Kandy in Sri Lanka got to do with Vellore, in . The two cities are hundreds of kilometres apart and are situated in different countries. India
Vellore is located 145 kms from Chennai in the State of . Tami Nadu Vellore shares a unique link with . The last King of Kandy, Vikrama Rajasinghe, is buried in this city. Kandy Vellore is home to one of the best maintained forts in India called the fort. It is this fort that Vikrama Rajasinghe was exiled. Vellore
This is the story of the last King of Kandy.
The British had been steadily nibbling away at the
Kingdom of Kandy which had been ruling over large parts of Sri Lanka., In 1815, the King of Kandy, Vikrama Rajasinghe, abandoned the city of and along with his family and came to Meda Maha Nuwara.. Kandy
(King Vikrama was born in 1780 and his coronation was in 1798)
The British marched into
and when they found the city deserted along with the King, they launched a manhunt, They managed to trace the King and his four queens along with other members of the royal group including his four wives, mother, brother-in-law and a few others. Kandy
On February 15, 1815, the British captured King Vikrama Rajasinghe and his family. The Royal family was then deliberately taken to
. On March 2, 1815, the Colombo Kandy convention came into force, ending the rule of the of Lankan kings and formally heralding the handing over of the territory to . This convention was an agreement between the British and a few local rulers for ending the rule of the kings of Britain . Kandy
The British then decided to exile Vikrama and his queens to
. When the preparations for taking the King to India India were going on, the King and his family members were under house arrest in a house in . Galle
In January 1816, the King and his family members were put aboard the HMS Cornwallis which travelled to Chennai (It was then known as
The ship docked at
and the royal party stayed here for a day. The next day, they left for Madras by road. Vellore
A small palace in the
fort was readied for the King of Kandy. This palace and the fort was in the hands of Hyder Ali and Tiu Sultan just two decades ago. The irony was that the descendents of Tipu, including his sons, were imprisoned in this very building from 1799 till 1806 when the Sepoy mutiny broke out. Vellore
The British believed that the sons of Tipu and other members of the Tipu family had a hand in the mutiny and sent them to
. So by the time the King of Kandy arrived in Calcutta , Tipu’s family had already been moved out. Vellore
The King of Kandy set foot in
on February 28. The Royal family was assigned a palace and this came to be known in local parlance (Tamil) as Kandi Mahal. Even today, there is a sign board within the Vellore Fort pointing to the direction of Kandi Mahal. Vellore
The Kandi Mahal is now a sub-registrar’s office.
The King continued to live here for 17 years with his queens Venkata Jamal, Mutukanama, Venkatamal and Nachiyerammal. He died at the age of 52 due to dropsy on January 30, 1832.
King Vikrama Rajasinghe was cremated in
with full military honours. Even today, his tomb can be seen in Vellore . A descendant of the King and the Government has built a small memorial at the spot. Vellore
The memorial is called Muthu Mantapam and it has the tomes of six persons. It is near the Palar river.
museum has some artefacts devoted to King Vikrama Rajasinghe. Among them is an ivory chess board and coins, There is also a photograph of his palace back in Vellore . Kandy