Sri Lankan irrigation network

Last updated
Parakrama Samudra, an ancient reservoir in Polonnaruwa Polonnaruwa-panta.jpg
Parakrama Samudra, an ancient reservoir in Polonnaruwa
Sigiriya moat Sigiriya moat 2011.jpg
Sigiriya moat

The irrigation works in ancient Sri Lanka , the earliest dating from about 300 BCE, in the reign of King Pandukabhaya and under continuous development for the next thousand years, were some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world. In addition to constructing underground canals, the srilanka were among the first to build completely artificial reservoirs to store water. The system was extensively restored and further extended during the reign of King Parākramabāhu (1153–1186 CE). [1]

Contents

According to Sri Lankan history, the first tank was built by King Pandukabhaya, who reigned from 437 to 367 BC. It is said that he had three tanks built, namely Abhaya wewa, Gamini wewa, and Jaya wewa, yet, presently, only one tank named Basawakkulama wewa ,which is known as the Abhaya wewa in the past, can be identified. After King Pandukabhaya, King Parakramabahu I had many tanks built, with one large tank called Parakrama samudraya still providing water for agriculture. It can be said that many rulers of Sri Lanka contributed to the development and construction of tanks all over the Raja Rata (Northern part of the country). [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Polonnaruwa Town in North Central Province, Sri Lanka

Poḷonnaruwa is the main town of Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Thuparamaya

Thuparamaya is the first Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. Located in the sacred area of Mahamewna park, the Thuparamaya Stupa is the earliest Dagoba to be constructed in the island, dating back to the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa. The temple has been formally recognised by the Government as an archaeological site in Sri Lanka.

The ancient Sinhalese excelled in the construction of tanks (Wevas) or reservoirs, dagobas and palaces in Sri Lanka, as evident from the ruins which displays a rich variety of architectural forms.

Parakramabahu I King of Sri Lanka

Parākramabāhu I was king of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa from 1153-86. During his reign from the capital city of Polonnaruwa, he unified the three lesser kingdoms of the island, becoming one of the last monarchs in Sri Lankan history to do so. He oversaw the expansion and beautification of his capital, constructed extensive irrigation systems, reorganised the country's army, reformed Buddhist practices, encouraged the arts and undertook military campaigns in South India and Burma. The adage "not even a little water that comes from the rain must flow into the ocean without being made useful to man" is one of his most famous utterances.

Parakrama Samudra

Parakrama Samudra is a shallow reservoir, consisting of five separate reservoirs(thopa, dumbutulu, erabadu, bhu, kalahagala tanks) connected by narrow channels in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

Kala Wewa

Kala Wewa, built by the King Datusena in 460 A.D, is a twin reservoir complex which has a capacity of 123 million cubic meters. This reservoir complex has facilitated with a stone made spillway and three main sluices. From the central major sluice, a 40 feet wide central conveys water to feed thousands of acres of paddy lands and ends at the historical capital Anuradhapura city tank Tissa Wewa meandering over 87 km (54 mi) at a slope of 6 inches per mile and is another wonder of primeval hydraulic engineering facility in ancient Ceylon.

Pandukabhaya was King of Upatissa Nuwara and the first monarch of the Anuradhapura Kingdom and 6th over all of the island of Sri Lanka since the arrival of the Vijaya, he reigned from 437 BC to 367 BC. According to many historians and philosophers, he is the first truly Sri Lankan king since the Vijayan migration, and also the king who ended the conflict between the Sinha clan and the local clans, reorganizing the population. His story is one wrapped in myth and legend.

Anuradhapura Kingdom ancient Sinhalese kingdom

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.

Anuradhapura period

The Anuradhapura period was a period in the history of Sri Lanka of the Anuradhapura Kingdom from 377 BC to 1017 AD. The period begins when Pandukabhaya, King of Upatissa Nuwara moved the administration to Anuradhapura, becoming the kingdom's first monarch. Anuradhapura is heralded as an ancient cosmopolitan citadel with diverse populations.

Henry Parker was a British engineer in colonial Ceylon during the Victorian era. He was attached to the Irrigation Department from 1873 to 1904. During his work as an engineer he developed an admiration for the skills displayed by the ancient Sinhalese at the time of the construction of their reservoirs.

Abhayavapi Ancient reservoir in Sri Lanka

Abhayavapi or commonly Abhaya Wewa is a reservoir in Sri Lanka, built by King Pandukabhaya who ruled in Anuradhapura from 437 BC to 367 BC, after constructing the city. This is now popularly known Abhayawewa'.

Rajarata

Rajarata [rā dja ra tə] was one of three historical regions of the island of Sri Lanka for about 1,700 years from the 6th century BCE to the early 13th century CE. Several ancient cities, including Tambapanni, Upatissa Nuwara, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, were established as capitals within the area by successive rulers. Rajarata was under the direct administration of the King. Two other areas, Malayarata and Ruhunurata, were ruled by the king's brothers "Mapa" and "Epa". The Magha invasion in the 13th century brought about the end of the Rajarata kingdom.

The Basawakkulama inscription or Abhayavāpī inscription is a rock-cut record, probably from the time of king Upatissa, documenting the gift of two villages and some agricultural land to a Buddhist establishment in the late fourth century C.E. The inscription is at Anuradhapura.

Tissa Wewa (Anuradhapura)

Tissa Wewa, an artificial reservoir, was built by Devanampiya Tissa in order to increase the water supply to his capital city of Anuradhapura. Only Panda Wewa and Abhaya Wewa are older. The embankment of Tissa Wewa is 2 miles (3.2 km) long and 25 feet (7.6 m) high.

Giants Tank

Giant's Tank is an irrigation tank in northern Sri Lanka, approximately 10 mi (16 km) south east of Mannar.

Nachchaduwa wewa

Nachchaduwa wewa is a reservoir near Thammannakulama, Sri Lanka. The reservoir is used to store water brings from Kala Wewa through Yoda Ela channel. The reservoir was severely damaged in 1957 flood and the restoration of the tank was completed in 1958.

Sorabora Wewa

Sorabora Wewa is an ancient reservoir in Mahiyangana, Badulla District Sri Lanka. It is thought to have been constructed during the reign of King Dutugemunu by a giant named Bulatha. In the ancient past, this tank was known as the 'Sea of Bintenna'.

Panduwasnuwara

Panduwasnuwara is an ancient capital, situated in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka. It is said to be the controlling centre known as Parakramapura of Dakkhinadesa in the 12th century, when it was ruled by Parakramabahu. The remaining ruins of the ancient kingdom still can be seen at Kotampitiya area which lies along Wariyapola-Chilaw main road about 19 km (12 mi) away from Wariyapola town.

Konduwattuwana Wewa

Konduwattuwana Wewa or Kondawattuwana Wewa is an ancient reservoir located in Ampara, Sri Lanka. The reservoir lies on the Ampara – Inginiyagala main road, approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) away from the town of Ampara. The site with ancient Buddhist ruins which belonging to the Konduwattuwana reservoir area is a formally recognised an archaeological site in Sri Lanka.

Yodha Ela

Yoda Ela or Jaya Ganga, an 87 km (54 mi) long single banking water canal carrying excess water from Thisa wawa reservoir to Kala wawa reservoir in Anuradhapura. The Yodha Ela is known for achieving a rather low gradient for its time. The gradient is about 10 centimetres per kilometre or 6 inches per mile.

References

  1. R. L. Broheir, Ancient Irrigation Works in Ceylon, 3 Vols., 1937
  2. Henry Parker, Ancient Ceylon, London-Luzca & Co., First Published by the India Office (1909)