Iratperiyakulama Reservoir – ඊරට්ටපෙරියකුලම (ඉරට්පෙරියකුලම) වැව

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Iratperiyakulama Reservoir
Iratperiyakulama Reservoir
photo by Rajabalan Sanjai

Iratperiyakulama is a small town lying on the A9 route (Kandy – Jaffna) 19 km passing Medawachchiya and 6 km before Vavuniya. It is believed that the old name of this village has been Maharathkulama but it has go tamilised over time into the current name. There are two important historically important artifacts in this small town. One is the Shailabimbarama Purana Viharaya and the other is the Iratperiyakulama reservoir which lies about ½ km from the main road.

The Iratperiyakulama Wewa (reservoir) is the second largest reservoir in the Vavuniya district second only to Maha Pawakkulama Wewa which was created by joining Pawakkulama Wewa and the Ulukkulama Wewa.

Henry Parker, the British engineer who was attached to the irrigation department from 1873 to 1904 has extensively studied the ancient irrigation systems of the country had also visited this reservoir in the late 1800’s was surprised to find that one of the four ancient sluice gates still functioning after 1770 years from its construction and commented that this must be the oldest working slice gate in the country.

Parker also reports that he had discovered an slab inscription on the embankment of the reservoir. The inscription has been made by king Gajabahu I (112-134 AD) describing donating food to the Thihadaya Viharaya which stood on the shore of Alawichcha reservoir. Therefore he points out that this reservoir would have been built prior to 113 AD. Based on the inscription, the original name of this reservoir would have been Alawichcha. Unfortunately this inscription has disappeared today.

A rocky outcrop called Iratperiyakulama kanda is found at the embarkment of this reservoir. A washed out stupa can be found at the top of this rock. Unfortunately a trigonometrical tower has been built on these ruins by the Dutch. At the foot of the tower at the top grooves cut in to the rock indicate an ancient building standing on the rock. And immediately below and on the west, the rock overhangs creating a rough cave with dripledges.

Parker also writes that there was a faded inscription on the slope of the rock just above where the rock met the water. The inscription has been weathered and worn by feet only few letters have been visible. Based on these Parker places this inscription to 1st or the 2nd century AD.

Primary sources : Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society – Volume XIII – 1893-1894.
Archaeological Survey of Ceylon – North Central, Central and Northern Provinces – Annual Report – 1905

Also See

Map of  the Iratperiyakulama Reservoir

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Traveling to Iratperiyakulama Reservoir

Route from Medawachchiya to Iratperiyakulama Reservoir

Through : Vavuniya Road
Distance : 20 km
Time to spend : 30 – 45 mins
Travel time : 20 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map