Adigar of Kingdom of Kandy
Residence Kingdom of Kandy
Appointer King of Kandy
British Governor of Ceylon
Term length no time limit
Final holder Tikiri Bandara Panabokke
Abolished 1963
Salary Received tax from junior officers and others.
A group of Kandyan chiefs, Ehelepola Adigar, Molligoda Dissava and Kapuvatta Dissava with John D'Oyly British translator.

Adigar, known as Adikarm in Sinhala, was a feudal title associated with high office during the existence of the Kingdom of Kandy. Persons were appointed to the title and office by the King, these appointees made up the King's council of ministers. The only a very few Adigars existed at one given time and most senior of Adigars was known as the Maha Adikarm or 1st Adikar; similar to the post of a modern Prime Minister.


As close advisers to the King they held much power, and many close relatives of the King being commonly appointed. Everyone on the road would have to make way for the Adigar as he was preceded by numbers of men cracking whips. Along with Dissavas and a few other high officials of the kingdom made up the Radala Cast, who were referred to as the Chieftains of Kandy by the British. Many were instrumental in the surrender of the Kandyan Kingdom to the British and were signatories to the Kandyan Convention in 1815.[1]


Adigars were the most senior members of the King's court, other than members of the Royal family. Their function was similar to that of a modern cabinet of ministers. Duties included acting as advisors to the king, appointing junior officers, being the judges and field commanders during military campaigns. The Adigar also signed all land grants made by the King.[2]


There was no time limit for the office holder as he held the post at the pleasure of the King, which meant throughout his life, if not incurred the displeasure of the King. It was not hereditary, although members of the same family have been appointed.


With his appointment into office the Adigar would have to pay the king, his appointee, five hundred "Silver Coins", and a similar sum every new year (dakum). However he would in turn receive large sums of money through junior officers he has appointed receiving around 10 silver coins per year from them. The Adigar further received a portion of fines collected, income from ferries operated, and from liberated prisoners.[3]

After the Kandyan Kingdom

Following the expansion of British rule into the provinces of the former Kandyan Kingdom, since 1815 the British retained the office of Adigar appointing Kandyans loyal to the British Crown. Although the office remained a powerful one till the late 19th century, it soon became an honorary post and title. The last to hold the title was Sir Tikiri Bandara Panabokke, who was appointed to the honorary post of First Adigar in 1940. After his death in 1963 no appointments were made.

Notable Adigars

See also


External links

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