Saliya - Ashokamala, the love story of the Sri Lankan history
Saliya and Ashokamala, the most famous love story in the Sri Lankan history. Prince Saliya was the only son of king Dutugemunu, the most powerful and legendary king of Sri Lanka. So the Prince Saliya was the heir to the throne of the country.
Once in Ranmasu Uyana besides Tissawewa in Anuradhapura his eyes met a beautiful damsel on an Ashoka tree, picking the flowers and he fell in love with her at the first sight. Later he came to know that she derives from a caste, which was considered inferior. The law was so strict on the matter that the death for both was the most possible punishment.But even then the hearts were still hearts and they knew next to nothing about the law. Their bond was so close and the thinnest thought of the law could not sneak in between them.
The news about the secret love had wings of Saliya’s fame and soon the story found its way to the great king. The king was furious and he banished Prince Saliya from Anuradhapura. The Crown Prince Saliya lost the throne, fame and the family. But he was not the least worried because he had been enthroned in the heart of Asokamala. They have chosen Tantirimale for their kingdom of love.
Mahawansa says "In the time of king Dutugemunu, the people were rejoiced. He had a son named Saliya who was virtuous and he indulged in a life with constant meritorious deeds. He had an affair with a low caste girl who had been connected with him in his past lives. She had enchanting beauty and Saliya liking her forgot the kingdom……." (Mahawansa - chapter 33)
Once the King visited the area and Asokamala has sent him a curry made of a delicious herb called, Raththampala, the king was really happy to see the dish and inquired from where it came from. The servants replied, "Your honor, it is from Ashokamala." The king glistened with rage and slammed the dish on the wall.
The time passed, the kings granite heart never softened towards the son, just like his giant stone buildings in the Anuradhapura. Once he had a wound in his leg caused by a small blister. It was so painful and the royal doctors were summoned. They did their best but the wound got worsened. The final prescription needed Raththampla but it was no where to be found. One servant remembered the pulp dried in the wall and immediately a royal guard was sent to scratch it. Soon the medicine was made and the wound was cured. Then the king enquired from where they got Raththampala. The servants amidst utmost fear related the story and the king felt very sorry for Ashokamala. Soon the couple was summoned to the palace and an official wedding was arranged. The king became very happy seeing the pretty Ashokamala and they were pardoned for the crime of love.
But still they were outcasts in the city so they had to live in Tantirimale and Mahavilachchiya areas. The king presented Ashokamala a golden necklace made of beads that had the shape of common butterfly named Thanthiriya. Ashokamala, later enshrined the necklace in a rock and the place was known as Tantirimale. (“Male” means necklace in Sinhalese).
Prince Saliya is said to have stayed close to this reservoir after eloping with a low-caste beauty, Ashokamala, whom he met near Ranmasu Uyana besides Tissawewa in Anuradhapura. He hid in the thick jungle to escape from the king's wrath.
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