King Dutugamunu after securing the south started the campaign against King Elara. He built a large army and marched towards Anuradhapura. During his march he destroyed many outposts that belong to King Elara. King Elara’s men fled to Anuradhapura and sheltered inside Vijithanagara fortress located 25 mils from the capital, Anuradhapura.
King Dutugamunu setup his camp near Vijithanagara fortress. While preparing for the war, King sent Kandula the elephant to attack Nandimitra to test his strength. Nandimitra held the elephant from its tusks and seated the elephant on its rear end. The village where this happened was named Hasthipura. After this incident, kandula grabbed a big stone and hid it inside his mouth to attack Nandimitra whenever he gets a chance.
At the right time, the King attacked Vijithanagara. Damila soldiers in the fortress poured hot molten iron on the incoming army. When lava hit Kandula, he ran away and jumped to a lake nearby.
Gothaimbara saw Kandula submerged in the lake and yelled at the elephant to go back to the battlefield, saying “Did you come here to battle or relax”. Kandula came back and charged towards the fortress gate. A huge stone was dropped on Kandula by Damila soldiers. Nandimitra jumped up and guided the stone out of the elephant saving it from getting hit. Seeing that, Kandula let go the grudge he had with Nandimitra and dropped the stone.
After four months of fighting, King Dutugamunu was able to destroy the fortress. After capturing the fortress, King Dutugamunu started to march towards Anuradhapura. King Elara with his large army came to meet King Dutugamunu. They met near the south gate of the city. King Elara was mounted on elephant Maha Pabbatha (Big Rock) while King Dutugamunu was mounted on Kandula. In the battle between two Kings, King Dutugamunu killed King Elara and subdued King Elara’s army. After beating King Elara, King Dutugamunu started to march towards the city.
King Dutugamunu came to the city and summoned all the people and conducted the funeral rights of the fallen King. A decree was issued to respect the cemetery of King Elara. Every man and woman who passes near King Elara’s cemetery was ordered to take their hats and shoes off. After conquering King Elara, King Dutugamunu overpowered thirty two Damila Kings and brought the whole country under one rule.
Author’s Note: King Elara’s cemetery still exists in Anuradhapura.
Maricavatti Vihara (Mirisavati Vihara):
After conquering Anuradhapura, King Dutugamunu built the Mirisavati Vihara.
Loha Pasada (Today known as Lowa Maha Paaya):
King Dutugamunu’s next project was magnificent Lowa Maha Paaya. This was a nine story building constructed for Buddhist monks. It was 100 cubit long 100 cubit wide and 100 cubit tall.
(Author’s Note: Cubit is approximately 18 inches. Hence Lowa Maha Paaya is 150 feet in length, width and height. 150 feet is approximately 50 yards or half the length of a soccer field. Today only the Granite columns at the base exist. One would be able to see all 1,600 columns few feet away from Sri Maha Bodhi. Length and width given by Mahavamsa agrees with the existing footprint. Unfortunately height can not be verified but one sees no reason to doubt the Mahavamsa account).
Loha Pasada (Lowa Maha Paaya) had nine stories and had 1,000 rooms.
Roof of the Lowa Maha Paaya was constructed using Copper and the name Loha Pasada was given. (Loha is Copper or steel in Sinhalese). Lowa Maha Paaya was given to Maha Sangha (Buddhist monks) by King Dutugamunu.
Bibliographic Citations: Resources and Credit