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King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1781)

King Keerthi Sri Rajasingh
King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe presenting the credential ‘ Sangha Raja’ to Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thera.

Since King Sri Vijaya Rajasinghe had no sons, his chief consort’s brother became the king in the name, Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe. This king appears to have made a vast contribution towards both the educational and cultural awakening in the country,

Eventhough the rulers in Udarata restored the practice of higher ordination in various occasions, in was not  practically successful. Thus King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe , under the guidance  of Venerable Velivita Saranankara thero, got down monks from Siam ( Thailand) in 1753 and restored  the practice of higher ordination. Also, he reorganized the Buddha sasana by offering the ‘Sangaraja’ post to Venerable Velivita Saranankara thero. Also, he assisted each and every temple in Udarata by offering them ‘Viharagam’ (lands for the use of temples). The king restored  numerous Buddhist religious places such as Aluviharaya, Dambulla, Danakirigala, Lenagala, Bimba Vehera and Ridi Viharaya. The chronicle Chulavamsa mentions that during the reign of this king, images of Lord Buddha were erected at places  like Gangaramaya at Levella-Kandy, Kundasale temple and Ridi Viharaya at Kurunegala. Also he restored the templeof coastal region of the country and settled monks there. One of the outstanding contributions made by the King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe to the Buddhism is making arrangements to hold the Pageant of the sacred tooth relic annually.

Even though the king rendered an excellent patronage to the religion, a conspiracy was done against him in 1760 with the assistance of the chiefs and a few monks. Their aim was to murder the king and settle a Siam Prince on the throne. But this was not successful.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Dutch and the king showed sign of shattering. In 1760, Kandyan army invaded the low country areas which were rules by Dutch. Also, Dutch were informed that a representative of the British east India Company, John Pybus visited the Kandyan court in 1762. Even though this mission was unsuccessful, dutch feared that Kandyan king will develop relationships with foreigners and therefore they invaded Udarata in 1763. Even though they succedded in re-capturing the areas invaded by the king, they couldn’t capture the king or inter into a treaty with the king. So, they invaded Udarata again in 1765, by an army led by Governor Van eck. The king realized the precaurious situation and showed his willingness for peace. The Dutch demanded that the king should surrender and be a ruler, who pays annual tribute to the Dutch. The king rejected this proposal and fled from the capital. Thus the Dutch plundered the capital and set fire to it.

Since the king had disputes with chiefs in his court, he expressed his willingness to enter into a treaty with Governor Vilhem Folk, who succeeded Van Eck. thus Dutch prepared a treaty  that contained conditions advantageous to them and it was signed in 1766. According to this treaty, Dutch got hold of a legal authority for low country. The disavanis of Matara, Colombo, Galle, Jaffna and the districts of Kalplitiya, Mannar, Trincomalee and Batticoloa were taken under the sovereignty of  Dutch, while a strip of the sea  board  of about one gavva (about 2 miles) in width was donated to Dutch. In addition, the trade in the hill country, peeling of cinnamon and transportation of timber were entrusted to the Dutch.

Another condition in the treaty was that, the salterns will be  owned by the Kandyan kingdom and it was agreed that Sinahalese who fled to Kandyan Kingdom and to low country should be sent back home.

Along with these situations, King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghedied in 1781.


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    25/08/2022 at 11:15

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  • […] old temple contains some beautiful paintings of old buildings. These paintings were made by King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe in the 18th century. Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe ruled the Kandyan Kingdom and helped this temple […]

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