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Tamil inscriptions in Sri Lanka

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Tamil inscriptions in Sri Lanka date from the centuries before Christ to the modern era. The vast majority of inscriptions date to the centuries following the 10th century AD, and were issued under the reigns of both Tamil and Sinhala rulers alike. p. xxiv-xxvii, p. xiii Out of the Tamil rulers, almost all surviving inscriptions were issued under the occupying Chola dynasty, whilst one stone inscription and coins of the Jaffna Kingdom have also been found. p. 241-243
Most inscriptions are of a Hindu or Buddhist nature, or record the exploits of merchants, soldiers, officials and kings.
The longest Tamil inscription in the island is from the Lankatilaka Vihara, for which historian K. Indrapala states the following:
{{Quote
text="The status of the Tamil language in the Sinhalese kingdom in the pre-colonial period would be an eye-opener to many. Where necessary, Sinhalese kings or other authorities used the Tamil language for their epigraphic records. In the fourteenth century, a record inscribed in Sinhala on the walls of the Lankatilaka Temple was provided with a full Tamil translation on the same walls, as if setting an example to future rulers of the country. This Tamil inscription, incidentally, is the longest Tamil epigraph in the island." p. 282

Early Anurādhapura period (300 BC – 300 AD)

Anaikoddai seal, Jaffna

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(English)!!Inscription
(Tamil in the Brahmi script)
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A steatite seal from a signet ring found in an early Iron Age burial in Anaikoddai, Jaffna.
The seal contains both Brahmi and megalithic graffiti symbols arranged in a way that suggests that they may be a translation of each other.Ragupathy, Ponnampalam. Early settlements in Jaffna. (1987) p. 119-204
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{{quote
The legend is read as ‘Ko Veta’. Ko means 'King' in Tamil and refers to a chieftain here. It is comparable to such names as Ko Ataṉ and Ko Putivira occurring in contemporary Tamil Brahmi inscriptions of ancient South India. p. 324-325Frontline, Reading the past in a more inclusive way - Interview with Dr. Sudharshan Seneviratne. (2006) https://frontline.thehindu.com/other/article30208096.eceSeneviratne, Sudharshan. (1992). Pre-State Chieftains And Servants of the State: A Case Study of Parumaka. p. 108 http://dlib.pdn.ac.lk/handle/123456789/2078 The Trident symbol is also found after a Tamil Brahmi inscription of the Chera dynasty supporting this interpretation.Bopearachchi, Osmund. Graffiti Marks of Kodumanal (India) and Ridiyagama (Sri Lanka) — A Comparative Study (2002) p. 100
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Koveta (read from right to left).

Tissamaharama coins with Tamil Brahmi legends

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(Tamil in the Brahmi script)
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Locally produced coins with Tamil Brahmi legends were found in the southern town of Tissamaharama. They are dated to between 200 BC - 200 AD. The coins are thought to have been issued by Tamil traders settled in Sri Lanka. p. 18-21
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thumbCoin 2: Kapati Katalaṉ from Tissamaharama

Tamil letters and words in Prakrit inscriptions

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(Prakrit with Tamil letters in the Brahmi script)
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The letters 𑀴, 𑀵, 𑀶 and 𑀷 are unique to Tamil Brahmi. They are found in multiple Tamil words in the earliest Prakrit inscriptions of Sri Lanka. p. 32-35 p. 544
The Veḷ name is found several times, p. 89-94 mostly associated with the chief title Parumaka. Parumaka is the single most common lay title in the entire corpus of ancient Brahmi inscriptions.
The Dravidian kinship term Marumakaṉ which means nephew is also present.
The word Dameḻa (Tamil) is present in six early Prakrit inscriptions related to Buddhist donations. The 𑀟 letter (often reversed) is used here to represent an early form of the Tamil 𑀵 (ḻa).
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{{quote1. Parumaka - 𑀧𑀭𑀼𑀫𑀓
Parumaka is derived from the Dravidian 'Perumakaṉ' which means great man. The variant form Perumaka and the feminine form Parumakaḷ (𑀧𑀭𑀼𑀫𑀓𑀴) are also present with the unique Tamil letter ending 𑀴. p. 99-130
2. Veḷ - 𑀯𑁂𑀴
3. Marumakaṉ - 𑀫𑀭𑀼𑀫𑀓𑀷
4. Dameḻa - 𑀤𑀫𑁂𑀟
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thumbParumakaḷ
thumbVeḷ
thumbMarumakaṉ
thumbDameḻa

Late Anurādhapura period (8th–9th centuries AD)

Abhayagiriya Tamil Buddhist inscription, Anurādhapura

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Fragment of a stone slab with Tamil letters inscribed on it found on the platform of the Abhayagiriya. It records an act of merit in the Abhayagiri premises: the construction of the floor or platform of a building occupying an area of 256 square feet and a token gift of money. The letters are dated to the 8th century AD. p. 102-107.
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File:Abhayagiri tamil.pngthumbAbhayagiriya Tamil inscription - 8th century AD.

Ruvanvalisaya Tamil Buddhist inscription, Anurādhapura

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Three short Tamil inscriptions found in the premises of the Ruwanwelisaya, Anuradhapura. The inscriptions are found on the pedestals of Dvarapalakas (guardian images). The first inscription dates from the 8th-9th centuries AD. The second dates to the 10th century AD. p. 108-112.
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Pankuḷiya Tamil Buddhist inscription, Anurādhapura

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A short Tamil inscription found at Pankuḷiya Vihara, Anuradhapura recording a donation. It dates to the 9th-10th century AD. p. 111.
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Nānkunāṭṭār Tamil Buddhist Inscription from Anurādhapura

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A slab inscription of the Tamil merchant community called the Nānkunāṭṭār. It records an endowment to the Mākkotai Buddhist temple at Anuradhapura. Mākkotai was a prominent town in Kerala and suggests that this temple was started by Tamil Buddhists from Kerala.
Dharmapalan was the incumbent monk at this temple. A Sanskrit eulogy to king Sena II of Anuradhapura (866-901 AD) ends the inscription. p. 113-123.
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thumbNānkunāṭṭār Tamil inscription, Anuradhapura - 9th century AD

Two slab inscriptions from Hindu ruins, Anurādhapura

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Two Tamil inscriptions found among the remains of a Hindu temple in Anuradhapura recording endowments. Sri Sanghabodhi is a popular title of medieval Sinhala kings. The text is dated to the late 9th century AD. p. 124-129.
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thumbAnuradhapura Hindu ruins slab 1 - 9th century AD
thumbAnuradhapura Hindu ruins slab 2 - 9th century AD

Chola period (993–1070 AD)

Nilaveli Slab Inscription in the reign of Rajaraja I, Trincomalee

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An inscription found in a Ganesh temple in Nilaveli dated to the reign of Rajaraja I before 993 AD. The name 'Tirukōṇamalai' in the inscription remains the Tamil name for Trincomalee to this day. p. 133-140.
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thumbNilaveli Tamil inscription, 10th century AD

Koneswaram inscription of Rajaraja I, Trincomalee

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Fragmentary inscription from the Koneswaram temple in the reign of Rajaraja I.
It is dated to before 993 AD as the eulogy of this king is at an earlier stage of development.
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thumbKoneswaram inscription of Rajaraja I

Padaviya inscription of the reign of Rajaraja I

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Slab inscription of Rajaraja Chola I found near the Siva temple Ravikulamanikka-isvaram of Padaviya dated to 1005 AD. It records a eulogy to the Chola king and gifts made to the temple by donors. p. 141-145.
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{{quote
From the .... year of the reign of the.....king Rajarāja Rājakesari vanmar alias Sri Rájarājatevar, who having conceived in his mind that, like the goddess Tirumakal (Lakshmi), the damsel named the Great Earth had become his own, was pleased to destroy the ships at Kāntalur-c-Cālai, took with the aid of his highly powerful and victorious army, Venkai-nātu, Kanka pāti.. Nulampapāti, Tațikaipāti, Kutamalainatu, Kollam, Kalinkam, the province of Ilam
the conquest of which brought (him) fame in the eight quarters, and Irattapāți Seven and a Half Lakhs, and who carried away the splendour of the Celiyar in the year of his acquiring excessive glory fit for being praised in all the years till the end of time,
the following were granted to the Lord of Iravi-kula-māņikka-isvaram:
The Illustrious Lord Rājarāja....kan, the Lord of......kalpakkam. granted one sacred perpetual lamp
.. ..ciyān. the Lord of .....r, granted one sacred perpetual lamp.
Cattan Pakkan, the Lord of ......r, granted one sacred perpetual lamp.
.........n Tevan granted one sacred perpetual lamp.
....vikkirama......Pattālakan granted one sacred perpetual lamp.
Kantan ....... granted one sacred perpetual lamp.
..... kātan Nakkan granted one evening lamp.
..... tavan Tevan granted one evening lamp. Táran Căttan granted one evening lamp.
..... Tevan granted one evening lamp.
Palavan......nti granted one evening lamp
Nănāteciyan Konnāvil Venkātan granted one bronze gong and one bronze bell
From the 308th day of the 20th year (of the same reign) Cenkulavan Katampan granted one sacred perpetual lamp.
The Lord of Palaipākkam gifted a 'pattam' (jewel) and one 'kalancu' of gold.
The Lord of Marunkur granted .....'kalañcu' of gold.
..... Cattan granted .... kalancu of gold ...... . with the 9 cows
......ulakku (measured) by the Rājakesari......ulakku...
Translated by K. Indrapala,
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thumbPadaviya inscription of the reign of Rajaraja I - 1005 AD

Tirukketisvaram inscription in the reign of Rajaraja I, Mannar

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An inscription found at Tirukketisvaram in Mannar, Sri Lanka dated to the reign of Rajaraja I (985-1014 AD). It records an endowment to a Hindu temple. p. 146-165.
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thumbTirukketisvaram inscription in the reign of Rajaraja I (985-1014 AD)
thumbTirukketisvaram inscription in the reign of Rajaraja I (985-1014 AD)

Tirukketisvaram inscriptions in the reign of Rajendra Chola I, Mannar

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Two fragmentary inscriptions found on a pillar at Tirukketisvaram in Mannar, Sri Lanka dated to the reign of Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 AD). One inscription contains the initial portion of a eulogy to the king celebrating his conquests. The other records an endowment to a Hindu temple. p. 166-177.
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thumbTirukketisvaram inscriptions of the reign of Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 AD)
thumbTirukketisvaram inscriptions of the reign of Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 AD)

Pathirakali Amman temple inscription of Rajendra Chola I, Trincomalee


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Fragmentary inscription from the Pathirakali Amman Temple, Trincomalee recording an eulogy of Rajendra Chola I.
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{{quote'Hail. Prosperity- in (his) life of high prosperity, (during which he) rejoiced that, while fortune, having become constant, was increasing, the goddess of the great earth, the goddess of victory in battle, and the matchless goddess of fame had become his great queens, conquered with (his) great and war like army Idaiturai nätu;
Vanaväsi, whose warriors (were protected by) walls of continuous forests;
Kollippäkkai, whose walls were surrounded by sulli (trees);
Mannaikkadakam of unapproachable strength;
the crown of the king of Ilam, who came to close quarters in fighting; the exceedingly beautiful crown of the queen of the king of that (country);
the crown of Sundara and the pearl - necklace of Indra, which the king of the south (ie., the Pändya) had previously given up to that (king of llam);
the whole Ilam mandalam on the transparent sea; the crown praised by many and the garland of the sun, family treasures, which the arrow-shooting (king of) Kerala rightfully wore and the many ancient islands whose old and great guard was the sea, which sounds with conches;
the crown of pure gold, worthy of Lakshmi, which Parasuräma, having considered the fortifications of Sändimattivu impregnable, had deposited (there), when, raging with anger, (he) bound the kings twenty-one times;
the seven and a half lakhs as of Iratta-Pädi, (which was) strong by nature, (the conquest of which was accompanied) with immeasurable fame, (and which he took from) Jayasimha, who, out of fear (and) full of vengeance, turned his back at Muyangi and hid himself;
and the principal great mountains, (which contained) the nine treasures.
Translated by S. Gunasingam,
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Slab inscription of Rajendra Chola I from Trincomalee Fort

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Slab inscription from Fort Fredrick recording an eulogy of Rajendra Chola I.
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{{quote'In the year (of his reign) of Kô-Parakesarivarman, alias the Lord Sri Räjendra Côladeva, who conquered with (his) great and warlike army, the camp of Mannai, whose strength (i. e. fortifications) was unapproachable;
the crown of the king of Ilam, who came to close quarters in fighting;
the exceedingly beautiful crown of the queen of that (king) the beautiful crown and Indra's pearl-necklace which the king of the south (i.e. the Pändya) had previously deposited with that (king of Ilam);
the whole Ilamandalam on the transparent sea;
the crown praised by many and the garland (emitting) beautiful rays, - family treasures, which the kings of Kerala, whose armies overcame (opponents), rightfully wore;
(and) many ancient islands, whose old and great guard was the sea, which resounds with conches
Translated by S. Gunasingam,
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Two fragmentary Chola Inscriptions from Kayts Fort, Jaffna

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Two fragmentary Chola inscriptions from Kayts fort, Jaffna recording a eulogy to a viceroy of Rajendra Chola I celebrating his conquests. p. 178-185.
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thumbTwo fragmentary Chola Inscriptions from Kayts Fort - 11th century AD

Siva Devale No. 2 inscription, Polonnaruwa

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A record of an endowment made to the Siva temple in Pulanari (Tamilised form of Polonnaruwa). p. 186-189.
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File:Siva Devale No.2 inscription.pngthumbSiva Devale No.2 Tamil inscription, Polonnaruwa

Three fragmentary Chola inscriptions from Polonnaruwa

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Fragmentary Polonnaruwa inscriptions from the reign of Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 AD) recording endowments to a temple. p. 190-194.
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thumbFragmentary Polonnaruwa Tamil inscriptions

Three fragmentary Chola inscriptions from Siva Devale No. 2, Polonnaruwa

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Fragmentary inscriptions from Polonnaruwa that initially recorded an endowment to the temple 'Vānavanmātēvi - isvaram'. A eulogy to Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 AD) is also present. p. 195-198.
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thumbTamil inscription 1 from Siva Devale No. 2 - 11th century AD
thumbTamil inscription 2 from Siva Devale No. 2 - 11th century AD

Four short inscriptions from Siva Devale No. 1, Padaviya

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Inscriptions engraved on stones built into the walls at the temple recording endowments. They are dated to the early 11th century in the reign of Raja Raja Chola I (985-1014 AD). p. 199-203.
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thumbSiva Devale No. 1 Tamil inscriptions, Padaviya

Kantaḷāy Chola Lankeswaran inscription, Trincomalee

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Tamil inscription found in Kantaḷāy, Trincomalee District in the reign of Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 AD). It records a meeting in the Brahmadeya (Brahmin village) when a Chola viceroy Lankeswaran was ruling. p. 204-217.
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thumbKantaḷāy Chola Lankeswaran inscription - 11th century AD

Mānānkēni Chola Lankeswaran inscription, Trincomalee

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Tamil inscription found in Mānānkēni, Trincomalee District in the reign of Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 AD) when a Chola viceroy Lankeswaran was ruling. It refers to constructional activity at the Koneswaram Temple. p. 1-22
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Sixteen Tamil Buddhist inscriptions from Velgam Vihara, Trincomalee

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16 Tamil inscriptions recording donations by Tamil Buddhists to the ancient Velgam Vehera in Trincomalee District dated to the period of Chola rule (993-1070 AD).
Eulogies to the Chola kings are also found here.
The temple was renamed and reconstructed as Rajarajapperumpaḷḷi (Great Vihara of Rajaraja I).
The base mouldings of this vihara are of Dravidian architecture and differ from other Buddhist edifices in the island.
Senarath Paranavithana describes it as the only known example of 'a Tamil Buddhist paḷḷi' preserved up to the present day. p. 218-240.
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thumbVelgam Vihara Tamil inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVelgam Vihara Tamil inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVelgam Vihara Tamil inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVelgam Vihara Tamil inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVelgam Vihara Tamil inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVelgam Vihara Tamil inscription, 11th century AD

Atakada inscription recording endowment to Saiva Temple


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Atakada inscription recording an endowment to a Siva temple of the 11th century AD called Uttamacola isvaram in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. p. 241-244.
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thumbAtakada Tamil inscription, 11th century AD.

Four pillar inscriptions from Polonnaruwa

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Four pillar inscriptions found near Siva Devale. No. 5 recording the names of Chola officials in Polonnaruwa. p. 245-250.
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thumbFour pillar inscriptions from Polonnaruva, 11th century AD

Ainnurruvar Slab inscription from Ataragala, Puttalam

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Slab inscription found in Ataragala, Puttalam District recording the construction of a building for Tamil merchants (Ainnurruvar) attached to a Chola military unit in the reign of Rajendra Chola I (1014-1054). p. 251-264.
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thumbAtaragala Tamil inscription

Colombo museum Rajendra Chola II inscription

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Pillar inscription set up in the reign of Rajendra Chola II (1054-1063 AD). It records the establishment of a Vishnu temple in the southern part of Anuradhapura, and the donations made to it by an agent of the king. p. 265-288.
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thumbColombo museum Rajendra Chola II inscription, 1054-1063 AD

Medirigiriya Tamil slab inscription, Polonnaruwa

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Inscription found in Medirigiriya, Polonnaruwa District dated to 1054 AD in the reign of Rajendra Chola II. It records donations to a Hindu temple in the area. p. 289-293.
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thumbMedigiriya Tamil inscription - 11th century AD

Vanavanmatevi-isvaram inscription, Polonnaruwa

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Inscriptions from the Vanavanmatevi-isvaram, Polonnaruwa in the reign of Athirajendra Chola (1067-1070 AD) recording a eulogy to the king and endowments made to the temple. The administration of the temple is also outlined in this inscription. p. 294-306.
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thumbVanavanmatevi-isvaram inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVanavanmatevi-isvaram inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVanavanmatevi-isvaram inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVanavanmatevi-isvaram inscription, 11th century AD
thumbVanavanmatevi-isvaram inscription, 11th century AD

Chola inscription from Jaffna Fort

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The oldest Tamil stone inscription found in Jaffna. The record was originally set up in a Hindu temple in Nallur, Jaffna between 1018-1021 AD in the reign of Rajendra Chola I.
The fragmentary inscription records the donation of livestock to the temple by a donor called Cattan.
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Chola era slab inscription, Trincomalee

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A Tamil slab inscription dating to the Chola era (993-1070 AD), was found in Trincomalee in October 2010. It was found on land on the right side of the Koneswaram Road leading to the Koneswaram temple.Millennium old Tamil inscription found in Trincomalee. (2010)
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thumbTrincomalee Chola era slab inscription
thumbTrincomalee Chola era slab inscription
thumbTrincomalee Chola era slab inscription

Chola era Tamil inscriptions from Thirumangalai, Trincomalee

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Five Tamil slab inscriptions dating to the Chola era (993-1070 AD), were found in the ruins of a Siva temple in Thirumangalai, Trincomalee District.1000 years old tamil epigraphs found in the ruins of Sivan temple located in jungles of Trincomalee.(2017)
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Ainnurruvar Polonnaruva Bolappaḷḷi inscription

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An 11th century inscription found in the remains of a Saiva temple between the North gate of the medieval city of Polonnaruwa and the Rankot Vihara.
It records the close connection Tamil merchants (Ainnurruvar) had with Buddhist shrines (paḷḷi) in the city. p. 347-350.
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thumbAinnurruvar Bolappaḷḷi inscription, 11th century AD

Polonnaruwa period (1070–1215 AD)

Following the expulsion of the Cholas, Vijayabāhu I retained their administrative structure and made significant changes only at the top. The reference to a register of Tamil clerks (Demaḷa lesdaru pota) in Vijayabāhu's Panakaduva Copper Plate inscription points to his employment of Tamil officers in the administration. Possibly many of them continued in service from the time of Chola rule. p. 251

Vēḷaikkārar slab inscription of Vijayabahu I, Polonnaruwa

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Vēḷaikkārar slab inscription of Vijayabahu I, Polonnaruwa
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
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An inscription engraved by Tamil Vēḷaikkārar troops in the 12th century AD celebrating the reign of Vijayabahu I. The Vēḷaikkārar also pledge to protect the Tooth Relic temple. p. 455-482.
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thumbPolonnaruwa inscription of Vijayabahu I - 12th century AD
thumbPolonnaruwa inscription of Vijayabahu I - 12th century AD

Palamottai slab inscription in the reign of Vijayabahu I, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Palamottai slab inscription in the reign of Vijayabahu I, Trincomalee
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
Slab inscription found among Saiva temple ruins in Palamottai, Kantalai in the Trincomalee District.
It records donations made to a Siva temple named after Vijayabahu I. p. 309-320.
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thumbPalamottai slab inscription in the reign of Vijayabahu I

Padaviya Virasasana inscription

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Padaviya Virasasana inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
Tamil slab inscriptions of the Ainnurruvar merchants based at the merchant town of Padaviya dating to the 12th century AD. p. 393-411.
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thumbPadaviya Virasasana inscription, 12th century AD

Five Tamil inscriptions from Seruvila, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Five Tamil inscriptions from Seruvila, Trincomalee
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
Five Tamil inscriptions from Seruvila, Trincomalee District.
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align=center width="10%"

Budumuttava Virakkoti inscription

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Budumuttava Virakkoti inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
An inscription by the Virakkoti, a merchant military community who the Sinhala Weerakkody are descended from.
It records an endowment made to a Buddhist temple maintained by Tamil merchants (Annuruvan-paḷḷi) as well to the deity Paramesvari after they were aided in a skirmish by the council of a merchant town in Magala. p. 351-371.
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thumbBudumuttava Virakkoti inscription

Vahalkada slab inscription, Anurādhapura

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Vahalkada slab inscription, Anurādhapura
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
An inscription found in the Vahalkada tank in the northern part of Anuradhapura District. It records a heroic charter of various Tamil merchant and military communities in a merchant town established in the 11th century AD. p. 372-392.
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thumbVahalkada slab inscription, 11th century AD

Viharehinna merchant inscription, Dambulla

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Viharehinna merchant inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
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Inscription set up within the premises of Viharehinna temple, Dambulla dating to the 12th century AD.
It suggests that the Tamil merchant communities had established a reciprocal relationship with the Buddhist monastic establishment.
The name of their merchant town - Tanmacākarap-pattinam - "ocean of dharma", is named after an epithet of the Buddha.
The inscription records details pertaining to the Tamil merchants and their military associates. p. 412-427.
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thumbViharehinna merchant inscription, 12th century AD

Kantaḷāy inscription in the years of Jayabahu I, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Kantaḷāy inscription in the years of Jayabahu I
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
An inscription found at the Siva temple in Kantaḷāy, Trincomalee District dated to the 35th year of Jayabahu I (1145 AD).
It records donations made to the temple by the ruling Gajabahu II, a staunch devotee of Siva.
Jayabahu I's successors at Polonnaruwa dated their records in his regal years even after his demise. This is because none of his successors were formally consecrated as rulers til 1153 AD. p. 328-334.
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Kantaḷāy gal āsana inscription, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Kantaḷāy gal āsana inscription, Trincomalee
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
A Tamil inscription found in Kantaḷāy, Trincomalee District dating to the 11th or 12th century AD. The inscription is almost completely worn out, but appears to record an endowment by an unknown king.
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{{quoteThe following words and phrases can be made out in this otherwise undecipherable record:
ghee, lamp, arecanut, burnt lime, dry cultivation, tax, endowment, perpetual, cows, portion, elephants, horses and chariots, garland, city, having sold, of the place, having taken by force, warriors, to be high, kali, kaliyuga, who is not afraid of, having invited, north, land, thing, separate, roll, a measure
Translated by A. Veluppillai,
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Mankanay pillar inscription of Gajabahu II, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Mankanay pillar inscription of Gajabahu II, Trincomalee
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
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Pillar inscription from Mankanay, Trincomalee District dated to the 43rd regal year of Jayabahu I (1153 AD).
It records a land grant made by Gajabahu II to a Vihara through his Tamil official Mintan Korran who wrote this inscription.
An oath is sworn both in the name of the Buddha and Ganesha. p. 562-578.
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thumbMankanay Pillar inscription of Gajabahu II - 12th century AD

Mayilankulam Vēḷaikkārar inscription in the years of Jayabahu I, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Mayilankulam Vēḷaikkārar inscription in the years of Jayabahu I
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
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Slab inscription found in Mayilankulam, Trincomalee District dating to the 18th year of Jayabahu I (1128 AD).
It was left by Kanavati (Ganapati), the leader of the Vēḷaikkārar army and an agent of the ruling Vikramabahu I (1111–1132 AD).
It records a Buddhist temple (perumpaḷḷi/mahavihara) being put under the custody of the Tamil Vēḷaikkārar soldiers. p. 489-494.
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thumbMayilankulam Velaikkarar inscription of Jayabahu I - 12th century AD

Budumuttava pillar inscriptions in the years of Jayabahu I, Kurunegala

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Budumuttava pillar inscriptions in the years of Jayabahu I
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
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Two pillar inscriptions from Budumuttava, Kurunegala District dating to 1118-9 AD in the regnal years of Jayabahu I.
The locality at the time was under the control of Manabharana who is identified in the inscription as Virapperumal, the prince of Pandya lineage.
His mother Mitta (the sister to Vijayabahu I, and grandmother of Parakramabahu I) was married to a Pandya prince as recorded in the Culavamsa.
Manabharana's consort Cundhamalli was the daughter of Kulottunga I suggesting close and friendly relations with the Cholas in the early years of the 12th century AD.
This first inscription records a donation made by her to a Hindu temple.
The second inscription records a caste dispute between blacksmiths and washermen being resolved by Manabharana's intervention.
It was engraved on the orders of Mākkalingam Kanavati, a Tamil official in the presence of fellow Sinhala officials. p. 546-561.
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thumbBudumuttava pillar inscriptions of Jayabahu I - 12th century AD

Puliyankulam pillar inscription of Jayabahu I, Anurādhapura

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Puliyankulam pillar inscription of Jayabahu I
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Tamil Pillar inscription found at Puliyankulam, Anuradhapura District, recording a donation of land to a Buddhist shrine. It is dated to the 12th century AD possibly in the regnal years of Jayabahu I. p. 625-628.
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Rankot Vihara Velaikkaran inscription of Jayabahu I, Polonnaruwa

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Rankot Vihara Velaikkaran inscription of Jayabahu I
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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align=center width="30%"
Inscription found close to the Rankot Vihara, Polonnaruwa issued by a Tamil warrior chief serving under Jayabahu I. p. 483-488.
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thumbRankot Vihara Velaikkaran inscription of Jayabahu I - 12th century

Moragahavela inscription in the reign of Gajabahu II, Polonnaruwa

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Moragahavela inscription in the reign of Gajabahu II, Polonnaruwa
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
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Pillar inscription at Moragahavela, Tammankaduva dated in the 28th year of Jayabahu I (1138 AD), and in the reign of Gajabahu II.
It records a donation of land by a Tamil Vēḷaikkārar soldier to a Buddhist monastery. p. 529-536.
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thumbMoragahavela inscription of Gajabahu II - 12th century AD

Mahakirindegama pillar inscription in the reign of Gajabahu II, Anurādhapura

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Mahakirindegama pillar inscription in the reign of Gajabahu II, Anurādhapura
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
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Pillar inscriptions from Mahakirindegama, Anuradhapura District dating to the reign of Gajabahu II in 1133/4 AD. It records a grant of land and fields to Brahmins of a Hindu temple. p. 335-344.
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thumbMahakirindegama pillar inscription of Jayabahu I - 12th century AD

Hingurakdamana pillar inscription in the reign of Gajabahu II, Polonnaruwa

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Hingurakdamana pillar inscription in the reign of Gajabahu II, Polonnaruwa
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
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Pillar inscription from Hingurakdamana, Polonnaruwa District dated to 1150 AD. It records an endowment made to a Buddhist vihara by a Tamil soldier serving under Gajabahu II. p. 519-524.
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thumbHingurakdamana pillar inscription in the reign of Gajabahu II - 12th century AD

Kantaḷāy pillar inscriptions of Gajabahu II, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Kantaḷāy pillar inscriptions of Gajabahu II
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
Two Tamil pillar inscriptions set up on the order of Gajabahu II as boundary markers in two different localities in Kantaḷāy, Trincomalee District. p. 321-327.
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thumbKantaḷāy pillar inscriptions of Gajabahu II

Polonnaruwa pillar inscription of Gajabahu II

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Polonnaruwa pillar inscription of Gajabahu II
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
Fragmentary Tamil inscription recording an endowment made to a Buddhist temple by a Tamil called Atittamahadevan. It dates to 1148 AD in the reign of Gajabahu II. p. 539-545.
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align=center width="10%"

Galtampitiya Virakkoá¹­i inscription

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Galtampitiya Virakkoá¹­i inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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align=center width="30%"
Fragmentary inscription left by Virakkoá¹­i merchants in Galtampitiya.
The contents suggests that the Virakkoá¹­i were worsted in a skirmish and arrested by some foes. They were then released on the intervention of the authorities of the virapaá¹­á¹­inam (merchant town).
The letters 'Pāṇ' following the word prince suggests a ruler of Pandya lineage such as Manabharana (the cousin of Parakramabahu I) was ruling at the time. p. 428-430.
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{{quote The inscription has similarities with other Virakkoá¹­i inscriptions, but is considerably worn out and cannot be fully translated.
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thumbGaltampitiya Virakkoá¹­i inscription - 12th century AD

Nainativu Tamil inscription of Parakramabahu I, Jaffna

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Nainativu Tamil inscription of Parakramabahu I (1153–1186 A.D.)
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Parakramabahu I (1153–1186 A.D) issued an edict addressed to his local Tamil officials in Jaffna, advising them on how to deal with shipwrecked foreign traders.Indrapala, K. (1965). Dravidian settlements in Ceylon and the beginnings of the kingdom of Jaffna, pp. 230–231
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{{quote'.............we................that foreigners should come and stay at Urathurai, that they should be protected, and that foreigners from many ports should come and gather in our port; as we like elephants and horses, if the vessels which bring elephants and horses unto us get wrecked, a fourth share of the cargo should be taken by the Treasury and the other three parts should be left to the owner; and, if vessels laden with merchandise get wrecked an exact half should be taken by the Treasury and the other exact half should be left to the owner.
This regulation shall be enforced as long as the sun and moon last. This regulation was caused to be inscribed on stone as well as copper. This regulation was framed and issued by Deva Parakramabhujo who is like a wild conflagration unto the dynasty of enemy kings, the overlord of all Sinhala............framed and issued this regulation.'
Translated by K. Indrapala,
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File:Parakramabahu-Tamil.jpgthumbParakramabahu I (1153–1186 A.D.) Nainativu Tamil inscription

Panduvasnuvara inscription of Nissanka Malla

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Panduvasnuvara inscription of Nissanka Malla
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Tamil inscription from Panduwasnuwara in the reign of Nissanka Malla (1192 AD), recording his establishment of a Buddhist monastic school (pirivena). p. 587-603.
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thumbPanduvasnuvara inscription of Nissanka Malla - 12th century AD

Jetavana Nānādesi bronze image, Anurādhapura

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Jetavana Nānādesi bronze image, Anurādhapura
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Bronze image of the Nānādesi merchants found in Jetavana, Anuradhapura with a Tamil inscription reading śri nāṇātēciyan dating to the late 12th century AD.
Queen Lilavati made an arrangement with the Nānādesi merchants for the maintenance of an alms-hall in Anuradhapura. The same merchants also obtained from the Queen the right to establish and administer a settlement called Madhigaya. p. 438-440.
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thumbśri nāṇātēciyan, 12th century AD

Ridiyegama Nānādesi Bronze seal, Hambantota

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Ridiyegama Nānādesi Bronze seal, Hambantota
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
-
align=center width="30%"
A bronze seal of the Nānādesi merchants from Hambantota dating to the 12th century AD. p. 441-448.
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thumbNanadesi bronze seal, 12th century AD
thumbNanadesi bronze seal, 12th century AD

Transitional period (1215–1619 AD)

Thampalakamam Slab inscription of Magha, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Thampalakamam Slab inscription of Magha, Trincomalee
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Slab inscription from Thampalakamam, Trincomalee District issued by an official of Kalinga Magha dating to the 13th century AD. It records the conversion of the village into a merchant town. p. 449-453.
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thumbThampalakamam inscription of Magha, 13th century AD

Rankot Vihara Vēḷaikkāran Matevan inscription, Polonnaruwa

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Rankot Vihara Vēḷaikkāran Matevan inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Late 13th century Tamil inscription found in the premises of Rankot Vihara issued by a Tamil Vēḷaikkārar soldier named Mātēvan.
He was appointed a chieftain of a territorial division in Polonnaruwa by Nanti Kirincatan, an invader with connections to the Western Gangas. p. 495-503.
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thumbRankot Vihara Vēḷaikkāran Matevan inscription - 13th century AD

Villunti Kantucuvami Koyil inscription of Buddhapriya, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Villunti Kantucuvami Koyil inscription of Buddhapriya
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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A late 13th century inscription from a Skanda temple in Trincomalee left by a Tamil Buddhist agent of the Pandya dynasty. It records the setting up of a pillar of victory at the entrance hall of a temple and is written in both Tamil and Sanskrit. p. 604-610.
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thumbVillunti Kantucuvami Koyil inscription of Buddhapriya - 13th century AD

Welikanda Ainnurruvar slab inscription

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Welikanda Ainnurruvar slab inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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An inscription from Welikanda recording the establishment of a Buddhist temple (perumpaḷḷi) by the Ainnurruvar Tamil merchant community. It dates to the 13th century A.D. p. 436-437.
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thumbWelikanda Ainnurruvar inscription, 13th century AD

Dediyamulla Virakkoti slab inscription, Kurunegala

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Dediyamulla Virakkoti slab inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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One of the six heroic charters pertaining to the merchant towns established by the Ainnurruvar. Three are from the Kurunegala District.
This inscription records a reciprocal agreement between the town council and the Virakkoti, who are also have said to have donated to a Buddhist shrine (lokapperum chettiyar is taken as an appellation of the Buddha.)
It dates to the 13th century AD. p. 431-435.
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thumbDediyamulla Virakkoti slab inscription, 13th century AD

Perilamaiyar inscriptions of Padaviya

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Perilamaiyar inscriptions of Padaviya
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Inscriptions from Padaviya issued by the Perilamaiyar, a Tamil agricultural community. They record endowments made to a Hindu temple and are dated to the late 13th century. p. 611-621.
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thumbPerilamaiyar inscriptions of Padaviya - 13th century AD

Fragmentary inscription from Anurādhapura museum

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Fragmentary inscription from Anurādhapura museum
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Fragmentary inscription recording an endowment made by a merchant to a Siva temple. p. 623-624.
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thumbFragmentary inscription from Anuradhapura museum - 13th century AD
(The following three Sanskrit inscriptions have been included for completion, as they were issued by Tamils.)

Padaviya Sanskrit bronze seal

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Padaviya Sanskrit bronze seal
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
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Bronze seal issued by a Siva temple in Padaviya dated to the 13th century and inscribed in Grantha script. p. 622.
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thumbPadaviya Sanskrit bronze seal

Vēḷaikkārar Sanskrit Buddhist inscription of Padaviya

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Vēḷaikkārar Sanskrit Buddhist inscription of Padaviya
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Sanskrit inscription issued in Padaviya under the reign of the Arya Chakravarti dynasty (Setu family) in the late 13th century.
It records a Vihara being built in Padaviya by a Tamil Buddhist general named Lokanatha. p. 504-518.
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Sanskrit inscription of Codaganga from Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Sanskrit inscription of Codaganga from Trincomalee
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Fragmentary Sanskrit inscription from the Koneswaram temple, Trincomalee issued in the name of Codaganga.
He is identified with Kulakkottan who is recorded in the chronicles of the temple as also having the name Cholakankan (Codaganga). The inscription is dated to the 13th century AD. p. 629-638.
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thumbSanskrit inscription of Codaganga from Trincomalee - 13th century AD

Fragmentary inscription from Periyapuliyankulam, Vavuniya

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Fragmentary inscription from Periyapuliyankulam
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Fragmentary Tamil inscription found in Periyapuliyankulam, Vavuniya District dated to the late 13th century AD. p. 525-528.
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thumbPeriyapuliyankulam inscription - 13th century AD

Kankuveli inscription, Trincomalee

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Kankuveli inscription, Trincomalee
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Inscription from Kankuveli village, Trincomalee District dating to the 14th century AD.
It records a land grant to the God of Konanāthar by the ruling Vanniyar chieftains and their officers from seven villages.
The concluding part of the record mentions Mudalimar, Thānaththār and Varippattu as witnesses to the grant.
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Mehiyalla inscription

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Mehiyalla inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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align=center width="30%"
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Kotagama slab inscription of Arya Chakravarti, Kegalle

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Kotagama slab inscription of Arya Chakravarti
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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The Kotagama inscription found in Kegalle District is a record of victory left by the Aryacakravarti dynasty of the Jaffna Kingdom in western Sri Lanka (14th century AD). 'Anurai' is derived from Anuradhapura and is a term used to describe all capitals of the Sinhala kingdom.
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{{quote'The women folk of lords of Anurai who did not submit to Ariyan of Cinkainakar of foaming and resounding waters shed tears from eyes that glinted like spears and performed the rites of pouring water with gingerly seed from their bejeweled lotus like hands."'
Translated by C. Rasanayagam,
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File:Kotagama Inscriptions.jpgthumbKotagama inscription as displayed in the National Museum of Colombo, Sri Lanka in December 2011
thumbKotagama Tamil inscription - 14th century AD

Lankatilaka Vihara inscription of Bhuvanaikabahu IV

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Lankatilaka Vihara inscription of Bhuvanaikabahu IV
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!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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In the 14th century, a record inscribed in Sinhala on the walls of the Lankatilaka Vihara was provided with a full Tamil translation on the same walls.
It is the longest of all Tamil inscriptions found in Sri Lanka and was issued in the reign of Bhuvanaikabahu IV of Gampola (1344-1354 AD).
Both inscriptions register the grant of extensive fields and donations to the Buddhist shrine. p. 1-44
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thumbLankatilaka Vihara inscription of Bhuvanaikabahu IV - 14th century AD

Galle trilingual inscription of Zheng He

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Galle trilingual inscription of Zheng He
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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A stone tablet with an inscription in three languages, Chinese, Tamil and Persian.
It is dated to 15 February 1409 and was installed by the Chinese admiral Zheng He in Galle during his grand voyages.
The Tamil inscription records an endowment made to the Vishnu temple of Dondra (Lord Tenavarai Nayanar). p. 331-341
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thumbGalle trilingual inscription, 1409 AD

Thirukkovil pillar inscription, Amparai

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Thirukkovil pillar inscription
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! scope="col" align=left Background
!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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align=center width="30%"
align=left
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Munnesvaram inscription of Parakramabahu VI

{ class="wikitable centre"
+ Munnesvaram inscription of Parakramabahu VI
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(English)!! Inscription
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Munneswaram temple inscription recording a grant of land and money to the temple and priests by King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467 AD). p. 54-69
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thumbMunneswaram inscription of Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467 AD)

Fragmentary Jaffna inscription of Parakramabahu VI

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+ Fragmentary Jaffna inscription of Parakramabahu VI
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!!Translation
(English)!! Inscription
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Fragmentary Tamil inscription of Parakramabahu VI (1410-1467 AD) in Jaffna.
His adopted son Sapumal Kumaraya had conquered the Jaffna Kingdom in 1450 AD and ruled it as a vassal state for 17 years.
His name is still mentioned in prayers at the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple which he rebuilt. p. 272-275
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Naimmana inscription of Parakramabahu VI, Matara

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+ Naimmana inscription of Parakramabahu VI
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Tamil inscription of Parakramabahu VI found in Naimmana village, Matara District.
It records a grant of fields in Naimmana to feed Brahmins at the alms hall near the shrine of Devinuwara. It is dated to 1433 AD.
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{{quote'On the fifth of the first fortnight of Vaikāci in the year opposite the 20th year of Sri Parakramabāhu dēvar the anniversary of the raising of the glorious umbrella by the great king.
To the alms-hall which carries on daily in the sacred presence of the king (i.e., the officers of the king) the village of Nāymmanai and the gardens and fields including Sungankola, Pagala karamullai and Verduvai (were given).
Be it known that these are to last as long as the Moon and the Sun last.
Should there be any person who have thought of anything detrimental to this they would suffer the consequences of the sin of having slain cows and Brahmins on (the banks of) the Ganges.
Those, who shall cause the maintenance of this, will obtain heaven and final liberation.
For the maintenance permanently of charity towards twelve Brahmins at the alms-hall of the illustrious king of Gods, Sri Parākaramabahu, the sovereign lord of Lanka, granted the pleasant village called Nāymannai.
Should there be any, who from time to time, cause the maintenance of this grant, to them shall there be prosperity through the favour of the Gods.
Should there be, on the other hand, any who would abstract it through greed, they, the meanest (among men) shall be deprived of merit, affluence and fame.'
Translated by A. Veluppillai,
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Kalutara pillar inscription

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Pillar inscription found in Kalutara dating to the 15th century AD.
It records an endowment to a Kali temple.
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Tamil pillar inscription in the reign of Vijayabahu VI

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+ Tamil pillar inscription in the reign of Vijayabahu VI
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Pillar inscription issued by Vijayabahu VI of Kotte in 1517 AD. It records the construction of a Kantacuvami temple by an Accutan Nayan.
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Thambiluvil inscription of Vijayabahu VI, Amparai

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+ Thambiluvil inscription of Vijayabahu VI
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Thambiluvil inscription issued by Vijayabahu VI (1513-1521 AD) recording his endowment of a vōvil to a Siva temple in Amparai District.
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File:Inscription at Thirukkovil.jpgthumbThambiluvil Inscription along with other inscriptions kept now in Thirukkovil Temple

Coins of the Jaffna Kingdom

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+ Coins of the Jaffna Kingdom
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Coins issued by the Aryacakravarti dynasty of the Jaffna Kingdom (1215-1619 AD) with legends reading 'Setu'. The dynasty claimed to be protectors of the Setu and claimed lineage from the Tamil Brahmins of the prominent Hindu temple of Rameswaram. p. 181
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thumbSetu coin
thumbSetu coin

Trincomalee Fort Koneswaram inscription

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+ Trincomalee Fort Koneswaram inscription
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(English)!! Inscription
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An inscription dating from the 16th century prophesying the destruction of the Koneswaram Temple at the hands of the Portuguese. The temple was subsequently destroyed on 14 April 1622.
The pair of fishes on the inscription likely date to the 13th century, when the Pandya dynasty had conquered Trincomalee.
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{{quote
'O King the Portuguese (Paranki) shall later break down the holy edifice built by Kulakkottan in ancient times and it shall not be rebuilt nor will future Kings think of doing so'
Translated by C. Rasanayagam,
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thumbFort Frederick Koneswaram inscription

Thirumangalai Temple Bell inscription, Trincomalee


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+ Thirumangalai Temple Bell inscription, Trincomalee
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A bell belonging to the Thirumangalai temple which was found in Kankuveli, Trincomalee District.
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thumbThirumangalai Temple Bell

Late Kandyan period (1619 - 1815 AD)

Veeramunai Copper plates in the reign of Senarat, Amparai

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+ Veeramunai Copper plates in the reign of Senarat
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Tamil copper plate grants found in Veeramunai, Amparai District. They record a visit of Chetty traders from Madurai with an idol of Ganesh and a royal princess. It is dated to the reign of King Senarat in the 17th century AD.
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Sammanthurai Copper plates in the reign of Rajasinghe II, Amparai

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+ Sammanthurai Copper plates in the reign of Rajasinghe II
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Tamil copper plate grants to a Brahmin called Ramanathan found in Sammanthurai, Amparai District. It is dated to the reign of Rajasinghe II in the 17th century AD.
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Verugal Copper Plates of the Vanniyar, Trincomalee

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+ Verugal Copper Plates of the Vanniyar
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Inscription found in Verugal, Trincomalee District dating to 1722 AD. It records the names of persons who built the four walls of a temple, including Kayilaya-vanniyanar (a ruling Vanniyar chieftain) and Timassa, the son of Simayapillai.
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Category:Sri Lanka inscriptions
Category:Sri Lankan Tamil history
Category:Tamil inscriptions
Category:Tamil language-related lists
 
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