Rain or no rain the finale of the Perahera in the hills ended with the Perahera of the Historic Dodanwela Devale at Yatinuwara, where the last battle for the supremacy for the Kandyan Kingdom was fought and won over the Portuguese.
King Rajasinghe the second, left a legacy three hundred and seventy seven years ago, for the people of the country by gifting his golden crown to God Natha at Dodanwela Devale in Yatinuwara electorate, but it was sold by an ex-convict for a measly sum of two thousand rupees, due to the callous nature of the Archaeological Department. Rajasinghe gifted his golden crown after his victory over the Portuguese, at Gannoruwa ‘Satana’ or the Battle of Gannoruwa in 1638.
"The Portuguese were bent on the wealth of the country and above all how best they could preach their own religion – Catholicism. But, the King also had the Franciscan monks with him and they were his unofficial advisers."
The jacket of Rajasinghe which was taken away for repairs from the same devale by the Archaeological Department has not been returned according to the Basnayake Nilame of Dodanwela Devale Priyantha Bandara Jayasundera.
After the battle, the soldiers of the King tried to find the body of Captain General Diogo de Melo, but it was near found. His sword was found from the pile of heads stacked in the shape of a pyramid. This sword was later gifted to Dutch Admiral Westerwold by the King himself.
In 1961, an ex-convict L.E.Perera of Kelaniya stole the crown from the Kandy National Museum.
On 28th March 1638 King Rajasinghe II routed the Portuguese Army and piled the heads of the Portuguese soldiers onto a four cornered mountain which became the battle fields of Gannoruwa. With this the Dutch was brought into the country by Rajasinghe II and twenty years later they were driven out of the country for ever, only leaving a legacy of Portuguese and Dutch names, including the name ‘Walauwa’ - one roofed house.
By 1635, King Senerath passed away and his son Rajasinghe born to Kusumansana Devi or Dona Catherina came on to the Throne of Kandy, as Rajasinghe II. During the same period, King Rajasinghe was looking at how he could save himself and the kingdom from the Portuguese who had been eyeing the Kandyan Kingdom. He thought that the Dutch would be the ‘best’ friend for him to rule his hilly territory.
The Portuguese were bent on the wealth of the country and above all how best they could preach their own religion – Catholicism. But, the King also had the Franciscan monks with him and they were his unofficial advisers.
On sixteenth March 1638 close to Palm Sunday, De Melo led the campaign for a war with King Rajasinghe II. But, little did De Melo and Furtado know, that though, the King had no regular army as such, the entire Kingdom could be called to war within a few minutes. But, the King was not inclined to a war with the Portuguese, as he knew that there must be peace within his Kingdom for the people to live happily.
The battle of Gannoruwa ended on 28th March 1638 – three hundred and seventy seven years ago, and was the last battle by a Kandyan King, with the crown stolen by an ex-convict for the thrill of keeping his name.
The Archaeological Department substituted the crown, declared open by Wllliam Gopallawa.with a few pieces of gold and gems kept around the duplicate crown.
But the Perahera at Dodanwela Devale brings back the memories of the Kandyan war routing the Portuguese. In this Perahera the original Palanquin of the King, which is over four hundred years old is taken in procession and is an object of historical importance.
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