Ceylon Archaeologia



(A.S.I. No. 488)


This inscription has been noticed by Dr. E. Müller in his Ancient inscription in Ceylon p.46. He says: The only inscription that has been discovered among the ruins is one of five lines in the alphabet of the fourth century[1], but very much defaced, so that nothing can be made out of it. I believe to have deciphered in the second line the word wahana, and this may possibly be an allusion to Skanda, the god of war, to whom the temple is dedicated[2]

The slab now stands to a height of 6ft. above the ground level; and the inscribed area measures 4ft. 9in. by 2ft. 10in. There are five lines of writing, engraved vertically from the top downwards. The letters, on and average, are about 4½ inches in height. The stone, being of a loose grained variety, is very much weathered; but, thanks to the deepness of the engraving, all the letters are legible except the first two of line I and the last letter of line 3. As stated above Dr. Müller ascribes this record to the fourth century; but the script, our only guide in dating the epigraph, agrees in every detail with that of dated inscriptions belonging to the first or second century A.D.

As regards grammar, the change of ca to ja is noticed in bikujarana for p. bhikku-ācariyān. In the from vadita (Skt. varddhita), the cerebralization of a dental when preceded or followed by an r, a feature almost universal in Sinhalese, is not observed. The modern equivalent of this word vädi goes back to a from vadita where the dental had been cerebralized. An instance of sandhi (euphonic combination of letters) is seen the from bikujarana which also supplies us with the only known example of an accusative plural termination in a document of this period. The two past passive participle verbal forms vadita (1. 3) and atadi (1. 5) are used here in an active sense. This is not the only instance in which this feature is noticed in old Sinhalese; and in the medieval and the modern forms of the language, the past indicative of the active voice in formed regularly by the addition of the personal suffixes to the p. p. p. form[3].

The contents tell us that a certain elder of the Buddhist Church, by name Nanda, enlarged the caitya (i. e. the modern Kirivehera) and got the monks at Akujuka to construct the flights of steps at the four entrances.


1. (Si )[4] Kadaha(va)p[i]- gama Daka-

2. -vahanaka-vasiya-Nada-

3. tere ceta vadita [ll*] Akuju(ka)-

4. bikujarana samatavaya catara-

5. dorahi patagada atadi [ll*]


(Hail)! The elder Nanda[5], residing at Dakavahanaka in the village Kadahavapi enlarged the cetiya; [and] laid the steps at the four entrances having made the chief monks at Akujuka acquiesce [therein].


[Line 1] Kadahavapigama. In this name, the reading vapi is somewhat open the doubt. If the above reading be accepted, the name is equivalent to Pāli Kaṭāhavāpigāma which in the modern Sinhalese would take the from of Kaṭavägama. Possibly, the place is identical with Kaṭagamuva, a village five miles south-east of Kataragama.

[Line 1-2] Dakavahanaka seems to have been a part of the village Kadahavapi. In the modern Sinhalese, this name would be Diyavāna. Vahanaka, it may be mentioned is the original from of the mod. Sin. vāna ‘ the spill of an irrigation reservoir ‘. It is plausible that the name was applied to that part of the village close to the spill of the village tank.

[Line 2] Vasiya = P. vāsika; mod. Sin. väsi.

[Line 3] Ceta= Skt. caitya, P. cetiya. In the next inscription, the word has been further corrupted to ceya. In the ninth - century language, it occurs in the forms sey and . Mod. Sin. säya.

[Line 3] Akuju[ku]. From the context this appears to have been a place name. An unpublished rock inscription of Gajabāhu I at Situlpavuvihāra in the Māgam Pattu contains the name Akuju Mahagama (the great village of Akuju).

[Line 4] Bikujarana. Accusative singular of the compound formed of the two words biku (P.bhikkhu) and ajara (P. ācariya). The second word occurs in the oldest stage of the Sinhalese language as acariya and in the classical speech as äjara.

[Line 4] Samatavaya. P. sammatāpayitvā , the causal past participle of the root sam-man. The medieval Sinhalese from of the word was samanvā.

[Line 5] Dorahi. The locative singular of dora (Mod. Sin. dora, P.and Skt. dvāra) ‘door’.

[Line 5] Patagaa. This word occurs in the inscriptions of circa second century B.C. as Padagaa ; in an inscription of about the seventh century as patagaa and in Sinhalese literature as Piyagäa. Its Pāli from is padagaṇṭhi (see Mahāvamsaṭῑkā , Colombo edition of 1894, P. 214) which seems to be a word of Ceylon origin as it is found only in such pāli works as were written in Ceylon.

[Line 5] Ataini. Skt. āstṛta, P. atthaṭa, Mod Sin. ätirῑ.


[1] As regards this statement, see the next paragraph.

[2] As will be seen from the text and translations which follow, the three syllables vahana from part of a place-name and, therefore, there is no allusion to Skanda.

[3] For instance, the verb keē (he did) is formed by the addition of the third person singular suffix ē to the from kaa which is the p.p.p. of the root kar to do.

[4] The syllable si is faintly visible in the impression; and between that and the letter ka there is some space where, possibly, there was a vertical stroke used as a punctuation mark. Between the auspicious symbol and the next word, there is usually some space left blank in the inscription.

[5] P. Nanda.

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