tongue for more than half of Sri Lanka’s 21 million inhabitants.

Its low geographical relevance (confined to the island of Sri Lanka) is its greatest threat. Restricted to a piece of land surrounded by water, Sinhalese writing has until now and is likely to endure for a good while yet, even if its usage decreases over time. I GOT THIS ON AN E MAIL.

Pre-History; Sri Lanka is an small Island in the Indian Ocean…

View original post 1,540 more words


The aim of the exercise is to include all available  factors that ha been written or unwritten about this unique document, what is written by Mahanama the will be questioned and answered by any one and every one.All are invited to comment a feature available wordpress. I have taken this chapter  from

Chapter 1


HAVING made obeisance to the Sambuddha the pure, sprung of a pure race, I will recite the Mahãvamsa, of varied content and lacking nothing. That (Mahävamsa) which was compiled by the ancient (sages) was here too long drawn out and there too closely knit; and contained many repetitions. Attend ye now to this (Mahavamsa) that is free from such faults, easy to understand and remember, arousing serene joy and emotion and handed down (to us) by tradition, (attend ye to it) while that ye call up   and emotion (in you) `at passages that awaken serene joy and emotion.

On seeing the Sambuddha Dipamkara, in olden times, our Conqueror resolved to become a Buddha, that he might release the world from evil. When he had offered homage to that Sambuddha and likewise to Kondanna and to the sage Mangala, to Sumana, to the Buddha Revata and likewise to the great sage Sobhita, to the Sambuddha Anomadassi, to Paduma and to the Conqueror Narada, to the Sambuddha Padumuttara and to the Tathagata Sumedha, and to Sujata, to Piyadassi and to the Master Atthadassi, to Dhammadassi and Siddhattha, to Tissa and the Conqueror Phussa, to Vipassi and the Sambuddha Sikhi, and the Sambuddha Vessabhu, the mighty one, to the Sambuddha

Kakusaudha, and likewise to Konagamana, as also to the blessed Kassapa, having offered homage to these twenty-four Sambuddhas and having received from them the prophecy of his (future) buddhahood he, the great hero, when he had fulfilled all perfections-‘ and reached the highest enlightenment, the sublime Buddha Gotama, delivered the world from suffering.

At Uruvelä, in the Magadha country, the great sage, sitting at the foot of the Bodhi-tree, reached the supreme enlightenment on the full-moon day of the month Vesäkha. Seven weeks he tarried there, mastering his senses, while that be himself, knew the high bliss of deliverance and let (others) behold its felicity. Then he went to Baranasi and set rolling the wheel of the law; and while he dwelt there through the rain-months, he brought sixty (hearers) to arahantship. When he had sent forth these bhikkhus to preach the doctrine, and when he had converted the thirty companions of the company of Bhadda’ then did the Master dwell at Uruvela the winter through, for the sake of converting the thousand jatilas led by Kassapa, making them ripe (for deliverance).

Now since a great sacrifice by Kassapa of Uruvela was near at hand, and since he saw that this latter would fain have him away, he, the victorious over enemies, went to seek alms among the Northern Kurus ; and when he had eaten his meal at evening time near the lake Anotatta, the Conqueror, in the ninth month of his buddhahood, at the full moon of Phussa, himself set forth for the isle of Lañkä, to win Lanka for the faith. For Lanka was known to the Conqueror as a place where his doctrine should (thereafter) shine in glory; and (he knew that) from Lañkä, filled with the yakkhas, the yakkhas must (first) be driven forth.

And he knew also that in the midst of Lañka, on the fair river bank, in the delightful Mahanaga garden, three yojanas long and a yojana wide, the (customary) meeting-place for the yakkhas, there was a great gathering of (all) the yakkhas dwelling in the island. To this great gathering of that yakkhas went the Blessed One, and there, in the midst of that assembly, hovering in the air over their heads, at the place of the (future) Mahiyangana-thupa, he struck terror to their hearts by rain, storm, darkness and so forth.’ The yakkhas, overwhelmed by fear, besought the fearless Van quisher to release them from terrors, and the Vanquisher, destroyer of fear, spoke thus to the terrified yakkhas: `I will banish this your fear and your distress, O yakkhas, give ye here to me with one accord a place where I may sit down.’The yakkhas thus answered the Blessed One: `We all, O Lord, give you even the whole of our island. Give us release from our fear.’ Then, when he had destroyed their terror, cold and darkness, and had spread his rug of skin on the ground that they bestowed on him, the Conqueror, sitting there, made the rug to spread wide, while burning flame surrounded it. Daunted by the burning heat thereof and terrified, they stood around on the border. Then did the Saviour cause the pleasant Giridipa to come here near to them, and when they had settled there, he made it return to its former place. Then did the Saviour fold his rug of skin; the devas assembled, and in their assembly the Master preached them the doctrine. The conversion of many kotis of living beings took place, and countless were those who came unto the (three) refuges and the precepts of duty.

The prince of devas, Mahäsumana of the Sumanaküta mountain,’ who had attained to the fruit of entering into the path of salvation, craved of him who should be worshipped, something to worship. The Conqueror, the (giver of) good to living beings, he who had pure and blue-black locks, passing his hand over his (own) head, bestowed on him a handful of hairs. And he, receiving this in a splendid golden urn, when he had laid the hairs upon a heap of many-coloured gems, seven cubits round, piled up at the place where the Master had sat, covered them over with a thupa of sapphire and worshipped them.

When the Sambuddha had died, the thera named Sarabhu, disciple of the thera Sariputta, by his miraculous power received, even from the funeral pyre, the collar-bone of the Conqueror and brought it hither (to Lañka), and, with the bhikkhus all around him, he there laid it in that same cetiya, covered it over with golden-coloured stones, and (then he), the worker of miracles, having made the thupa twelve cubits high, departed again from thence. The son of king Devanampiyatissa’s brother, named Uddhaculabhaya saw the wondrous cetiya and (again) covered it over and made it thirty cubits high. The king Dutthaga mani dwelling there while he made war upon the Damilas, built a mantle cetiya over it eighty cubits high. Thus was the Mahiyangana-thupa completed. When he had thus made our island a fit dwelling-place for men, the mighty ruler, valiant as are great heroes, departed for Uruvela.

Here ends the Visit to Mahiyangana.

Now the most compassionate Teacher, the Conqueror, rejoicing in the salvation of the whole world, when dwellingat Jetavana in the fifth year of his buddhahood, saw that a war, caused by a gem-set throne, was like to come to pass between the niigas Mahodara and Cülodara, uncle and nephew, and their followers; and he, the Sambuddha, on the uposathaday of the dark half of the month Citta, in the early morning, took his sacred alms-bowl and his robes, and, from compassion for the nagas, sought the Nagadipa.

That same naga Mahodara was then a king, gifted with miraculous power, in a naga-kingdom in the ocean, that covered half a thousand yojanas. His younger sister had been given (in marriage) to the naga-king on the Kannavaddhamana mountain; her son was Culodara. His mother’s father had given to his mother a splendid throne of jewels, then the naga had died and therefore this war of nephew with uncle was threatening; and also the nagas of the mountains were armed with miraculous power.

The deva named Samiddhisumana took a rajayatana-tree standing in Jetavana, his own fair habitation, and, holding it like a parasol over the Conqueror, he, with the Teacher’s leave, attended him to that spot where he had formerly dwelt. That very deva had been, in his latest birth, a man in Nagadipa. On the spot where thereafter the rajayatana-tree stood, he saw paceekabuddhas taking their meal. And at the sight his heart was glad and he offered branches to cleanse the almsbowl. Therefore he was reborn in that tree in the pleasant Jetavana-garden, and it (the tree) stood afterwards outside at the side of the gate-rampart. The God of all gods saw (in this) an advantage for that deva, and, for the sake of the good which should spring (therefrom) for our land, he brought him hithcr (to Lafika) together with his tree.

Hovering there in mid-air above the battlefield the Master, who drives away (spiritual) darkness, called forth dread darkness over the ntigas. Then comforting those who were distressed by terror he once again spread light abroad. When they saw the Blessed One they joyfully did reverence to the Master’s feet. Then preadied the Vanquisher to them the doctrine that begets concord, and both [nagas] gladly gave up the throne to the Sage.’ When the Master, having alighted on the earth, had taken his place on a seat there, and had been refreshed with celestial food and drink by the naga-kings, he, the Lord, established in the (three) refuges and in the moral precepts eighty kotis of snake-spirits, dwellers in the ocean and on the mainland.

The naga-king Maniakkhika of Kalyani, mother’s brother to the naga Mahodara, who had come thither to take part in the battle, and who, aforetime, at the Buddha’s first coming, having heard the true doctrine preached, had become established in the refuges and in the moral duties, prayed now to the Tathagata: `Great is the compassion that thou hast shown us here, O Master! Hadst thou not appeared we had all been consumed to ashes. May thy compassion yet light also especially on me, O thou who art rich in loving-kindness, in that thou shalt come yet again hither to my dwelling-country, O thou peerless one.’ When the Lord had consented by his silence to come thither, he planted the rajayatana-tree on that very spot as a sacred memorial, and the Lord of the Worlds gave over the rajayatana-tree and the precious throne-seat to the naga-kings to do homage thereto. `In remembrance that I have used these do homage to them, ye naga-kings!

This, well beloved, will bring to pass blessing and happiness for you.’ When the Blessed One had uttered this and other exhortation to the nägas, he, the compassionate saviour of all the world, returned to Jetavana.

Here ends the Visit to Nagadipa.

In the third year after this, the naga-king Maniakkhika sought out the Saipbuddha and invited him, together with the brotherhood. In the eighth year after he had attained to buddhahood, when the Vanquisher was dwelling in Jetavana, the Master, set forth surrounded by five hundred bhikkhus, on the second day of the beautiful month of Vesäkha, at the fullmoon, and when the hour of the meal was announced the Vanquisher, prince of the wise, forthwith putting on his robe and taking his alms-bowl went to the Kalyani country, the habitation of Maniakkhika. Under a canopy decked with gems, raised upon the spot where (afterwards) the Kalyani cetiya was built, he took his place, together with the brotherhood of bhikkhus, upon a precious throne-seat. And, greatly rejoicing, the naga-king with his following served celestial food, both hard and soft, to the king of truth, the Conqueror, with his followers.

When the Teacher, compassionate to the whole world, had preached the doctrine there, he rose, the Master, and left the traces of his footsteps plain to sight on Sumanakuta And after he had spent the day as it pleased him at the foot of this mountain, with the brotherhood, be set forth for Dighavapi. And there the Master seated himself with the brotherhood at the place where the cetiya (thereafter) stood, and gave himself up to meditation, to consecrate the spot Then arose the Great Sage from that place, and knowing well which places were fit and which unfit he went to the place of the (later) Mahamegha vanarama. After he had seated himself with his disciples at the place, where the sacred Bodhi-tree came afterwards to be, the Master gave himself up to meditation; and likewise there where the Great Thüpa’ stood (in later days) and there also where (afterwards) the thupa in the Thuparama stood. Then when he rose up from meditation he went to the place of the (later) Silacetiya, and after the Leader of the assembly (of bhikkhus) had uttered exhortation to the assembly of devas, he, the Enlightened, who has trodden all the paths of enlightenment, returned thence to Jetavana.

Thus the Master of boundless wisdom, looking to the salvation of Lanka in time to come, and knowing in that time the highest good for the hosts of asuras and nagas and so forth in Lanka visited this fair island three times, be, the compassionate Enlightener of the world ; therefore this isle, radiant with the light of truth, came to high honour among faithful believers.

Here ends the Visit to Kalyani

Here ends the first chapter, called `The Visit of the Tathagata’, in the Mahavamsa, compiled for the serene joy and emotion of the pious.



The advantage of using metal coins is that they could be issued in smaller denominations. They could be used used for large , medium and small transactions. Almost all the coins issued by our mint-masters had fractional pieces.

Some of them are shown below.


Seated Goddess

large Elephant Multi symbol coin had Three Panas, Dvi-pana,. the Pana  and half  pana.

Date of Issue; found in strata 300 BC- 100 BC. Probably King Devanampiyatissa.

Coin in the Colombo Museum

Coins of the Colombo Museum

The Tree and Railed Swastika Series Struck

Date of Issue ; In strata 190 -100 BC at Apura. pre 100 BC Tissa.

Tree and swastika Cast det

The Inscribed Lion and Railed Swastika Series

Set Inscribed Lion and railed Swastika Coins

Date of Issue ; In strata 190 -100 BC at Apura.

The Standing lady and Railed Swastika Series.

Date of Issue ; In strata 210 -10 BC at Apura.Continuously used until 3.4 Cent AD

Set of maya devi coins


Goddess set struck


Date of Issue ; In strata 100-200 AD  At Godavaya dated by German excavation team.

Set of rectangular BUll Coin

A Set of Gold Kalandas

Set of Gold Coins Pot over VaseType III BGold Coins of Type I a

A Set of Parakramabahu  Coins

Parakramabahu Set

A Set of Queen Victoria Coins

Commodity value Money queen victoria


Brings back good old memories of the 60s when we were teenagers. You can listen to old favourites on Youtube.
Here is a collection of baila from You tube


Photo 03Seated; Sgt Rapiel Singho.2/Lt’s Tilak Paranagama .Lt’s WG Gunaratne. SamWijesinghe. CaptUstace . Fonseka MajorAPR David. LtBusterJayatunge. Tuder Perera. GalWeerasooriya. SB Randeniya.CE. Sgt Wijesinghe.
1 Row;standingCpl Fdo. CJ Abeyratne. HR Jayawardane.CASGC.Tilak Ponnaperuma.CLI. Dingo DharamapalaCCMP.  GW. Ranawana SR. Harry Coomaraswamy.SLI. GalWanasinghe CLI.Rajan De SilveSR.Subramanium,SR.KMS Perera CAC.Daya WijesekeraGW Cpl
2 Row Standing;2/Lt Lakatileka SR.CplKiridena2/lt’s B Munasinghe CEME.PitigalaCLI.Cpl.Cpl  Cpl  Cpl   2/Lt  BandaraGW, Pagoda CLI  Cpl  Cpl


fIRST yO BATCH 2Lt H Stave,COAC retired as Major- won sword of honour

2Lt Ilangantilleke,CCMP retired as Major

2Lt  Ariyaperuma CLI and GW KIA at Jaffna

2.Lt HF Rupasinghe CA retired as Brigadier

2/Lt Sali De Silva CA retired as

2.Lt Nanayakkara CLI retired as Brigadier

2.Lt GV Elapatha CAGSC retired as Briigadier