Mavil Aru Reservoir and the Sluice Gate : A Landmark for Resiliency of the People of Sri Lanka – මාවිල් ආරු සොරොව්ව

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Mavil Aru (Mavil Oya) Slice Gate

Mavil Aru (Mavil Oya) Slice Gate
Photo by Lasitha Prabhash

Mavil Aru (Mavil Oya) is a small ancient reservoir near Somapura in the the historic Seruwawila Viharaya area. According to legend, Mavil Aru Reservoir goes back as far as 3rd century  where king Mahasen (276-303)   had built the canal called a ‘Gal Ela’ (now Kallar Ela) from Maha Villuwa (Mavil Aru) Reservoir to another reservoir in Seruwila to  develop paddy fields through out the area.

After the fall of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom with the attack of the Kalinga Maga in 1215, the Sinhalese migrated to the other areas with the destruction of reservoirs and waterways by the invading forces. By  end of 19th century this area was sparsely populated by few Muslims and Tamils living on out chena cultivation.

In 1928, the British governor Herbert Stanley brought in a Tamil force from Jaffna and Batticaloa and attempted to repair the Mavil Aru (Mavil Oya) Reservoir  to expand the rice production to feed the growing estate Tamil population which have been brought from India. But this project failed and the British abandoned this attempt.

21 years after this attempt, in 1949, The new Prime Minister of Independent Sri Lanka initiated a project to re build the Mavil Aru (Mavil Oya) Reservoir and was soon completed. To farm the vast jungles using this water,  people from  all over the country were given land and new towns were developed. Since then Mavil Aru (Mavil Oya) reservoir continued to support the paddy fields invisible to everybody except the surrounding farmers.

Mavil Aru (Mavil Oya) Slice Gate after liberation by the armed forces

Mavil Aru (Mavil Oya) Slice Gate after liberation by the armed forces

Then within few weeks which followed 21st July 2006, Mavil Aru became a household name of every Sri Lankan. LTTE, the ruthless terrorist organization responsible for thousands of death of Sinhala and Tamil citizens closed the Mavil Aru Sluice Gate during a mutual cease fire agreement. This stopped water flowing on to Kallar Ela denying water to about 15,000 farming families in Kallar, Seru Nuwara, Seruwila, Dehiwattha and Neelapola areas. After repeated failed attempts to get LTTE to open gates, the Sri Lankan army launched a operation capture the Mavil Aru area and take the gates under government control. This small operation developed in to a major offensive by the government forces by August and on 16 May 2009 the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksha declared military victory over the LTTE terrorist outfit after completely wiping out the leadership.

The Mavil Aru Sluice gate stands alone today as a landmark for resiliency of the people of Sri Lanka.

Also See

Map of  Mavil Aru Reservoir and the Sluice Gate

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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.

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.


Travel Directions to Mavil Aru Reservoir and the Sluice Gate

Route from Trincomalee to Mavil Aru Reservoir and the Sluice Gate

Though : Kinniya – Somapura
Distance : 57 km
Travel time :1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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