Kurukula Charithaya – Part II

A. S. F. Weerasuriya, Kurukula Venthar,   Pages 232 – 238
Published in 1960 by Sujatha Publishers, Kurunegala


The ‘Mukkara Hatana’ chronicles this village as one being given as accomadesan to the Kaurava warriors clans who came from Kanchipura in Kurukula during the reign of King Parakramabahu VI.

The king also built them a workshop (known as ‘Kammala in Singhalese) and entrusted it to the Kaurava clans who were great navigators and ship builders. Even during the subsequent Portuguese period, the Kaurava people inhabited the village.

Portuguese documents in connection with tax collections records the Kaurava names of the elders (Patamgatims) of the port of Caimel.

On the 25th September, 1613, the Patamgatims and other heads pf the Port of Caimel, with the Canacapoli met at the Freire’s house in Colombo to lay down what were the direitos and customes appertaining to the Fazenda.

They were:-

          Lourenco Texeira, Canacapoli, 40 Years.
          Simao Correa, Patamgatim, heathen name Naidappu 60.
          Paulo Fernando, Patamgatim, alias Patam 60.
          Antonyo Fernando alias Cut Peruma 40.
          Simao Pra Patamgatim alias Ahiam Peruma 40.
          Antonyo Fernando, Patamgatim, of the Careas alias Abea 40.
          Duarte de Miranda, Patamgatim of Careas, alias Togan 40.
          Joan de Crus, alias Arabalata Patamgatim 30.

After them sworn as customary to declare what under the heathen Kings was collected at the Port, they explained that the ancient records were burnt in the general rebellion and only those of eight years were available.

All the above people stated their case in front of the Portuguese Treasurer and Alagiyawanna Mohottala.

(The Ceylon Littoral 1593 Page 23, Dr. Paul Peiris. From Alagiyawanna Mohottala’s Portuguese Tombo)

The village of Kammala is associated closely with the D’andrado and Tamel families.

Patamgatim : Means Karava Elder or Leader; based on the Sinhala word ‘Patabenda’.

Surya Tamel:

The name of Varnakula Aditya Tamel, the ‘Admiral’ in the naval forces of King Parakramabahu, is incorrectly mentioned in the Mahawansaya as Aditya Tamil Adigar. The word ‘Surya’ is incorrectly stated as ‘Aditya’ and ‘Tamel’ is translated as ‘Tamil’ and the position of ‘Admiral’ in the Kings Navy is incorrectly stated as ‘Adigar’.

The history of Jaffna mentions that the Kings of Jaffna such as Pararajasekeram and Sangili maintained a fleet of ships manned by the Karaiar people. As such the history books of Portuguese, Dutch and Tamil books mentions that the Kaurava people manned the Singhalese ships.

Kumara Tamel:

Prince Kuruvira Aditya Arasa Nila Yitta Kumara Tamel was a ‘Yuwa Raja’ (a sub king appointed to govern a region) of King Pandita Parakramabahu in the Buddhist year 1792. He was also a grand son of Surya Tamel mentioned above. He was born in Kammala. Don Simon Tamel (1715), Maha Mudaliyar  during the Dutch reign, was a descendent of Kumara Tamel and took part in the Dutch campaigns against the King of Kandy. It was the Dutch who granted the village of Kammala as accomodesan. From then on he was known as the Kammala Maha Mudaliyar.

The Haig Registers of the Dutch, found in Batavia, records that the Mudaliyar was in control of the seaboard from Deduru Oya up to Kataragama. Tamel families are found in Kammala, Chilaw, Madampe, Thambarawila and Negombo. Many of the Priests, Mudaliyars, Muhandirams of the area belonged to the Tamel families.

The ‘Tamel’ name:

Some people claim that the name ‘Tamel’ originated from the Portuguese name ‘De Mello’. However the Portuguese have recorded the name as ‘Tamulla’ in the Portuguese registers (Alagiyawanna Portuguese Tombo, Page 28). This would have been recorded as such by the Portuguese because the name was an indigenous name, and not a Portuguese name or a derivation. Also names such as Surya Tamel and Kumara Tamel were in use before the Portuguese period.

The Varnakulasuriya and Kurukulasuriya clans of Negombo:

Twice a year, in April and November (which in the Malawar tongue is called Catigue), the RUA GRANDE Main Street community, waited on the King (Seethawaka Rajasinghe) with their Patamgatims and in acknowledgment of vassalage offered to him 10 Cachas and 10 Pingas of carawadu. These were the Singhalese Tupotti Panam and Kath Rajakariya, and their total value was 21 xerafims 2 larins.

The community of RUA de PRAIA, acting separately, did the same.

(The Ceylon Littoral 1593, Page 27 Dr. Paul Peiris. From Alagiyawanna Mohottala’s Portuguese Tombo)

Other Material from the book

        Fonseka Parapurawal.

        Kaurava Greats of Yesteryear.

        Karava Mudaliyars and Muhandirams of the British Period.

        Karava ‘Ge’ Names.