Kuda Vilachchiya Wewa and its Ruins inside Wilpattu – කුඩාවිලච්චිය වැව හා නටබුන්

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The massive bisokotuwa of Kuda Vilachchiya before destruction by treasure hunters

The massive bisokotuwa of Kuda Vilachchiya before destruction by treasure hunters
source : iesl.lk

Bisokotuwa was the one single creation of the ancient irrigation engineers which helped Sri Lanka leap in to being  one of the most advanced civilization in the world 2000 years ago. This unique value – pit  flow control system which is the heart of all reservoirs which was built from 3rd century BC, helped these vast water reservoirs to survive thousands of years.

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, but 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 3 kms long while the embankment of Maha Viachchiya is 3.5 km long 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, that provided stability to the upstream slope; this is a rare design concept used by our ancestors, specially for a high dam section. Massive skilled workforce would have been involved for the dressed rubble work used in the riprap, as each block has been precisely cut to fit the position.

Conveyance canal of Kuda Vilachchiya

Conveyance canal of Kuda Vilachchiya
photo by Badra Kamaladasa

The two Bisokotuwas are also masterpieces of the ancient engineers. The stone slabs used in the inner face fit each other perfectly, that there is no space for plants to grow, even in this thick jungle. The outer cover of the sluice tower, made out of bricks, and the inner stone slabs still remains 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 as “ Paththirippuwa” since they believe it as the place where the king had his meetings.

An inscription at the spill belongs to 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 was 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. Ability to freely carry out a such a operation has pointed finger towards powerful government politicians and no proof or progress has been reported of the crime so far. Therefore the current status of these ruins are not clear.

Also See

Map of  the Kuda Vilachchiya Wewa and its Ruins

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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 to Kuda Vilachchiya Wewa and its Ruins

Route from Colombo to Wilpattu National Park Entrance

Route from Anuradhapura to Wilpattu National Park Entrance

Though : Negambo – Puttlam
Distance : 190 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Distance :40 km
Travel time : 45 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map

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