Kuda Vilachchiya Wewa and its Ruins Inside Wilpattu

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The Bisokotuwa was a remarkable creation of ancient irrigation engineers who played a key role in the advancement of Sri Lanka’s civilization around 2,000 years ago. It is a unique flow control system that regulates the water levels in all reservoirs and was built from the 3rd century BC onwards. Thanks to this system, the vast water reservoirs have survived for thousands of years, making it a crucial element in Sri Lanka’s history.

The most well-preserved and the largest Bisokotuwa lies in the little-known Kuda Vilachchiya Wewa inside the Wilpattu National Park. Although the reservoir had been abandoned without maintenance and disappeared beyond recognition, the ancient embankment along with a massive Bisokotuwa has survived for almost 2000 years undisturbed and covered by the jungle inside the National Park.

The embankment of the Kuda Vilachchiya is 2.5 km long which is longer than the embankment of Maha Viachchiya and irrigation officials in Anuradhapura believe that early surveyors would have mixed up the names of the two Vilachchiyas which continues up to now. The embankment of the Kuda Vilachchiya shows breaches at 7 locations.

This ancient reservoir is believed to have been built by King Wasaba (67-111 AD).  Since it lies in the thick jungle of Wilpattu National Park where the public has no access, those who are doing the surveys have to first obtain permission to enter the park and then travel by a tractor to a certain distance and lead the rest of the journey by foot.

The well-packed rip-rap (රැලපනාව)  in the upstream slope remains undamaged, even after decades of abandonment and with the movement of elephant herds in the park. One other special design feature in the upstream slope is the berm, which provides stability to the upstream slope; this is a rare design concept used by our ancestors, especially for a high dam section. A massive skilled workforce would have been involved in the dressed rubble work used in the riprap, as each block has been precisely cut to fit the position.

The two Bisokotuwas are also masterpieces of ancient engineers. The stone slabs used in the inner face fit each other perfectly, and there is no space for plants to grow, even in this thick jungle. The outer cover of the sluice tower is made out of bricks, and the inner stone slabs still remain intact, demonstrating the great skills of those ancient reservoir builders.

Its ancient spill is another remarkable work of art that shows the great engineering capabilities our ancestors possessed.   The villagers call the wing wall and the backfilling section “ Paththirippuwa” since they believe it is the place where the king had his meetings.

An inscription at the spill belongs to the 16th century says “Kusaya Buduwewa” (meaning- May Kusaya attain  Buddhahood). It is proposed to restore the head works by preserving ancient features with the advice of The Archeological Department. The future generation can observe the spill and sluices built by ancient engineers, without any alteration.

Another special feature in the head works is the conveyance canal from the sluice outlet, which is made as a close conduit using stone slabs. Until the surveys are over, it is difficult to explain the reason for this application.

The above survey and the visit were done around 2011 and in December 2013, it was reported that this unique Bisokuwa was vandalized in search of treasures. It was reported that the criminals had camped for over one month and removed the massive stone slabs of the Bisokotuwa using machinery. The ability to freely carry out such an operation has pointed fingers towards powerful government politicians and no proof or progress has been reported of the crime so far. Therefore the current status of these ruins is not clear.

Also See

Map of Kuda Vilachchiya Wewa and its Ruins

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 Kuda Vilachchiya Wewa and its Ruins

From Colombo to Wilpattu National Park entrance gateFrom Anuradhapura to the entrance gate of Wilpattu National Park
Via : Negombo – Puttalam
Total Distance : 190 km
Duration : About 3.30 hours + 1-2 hours to walk into the forest
Duration : 1-2 hours approx
Driving Directions : View on Google Maps
Total Distance : 40 km
Duration : Around 45 minutes + 1-2 hours to walk into the forest
Duration : 1-2 hours approx
Driving Directions : View on Google Maps

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