Minneriya Tank

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Minneriya Tank
Minneriya wewa.JPG
Minneriya tank
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Minneriya Tank
Location Polonnaruwa
Coordinates 8°02′N80°53′E / 8.033°N 80.883°E / 8.033; 80.883 Coordinates: 8°02′N80°53′E / 8.033°N 80.883°E / 8.033; 80.883
Type Reservoir
River sourcesAmban River
Basin  countries Sri Lanka
Surface area4,670 acres (18.9 km2)
Water volume20,000,000,000 imperial gallons (9.1×1010 l; 2.4×1010 US gal)
Shore length12 kilometres (1.2 mi)
Islands One
SettlementsPolonnaruwa
References [1]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Minneriya tank [1] is a reservoir in Sri Lanka made by an old civilisation; the Anuradhapura Kingdom. King Mahasena ordered a dam build across the Minneriya River, which made the lake. The tank covered 4,670 acres (18.9 km2).

The Minneriya Tank was built by the great tank builder, King Mahasen (276–303) who ruled in Anuradhapura. This tank occupied 4670 acres and its strong 13-meter-tall dam running along a distance of 2 km held over 20 billion gallons of water. The water arrived from Amban River, the main tributary of Mahaveli River, 48 km away, along the Elahara canal built by King Vasabha (65–109) before his time.

This, along with other reservoirs created an irrigation paradise in the east. It was this growth in agriculture that opened up the massive trade with South East Asia through the Trincomalee harbor. From then onwards, Trincomalee harbor became one of the busiest in the region.

In 1820 AD, British Inland Revenue Officer Ralf Bachaus recorded that the whole area can be irrigated if this reservoir is restored. In 1856, British Governor Henry Ward recorded that it must have been an amazing reservoir which had been built very strong. They recorded the beauty of the vegetation, the wildlife which surrounded the reservoir.

The Mahavamsa, chronicle of Sri Lanka, states that Mahasen constructed sixteen large tanks and two irrigation canals. The largest among these is the Minneriya tank about which Henry Ward, a governor of Sri Lanka in a British crown colony, had stated

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Mahasena, also known in some records as Mahasen, was a king of Sri Lanka who ruled the country from 277 to 304 AD. He started the construction of large tanks or reservoirs in Sri Lanka, and built sixteen such tanks. After becoming king, Mahasen discriminated the Theravada Buddhists in the country, and destroyed several temples including Mahavihara before his chief minister led him to realise his mistakes. The Jethavana stupa was also built by Mahasen. His countrymen regarded him as a god or deity after the construction of the Minneriya tank, and he was named Minneri Deviyo.

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The Anuradhapura Kingdom, named for its capital city, was the first established kingdom in ancient Sri Lanka and Sinhalese people. Founded by King Pandukabhaya in 377 BC, the kingdom's authority extended throughout the country, although several independent areas emerged from time to time, which grew more numerous towards the end of the kingdom. Nonetheless, the king of Anuradhapura was seen as the supreme ruler of the country throughout the Anuradhapura period. Buddhism played a strong role in the Anuradhapura period, influencing its culture, laws, and methods of governance. Society and culture were revolutionized when the faith was introduced during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa; this cultural change was further strengthened by the arrival of the Tooth Relic of the Buddha in Sri Lanka and the patronage extended by her rulers.

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References