Ancient Doradaththika Amuna on Daduru Oya

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The civilization of Sri Lanka was an irrigation based civilization from the beginning. Reservoirs, which started with small tank systems, became complex irrigation systems by the 1st century AD. King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186) during the Polonnaruwa period was able to bring the declining irrigation systems in Sri Lanka back to the forefront. C .W. Nicholas, referring to the Culavamsa in 1954, lists the figures of the newly established or renovated irrigation industry by King Parakramabahu as follows:

  • Major reservoirs – 163
  • Minor reservoirs – 2376
  • Anicuts (Amunu) – 165
  • Canals – 3910
  • Stone sluice – 341
  • Repaired broken places – 1753

The Culavamsa (Chapter 68, chapters 32-38) states that during the reign of Southern Sub Kingdom, Prince Parakramabahu, had built 3 Amunas across Deduru Oya, diverted water to canals and cultivated the fertile fields in the area (Chapter 68, chapters 32-38). These 3 anicuts are;

The Culavamsa also states that after the unification of the island under one rule he built another amuna called ‘Jajjara Najjara‘ (ජඡ්ජර නඡ්ජර) was built on the Deduru Oya.

Culavamsa describes how Prince Parakramabahu built the Sukaranijjhara Amuna at the place where the Hakwatunna Oya (Sankhavaddhamanaka) and Kimbulwana Oya (Kumbhilavina) met and built a canal. This water was then carried to Mahagallaka Reservoir (today Thalagalla Reservoir). He has cultivated the area between the Sukaranijjhara Amuna and the reservoir. He also built an amuna in the middle of the Jajjara River (now Daduru Oya) at Doradattika and cultivated the area from Doradattika to Sukaranijjara Amuna using the waters of Doradattika Amuna. Thus, the Doradattika Amuna should be located above the Sukaranijjara Amuna.

‘Hereupon at the place of union of the two rivers Sankhavaddhamanaka and Kumbhilavina the Sovereign had the place Sukaranijjhara dammed up in the aforesaid way and likewise a canal laid down. He had the water from there carried to the Mahagallaka tank and after he had dammed up everything there that was decayed and ruined, having first cleared out the drainage canals, he built a weir of larger proportions than before. From this place as far as Sukaranijjhara he had fields made and collected in this way stocks of grain. In the middle of the Jajjara river at the place Doradattika he built a dam and a large canal and also from there as far as Sukaranijjhara he had fields made and brought together a large quantity of corn…. ”

Cūlavaṃsa being the more recent part of the Mahāvaṃsa – Part I (1929)

Mr C. W.W. Nicholas states in his book, A CONCISE HISTORY OF CEYLON that this amuna is located at the juncture of Hakwatunna Oya and Kimbulwana Oya and that the canal here supplies water to Thalagalla Reservoir. It is said that the water spilled from the Thalagalla Reservoir had been added back to the Deduru Oya above Ebawalapitiya and the water was diverted back to the Magal Reservoir.

Dr. Chandana Rohana Vithanachchi of Rajarata University believes that the ancient Doradattika Amuna was located at a place called “Gal Rena” in Deduru Oya.”Gal Rena” is located near the place called Demodara which connects Hakwatuwana Oya and Kimbulwana Oya to Deduru Oya. Mr. Vithanachchi explored this place and found evidence of the ancient amuna here and the canal which supplies water to the paddy fields above it.

The Deduru Oya at the “Gal Rena” is about 110 meters wide. There is a rock bed in the middle and the water stream flows on both the right and left banks. All the ruins of the anicut are seen in the left bank area only. Most of these are cuts on natural rock. There is no sign of the ruins of the amuna on the right bank. For these reasons, Mr. Vithanachchi assumes that the site was narrower at the time of the construction of the amuna. He hypothesizes that the course of the stream has changed over thousands of years and that the area has expanded from the south bank to a rocky plateau in the middle. Locals also say that the reason for the widening of the banks is the excessive sand mining in the area.

It is about 16 meters from the left bank to the right edge of the rock at the centre. The ancient amuna was located in the middle of this. There is a stair-like incision on the natural rock on the left bank. The length of this cut, which is cut in 4 steps, is 4.33 meters. The first step is 25 cm long. The second is 295 cm long, the second is 66 cm long and the last step is 47 cm long. These start at 28 cm wide and end at 47 cm. The rock has been cut and flattened this way to avoid blocks of stones sliding away. Two holes 10 cm and 12 cm deep were cut in the submerged area of ​​the rock. There is a cut in the lower part of the rock to support a large slab of stone. A slab which would have fitted to this cut can be seen downstream.

Such cut marks and holes can be seen in various places across the stream. These have been used for the stability of stone slabs. Several surviving slabs of rocks can be seen scattered down the stream. From these, it can be seen that 15-20 ton stone slabs had been used to make the Doradattika Amuna.

The diversion canal is located about 80 meters above the Amuna. Today, these tubers are called “Cap Ela“. After about 300 meters, the canal turns slightly northwest. The original banks of the canal have been severely eroded. The canal is about 6 m wide and 5 m deep.

Today, this canal travels for about a mile and joins the Palugas Ela also known as Katuwannawa Ela. The Thagalle reservoir mentioned by Mr. Nicholas has been neglected and destroyed. The canal that supplied water to this reservoir cannot be found at present.


  1. විතානාච්චි, චන්දන රෝහණ, 2005, පුරාණ දෝරදත්තික අමුණ. Ancient Ceylon. 2005. No. 18, p. 69-81.
  3. Geiger, Wilhelm., 1998. Cūlavaṃsa being the more recent part of the Mahāvaṃsa – Part I (1929). 1st ed. New Delhi: J. Jetley.
  4. මහාවංශය (සිංහල), 2010. , 1. Buddhist Cultural Center.
  5. මහා පරාක්‍රමබාහු රජුගේ වාරි කර්මාන්ත, 2012. Divaina [online],

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Map of Ancient Doradaththika Amuna

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Traveling Directions of Ancient Doradaththika Amuna

From Padeniya to Ancient Doradaththika Amuna
Distance : 11 km
Travel time : 20 mins
Time to spent : ½ – 1 hour
Driving Directions : See Google Maps here


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