Maduru Oya Ancient Sluice – මාදුරු ඔය ඉපැරණි සොරොව්ව

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Ancient Maduru Oya Sluice dating back to 1st century BC
Ancient Maduru Oya Sluice dating back to 1st century BC

Sri Lanka is well known for its ancient hydraulic civilization and major irrigation works constructed since 3rd  century AD. Some of these structures are often quoted as technically parallel to the modern engineering designs and constructions. The ancient Maduru Oya sluice way is one such structure. As its coincidence with vary same site designed for the modem sluice, under recently executed Accelerated Mahaweli Development Project.

Comparing with the remains of ancient sluices in Sri Lanka. the Maduru Oya ancient sluice possesses some salient features. One such feature is its twin inlet conduits, dressed with stone slabs enclosed in a massive corbelled
arch shaped brickwork. Covering stone slabs with brickwork is a common construction pattern in ancient sluices, but this corbelled arch shaped brick enclosure is only limited to Maduru Oya sluice.


the central pit forms special interest as its right wall has a peculiar terracotta design of dancers. Similar feature has not been located from any other sluice in Sri Lanka.

The Maduru Oya Sluice made up of stone slabs and bricks, is about 30 feet (9.1 m) high, 30 feet (9.1 m) wide and 219 feet (67 m) long. Professor Senarath Paranawithana believes that this sluice way was built by King Kutakanna Tissa (42-20 BC).  Carbon dating carried out in USA has also placed the time period to 1st century BC.  But the popular local belief us that the original dam here was built before the arrival of Vijaya by Yaksha Tribes around 6th century BC.


Access to the Maduru Oya Dam is restricted to the general public. Since the ancient sluice lies in the close to the dam access to this too is restricted. You need to obtain permission from the Mahaweli Authority prior hand which you need to present to the Army checkpoint.

Also See

Map of Maduru Oya Ancient Sluice

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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

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Travel Directions to Maduru Oya Ancient Sluice

Route from Colombo to Maduru Oya Ancient Sluice

Through : Kandy – Mahiyangana
Distance :  260 km
Travel time : 36 hours
Driving directions : see on google map


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