Historical Significance

From the Ceylonese Chronicles, the Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa, Dathavamsa and others, it is known that the people from ancient Kalinga used to travel to Sri Lanka to establish political, religious and social linkages with the Sinhala people.

Kalinga Origin of King Vijaya

According to Ceylonese Pali chronicles Dipavamsa (Island chronicles) and Mahavamsa (Great Dynasty) - it was Vijaya, a prince from Kalinga who founded the Sinhala race in Sri Lanka. The prince along with his 700 followers exiled from their kingdom sailed to Tamraparni and established a new civilization in the island. He belonged to the Kalingan royal lineage. The very name “Sinhala” was the title bestowed to Vijaya’s father (in Kalinga) which he inherited. Having founded the kingdom in the name of Sinhala, Vijaya ruled for 32 years. Around 2,500 families of Kalingan origin migrated to Sri Lanka during his rule.

Lord Buddha’s Tooth Relic was brought to Annuradhapura from Kalinga

According to Dathavamsa, the King of Kalinga, Guhasiva, who was worshipping the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha was threatened by invasion from Pandu, the King of Magadha. Guhasiva secretly sent the Relic to Sri Lanka through his daughter Hemamala and son-in-law Dantakumara from his capital city “Dantapura” , to be delivered to his friend Mahasena, the ruler of the Buddhist kingdom of Lanka. They reached Annuradhapura in 310 A.D. and handed over the Tooth Relic to King Meghavanna, the son of Mahasena. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Sri Dalada Maligawa, situated in the city of Kandy, is one of the most sacred places of worship in Sri Lanka.

Nissanka Malla of Kalinga lineage becomes a Sinhala King

In the succeeding centuries, Kalinga and Lanka continued their close ties through political, commercial and religious exchanges. It was common practice for the rulers of Lanka to form dynastic alliances with the Kings of Kalinga. One of the greatest monarchs of Sri Lanka, King Vijayabahu-I (1055-1110 A.D.) was married to the Kalinga princess Triloka Sundari (Beauty of the Three Worlds).

It was also not uncommon for Kalinga princes to be anointed as King of Lanka. Nissanka Malla, known as Kirti Nissanka and Kalinga Lokesvara was the son of King Jayagopa of Kalinga who married the daughter of King Parakrambahu. He was said to have established a Kalinga Udyana (Park) and Kalinga Vana (Forest) to commemorate his birth place. A rock inscription of Nissanka Malla at Dambulla mentions that he was of the Kalinga dynasty and a descendant from the race of King Vijaya. Another inscription at Ruwanwelisaya describes him as a member of a royal family of Kalinga. By claiming to be descended from Vijaya, the first king of Sri Lanka, Nissanka Malla justified his right to the throne. He consolidated his position further by declaring that the rulers of Sri Lanka should adhere to Buddhism.