House of Lambakanna I

Lambakarna (alternatively spelt as Lambakanna) was a powerful clan that ruled Sri Lanka. Many Sri Lankan kings, beginning with King Vasabha, and up until the formation of Kingdom of Kandy, belonged to this clan or related clans.

The first reference to this clan is found in Mahavamsa, appearing during the reign of King Ilanaga. According to the Mahavamsa, the Lambakarna were royal attendants. They accompanied the king to Thiswewa. Upon returning from their journey, the Lambakarnas had left the king alone. Enraged, Ilanaga employed the Lambakarnas to menial work under the supervision of chandalas. In response, the Lambakarnas revolted and usurped the throne.[1] Ilanaga eventually managed to take the throne back. Later, the Lambakarnas set up their own dynasty with the rule of King Vasabha. According to Kotte era sources, the Lambakarna is related to the clan that was entrusted to protect the Sri Maha Bodhi tree.

King Vasabha began Lambakarna rule over the Anaradhapura Kingdom in 65 CE. They ruled for four centuries until the Pandyan invasion of Sri Lanka.[2]

Members of the Lambakarna clan used titles such as "Lamani" and "Mahale", and were found frequently in inscriptions and literature. According to Dipavamsa, sixteen Lanka Mahalekhas (identified with the Lambakarna clan) arrived with the Sri Maha Bodhi. They functioned as chief guardians to the institutions and functioned as writers as well.[3] In addition, they are mentioned in Mahavansha, acting as parasol and flag bearers in coronation festivals. The Lambakarnas also possessed the knowledge of weapon manufacturing and counted military leaders among their clan as well.[4]