Koimala Siri Mahaabarana Mahaa Radun (Dhivehi: ކޮއިމަލާ ސިރީ މަހާބަރަނަ މަހާ ރަދުން) or Koimala (Dhivehi: ކޮއިމަލާ literally "flower lad") or Koimala Kalo (Dhivehi: ކޮއިމަލާ ކަލޯ, literally "Lord Koimala") is a legend about the first king of all the Maldive Islands.
Versions of the legend
Some versions of the legend claim that it refers to the first ruler of the Maldives after the conversion to Islam, also known as Dharumavantha rasgefaanu, who ruled from 1117 to 1141. It is believed that he was also the first king from the House of Theemuge and the Lunar Dynasty. By other accounts he was the fourth king of the Lunar Dynastry originally founded by King Balaadeettiya as the Soma Vansa Kingdom; although until Koimala the house only ruled over part of the Maldives.
However, ascribing the legend to the first Islamic ruler does not explain who built the large Buddhist monuments that are present in many inhabited islands and that were built in the first millennium AD. It also leaves without explaining the existence of an ancient kingly dynasty in the Maldives already before the conversion, as the 12th century correspondence from the king to the Sangumanun, or community of Buddhist monks, in Sathudhuvumati (Haddummati Atoll via copper plates proves.
According to Maldivian Folklore, Koimala was a prince from the Indian subcontinent who arrived in Malé Atoll. The people of Giraavaru spotted his vessel from afar and welcomed him. They allowed Prince Koimala to settle on that large sandbank in the midst of the waters tainted with fishblood. Trees were planted on the sandbank and it is said that the first tree that grew on it was the papaya tree. As time went by the local islanders accepted the rule of this northern prince. A palace was built and the island was formally named Maa-le (Malé), while the nearest island was named Hulhu-le (Hulhulé). Since then Malé has been the seat of the Maldivian crown and now the head of state.
A different account claims Koimala to be a Sinhalese prince of royal birth from Ceylon. The prince is said to have married the Ceylon king's daughter and made a voyage with her in two vessels from Ceylon. Reaching the Maldives they were becalmed, and rested a while at Rasgetheemu island (meaning the King's Island) and Angolhitheem island (meaning the island of servants) in Northern Maalhosmadulhu Atoll. The Maldive Islanders who were then Buddhists, learning that the two chief visitors were of royal descent from the Buddhist kingdom of Ceylon, invited them to remain and ultimately proclaimed Koimala their king at Rasgetheemu. The new king and his spouse migrated to Malé and settled there with the consent of the aborigines of Giraavaru (See Giraavaru people) - then the most important community of Malé Atoll. Until then the Maldives is thought to have been ruled by different matriarchies in different atolls.
After the settlement in Male', two vessels were dispatched to bring more people of his race to populate Male'. It wasn't tradition for the Giraavaru and perhaps other aboriginal people of the Maldives to marry outside their community.
It is not clear, how much of this legend is true. Although he might have been the first king of the whole of Maldives, the story of a prince might actually be a corruption of the stories of King Soorudasaruna-Adeettiya and King Balaadeettiya- both exiled princes from the Kalinga Kingdom of India who founded the Solar and Lunar Dynastries of the Maldives. According to this source (Kitab fi Athaari Meedoo el-Qadimiyyeh by Allama Ahmed Shihabuddine relating from The Maapanansa copper plates), Koimala or Siri Mahaabarana, the son of King Siri Bovana Aananda was the fourth king of the Lunar Dynastry and uncle to King Dhovemi (Siri Bavana-adiththa) the first Sultan (Muslim king) of the Maldives.
Koimala is said to have become the King of the 14 atolls and two thousand islands of the Dheeva Mahal. His kingdom was referred to as being Malikaddu dhemedhu- or 'all that lies between the Maliku and Addu. He fought against the Raja Dada's (or the forces of the Tamil emperor Raja Raja Chola I of the Chola empire) Indians to claim the two northern most atolls for the newly formed Maldivian kingdom. All 14 atolls of his kingdom from the north to south were then named as follows:
- Malikatholhu (now Minicoy island belonging to India)
- Thiladunmathi (Northern and southern parts of Thiladhunmathi Atoll)
- Miladunmaduva (Northern and southern parts of Miladhunmadulhu Atoll)
- Maalhosmaduva (North and South Maalhosmadulhu Atolls)
- Faadu Bur (Faadhippolhu)
- Mahal Atholhu (The Male' Atolls)
- Ari adhe Atholhu (Ari Atoll)
- Felide Atholhu (Felide Atoll)
- Mulakatholhu (Mulaku Atoll)
- Nilande Atholhu (North and South Nilande Atolls)
- Kolhumaduva (Kolhumadulu)
- Sathudhuvumati (Haddhunmathi Atoll)
- Suvadinmathi (Huvadhu Atoll)
- Addumulah (Addu and Fuvahmulah Atolls)
It is not clear where exactly Ihavandhippulhu Atoll, Maamakunudhoo Atoll, Goifulhafehendhu Atoll, Fasdūtherē Atoll, Vattaru Faru/Atholhu, Gahaafaru Atoll, Rasdhukuramathi Atoll as well as the islands of Alifushi, Kaashidhoo and Thoddoo were grouped in this early classification.
Koimala was succeeded by his nephew Dhovemi Kalaminja in 1141.
- Xavier Romero-Frias, The Maldive Islanders, A Study of the Popular Culture of an Ancient Ocean Kingdom. Barcelona 1999, ISBN 84-7254-801-5
- H.A. Maniku & G.D. Wijayawardhana, Isdhoo Loamaafaanu
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