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King Raawana
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The Raawana Puraanaya  is an extremely fascinating story that talks about a large
scale war between two kings. Prince Rama in Mahabarata (India) and the
 King Raawana in the island of Sri Lanka.


The of Heladiva dates human habitation to 125,000 years and beyond. Around 30,000 years ago it is possible that an agrarian based society developed, supporting a self-sufficient lifestyle. This assumption is based on the oral tradition that speaks of an ancient Hela King named ‘Manu’ who ruled the Island from his capitol in Mannarama (‘Mannar’) around this time.

It is said that the ‘Hela New Year’ (that dawns on April 14th each year) is in fact, the annual celebration of the coronation of this famed King Manu. [The coronation coinciding with the Sun’s northerly movement, at a time when it was directly over the capitol Mannarama - at midday]. This legend has now been superseded by the 'official' version that relies solely on the astrological reasoning for the New Year - the transition of the Sun, from Pisces to Aries.

After King Manu’s royal dynasty there are other royal dynasties mentioned in the oral tradition, such as Tharaka (~10,000 years ago), Mahabali (~7500 years ago), and Raavana (~5000 years ago). Interestingly, of these kings, King Raavana’s technological and military prowess was so renowned that he is depicted in Indian literature as having ten heads and numerous hands holding a multitude of weapons. When eventually King Raavana succumbed, to the wrath of Rama, (his Indian nemesis) the people of India rejoiced in victory and celebrated in a festival atmosphere. To this day, the festival of 'Deepavali' celebrated each year by one billion Indians including the Tamil community, is a celebration of the defeat of this famed Hela King Raavana. 

[A romanticised version of the great saga between Rama and Raavana can be found in Valmiki's epic the ‘Ramayanaya’.]  

The war begun as the King Raawana invaded India (Maha Barata)and taken the
princess Sita (wife of prince Rama) to Sri Lanka by the 'aircraft' called
'dandu monaraya'(meaning, the peacock like structure made up of wood).
Raawana kept Sita in a cave with the security provided by his "Yashka"
battalion. Despite the well known power of Rawana and his continuous request
to marry him, Sita never considered the request.

Rama, in the meantime collected troops and weapons to fight back Raawana and
launched the war against Rawana. Rama finally won after a ferece battle with
the help of Vishnu, Vibhihana (now Gods in Hindu Religion) and the monkey
called 'Hanumantha'. Then he picked up his wife from the cave and returned
to India to become the king of India.
by Dr. Mirando Obeysekere - Daily News Thu Mar 6 2003

Was Sigiriya the abode of King Raawana...?

This was the question of Dr. Lal Sirinivas of Bangalore who accompanied me to observe the historical and geographical facts as well as the background of world famous Sigiriya the rock fortress of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya is one of the unique monuments of antiquity as well as pre-historic culture in our country. According to the Ramayana this giant fortress had been the Alakamanda Palace of King Kuwera about 50 centuries ago.

Grandson

King Kuwera was the grandson of Maharishi Pulasthi who was in Polonnaruwa. Kuwera's father Visravasmuni was the elder son of Maharishi Pulasthi. Kuwera was the elder son of Visravasmuni's first marriage with Princes Illavila, the beautiful daughter of a Brahmin - hermit called Bharadwaja Magina. Later King Visravasmuni married Kesini, the beautiful daughter of Sumalin King of Asura so, king Visravasmuni had a group of children by his second marriage with Kesini. They were Raawana, Vibhishana, Kumbakarana Hema and Suparikha.

Kuwera, the first son of King Visravasmuni ascended the throne of Sri Lanka after the death of his father and ruled the country in a just and righteous manner. So, with the passage of time, Raawana the step brother of Kuwera, advanced in power, and got interested in the reign of Sri Lanka. Then he asked for the transfer of Alakamanda which was the abode of Kuwera, along with the throne and aeroplane called "Pushpika". Kuwera was furious because of the unjust request of Raawana and chased, him away. But Raawana was not a coward to be easily bullied by anyone and he gathered of his Yakkha relatives to wage war against Kuwera. Within a very short time Raawana the warrior came to power and got all of Kuwera's wealth, including the palace, throne and the air plane.

Four tribes

Some original historical records relate that the Sinhala race was formed by the combination of four Sri Lankan tribes such as Naga, Yakkha, Dewa and Gandhabba all related to Maharishi Pulasti's family. So, the Sivhelas (four tribes) who worshipped the sun god were united under the flag of king Ravana and developed this resplendent island to be the treasure house of the Orient. The Raawana  flag depicting the Sun and Moon with Ravenna's portrait is the oldest flag of Sri Lanka. The present lion flag was brought here by King Vijaya about 25 centuries ago.

As soon as Ravana came to power he built a temple for his beloved parents. King Visravasmuni and Kesini it is said that worshipping dead leaders was an ancient ritual of Yakkha nobles in Sri Lanka."

Visravasmuni Temple" at Anuradhapura had been changed into a Buddhist shrine after the days of King Pandukabaya, who had a special regard for Yakkhas. This identifical temple is now called "Isurumuniya" The world famous stone carving of the lovers - at Isurumuniya Vihara - depict none other than the parents of Ravana.

Chithrakuta According to ancient ola manuscript - "Raawana Katha" the foremost designer of Sigiriya was the talented architect called Maya Dannawa. He had built Sigiriya for the order of king Vistawas the father of King Ravana. Sigiriya was known as Alakamanda during the days of Kuwera and later it was known as Chitrakuta.

"Raawana Katha" an ancient ola book says that, after Ravana's death Vibhishana came to power and transferred the royal Palace - fortress and the capital from the hill country to Kelaniya. Then, Chitrakuta the Palace fortress of Raawana became the residence of a Yakkha noble called Chithraraja, a relative of Vibhisana, Chitraraja, the hero who helped King Pandukabhaya (437-367 BC) and his parent was a descendant of Chitraraja senior. Since the days of King Pandukabhaya, Chitraraja Palace had been a Yakkha temple and later king Dhatusena's son Kassapa (459-447 AD) arranged a coup d'etat against the father and chose Chitrakuta temple for his palace fortress as he had a belief that his mother too was a descendant of Yakkha dynasty. King Kassapa is the only King who had renovated Chitrakuta (Sigiriya) and maintained it as Ravana did.

"Raawana Katha" the ancient ola book relates that world famous frescoes of Sigiriya depict the beautiful damsels of Ravenna's harem and later those murals had been re-drawn by those who maintained the treasure house. Most of the blue figures depict the Yakkha damsels and others depict Naga, Deva and Gandabbha damsels. The beautiful flowers in their hands show the national unity.

Lift

Chitrakuta is the only Sri Lankan fortress which had a wooden lift operated from top to bottom. If any one enters this great fortress through the lion's head, he will be able to see a huge hole on the rock. Stone structures and stands both on the top and bottom of this "route-hole" are believed to be places on which the wooden lift had been fixed. King Ravana's period was famous for woodcraft and they used a "lift" too, for the day to day work in the fort.

History relates that Ravenna's air-plane was also made of light wood which was brought from Himalayan forests. Archaeologists, historians and some legends say that there were more than 500 paintings on the walls of Chitrakuta and most of them had been dilapidated due to natural causes. King Raawana was talented in all the fine arts as well as physician and pundit.

So, we Sri Lankans should be proud enough to have Chitrakuta or Sigiriya, the world's oldest palace fortress.