Polonnaruwa Kok Doowa (Kokgala) Island Ruins in Parakrama Samudraya – පරාක්‍රම සමුද්‍රයේ කොක් දූව බෞද්ධ නටබුන්

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Spread of Ruins on the island of Kokgala inside Parakrama Samudraya reservoir in Polonnaruwa
[Fig K-01] Spread of Ruins on the island of Kokgala inside Parakrama Samudraya reservoir in Polonnaruwa
photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

Kok Doowa is a small rocky island inside the massive Parakrama Samudraya reservoir in Polonnaruwa built by king Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186). Kok Doowa means the ‘island of storks’ due to large number of birds, specially storks nesting on the rock. During the mating season, this small island turns home to thousands of nests becoming a birdwatches paradise. However this island is visited not only by birds, but even elephants cross the Parakrama Samudraya reservoir to grace on the island.

Entering the Parakrama Samudraya dam from the Polonnaruwa Museum and travelling 4.4 km along the bund you will see the island 400 meters in to the reservoir. During the dry season, when the water levels of the reservoir recedes so it is possible to walk across the water to the island. However you will need a service of a fisherman’s boat to reach this island when the water levels are high.

The island is about 200m in diameter and has two summits, of which the pagoda ruins are on the southeastern summit and the building ruins are on the northwestern summit. In addition, a bathhouse remains on the west side of the pagoda, and a retaining wall trace remains on the south side. In addition, small holes for furnaces or cast iron were found under the slopes on the east and southeast sides of the pagoda, indicating that iron production had taken place at this site. (Photo K-02)

The ruined stupa has a diameter of about 12 meters and it has been turned in to a mound of earth. A 4 meter wide gaping hole has been dug at the center of the stupa in search of treasures by treasure hunters. Pieces of bricks with lime plaster which covered to dome of the stupa is found with the debris around th mound. (Photo K-03, K-04)

A part of the wall about 2 m in length, about 70 cm in height and 40 cm thick belonging to a brick building plastered up with lime is seen on the second summit. However, the scale and shape of the building are unknown because the foundation is not visible which is probably covered under the earth. (Photo K-5)

There is a small rectangular pool dug directly into the bedrock, and the overall size (upper edge) is about 7.2m x 3.4m, and the depth from the upper edge is 2.1m. There is a staircase for going down on the southern edge. The width of the stairs is 80 cm, the height of a step is is 8 cm and the width is about 30 cm. 6 steps can be seen at present. (Photo K-06)

A retainer wall for the building also can be seen but only 7 stones can be found now. A side of stone is about about 60 cm. The scale and shape of the stone are unknown due to the severe collapse and weathering, but it can be seen that the stone is a trace of a retaining wall that has been built on a terrace-like site with only one side molded.(Photo K-07)

Wildlife Paradise of Kok Doowa


  • Okamura, T., 2015. RUINS IN CENTRAL EASTERN AREA OF SRI LANKA — at the jungle of Amban Ganga Basin and the outskirts —. Tokyo: South Asian Ruins Exploration and Research Society (SARERS).

Also See

Map of Kok Doowa Island

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Travel Directions to Kok Doowa Island

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
Route from Polonnaruwa to Kok Doowa Island
Through : Parakrama Samudraya Bunt Road
Distance :4.5 km
Travel time : 10 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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