The Varnakula Addittiya Arasanilayitta Clan

This article by F. B. De S. A. Jagath Wijayanayaka (Berty) first appeared in the ‘Kurukshetra’  Journal Vol 2 of 1976, the Journal of the Kshatriya Maha Sabha, Sri Lanka


 

A Karava Wedding

 

Of the three great Suriya  Clans of the Kaurawa  Ethnic group, one is the Varnakula . The migration of this clan appears to be even prior to the Mukkara Hattana  as confirmed by two inscribed Ancient Singhalese Swords granted to 1). Kaurawara Aditte Kuruwede Arasanilatte Illanga  in 1143 Buddha Era (60 A.D.) and 2). Kaurawira Aditte Kuru Arasanilaitte Cumara Tamel   in 1792 Buddha Era (1249 A.D.) (see the Karava Swords). According to tradition there was a Prince named Varnakula Additiya  in 504 B.C. The last of these migrations very likely took place in 1415 A.D. as indicated on the third sword (supra pp. 49-50). These swords were the heirlooms of the De Rowel family of Waikkal, whose clan name given in Acts of Appointment reads, Varnakula Additiya Arasanilayitta. There are six major families of the clan which are linked together by matrimonial alliances, Tamel, De Rowel, Lowe, De Anderado, Tissera and De Fonseka.

Arasanilayitte  denotes one endowed with or possessing regal status namely Arasa  or King. The term borne by these six well-known families, signifying their distinctive rank and status as chieftians of the of clan, with a stress on the name Arasanila  showing Kshartriya or Royal ancestry. Barring the first name Tamel, the rest seem to have been adopted on conversion.

The ancient Kings relied on these Kaurawa  warriors as did the Portuguese and Dutch. They were always in demand. “The people of Seilam are no soldiers, but poor cowardly creatures. And when they had need of soldiers they get Saracen troops from foreign parts.” (1) Some research students are of the opinion that this is a reference to Kaurawa  warriors. Not only the army but also the navies of the Sinhalese Kings were manned by them, says Edmund Reimers  “Then there are the Karawas , who were given large concessions by some of the Sinhalese Kings for fighting their battles for them, and whose names suggest their ancient callings such as Maha-Marakkalage, of the house the (Captain of the) big ship, Malimige , the house of the Pilot Kodikarage  of the house of the standard bearer . . . ” (2)

The Sinhala Ola manuscript found at the Pulinataramaya Vihare, Kalutara North is merely a collection of verses with no title or date. These verses, however, were well known and recited in homes till very recently as they extolled the exploits of heroes of a bygone age. These verses (supra pp 64-67) reproduced herein were copied by the Ven’ble Agga Maha Pandita Beruwela Siri Nivasa Maha Nayake Therunanse at my request in 1941. They are part of an invaluable collection of Ola manuscripts compiled by the Ven’ble Weligama Siri Sumangala Maha Nayake Therunanse the founder of the Temple. The free English translation is taken from The Karava of Ceylon, Society and Culture (3),  Although I have given this folk ballad a title “A Poem in Praise of Kammala Maha Mudaliyar”, yet the sentiments expressed in these verses are references to more than one person. Hence the poem should be treated as “A Garland of Praise for the Varnakuia Adittiya Arasanilayitte  Clan”.

Three names are mentioned, Mudaliyar Andradi, Kammala Maha Mudaliyar and Mudaliyar Agostinu. There is no date on the manuscript or at least a period of time but it is not difficult to identity these chieftains when a close study of the exploits of the Varnakula  Clan is done.

The arrival of this clan is also recorded by Portuguese writers. In 1618 we notice Varnakulatte “Chem Naique” coming to the assistance of Chankili the King of Jaffna who was harassed by his rebellious subjects ‘the pugnacious Carias’. This Varna-Kulatte reappeared again in 1620 and 1622 commanding an expedition against the Portuguese with the object of annexing these territories for the Naique of Tanjore (supra p.15). This expedition was a failure and Varnakula with all his men were killed. Their wives and children were captured and converted to Catholicism (4)

The first name noted in the ballad referred to above is Mudaliyar Andradi. The original home of the Andradi clan was at Cammala (between Negombo and Chilaw) and they owned property in this region till very recently, some of these in co-ownership with the De Rowels and Lowes. After the Dutch came to the help of Rajasinghe II and the combined forces of the Sinhalese and Dutch met the Portuguese at Cammala in 1640, the connection between the Dutch and the D’Anderado’s began and they (the D’Anderado’s) assisted the Dutch in various wars in many places (5). We can point out to many members of this family who served in the Dutch wars and the reference in the ballad may be to the Hero of Jaffnapattanam, Don Manuel D’anderado (1658). The exploits of other members of this family are noteworthy and are recounted here.

DON MANUEL D’ANDERADO, Mudaliyar of Calutara;

Mudaliyar Manuel D’Anderado “was guarding the Pass at Calutara with his lascorins 1659” (6), took part in the expedition to Jaffna in 1658 and signalized himself before Jaffnapattanam; appointed Sabandaar and member of the Dutch Political Council. The Governor was the President and Mudaliyar D’Anderado was the only Ceylonese in the Council and had to be consulted in all cases where people of the country were concerned. Don Manuel also figures in the fictious and malicious “romance” dramatised in a play entitled “Poothamby Nadakam” (see Yalpana Vaipava Malai, Reference Section). The climax of the story being that Don Manuel D’Anderado was trampled to death by an elephant for his crime in plotting against his erstwhile friend Poothamby. But one year after these events, namely the execution of the conspirators, and the supposed tragic death, Don Manuel was very much alive. His name appears in the minutes of the Council dated 11th September 1659. The well known historian Rev. Fr. S. Gnana Prakarsa O.M.I. in a communication to me dated 16th January 1942 states, “Of course everyone who knows something in Ceylon history knows also that the story of Poothamby is mere fiction.”

DON LOUIS D’ANDERADO, Adigar of Calutara and Walalawita Corale (7)

He was cousin and brother-in-law of Don Manuel, the hero of Jaffnapattanam whom he succeeded at Calutara. Don Louis was the recipient of a gold chain and 80 rix dollars as a reward for his fine services rendered at the seige and capture of Cochin. He was one of the five chiefs who were presented with silver swords, by Governor Van Goons, for having “conducted Themselves with distinction against the rebel subjects of Rajasinghe II.”

RENALDUS D’ANDERADO, Mudaliyar (8)

Son of Don Manuel and grand son of Don Manuel Mohandiram of Colombo, and great grand son of Don Louis D’Anderado Adigar. Renaldus D’Anderado ‘s father Don Manuel does not seem to have held office and appears to have left Calutara and settled down in Colombo in 1721. In the Acts of Appointment dated 1787 and 1790 granted to Renaldus reference is made to Don Louis and Don Manuel. Renaldus received a grant of 58 acres in Grandpass, Colombo, now known as Mahawatte most of which still belongs to members of the De Fonseka and D’Andrado families (Plan of Partition dated 25th April 1877 preserved with the De Fonseka Family).

BRAZ’ D’ANDERADO AND DOMINGO D’ANDRADO (9)

Two sons of Don Manuel, Hero of Jaffnapattanam. Both held office. The first was chief of the Lascorins in Calutara. He died in 1709. The second was Adigar of Calutara and Walalawita Corale, succeeded his brother-in-law Don Michael De Fonseka.

VARNAKULA ADDITIYA DON MICHAEL DE FONSEKA (10):

ADIGAR of Ca1utara and Walalawita Corale. “In the Walalawita and Pasdun Corales, the Chief Sinhalese was the Adigar of Bentota”. He married Dominga, daughter of Don Manuel D’Anderado and niece of Don Louis D’Anderado. Baldaeus seems to have known him personally in Jaffna circa 1658.

VARNAKULA ADDITIYA ARASANILAITTE ANTHONY DE ROWEL (11)

Maha Vidahn* and Mohandiram of Alut Kuru Corale 1763. Appointed Mudaliyar of the same Corale on 20th January 1765 for services rendered in the Kandyan expedition. It seems possible that Agostinu mentioned in the balled refers to Anthony De Rowel.

MICHAEL DE ROWEL, Mudaliyar

Son of Anthony De Rowel, married Anna Maria daughter of Mudaliyar Renaldus D’Anderado (Last will dated 4th January 1796)

VARNAKULA ADDITIYA JOHN DE TISSERA (12)

Although he does not appear to have held office, it is recorded thus of him; “There resides at Negombo one Joan Texeiro (Tissera) who is of good family and also possesses a knowledge of matters, but he is jealous of the Mudaliyar of Negombo”. His daughter Pavistina married Manico De Fonseka, Coraala of Salpiti Corale and Maha Vidahn of Calutara.

VARNAKULA ADDITIYA ARASANILAITTE SIMAN TAMIL (13)

Commonly known as Kammala Maha Mudaliyar (circa 1715). He received extensive lands in the Toppu District which by marriage of his grand-daughter passed to the De Rowel Family.

According to tradition and the recorded notes of Mr. G. F. Mihindukulasuriya “all Tamels are descendants of Prince Warnakula Additya (circa 504 B.C.). His residence was at Deepthi Maligawa, Kammala Mahaoyatota. He was a very close relative of Prince Thalanchi of Tambarawila an Aide-de-Camp to King Vijaya and had accompanied him to Sri Lanka. It appears that when King Vijaya’s nephew Prince Panduwasadeva, accompanied by Princess Baddekacachayana, landed at Kamala Mahaoyatota he was the guest of Prince Varnakula Additiya at ‘Deepthi Maligawa’. It was from here that Panduwasadeva went to succeed King Vijaya and reside at Upatissa. It was stated and was also a well known tradition that Kaurawira Adittte Kuru Arasanilaitte Cumara Tamel (1249 A.D ) was a direct descendant of Prince Varnakula Additiya of ‘Deepthi Maligawa”. These notes await historical scrutiny and are to be treated for the present as tradition.

 VARNAKULA ADDITIYA ARASANILAITTE MIGUEL LOWE (14).

Coraal of Cammala Pattu.

 VARNAKULA ADDITIYA ARASANILAITTE ALVINOE LOWE, Mudaliyar (15).

MUDALIYAR of Cammala Pattu; appointed Mudaliyar of Pitigal korale 1871 and later Mudaliyar of the Governors Gate. Married daughter of Manuel De Fonseka, Mudaliyar of Calutara.

The identity of Mudaliyar Andradi as Don Manuel D’Anderado is indisputable since his exploits in Jaffna are historical facts. He was Mudaliyar of Calutara: why Alutgama is mentioned instead of Calutara is not very clear unless it belonged to the same administrative district of Calutara. May be even some military exploit that poet wishes to record. Negombo and Kammala are also noted. Kammala extended from Negombo to Chilaw. Original home of the D’Anderado clan was at Kammala. Was Don Manuel also known as Kammla Maha Mudiyanse? Was there such an office and why was Siman Tamel commonly known as Kammala Maha Mudaliyar. According to Bell, “The title of ‘Kammala Maha Mudalindu’ is given to him by the poets of the period who have recorded the bravery displayed by this Sinhalese Chief in the wars that took place between the Dutch and the King of Kandy (circa 1760). In 1764 Don Siman Tamel was Mudallyar of Pitigal Korale, Puttalam District (16). The poet mentions Agostinu having chased the Nilame of Senkadagala, but Anthony De Rowel was appointed Mudaliyar of Alut Kuru Korale in 1765 “for services in the Kandyan expedition.”. Very probably Agostinu is the same as Anthony De Rowel.

Don Manuel D’Anderado Mudaliyar had a personal bodyguard of 13 men. The members of these families are still living in Calutara and are known as the “Hewapanna. Clan”, distinct from the ‘Kuddimakkals of the Karawas.” Their functions were different and they served the Mudaliyar and his descendants as bodyguards. In 1940, 13 members of this clan formed a special guard carrying spears and shields in ceremonial attire at the wedding procession of a direct descendant at Calutara. The bride walked to Church on pawada under a Pearl Umbrella headed by the Ira Handa and Makkara Flags, swords, tridents, alawattans and dawalapandams.(17) The scene was reminiscent of the wedding seen by Fr. Manuel Barradas in 1613 at Moratuwa, (18) but different in style.

F. B. De S. A. Jagath Wijayanayaka


  1. Yule Col. H. The book of Sir Marco Polo, 1875 Vol ii p.296
  2. Reimers Edmund, “Navies of the Sinhalese Kings” Caylon Causerie Christmas Number 1933,  Vol.  5, No. 56 pp 23 & 52.
    Rasanayagam C, Ancient Jaffna p. 387
  3. Ragahavan M. D.; The Karava of Ceylon, Society and Culture 1961 p. 34
  4. Denvers,  Portuguese India II p. 207
    Pieris P. E.; Portuguese Era II pp. 123 – 139
  5. De Fonseka S. R.; The Genealogical Table of the Varnakula Adittiya (Varnage) De Fonseka and Varnakula Adictiya Arasanilayitte D’Anderado Families of Calutara and Colombo, certified by Edmund Reimers, Government Archives 29th November 1955.
    Historical Manuscript Commission Report, Sessional Paper ix 1935,
  6. Baldeaus Philippus; Description of Ceylon (Amsterdam 1672) p. 159
    Pieris P. E;  Portuguese Era II pp. 454 – 455. 
    Peters Sophia;  Instructions from the Governor General and Council of India to the Governor of Ceylon, 1656-1665. Translation Printed and Published by the Government of Ceylon 1908. p.75 ff.
    Pieris P. E.;  Dutch Power in Ceylon p. 275
    Reimers Edmund;  Memoirs of Rycloff Van Goens Snr. p. 19
    Brito C.;  Yalpana Vaipava Malai (Translation 1879) Appendix xxxv (supra 41)
    Gooneratne F. E;  Mohotti Mudaliyar GaIle – Authors of histories and accounts of Ceylon. Ceylon Independent 16th May 1917:
    Colombo Dutch Record Vol. 2673 D.
  7. Colombo Dutch Records – Proccedings of the Dutch council dated 15th November 1668.
    Pieris P. E.;  lllangakoon Family p. 21
    Colombo Dutch Records   Vol. 2439 pp. 155- 157
    Reimers Edmund;  Memoirs of Rycloff Van Goens Trs. p. 19
    Colombo Dutch Record Council Proceedings Vol. 2 p. 22 / Vol. 7.p. 219/ Vol. 13. p. 41
  8. Colombo Dutch Record – School Thombu of Calutara 36
    Pieris P. F;  Ceylon and the Hollanders pp. 72 – 81 & pp 143-160.
    Colombo Dutch Records – Land Thombu of Palle Pattu in Salpiti Corale.
    Pieris P. E.;  Notes on Some Sinhalese III pp. 19 – 24
  9. Colombo Dutch Record – 2439 and 2639 D and Council Proceedings Vol. 27 p. 181
  10. Pieris P. E. – The Illangakoon Family p. 14
  11. Baldaeus Philipus;  Description of Ceylon (Amsterdam 1672)
    Pieris P. E. – “Notes on a Dutch Medal”
    “The title of Vidane was held by some officers of the highest rank”. – R. A. S.C. B. Jl. xviii (.1903) p. 133.
  12. Reimers Edmund ;  Memoirs of Rycloff Van Goens Snr. Trs. p. 20
    Colombo Dutch Records – School Thombu of Calutara Vol.36
    Peters Sophia;  Memoirs of Baron van lmhoff Governor of Ceylon Trs. p. 24
    Instruct ions from the Governor General and Council of India to the Governor of Ceylon 1655 – 1665 p. 65
    Ceylon Literary Register II p. 140
  13. Dharmarate G. A.;  Kara-Goi Contest (1900) p. 57
    Mjhindukulasuriya G. F;  Editor and Publisher of monthly Magazine Kuru Raja Wanse (1934). His sources for the Tamels –  Kavikalpa Tharuwa and Rivikirana.
  14. Ceylon Almanac 1825.
  15. Ceylon Almanac 1859.
  16. Bell H. C. P.;  “Karave Caste” (1886) Bell Manuscript No. B. p. 120 National Museum Library Colombo.
  17. Ceylon Observer 6th July 1940.
  18. Monthly Literary Register 4. (1896) p. 134