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Queen Viharamaha Devi

Kelaniya, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.


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Viharamahadevi (Sinhala:විහාරමහාදෙවි) was the mother of King Dutugamunu, Saddhatissa and the Queen consort of King Kavantissa (King of the Ruhuna Sri Lanka).In the nowadays her name has been deciphered and says her name might have been "Sharwaree" which means evening.

Queen Viharamahadevi was the daughter of King Kelanitissa who ruled Kelaniya. The King punished an innocent monk once by boiling him alive in a cauldron of oil. It is said that the gods, angered over this cruel deed, made the ocean rush inland and flood the land. Soothsayers said that if a princess is sacrificed to the sea, the raging waves will stop. The young princess sacrificed herself for the sins of her father and for the safe of her motherland. She was placed inside a beautifully decorated boat which bore the letters Daughter of a King and set adrift on the sea.

As soon as she was set off, it is said, the sea suddenly turned calm again and the water receded. However, the King was very upset, the Queen was wailing and the citizens were very angry over the loss of their brave princess. They all started blaming the King.

Meanwhile, the young princess finally reached the shore, at a spot known as Dovera in Kirinda,in the southern part of the country, then known as Rohana (now Ruhuna) which was a quite prosperous area during this era ruled by King Kavantissa. A fisherman who first spotted the boat is said to have run to the castle, and informed the King about the cast- away princess. The Thupavamsa says birds who first spotted the floating boat informed the King.

The princess was brought before the King in a procession. And the King, on hearing her story, was so impressed that he decided to marry the princess who had been so brave and patriotic to sacrifice her life for her country. As a part of the legend it's said as she reached the shore at a spot close to the Lanka Vihara, she was named Viharamahadevi. The place where she landed is marked with an inscription laid there by Prince Mahanaga.

She bore the King two sons, Dutugemunu and Saddhatissa. The former is one of the greatest heroes of Sri Lanka, while Viharamahadevi herself is recognised as a great heroine of Sri Lanka.