Dhatusena of Anuradhapura
|King of Anuradhapura|
|Royal House||House of Moriya|
Dhatusena was a king of Sri Lanka who ruled from 455 to 473 A.D. He was the first king of the royal Moriyan dynasty of Sri Lanka. In some records, he is also identified as Dasenkeli. Dhatusena reunited the country under his rule after twenty six years, defeating the South Indian invaders that were ruling the country at that time. Dhatusena made eighteen irrigation tanks, a large irrigation canal known as Yodha Ela, and the Avukana statue, a large statue of Lord Buddha.
Early life and becoming king
Dhatusena was the son of Sangha, the daughter of King Mahanama who ruled from 410 to 432 A.D. The country was invaded in 433 A.D. by six Tamil leaders from South India, known as the six Dravidians. They overthrew the Sri Lankan monarch and ruled the country for twenty six years, from 433 to 459 A.D. During this time, Sinhalese leaders abandoned Rajarata and fled to the Ruhuna principality in the south of the country. Ruhuna was used as the base for resistance against the invading rulers.
Dhatusena was raised by his uncle, a Buddhist monk named Mahanama. The Pandyan invaders were searching for Dhatusena, and his uncle ordained him as a Buddhist monk to disguise him. Dhatusena later organised a resistance movement against the Tamil invaders and led a rebellion against them. Dhatusena claimed the kingship of the country in 455. By the time Dhatusena started the rebellion, three of the six Pandayn invaders were already dead, and in the battles that occurred during the rebellion, two more were killed. The final battle took place in 459, where the last king, Pithiya, was killed. Having successfully defeated the Pandyan invaders, Dhatusena was crowned as the king of Sri Lanka in 459 A.D, taking Anuradhapura as his capital.
Services as king
Dhatusena built eighteen irrigation tanks in order to develop agriculture in the country. Among these tanks are the Kalavewa and Balaluwewa, which are interconnected and cover an area of 6,380 acres (2,580 ha).
Dhatusena had two sons, Moggallana I and Kashyapa I. Moggallana was the son of the royal consort and the rightful heir to the throne, while Kashyapa was born to a non-royal concubine. Dhatusena’s daughter was married to his sister’s son and the general of his army, Migara. Following an argument between his daughter and sister, Dhatusena ordered his sister to be killed. In reprisal, Migara encouraged and assisted Kashyapa to overthrow the king and take the throne. Kashyapa eventually rebelled against Dhatusena and overthrew him. Dhatusena was imprisoned and Kashyapa became the king of the country in 473 A.D.
Migara led Kashyapa to believe that Dhatusena had hidden treasures of great wealth and persuaded him to find these. When asked to lead Kashyapa to where these treasures were hidden, Dhatusena led him to the Kalavewa and taking water into his hands, claimed that this was the only treasure he had. Enraged at this, Kashyapa had him killed by burying him alive in the bund of the Kalaweva.
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