Mon, 06 Dec 2021 Today's Paper

The saga behind Sri Lanka’s lost crown

Officials took the crown to the Kandy National Museum. Then a robber took away this valuable object,

6 February 2021 01:17 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

The picture shows a duplicate of the crown, worn by King Rajasinghe II, made of silver and now lying at the Kandy National Museum

 

When we are celebrating the 73rd Independence we should look back at what we have lost. We have nothing left of a free nation due to the foolhardiness of government officials who thought they were trying to protect the national treasures. There are a number of stories, but this one relates to the time when this writer was serving ‘Ceylon Daily Mirror’. The story was initially related by a watcher.


This story is associated with the ‘Gold Crown’ of King Rajasinghe II, the first to drive the Portuguese out of the Kandyan Kingdom. The king regained the glory of Sri Lanka until the British brought the Kandyan Kingdom under their rule.


King Rajasinghe II ( 1612-1687) was a warrior King and a good swordsman of the Kandyan Kingdom. The death of King Rajasinghe II brought an end to the chapter of the Kandyan Kingdom. We are still celebrating the bravery of Rajasinghe who wiped out the Portuguese menace on March 29, 1638. 

 

With the crown in his possession he went to a ‘night kade’ took out the object trampled it, put it into a paper bag and went to meet a person by the name of John who was at the bus stop. Both boarded a bus and headed for Colombo, but at Mawanella John left Kirthipala hence the latter went to Colombo

 


King Rajasinghe II is famous for the Battle of Gannoruwa where he routed the Portuguese and then offered his ‘Golden Crown’ to Dodanwela Natha Devale after the famous battle. This he did as a vow he made before the battle. We still celebrate this event with the Annual Perahera and also by taking the original palanquin in the pageant and also a replica of the crown.


But the Archaeological Department thought some years later that the crown was not safe at the devale ((Shrine), though it had been guarded by the Kapuralas and the Basnayake Nilames for decades. They removed it to the Kandy National Museum. Then a robber took away the crown, trampled it flat, and sold the jewels. The nation lost the last remanents of our heritage due to the foolhardiness of a public official. At present the Kandy National Museum displays what is a replica of the crown, made of silver.    


King Rajasinghe II left a landmark by presenting his crown as a vow. The two Commanders in the battle were Gen. Wijepala for the King and Digeo de Melo for the Portuguese. The loss for the Portuguese amounted to around 4000 personnel and the figures of the Kandyan Army are not known.


For the record the golden crown, kept at the devale, was taken during the annual pageant. Similar to the story regarding the crown being stollen two tusks kept at the Pasgama Devle vanished without a trace. Going back to the Golden Crown it was removed from the museum on September 18,1961.


Kandy Police were unsuccessful in their investigations with regard to trace the robber. The Criminal Investigation Department took over investigations thereafter. 


The Investigation was handed to Inspector Rodney Kitulegoda, who had been in Kandy during his tenure.  
Following a lead it came to light that there was an ex-convict at Kelaniya who had a large collection of Jewelry. He had come in contact with another ex-convict named Kirthipala. Immediately on the orders of Investigator Kitulegoda, a surveillance team was placed around the area; especially in the vicinity of the house of one L.E Perera.


By early October Galle Police had arrested Kirithipla and L.E.Perera. The CID brought both to Colombo and also obtained a search warrant to search the house of LE.Perera where they found a bundle of red precious stones,gold clippings and a plier.


The curator of the Kandy National Museum who was summoned by the Police and shown the precious stones said that they seem to belong to the lost crown. During the robbery Kirthipala climbed on the roof of the museum and through the ceiling went into the gallery, forced open the display box and took out the crown without any respect to the object worn by a king.


With the crown in his possession he went to a ‘night kade’ took out the object trampled it, put it into a paper bag and went to meet a person by the name of John who was at the bus stop. Both boarded a bus and headed for Colombo, but at Mawanella John left Kirthipala hence the latter went to Colombo.  


Kirthipala then broke the crown to small pieces and then asked another ex-convict Somay to sell the pieces to a jeweler. This valuable piece having immense historic value was sold for two thousand rupees.

  Comments - 0


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment





A Sri Lankan giving dignified burials to unclaimed bodies for five decades

After their death, most people are memorialized at a service, surrounded by g

Focus on Laggala Gem mining big shots bigger than the law

The truth is now being uncovered regarding an illegal mining racket in state

How and why the TNA was formed twenty years ago

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is now twenty years of age. The premier pol

India lays emphasis on culture diplomacy with Sri Lanka

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to inaugurate the Kushinagar Inter