Haththota Amuna – මාතලේ හත්තොට අමුණ

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The Ancient Section of Haththota Amuna

The Ancient Section of Haththota Amuna
photo by Badra Kamaladasa

Haththota Amuna (Hattota Amuna) is an ancient weir (anicut) with 46 km long feeder channel constructed across the Kalu Ganga, a tributary of Amban Ganga near Pallegama  during the reign of Aggabodhi II (608-618 A.C.) which had been repaired and rehabilitated by Parakrama Bahu I (1153-1186 A.C.) according to the ancient chronicles. This Haththota Amuna was built by King Aggabodhi to enhance the water feed to Minneriya and Giritale reservoirs and carried the diverted water through a 45 km canal to Elahera.

According to Arumugam (1969), Haththota amuna may not be the identical one which was restored in 1952-1957. It looks more abandoned at present and there is no continuous river flow over the 97 m long weir.

Hydraulic civilization of ancient Sri Lanka has direct bearings with early human settlements in the dry zone. Two types of ancient systems were prominent. Partial diversion of major rivers to achieve inter-basin transfer or to feed lateral storage tanks for irrigation was common during the ancient time.

Another example is partial diversion of the Mahaweli River at Minipe constructing “Manimekkala dam” across the river to convey water though about 22 km long Minipe Yoda Ela (Aggabodhi I, 575-608 A.C.) which was extended to 78 km during the reign of King Sena II (853-887, A.C.). The height of 224 m long anicut was raised to 4.2 m in 1947. This indicates that there had been a sufficient flow over the ancient anicut constructed by ancient kings.

Elehera anicut (amuna), a work of ancient antiquity (Arumugama 1969), has many references to ancient kings namely Vasaba (65- 109 A.C.), Aggabodhi II (608-618 A.C) and Parakrama Bahu I (1153-1186 A.C.). There are two weirs, the 115 m long large one across the Amban Ganga and small one across Kuda Ganga (29 m long) to divert water in the Amban Ganga for direct development of irrigation and augment supply to Minneriya and Giritale tanks through Elahera – Minneriya Yoda Ela, which bifurcates after 34 km at Diyabeduma.

This system was reported to be restored in 1887 and again in 1945 with several modifications including the weir height. At present flood flow spills over the main weir across Amban Ganga. The weir and the conveyance canal, which was known as Akasa Ganga, now call Angamedila–Yoda Ela was a partial diversion of Amban Ganga water to feed Parakrama Samudra (Parakrama Bahu I, 1153-1186 A.C.). This was restored in 1948-1952 raising the 27.4 m long weir arresting continuous flow over it.

Uggal Kaltota diversion weir on the Walawe River which also belongs to ancient category was built under the regime of King Gaja Bahu (112-134 A.C.). In 1892, the right bank channel was restored and an independent weir of 71 m long and 1 m high was constructed upstream in 1956 to provide water for new left bank irrigation. Because of the relatively small height of the weir there is a continuous spill over.

Primary Source : Environmental flow in Sri Lanka: ancient anicuts versus modern dams
by E.I.L.SILVA, HERATH MANTHRITHILAKE, DAMMIKA PITIGALA and E.N.S. SILVA

Also See

Map of  Matale Haththota Amuna

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Travel Directions to Matale Haththota Amuna Ruins

Route from to Kandy Pallegama Haththota Amuna

Through : Hasalaka
Distance : 110 km
Travel time : 2.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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Posted in Ancient Reservoirs, Heritage