Home: The Mahavamsa

Sinhalese history is authenticated by the concurrence of every evidence that can contribute to verify the annals of any country - "Ceylon" Pearl of the East by Harry Williams
history of sri lanka, the mahavamsa

The Mahavamsa "The Great Chronicle" otherwise known as "The Great Dynasty" is the single most important work of Lankan origin (written in Pali language). It describes the life and times of the people who forged our nation, from the coming of Vijaya in 543 BCE to the reign of King Mahasena (334 – 361) (6th Century BC to 4th Century AD). A companion volume, the Culavamsa or Choolavansha ("lesser chronicle"), covers the period from the 4th century to the British takeover of Sri Lanka in 1815.

The Mahavamsa itself is actually comprised of three parts, all written at different times in Lankan history. The combined work, sometimes collectively referred to as the "Mahavamsa" or "Mahawansha", provides a continuous historical record of over two millennia and can be considered as the world’s longest unbroken historic record. Continue..


Mahavamsa Original Version | More about Mahavamsa | Mahavamsa Simplified

Introduction to George Turnour’s edition of the Mahavamsa

In the year 1826 an Englishman, the Hon. George Turnour sat in his office in the Kachcheri buildings at Ratnapura in the Saffragam Province of Ceylon. Those were the days of Empire, full-blooded and confident. The Colonial Service, in particular, was attracting men of culture and high feeling, for whom the betterment of mankind in general, and not personal prosperity, was the principal objective. George Turnour was one of these men, and history has shown him scant recognition, for his contribution to a fuller knowledge of the past must be considered unique.

The documents which lay on the desk before him that morning were not connected with his routine duties as Government Agent of the Province. They afforded the key, if a scholar could be found to decipher them, to such fabulous historic riches that the mere sight of them filled Turnour with excitement. He resolved to dedicate his own life to the task of solving the problem. Read More..

Mahavamsa English Translation from chapter 1 - 37

01 The Visit of the Tathagata 20 The Nibbana of the Thera
02 The Race of Mahasammata 21 The Five Kings
03 The First Council 22 The Birth of Prince Gamani
04 The Second Council 23 The Levying of the Warriors
05 The Third Council 24 The War of the Two Brothers
06 The Coming of Vijaya 25 The Victory of Duttha Gamani
07 The Consecrating of Vijaya 26 The Maricavatti-vihara
08 The Consecrating of Panduvasudeva 27 The Consecrating of the Lohapasada
09 The Consecrating of Abhaya 28 Build the Great Thupa
10 The Consecrating of Pandukabhaya 29 The Beginning of the Great Thupa
11 King Devanampiya Tissa 30 The Making of the Relic Chamber
12 The Converting of Different Countries 31 The Enshrining of the Relics
13 The Coming of Mahinda 32 The Entrance to the Tusita-Heaven
14 The Entry into the Capital 33 The Ten Kings
15 The Acceptance of the Maha Vihara 34 The Eleven Kings
16 The Acceptance of the Cetiyapabbata-Vihara 35 The Twelve Kings
17 The Arrival of the Relics 36 The Thirteen Kings
18 The Recieving of the Great Bodhi-tree 37 King Mahasena
19 The Coming of the Bodhi Tree
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