Eth Pokuna / Elephant Pond (ඇත් පොකුණ)

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This gigantic man-made pond called “Eth Pokuna” or “Elephant Pond” is situated close to Lankaramaya in Anuradhapura. This is a rectangular pond, 159 meters in length 52.7 meters across and 9.5 meters in-depth with the holding capacity of 75,000 cubic meters of water. Eth Pokuna literary means “The Elephant Pond” due its scale. This is part of the landscape of the massive Abhayagriya monastery spreading over 500 acres. The tank is made out of large stone blocks stacked at an angle at the walls. There 3 sets of stairs to the bottom, in south, north and eastern sides. The bottom is not paved.

It is not know how the name came to been but possibly due its sheer size. H.E Weerasooriya records that this pond was called Kuruwe Wewa” by the locals in The Maha Bodhi Vamsa written in 12th century mentions two ponds in the Abhayagriya monastery called Diggal Vila and Masthota Vila. It is believed the Masthota Vila is the pond known as Eth Pokuna today.

The water to this pond has been supplied from the Periyamkulama Tank through a network of underground conduits, and you still can see part of the water lines made out of stone blocks. The water is filtered through external filter pits before the water is fed to the pond.

These underground canals still work after so many hundreds years and in 1982 after a very heavy rainy season you could see water pouring though these inlets from the Periyamkulama tank.

This tank probably has been used by the monks in the Abayagiri monastery who amounted over five thousand priests.


  • Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka.
  • H.E. Weerasooriya, 1939. Historical guide to Anuradhapura’s ruins. Colombo: W.E. Bastian.

Also See

Map of Eth Pokuna

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Driving Directions to Eth Pokuna (Anuradhapura)

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and though Kurunegala. Traveling from Puttalam you will pass scenic Wilpattu area. the From Kurunegala there are two main routes to Anuradhapura. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is though Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the commonly used is the Kurunegala – Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chillaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo :213 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 217 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map


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