King of Anurādhapura (145-101 B.C.) He was a native of Cola, and having come to Ceylon, overpowered the reigning king, Asela, and captured the throne. The Mahāvamsa says (Mhv.xxi.14f ) that he ruled with "even justice towards friend and foe," and many stories are related showing his love of fairness and his kindness. Although an unbeliever, he paid the greatest respect to Buddhism, and he is credited with having persuaded the gods, by his determination, to send rain over his kingdom only at convenient times. Elāra had a general named Mitta (Mhv.xxiii.4); the chief of his forces was Dīghajantu, while his royal elephant was called Mahāpabbata. In the great battle between Elāra's forces and the Sinhalese soldiers under Dutthagāmanī, Elāra was slain in single contest with the latter. In recognition of the dead king's chivalry, great honours were paid to him at his funeral and a monument was erected over his ashes. For many generations all music was stopped while passing the monument as a mark of respect to the honoured dead (Mhv.xxv.54-74; Dpv.xxiii.49ff).

According to the Mahāvamsa Tīkā (p. 483), a shrine was erected on the spot where Elāra's ashes were buried, and it was called the Elārapatimāghara. It was to the south of Anurādhapura, beyond the potters' village.

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