Parakrama Samudraya : The Sea of Parakrama (පරාක්‍රම සමුද්‍රය)

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This vast water reservoir was built by King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186) and today what you see as the Parakrama Samudraya is only a portion of his original creation.

Parakrama Samudraya originally consisted of five large reservoirs separated by smaller dams to reduce the pressure on the main dam. Many smaller tanks have been built around the main tank to feed these primary tanks and to take in excess water.

The main five reservoirs which consist of the Parakrama Samudraya are

  • Thopa Vawa
  • Eramudu Vewa (Katu Vewa)
  • Dumbuthulu Vewa
  • Kalahagala Vewa
  • Bhu Vewa
An Island with remains of a ancient building
An Island with remains of a ancient building

During the reconstruction of the Parakrama Samudraya in the latter half of the 19th century, the water which was supposed to flow to the Thopa Vawa started flowing to the Bhu Vewa. To control this the engineers constructed a temporary dam to block the water flowing to the Bhu Vewa. This temporary dam became a permanent road and this road isolated Kalahagala Vewa and Bhu Vewa from the Parakrama Samudraya.

The new reconstruction process has ignored most of the ancient technology in which this tank was built reducing the capacity of the tank further. As of today, the dam of Parakrama Samudraya is 8 ½ miles (14 kilometers) in length and 40 feet (12.2 meters) in height. The body of water covers 5350 acres with an average depth of 25 feet. Over 18000 acres of paddy land is supported by this reservoir.

On one edge of the reservoir is the Polonnaruwa Rest House managed by Galle Face Hotel. Along the dam, there are a few star-class hotels closer to the Pothgul Vehera (Pothgul Temple).

After traveling to the very end of the dam (all 8 ½ miles) and further along the canal that feeds the Parakrama Samudraya you come to a place called “Angammedilla”. This is the place where the Amban Ganga (river) is diverted towards the Parakrama Samudraya. After walking about 500 meters into the jungle you can come to a still unspoiled camping/bathing site. Due to the distance from the main city, this location is still untouched and is a great place to spend the day. This area is elephant country and you can see the dung of wild elephants as you walk along the path to the river. A little scary if you try it when it is dark.

update: This location in just inside the Angammedilla National Park border and entry is now restricted.

Also See

Map of Polonnaruwa Parakrama Samudraya

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

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.

Traveling directions to Polonnaruwa Parakrama Samudraya

The modern town of Polonnaruwa is also known as New Town, and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Through: Central Highway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo: 230 km
Travel Time: 4.45 hours
Driving Directions: See on Google map
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: See on Google map
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time : 2 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map


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