A Battle Map of the Dutch Invasion of Kandy in 1765

Presented by Brig Hiran Halangode, retd] GW SLA

Chamikara Pilapitiya, author of book titled Maha Nuwara Yugaye Apprakata Viththi* has gifted a copy of a rare Battle Map of the Dutch invasion of Kandy in 1765 to Trinity College Kandy. An image of the gifted copy of the map is given below. It shows a detailed description of the trench lines and the gun batteries in and around the town of Kandy, which was used by the Kandyan army to attack the invading Dutch army in 1765.

 Mr. Chamikara Pilapitiya presenting a copy of his book to then Principal of Trinity College in 2019.

The original map is available in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

* Information about the book is given in page 4. The enlarged versions of the above image are given below.

The narrative of the map is given below.

   Mr. Chamikara Pilapitiya (2nd from left) handing over the copy of the map to the Acting Principal Dr Nalin Wikramanayake and Co-Vice Principal Mr Ananda Marasinghe.

“Maha Nuwara Yugaye Apprakata Viththi” by Chamikara Pilapitiya

Source: https://www.trinitycollege.lk/2019/09/27/maha-nuwara-yugaye-apprakata-viththi-book-donation-


Guns and Men of the Kandyan Era

A book titled  “Maha  Nuwara  Yugaye  Apprakata  Viththi”,  written  by  fellow  Trinitian Chamikara Pilapitiya has been published by Neptune Publications (Private) Limited and is now available for sale in leading bookstores. The book, the title of which translates to “Little Known Facts of the Kandyan Period” is an impressive two-volume publication (“Palawana Veluma” and “Dewana Veluma”) containing over five hundred illustrations. The scope of this book is the unknown history of the Kandyan kingdom and its people from 1400 – 1948AD.

According to the author, the book is the culmination of more than twelve years of research. The research is based on original manuscripts discovered in Sri Lanka and from sources abroad and are considered as the primary sources used in this research. The main focus is on the facts extracted from them.

Some contents in the book would be truly fascinating to readers. Among them are the horoscopes of King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe, his Queen Rengammal, Ehelepola Kumarihamy, and Veera Puran Appu as well as an eyewitness account of the proceedings during the signing of the Kandyan treaty in 1815AD never being published before.

Also in the publication are details of the history of the Sangakkara family to which Cricketer Kumar Sangakkara belongs. Therefore, without doubt the majority of the general readership ought to find this publication informative and interesting.

The book has an eye witness account of the distinguished old boy of Trinity College, Sir Richard Aluvihare, on his experience during World War I. He was in the fourth line that advanced to the German lines in the battle of the Somme on the 1st of July 1916 commencing at 7.30am.

All his comrades died in the battle that took the lives of one million, while he survived with three bullets wounds. After his return to Ceylon, Sir Richard Aluvihare eventually became the first Ceylonese to become the Inspector General of Police in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon).

The book also contains information of the Dunuwille family, direct descendants of the first and second king of Kandy, who donated the land to Trinity College.

Some illustrations in the book are being made public for the first time; among the illustrations are pictures of the oldest Sri Lankan gun dating back to 1577, the largest “Kodi thuwakku” in the country, the gun of King Rajasinghe II and the oldest cannon used by the Sinhalese army dating back to 1700s.

There is also a picture of a purpose-built sniper gun of Sri Lankan origin called the “King of All Guns” which is now in a museum in USA. Other illustrations include battle maps and sketches which have not been previously published.

Two such interesting ones are a picture from the Netherlands dating to 1766 of the Kandyan Army on parade, and a map of the City of Kandy drawn by the Dutch during the invasion in 1765.

Taking yet another interesting turn, the book also has a chapter on “Nittevo”- considered as a kind of primitive man or ape believed to have been exterminated by the Veddas about 250 years ago.

Although this is to be considered as an academic or scholarly piece of work, the author has attempted to keep the language simple and easy for the general readership, while maintaining its academic nature.

The final result is a work that is expected to be a reference work that will stimulate interest in this kind of research and will function as a source-book for future researchers. It is also expected that any general reader will find it interesting, stimulating and a pleasure to read.

The author Chamikara Pilapitiya, through his family links, appears to be very well placed to execute this kind of research since a substantial portion of the sources are not accessible without the right credentials. Chamikara, who played for the Trinity College first XV rugby team in 1991, has also been a keen rider and driver in motor sports. He is the current President of the Federation of Motorcycle Sports in Sri Lanka (FMSSL). Chamikara has in the last decade devoted all the time he could spare from his current occupation in the tea trade and family commitments to this research.

The book is packed with such a large amount of researched detail that it would not come as a surprise if this triggers many others to research their own areas of interest keeping this book as a foundation.

This book is the first of a trio written by the author. The other titles expected to follow this publication are “The History of Sri Lankan Firearms” and “The Secret Tunnels of Sri Lanka”.

The author received an award at the Buddhist literary Festival for the book “Maha Nuwara Yugaye Apprakata Viththi” from the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress in September 2019.

Document compiled by: Gp Capt Kumar Kirinde [retd] SLAFwhile Avishka Mario Seneviratne helped The editor Thuppahi with technical processes of conversion.

****  ****  ****


Michael Roberts, Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period, 1590’s to 1815, Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004.

AND  … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AMH-7098-KB_Dani%3F%3Fl_Agren%27s_Dutch_embassy_to_Kandy_in_1736.jpg



Filed under art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes

5 responses to “A Battle Map of the Dutch Invasion of Kandy in 1765

  1. Tony Donaldson

    Very interesting to read this essay and see these maps which will be very useful for my own research interests on Kandy.

    I have the “Journal of Spilbergen: the First Dutch Envoy to Ceylon 1602” but this new Dutch map with details makes a valuable contribution to Sri Lanka’s history.

    I have never seen an eyewitness account of the proceedings of the signing of the 1815 Kandyan Treaty.

    Well done to all involved in getting this material posted – to Brig Hiran Halangode, and also Gp Capt Kumar Kirinde and Avishka Mario Seneviratne.

  2. https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kandy_(stad)#/media/Bestand:AMH-6596-NA_Map_of_Candia_and_environs.jpg

    map Kandy 1765. One soldier, mentioned Tournaye on the map ,got a castle in Belgium after the battle Kandy.

  3. Dash

    The above story regarding the Trinity college land is a mistake on the part of the author. In 2008, a book titled ‘Trinity’ authored by one Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe had included a recent family legend which speculates that part of the land may have been gifted by James Alexander Dunuwille. In Chamikara Pilapitiya’s book (p. 321) this is stated as a fact, incorrectly. These authors had failed to take into account the large volume of material available about the history of the eminent institution as well as the Dunuwille family.
    These include;
    James Alexander Dunuwille biography. Published in 1866;

    The Dunuwille Family by JM Seneviratne (1951)


    The Centenary Volume of the Church Missionary Society (1919);

    The History of Trinity College Kandy – Valesca Reimann (1922)

    Centenary Number, Trinity College, Kandy, 1872-1972

    The college website and other countless articles over the past 150 years.

    Udavattekälē: The Forbidden Forest of the Kings of Kandy, Nihal Karunaratna (Department of National Archives, 1986)

    It is evident from the above sources, that in 1822, Governor Robert Brownrigg had allocated land from the wooded slopes of Udawattakele (which had belonged to the King of Kandy) to establish a CMS mission station which eventually became Trinity College Kandy.

    Also, what is stated in page 322 of Pilapitiya’s book as per information said to be contained in the records of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (from information given by a Dutch era colonial government official called Manamperi de Costa) was that the mothers of Vimala Dharmasuriya and Senarath who ascended the throne via their marriage to Queen Dona Catherina Kusumasana Devi had been two Dunuwille sisters.

    It is interesting to note that this information had not survived in local sources, even in the form of a legend, either in family sources or the publications by related (and unrelated) families, and there are many..The current family also descends from Millawe disawe, who took on his maternal name (Dunuwila) in the mid 19th century. In the past, the name of a place was often taken as part of the office (as per royal favour/appointment or inheritance). There are cases where several families held office (and name) at differing eras. For instance in the case of the two Ambulugala (place name) kumarayas; one was the brother of Parakramabahu VI, the other the brother of Bhuvanaikabahu VI – the two were not related.

    Mr. Pilapitiya’s publication has infused the factual and the legendary. The most valuable material are the maps, pictures and translations of material from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The book consists mostly of Sinhala translations from other prior English publications including websites. In addition are the many legends and myths such as the one discussed above. There is a risk that this content may be presented as factual in future publications, such as in the case outlined above. A good portion of the book covers the recent history of his family. Considering that the author has specified about his interest and focus on the military history of the Kandyan kingdom, omitting Kuruvita Rala who foresaw the darkest decades of the Kandyan kingdom (with the scorched-earth strategy employed by Jerónimo de Azevedo) when Kandy briefly could boast even of a competent navy is regrettable.

  4. Mohideen Marikar

    Fascinating responses.
    I had a batchmate Lucky (Lakshman) Aluvihare with me at the University. I wonder whether he’s connected with Sir Richard who fought in WW1? Lucky’s twin sister graduated from Medical School with a first class. Lucky would have made Gurunanse, the teacher, proud, when Lucky did the Kandyan dance at the campus.

  5. Some factual inaccuracies here. My grandfather Aluwihare (he always spelt it with a W) was one of four Trinitians with the Royal Fusiliers on July 1, 1916. He was wounded, so was his friend Halangoda. Drieberg was killed and I recently visited his grave. Rudra the fourth, helped the other two to safety. So ‘all his comrades’ didn’t die!
    There is another young British Trinitian in an adjoining cemetery as well.

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