Sagama Inscription of King Buvenekabahu V (5 වන බුවනෙකබාහු රජ සමයේ සාගම සෙල්ලිපිය)

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Sagama lies 12 km from Kandy towards the Victoria reservoir belonging to Pathahewahete Divisional Secretariat Office of the Kandy District. The name “Sagama” means six villages. It is surrounded by six villages namely Nugaliyadda, Bettawatta, Godamunna, Kapuliyadda, Haputale and Mahamedagama.

The Sagama Rock Inscription is found at Nugaliyadda in Sagama about 100 meters away (straight line distance) from the historic Sagama Rajamaha Viharaya of Kandyan era. This 21 line inscription is considered special for the information it carries of the 14th century.

Importance of the Sagama Rock Inscription

This inscription made on the 9th year of king Buwanekabahu V (1372-1408) is the first attestation of what was to become deity Natha’s intimate relationship to Sinhala up-country rule. By this time, Bhuvanekabahu V had succeeded Vikramabahu III at Gampola, but in actuality the Alakesvara family remained in firm control (Holt,1991).

the inscription links the political fortunes of the Sinhala throne to the deity Natha for the first time in Sinhala history. Here, Natha is envisioned as a great protector of the Sinhala kingdom who appears
intimately to its leaders, giving them decisive direction leading to victory and prosperity.

Here deity Natha is joined with “Deity of the Na Tree” in showing the way to victory in battle. the Na tree (Iron Wood tree) is regarded as the future Mithree Buddha’s bodhi. However Paranavitana believes that he to be a local deity of the region who happened to be worshipped during the 14th century.

Translation of the Inscription

According to prof. Paranavithana who had documented this inscription in ’Epigraphia Zeylanica vol 4, describes the content of the inscription

Prosperity! In the ninth year of the pre-eminent king Śrī Bhuvanaikabāhu in whom Fame abode just as Fortune was well attached [to him], who is the ornament of the Solar dynasty, the supreme Lord of the three Siṁhaḷas and the possessor of the Nine Gems.

The two brothers Aḷakeśvara and Devamantrīśvara‚ being mines for the gems which are virtues, are [comparable to] the Ocean; being the bearers of extolled power or spears are [comparable to] the Six-faced (God Skanda); [they] have their faces averted from the women [belonging to] others; [their] mother’s lineage is the Gaṇaväsi family which arrived [in this island] bringing the sacred Bodhi [tree]; their father’s lineage is the Meṇavara family and [they] are radiant with a glory which fully illuminated these two [families as well as the whole] world just as the Sun and the Moon [illuminate the mountains] Yugandhara and Surindhara.

In the endeavour which is being made by these two brothers for the benefit of the State and the Church in Lakdiva Lord Nātha of Senkaḍagala and the God of the Nā-tree came to their assistance, appeared to them in a dream and pointed out the means of victory, causing the hostile party [to decline] like the moon in the second half of the lunar month and the friendly party [to flourish] like the moon in the first half of the lunar month; thus, with divine favour [they] made Laṁkā [subject to the authority of] one umbrella and caused everything to prosper.

In consideration thereof, fields of the sowing capacity of two yāḷas and ten amuṇas of seed (paddy), in the village of Saputala comprised in Sagama, and properties included in the house-sites of the village, plantations, and jungle appertaining to this were granted as a free-hold enduring so long as the Sun and Moon last, so that bowls of cooked rice maybe incessantly offered in the names of these two noble ministers to the [gods above named].

In connexion with this estate thus granted, it should be maintained for long as belonging to the shrine of the god, by kings, sub-kings, great ministers and other dignitaries of the future who desire their own prosperity (Paranavitana,1943).


  1. Paranavitana, S. (1943) ‘No. 38. SAGAMA ROCK INSCRIPTION OF BHUVANAIKABAHU V.’, in Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being Lithic and Other Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol IV (1934-1941). London: Published for the Government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford, pp. 296–311.
  2. Abeyawardhana, H. A. P. (2004) Heritage of Kandurata: Major Natural, Cultural, and Historic Sites. Kandy: Kandurata Development Bank, in association with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
  3. Lawrie, A.C. (1896) A Gazetteer of the Central Province of Ceylon (excluding Walapane) Vol 1 (2 vols). Colombo: George J.A. Skeen, Government Printer.
  4. Holt, J.C. (1991) Buddha in the Crown: Avalokiteśvara in the Buddhist traditions of Sri Lanka. New York (N.Y.): Oxford University Press.

Also See

Map of Sagama Inscription of King Buvenekabahu V

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Driving Directions to Sagama Inscription of King Buvenekabahu V

Kandy can be reached from Colombo on the old Colombo – Kandy road (option 1) which is scenic but heavy in traffic, especially on Fridays and Sundays. However, the new Central Expressway (option 2) has opened up a new route which is longer but less cumbersome.

Route 1 from Colombo to KandyRoute 2 from Colombo to Kandy
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala
Distance :150 km
Travel time: 3.20 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala
Distance :150 km
Travel Time: 3.20 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Route From Nuwara Eliya to Kandy
Through : Walapane – Raja Mawatha
Distance :100 km
Travel Time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Route from Kandy to Sagama Inscription of King Buvenekabahu V
Though : Ampitiya
Distance : 13 km
Travel time : 30 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


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