Athirajendra Chola
1067 - 1070
AssasinatedKing Vijayabahu I
1055 - 1070 | 1070 - 1110 |
AgeingKing Jayabahu I
1110 - 1110
King Vijayabahu I
House of Vijayabahu | Ruhuna - (1055 - 1070)
ijayabahu I (born, Prince Kitti ) (ruled 1055–1110) was a medieval king of Sri Lanka. Born to a royal bloodline, he grew up at a time when, part of the country was occupied by invaders from the Chola Kingdom of Tamilakam. He assumed rulership of the Ruhuna principality in the southern parts of the country in 1055. Following a seventeen-year-long campaign, he successfully drove the Chola out of the island in 1070, reuniting the country for the first time in over a century.[5][6] During his reign, he re-established Buddhism in Sri Lanka and repaired much of the damage caused to infrastructure during the wars.
 
Vijayabahu was born around 1039, by the name of Kitti (Keethi) in Ruhuna principality, the southern part of the country. He was the son of King Moggallana, a ruler of Ruhuna and Queen Lokitha. Sri Lanka was then under control of Chola invaders from South India, but Ruhuna was controlled by Sinhala kings resisting the Chola rule. When he was fifteen years of age Kitti defeated the last of such rulers, Lokissara, with the aim of becoming the king of Ruhuna. Subsequently in 1055, he became king of Ruhuna and attained the name of ‘’’Vijayabahu’’’.
 
The Chola army frequently attacked Vijayabahu’s troops in Ruhuna. However, he managed to free Ruhuna from the Cholas by 1058 and take it under his complete control.
 
After securing Ruhuna, his intention was to capture Polonnaruwa, the capital of the country. In 1066, he launched the first attack on Polonnaruwa, and captured and held the city for a brief time. However, after receiving reinforcements from South India, the strengthened Chola army attacked again, forcing Vijayabahu to flee.
 
He established himself in Wakirigala after this and concentrated on organizing his army for a fresh attempt to capture Polonnaruwa. During this time, he also had to face rebellions from other Sinhala leaders fighting for the throne. Overcoming these rebellions, Vijayabahu continued to muster his armies in order to retake the Capital, but was not strong enough to attempt another attack against the Chola army.And he made katharagama in Ruhuna as his capital and also he started to organize an army to defeat the cholas.
 
Civil war broke out during 1069–1070 in the Chola empire in South India, throwing the country into turmoil. The concerns within India prevented the empire from focusing on Sri Lanka, providing an opportunity for Vijayabahu to attack again while the Chola forces in Polonnaruwa were more or less isolated.
 
Starting from Mahanagakula on the south of the Walawe river, Vijayabahu dispatched three armies to attack Polonnaruwa from three fronts. One army was sent along the western shore of the country to Mahathittha port to deal with any reinforcements arriving from South India. Afterwards, part of this army moved towards Polonnaruwa and attacked from the North-west, while the other part held the ports to prevent reinforcements from arriving. A second army was sent from the east across Magama to attack Polonnaruwa from the east. The third and main force advanced across the country, led by the king. Surrounded by these three armies, Polonnaruwa was besieged for seven months before king Vijayabahu’s forces entered the city. In 1070, Vijayabahu became the ruler of Polonnaruwa.
 
Around 1084/1085, another quarrel with the Chola kingdom erupted when some ambassadors of Vijayabahu sent to West Chaiukya were harassed by them. However, the king’s decision for another war against the Chola Empire caused the Velakkara mercenaries serving in Vijayabahu’s army to rebel against him.Several generals of the army were killed by the mutineers and the royal palace was burnt down. Vijayabahu fled to Wakirigala again but returned to Polonnaruwa and recaptured it, suppressing the rebellion. The rebel leaders were captured and executed.
 
Vijayabahu is also noted for constructing roads to Sri Pada and building resting places called ‘’ambalama’’ for the benefit of the pilgrims. He also granted villages and cultivations for the service of the pilgrims and the shrine.
 
Vijayabahu died in 1110, having reigned as king of Sri Lanka for fifty-five years. He was then known as “Mahalu Vijayabahu” (Vijayabahu the old) due to his age and long rule of the country. He is also commonly referred to as Maha Vijayabahu (Vijayabahu the great). The Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army is named after him.
Relatives
SonKing Vikramabahu I1110 - 1131
DaughterPrincess Rathnawali -
Son in LawPrince Manabarana~ - ~
Grand SonKing Gajabahu II1131 - 1153
Grand SonKing Parakramabahu I1153 - 1186
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