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Vijitanagara (विजितनगर) was a fortress–city in ancient Sri Lanka, built by minister of Prince Vijaya.

Variants of name


The exact location of the city is uncertain. However, a modern village with the same name exists near the ancient Kalawewa reservoir, which may be the location of ancient Vijithapura. There is an ancient temple here as well as a granite stone that locals believe to have been used by Dutthagamani's soldiers to sharpen their swords before their battle.[1] Other historians and archaeologists believe that the location is close to Kaduruwela near Polonnaruwa, where the ruins of an ancient fortress have been found.[2][3]


When Prince Vijaya (543–505 BCE), the first recorded ruler of the country of Lanka arrived from India, he brought a large retinue of his followers with him. These followers spread throughout the country, and established settlements. One of his chief followers named Vijitha or Vijita (विजित) founded the establishment which was then known as Vijitha Nagara (city of Vijitha) or Vijithagama (village of Vijitha).[4]

The city is believed to have been founded during the reign of king Panduvasudeva (r.504 BC - 474 BC), the third recorded king of Sri Lanka, who was the brother in law of the chieftain Vijitha.[5]

Mahavansa/Chapter 7 tells ....Here and there did Vijaya's ministers found villages. Anuradhagama was built by a man of that name near the Kadamba river; the chaplain Upatissa built Upatissagama on the bank of the Qambhira river, to the north of Anuradhagama. Three other ministers built, each for himself, Ujjeni, Uruvela, and the city of Vijita.

Mahavansa/Chapter 9 tells....When they heard of the coming of the princess Bhaddakaccana to Lanka her brothers also, except one, urged by their mother, departed thither. When on arriving they had visited the ruler of Lanka, Panduvasudeva and their youngest sister too and had lamented with her, they, hospitably received by the king and having the king's leave, went about the island of Lanka and took up their abode wheresoever it pleased them. The place where Rama settled is called Ramagona, the settlements of Uruvela and Anurädha (are called) by their names, and the settlements of Vijita, Dighayu, and Rohaijia are named Vijitagama, Dighayu, and Rohana. Anuradha built a tank and when he had built a palace to the south of this, he took up his abode there. Afterwards the great king Panduvasudeva consecrated his eldest son Abhaya as vice regent.

Mahavansa/Chapter 25 tells....All the Damilas on the bank of the river who had escaped death threw themselves for protection into the city named Vijitanagara. In a favourable open country he pitched a camp, and this became known by the name Khandhavarapitthi. Since the king, in order to take Vijitanagara, would fain put Nandhimitta to the test, he let loose Kandula upon him (once) when he saw him coming towards him. When the elephant came to overpower him, Nandhimitta seized with his hands his two tusks and forced him on his haunches. Since Nandhimitta fought with the elephant the village built on the spot where (it came to pass) is therefore named Hatthipora. When the king had (thus) put them both to the test he marched to Vijitanagara. Near the south gate befell a fearful battle between the warriors. But near the east gate did Velusumana, sitting on his horse, slay Damilas in great numbers.....When the king in four months had destroyed Vijitanagara he went thence to Girilaka and slew the Damila Giriya.....Thence he marched to Mahelanagara that had a triple trench and was surrounded by an undergrowth of kadamba flowers, possessed but one gate and was hard to come at; and staying there four months the king subdued the commander of Mahela by a cunningly planned battle.

Mahavansa/Chapter 25 tells....When he had thus overpowered thirty-two Damila kings Dutthagamani ruled over Lanka in single sovereignty. When Vijitanagara was destroyed the hero Dighajantuka had told Elara of the valour of his nephew, and to this nephew named Bhalluka he had sent a message to come hither. When Bhalluka had received (the message) from him he landed here, on the seventh day after the day of the burning of Elara, with sixty thousand men.

Bharhut inscriptions tell us about Vijita: Rail Inscriptions — S. W. Quadrant. 64. Vijitakasa Suchi dānam. = " Rail-gift of Vijita."

The city is mentioned again in the chronicles Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa, Rajavaliya and Thupavamsa nearly 300 years later during the reign of king Dutthagamani. The city is then a highly fortified stronghold of Elara, against whom Dutthagamani had launched a military campaign. The Thupavamsa mentions that it was defended by three moats and a high wall.[6] The wall had four gates made of wrought iron on the north, south, east and west. The Rajavaliya describes Vijithapura as a fortress second only to the then capital city of Anuradhapura. Dutthagamani's army laid siege on the city for four months before finally capturing it through simultaneous attacks on all four gates.[7]

After this, there is no more mention of Vijithapura in the ancient chronicles. However, historians believe that the city may have been an important trade center during the early stages of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, connecting several trade routes.[8]

विजित - विजितपुर

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[9] ने लेख किया है ...विजित = विजितपुर, लंका, (AS, AS, p.853): महावंश 7,45 के अनुसार इस नगर की स्थापना राजकुमार विजय के एक सामंत ने की थी. जनश्रुति में इस नगर का अभिज्ञान अनुराधपुर से 24 मील कालवापी कलवेव झील के समीप स्थिति वर्तमान विजितपुर से किया गया है. महावंश 25, 19-24 में भी इस नगर का उल्लेख है.


  1. Perera, Supun (2007-08-2007). "The little ocean of Rajarata". Sunday Observer.
  2. Siriweera, W. I. (2004). History of Sri Lanka. Dayawansa Jayakodi & Company. pp. 18,19,97,107. ISBN 955-551-257-4.
  3. de Silva, Theja (2009-04-12). "A destiny fulfilled". The Nation.
  4. Siriweera, W. I. (2004). History of Sri Lanka. Dayawansa Jayakodi & Company. pp. 18,19,97,107. ISBN 955-551-257-4.
  5. Wright, Arnold (1999). Twentieth century impressions of Ceylon: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. Asian Educational Services. p. 24. ISBN 978-81-206-1335-5.
  6. Moratuwagama, H. M. (1996). සිංහල ථුපවංසය—Sinhala Thupavansaya (Sinhala Thupavamsa) (in Sinhala). Rathna Publishers. p. 227. ISBN 955-569-068-5.
  7. Senaveratna, John M. (1997). The story of the Sinhalese from the most ancient times up to the end of "the Mahavansa" or Great dynasty: Vijaya to Maha Sena, B.C. 543 to A.D.302. Asian Educational Services. p. 125–128. ISBN 978-81-206-1271-6.
  8. Siriweera, W. I. (2004). History of Sri Lanka. Dayawansa Jayakodi & Company. pp. 18,19,97,107. ISBN 955-551-257-4.
  9. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.853