Let’s Travel

travel stories and memories shared by travel enthusiasts

Unraveling History: The Monk Who Defied the British in Kandy

The main attraction in the city of Kandy is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Like many other visitors, I also made sure to visit this renowned temple. While exploring the temple garden, I came across several statues, but one in particular caught my attention: a monk holding the British Union Jack downwards. Unfortunately, the plaque accompanying the statue only provided information in Sinhala, leaving me unable to learn more about its significance.

Yesterday, while reviewing the photographs I had taken of the captivating murals adorning the underground bypass beneath the Kandy clock tower, I noticed an intriguing mural depicting a monk proudly raising the Sri Lankan flag while stamping on the British Union Jack with his foot.

Interested in knowing more, I decided to search for more information online. It turns out that the monk in question was Wariyapola Sri Sumangala, a prominent Buddhist monk who lived in Sri Lanka during the early 19th century. He is renowned for his act of removing the Union Jack and re-hoisting the Sinhalese lion flag.

In 1815, Sinhalese leaders entered into the Kandyan Convention with the British, effectively ceding control of the kingdom to them. On the day scheduled for the signing of this agreement (2 March 1815) at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, a British soldier took down the Sinhalese flag and raised the Union Jack in its place. Sri Sumangala, however, promptly removed the Union Jack and reinstated the Sinhalese flag, declaring that until the convention was signed, the country still belonged to the Sinhalese and their flag would continue to fly.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wariyapola_Sri_Sumangala

Back to top