Peradeniya University’s prized possession, the Mahawamsa – The Great Chronicle, has been officially recognized as a world heritage by UNESCO. The announcement comes after the University’s History Department proposed the designation to UNESCO two years ago.
According to Prof. Rohitha Dissanayake, Head of the History Department, the Mahawamsa contains 99 chapters and covers historical events until the time of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe’s surrender to the British. Interestingly, a portion of the last half of the Mahawamsa was written in the Kandyan Kingdom by a former Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter. Notably, the name of the monk who wrote the Mahawamsa after Thibbattuwawe Nahimi remains unknown.
Dr. R. Maheswaran, the Librarian, highlighted that while copies of the Mahawamsa can be found in various locations across the country, the committee appointed by the government to assess them confirmed that Peradeniya University possesses the oldest and most comprehensive collection of the Mahawamsa.
The recognition of the Mahawamsa as a world heritage by UNESCO not only acknowledges its historical significance but also ensures its preservation for future generations. The Mahawamsa holds a special place in Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage, and this prestigious designation further solidifies its importance on a global scale.