Giant's Tank

Last updated
Giant's Tank
Location map Sri Lanka Northern Province EN.svg
Red pog.svg
Giant's Tank
Location within Northern Province
Location Northern Province
Coordinates 08°52′32″N80°02′00″E / 8.87556°N 80.03333°E / 8.87556; 80.03333 Coordinates: 08°52′32″N80°02′00″E / 8.87556°N 80.03333°E / 8.87556; 80.03333
Type Artificial lake
Native nameகட்டுக்கரை குளம்
යෝධ වැව
River sources Aruvi Aru
Catchment area 38 sq mi (98 km2) [1]
Managing agencyDepartment of Irrigation,
Government of Sri Lanka
Water volume31,500 acre⋅ft (38,854,678 m3) [2]
Surface elevation44 ft (13 m) [3]

Giant's Tank (Tamil : கட்டுக்கரை குளம், romanized: Kaṭṭukkarai Kuḷam; Sinhala : යෝධ වැවYōdha Væva) is an irrigation tank in northern Sri Lanka, approximately 10 mi (16 km) south east of Mannar.


Some historians have speculated that Giant's Tank is the same as the Mahanama Matha Vapi tank built by King Dhatusena in the fifth century and restored by King Parakramabahu I in the twelfth century. [1] [2] On the other hand, Mudaliyar C. Rajanayagam in his book Ancient Jaffna suggests that the tank was probably constructed by the Nagas. [4] Rajanayagam has suggested that the Megisba lake mentioned by Pliny in Description of Taprobane was in fact Giant's Tank. [5]

Consideration was given to renovating the tank during Dutch Governor Willem Jacob van de Graaf's administration in the eighteenth century but nothing happened. [1] Restoration did however begin in the 1880s following a motion in the Legislative Council by P. Ramanathan. [1] Delays by epidemics and other issues meant that restoration wasn't completed until November 1902. [1] [6] A 90 ft (27 m) thick, 12 ft (4 m) high, 640 ft (195 m) long stone dam (known as tekkam in Tamil) was built across the Aruvi Aru 22 mi (35 km) from its mouth. [7] [8] The waters were then diverted to Giant's Tank by a 12 mi (19 km) inlet channel (alawakkai). [1] [8] The tank had a catchment area of 38 sq mi (98 km2). [1] The name Giant's Tank was the English translation of the local name for the tank - Sodayan Kattu Karai (giant built embankment). [1] [7] The tank is now known as Kattukarai Kulam in Tamil. [9]

Responsibility for the tank passed from the Public Works Department to the Department of Irrigation in 1900. [10] By the late 1960s the tank's bund was 4.5 mi (7 km) long and 10 ft 4 in (3 m) high whilst the tank's storage capacity was 26,600 acre⋅ft (32,810,617 m3) and its water spread area was 4,550 acres (1,841 ha). [1] There was a 172 ft (52 m) channel flow spill on the right bank and seven sluices. [1] Water from the tank was transferred to numerous minor irrigation tanks via a 24 mi (39 km) main channel and 24 mi (39 km) of branch channels. [1]

The tank's storage capacity was 30,500 acre⋅ft (37,621,196 m3) in 2003 and it was capable of irrigating 24,000 acres (9,712 ha). [9] The tank's height was 11.5 ft (4 m) but it was capable of holding 10 ft (3 m) safely. [9] The tank's storage capacity was 31,500 acre⋅ft (38,854,678 m3) in 2009 and it was capable of irrigating 27,000 acres (10,927 ha). [2]

Related Research Articles

Kilinochchi Town in Northern, Sri Lanka

Kilinochchi is the main town of Kilinochchi District, Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Kilinochchi is situated at the A9 road some 100 km (62 mi) south-east of Jaffna. It was the administrative center and de facto capital of the LTTE until 2 January 2009, when troops of the Sri Lankan Army recaptured the city.

Jaffna Kingdom Former Kingdom of Ceylon

The Jaffna Kingdom, also known as Kingdom of Aryachakravarti, of modern northern Sri Lanka was a historic monarchy that came into existence around the town of Jaffna on the Jaffna peninsula. It was traditionally thought to be established after the invasion of Magha, who is credited with the founding of the Jaffna kingdom and is said to have been from Kalinga, in India. Established as a powerful force in the north, north east and west of the island, it eventually became a tribute-paying feudatory of the Pandyan Empire in modern South India in 1258, gaining independence in 1323, when the last Pandyan ruler of Madurai was defeated and expelled in 1323 by Malik Kafur, the army general of the Muslim Delhi Sultanate. For a brief period, in the early to mid-14th century, it was an ascendant power in the island of Sri Lanka when all regional kingdoms accepted subordination. However, the kingdom was eventually overpowered by the rival Kotte Kingdom, around 1450 when it was invaded by Prince Sapumal under the orders of Parakramabahu VI.

Sri Lankan state-sponsored colonization schemes is the government program of settling mostly farmers from the densely populated wet zone in the sparsely populated areas of the dry zone in the North Central Province and the Eastern Province regions near tanks and reservoirs being built in major irrigation and hydro-power programs such as the Mahaweli project to create farming and fishing communities. This has taken place since the 1950s.

Jaffna Hindu College Public national school in Jaffna, Jaffna District, Northern Province, Sri Lanka

Jaffna Hindu College is a national school in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. It was founded in 1886 by a group of Hindu people who wanted an English language alternative to the Christian missionary schools.

Sri Lankan place name etymology

Sri Lankan place name etymology is characterized by the linguistic and ethnic diversity of the island of Sri Lanka through the ages and the position of the country in the centre of ancient and medieval sea trade routes. While typical Sri Lankan placenames of Sinhalese origin vastly dominate, toponyms which stem from Tamil, Dutch, English, Portuguese and Arabic also exist. In the past, the many composite or hybrid place names and the juxtaposition of Sinhala and Tamil placenames reflected the coexistence of people of both language groups. Today, however, toponyms and their etymologies are a source of heated political debate in the country as part of the political struggles between the majority Sinhalese and minority Sri Lankan Tamils.

Yalpana Vaipava Malai is a book written by a Tamil poet named Mayil Vaakaanar in 1736. This book contains historical facts of the early Tamil city of Jaffna. The book which may have been written around 1736 during the Governorship of Jan Maccara, the then Dutch Governor of Jaffna. It was translated from Tamil by C. Brito, and was first published in 1879. The work is looked upon as one of great authority among the Tamils of Jaffna.

Vanni chieftaincies

The Vanni chieftaincies or Vanni principalities was a region between Anuradhapura and Jaffna, but also extending to along the eastern coast to Panama and Yala, during the Transitional and Kandyan periods of Sri Lanka. This land was a collection of chieftaincies of principalities that were a collective buffer zone between the Jaffna Kingdom, in the north of Sri Lanka, and the Sinhalese kingdoms in the south. The emergance of these chieftaincies were a direct result of the breakdown of central authority and the collapse of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa in the 13th century, as well as the establishment of the Jaffna Kingdom in the Jaffna Peninsula. Control of this area was taken over by dispossessed Sinhalese nobles and chiefs of the South Indian military of Māgha of Kalinga (1215–1236), whose 1215 invasion of Polonnaruwa led to the kingdom's downfall. Sinhalese chieftaincies would lay on the northern border of the Sinhalese kingdom while the Tamil chieftaincies would border the Jaffna Kingdom and the remoter areas of the eastern coast, outside of the control of either kingdom.

Naga people (Lanka)

The Naga people were believed to be an ancient tribe who once inhabited Sri Lanka and various parts of Southern India. There are references to them in several ancient texts such as Mahavamsa, Manimekalai and also in other Sanskrit and Pali literature. They are generally being represented as a class of superhumans taking the form of serpents who inhabit a subterranean world.

Thiriyai Village in Sri Lanka

Thiriyai is a small village in the eastern Trincomalee District of Sri Lanka. It is situated about 25 miles north of Trincomalee town through Nilaveli. The total population of the village is 640 at the 2012 census.

Kandarodai is a small hamlet and archaeological site of Chunnakam town, a suburb in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

S. Arumugam

Sanmugam Arumugam was a Ceylon Tamil irrigation engineer and writer.

The Tissanayagam family, sometimes also spelled Tissainayagam, is a Jaffna Tamil family descended from Tissanayaka Mudali of Mannanpulam Mathakal. Tissanayaka Mudali was a Tamil chieftain who lived during Dutch times (1658–1798).

Kudiramalai Hamlet in North Western Province, Sri Lanka

Kudiramalai is a cape and ancient port town on the west coast of Sri Lanka.

When to date the start of the history of the Jaffna kingdom is debated among historians.

Pancha Ishwarams

The Pancha Ishwarams are five coastal ancient kovils (temples) built in dedication to the Hindu supreme being Ishwara in the form of the god Shiva, located along the circumference of Sri Lanka.

Chunnakam Power Station was a thermal power station in Chunnakam in northern Sri Lanka. Commissioned in 1958, the station is owned and operated by the state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). It was decommissioned in 2013, and replaced by the Uthuru Janani Power Station, which is constructed less than 100m south of the Chunnakam Power Station.

Iranamadu Tank

Iranamadu Tank is an irrigation tank in northern Sri Lanka, approximately 3 mi (5 km) south east of Kilinochchi.

Muthuiyankaddu Kulam

Muthuiyankaddu Kulam is an irrigation tank in northern Sri Lanka, approximately 4 mi (6 km) north west of Oddusuddan.

Vavuni Kulam

Vavuni Kulam is an irrigation tank in northern Sri Lanka, approximately 2 mi (3 km) south east of Mallavi.

Emmanuel Rasanayagam Tambimuttu was a Ceylon Tamil lawyer, politician and member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon and State Council of Ceylon.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Arumugam, S. (1969). Water Resources of Ceylon (PDF). Water Resources Board. p. 333.
  2. 1 2 3 Wijesiri, Lionel (20 October 2009). "The giant wakes up Revival of Yoda Wewa". Daily News (Sri Lanka) .
  3. de Alwis, S. M. D. L. K. (9 November 2006). "Competition for Water Demands, Management conflicts and Inter-related Issues in Malwathu Oya Basin of Sri Lanka" (PDF). Network of Asian River Basin Organizations.
  4. Rasanayagam, C. (1984). Ancient Jaffna (PDF). Asian Educational Services. pp. 82–83.
  5. Rasanayagam, C. (1984). Ancient Jaffna (PDF). Asian Educational Services. p. 106.
  6. Lucas, C. P. Historical Geography of the British Colonies - Volume I The Mediterranean and Eastern Colonies. Clarendon Press. p. 109.
  7. 1 2 Parker, Henry (1999). Ancient Ceylon. Asian Educational Services. pp. 247–248.
  8. 1 2 Arumugam, S. (1969). Water Resources of Ceylon (PDF). Water Resources Board. p. 331.
  9. 1 2 3 "Repairs to Giant's Tank after two decades' neglect". TamilNet . 1 May 2003.
  10. "History". Department of Irrigation, Sri Lanka.