Written by Bella Dalima
28 Mar, 2015 | 10:25 pm
The kingdom of the upcountry was one that was successful in protecting the honour for centuries and also in fending off invasions from three different colonisers.
Gannoruwa, which has successfully transformed itself into an agricultural hub, continues to boast of its heroism.
In a bid to discover the remnants of a location where an enemy force was killed in mass numbers, News1st visited the chief operational command of the upcountry.
After a one and a half kilometre trek on foot, the team reached the Balana Fortress. Looking below from the fortress, the tactical geographical advantages on this location was evident.
In our search, we came across an individual who walks with pride, simply for one significant reason- he is great grandson of one of the brave who battled against the invaders.
Although Gannoruwa has seen changes and modernisation, he continues to stroll down its streets, recalling those memories.
Great grandson of a commander of the Battle of Gannoruwa, Sena Chandrabhaya Dissanayake shared these views:
Those from the Koswatte fsamily in Matale arrived in Gannoruwa with Prince Matale to fight alongside King Rajasinghe the Second. The Dissanayake family came into existence after the Battle of Gannoruwa. All the people in this village were involved in this battle. They are the descendants of those families. Our great grandfather arrived here for the Battle of Gannoruwa. And we are proud to be coming down the life of that family. His blood continues to run through our veins.
On March 27, 1938, Diogo de Melo de Castro, the Portuguese Captain and his battalion entered Kandy in a bid to invade the entire hill capital.
However, when they arrived in Kandy, the Portuguese only found an abandoned city as the king and his army has made a tactical move to step back.
The Portuguese who made camp at the Kriwattalawa mountain side, after raising Kandy, met an unexpected guerrilla-type attack from the up country forces, in what is termed as a tactical battle against the enemy.
When March 28 dawned on the battle, the enemy forces had been drying their gun-powder soaked by the rain.
The gun-powder had been witnessed as a big black spot from the Dividos Mountain.
The Sinhalese forces who drew their fight, lit arrows from the Dividos Mountain, launched the attack of fire on the black sport causing a massive loss to the Portuguese.
Of the entire Portuguese battalion only 33 survived while the rest were killed.
It is reported that the body of Diogo de Melo de Castro was never found.
However, King Rajasinghe the second, also took the initiative to give a proper burial to the dead enemy.
University of Peradeniya, Dr.Rohitha Dissanayake said;
The area chosen for this battle by the Sinhala army was surrounded geographically. This is the location which can be considered as where the swords were drawn for the final battle. People termed the King as “Rasin Deyyo” because of this victory. To celebrate this victory, a procession was led in to the heart of Kandy where there was pageant. This is incidentally the first time in the history of this country that weapons were displayed in a celebration.
The Portuguese who let their dominance felt across the world saw one of their battalions slaughtered at the hands of the Lankan heroes.
This is incidentally the first time that an enemy force was killed in mass numbers. This incident adds the country’s historic bravery, battle tactics as well as unity into the chapters of the chronicles of Sri Lanka.
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