Daughter of the legendary King Panduvasudeva, Unmadachitra (which loosely translates as “she whose beauty drives men mad”) was one of the great femmes fatales of early Sri Lankan history. When she was still a girl, a prophecy foretold that her future son would kill his uncles and usurp the throne. Panduvasudeva, anxious to prevent such an occurrence, had Unmadachitra shut up in a windowless circular tower, the Ektem Maligaya. As is generally the case with young princesses locked up in tall towers, however, Unmadachitra rapidly contrived to fall in love with an eligible young prince, a certain Digha-Gamini. The young couple were soon married and had a son, named Pandukabhaya, who was then spirited away into hiding. Coming of age, Pandukabhaya revealed himself and went into battle against his uncles, all of whom were duly killed with the exception of a certain Anuradha, the only one who desisted from taking up arms against the upstart nephew, and in whose honour Pandukabhaya subsequently named his new city: Anuradhapura.

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