Cankili I

Last updated
Cekaracacekaran VII
Cankili I
King of the Jaffna Kingdom
Jaffna Royal family 280x190.jpg
First from the right is Cankili I
Predecessor Singai Pararasasegaram (Pararacacekaran VI)
Successor Puviraja Pandaram (Pararacacekaran VII)
Born Nallur
Died1565 (1566)
Issue Puviraja Pandaram (Pararacacekaran VII)
Full name
Cankilian Sekarasasekaran
Tamil சங்கிலியன்
House Aryacakravarti dynasty
Father Singai Pararasasegaram (Pararacacekaran VI)

Cankili I (Tamil : சங்கிலியன்) (died 1565), also known as Segarasasekaram, is the most remembered Jaffna kingdom king in the Sri Lankan Tamil history. He was very active in resisting Portuguese colonial inroads into Sri Lanka. He also inherited his throne via palace intrigues in which number of heir apparent’s died under mysterious circumstances. At the end, he was removed from power by a local uprising that led to his son Puviraja Pandaram taking nominal power from him.

Tamil language language

Tamil is a Dravidian language predominantly spoken by the Tamil people of India and Sri Lanka, and by the Tamil diaspora, Sri Lankan Moors, Douglas, and Chindians. Tamil is an official language of two countries: Sri Lanka and Singapore and official language of the Indian state Tamil Nadu. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry. It is used as one of the languages of education in Malaysia, along with English, Malay and Mandarin. Tamil is spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.

Puviraja Pandaram King of Jaffna

Puviraja Pandaram ruled the Jaffna kingdom during a period of chaos during and after the death of his father Cankili I in 1565. He became king in 1561 following a local uprising against Cankili I. Although he was the nominal king, Cankili I wielded real power behind the throne until his death in 1565. After Cankili's death, Puviraja Pandaram lost power to one Kasi Nainar and Periyapillai. After the death or abdication of Periyapillai in 1582, Puviraja Pandarm was nominated as the king for the second time.



His father, Singai Pararasasegaram, had two principal wives and a number of concubines. His first wife, Rajalaksmi, had two sons, Singhabahu and Pandaram. Singai Pararasasegaram second wife was Valliammal, she bore him Paranirupasingham. Cankili's mother had Cankili and a daughter named Paravai. As part of palace intrigues, Cankili was able to ascend the throne.


According to a letter by Andre de Souza, ordered Cankili I on November 1544 the murder of his eldest son for converting to catholicism. [1] [2] The son was buried on the spot he was killed, where a chapel was built that later on served as the foundation for the construction of the present St. Mary's Cathedral at Jaffna. [3] [4]

St. Marys Cathedral, Jaffna Church in Jaffna, Sri Lanka

St. Mary's Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jaffna located in Gurunagar, a suburb of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka.

Jaffna City in Sri Lanka

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna District located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138 in 2012, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th most populous city. Jaffna is approximately six miles from Kandarodai which served as an emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna Kingdom.

Cankili I resisted all contacts with the Portuguese and even massacred 600 – 700 Parava Catholics in the island of Mannar who were brought from India to Mannar by the Portuguese to take over the lucrative pearl fisheries from the Jaffna kings. He was removed from power due to a local uprising that led his son Puviraja Pandaram take nominal power. He wielded real power behind the throne until his death in 1565. [5] [6]

Mannar Island Island in Sri Lanka

Mannar Island formerly spelt Manar Island, is part of Mannar District, Sri Lanka. It is linked to the main island of Sri Lanka by a causeway. It has an area of about 50 square kilometres, mainly covered with vegetation and sand. Adam's Bridge, is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Geological evidence suggests that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Mannar, Sri Lanka Town in Sri Lanka

Mannar is the main town of Mannar District, Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It is governed by an Urban Council. The town is located on Mannar Island overlooking the Gulf of Mannar and is home to the historic Ketheeswaram temple.


  1. Gunasingam, Murugar (2005). Primary Sources for History of the Sri Lankan Tamils: A World-wide Search. M.V. Publications for the South Asian Studies Centre, Sydney. p. 86. ISBN   9780646454283.
  2. The Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register. The Times. 1919. p. 60.
  3. Joseph, Dishan (2016-07-16). "Mannar Island of Martyrs » Nation". Nation. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  4. Kurukshetra. Sri Lak-Indo Study Group. 1983. p. 68.
  5. Kunarasa, K The Jaffna Dynasty, p.82-84
  6. Gnanaprakasar, S A critical history of Jaffna, p.113-117

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Preceded by
Singai Pararasasegaram
Jaffna Kingdom
Succeeded by
Puviraja Pandaram