Mahakanadarawa Wewa (මහකනදරා වැව)

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As you travel about 3km passing Mihintale Junction off Anuradhapura, you will come across the ancient Mahakanadarawa Wewa reservoir, one of the large reservoirs built almost 2000 years ago to cultivate the surrounding land. Unfortunately, the British had built a gravel road bisecting the reservoir to reach Trincomalee and today this has become a major highway (A12) which connects Anuradhapura and Trincomalee.

Mahakanadarawa Wewa was built by damming the Kanadara Oya which is the main tributary of the Malwathu Oya river. This reservoir was called ‘Kana Wapi’ and ‘Kanadiyadora’ in ancient times and is attributed to King Mahasen (276-303). It is reported that King Sena II (853-887) had built a weir at a place called Kattaththa and diverted water to Kanadara Oya through a 12-kilometer canal to increase the supply of water to Mahakanadarawa Wewa.

To reach the embankment of the reservoir you need to turn off from the Kanadarawa junction and travel 3 kilometres inland through villages with hamlets. The embankment of the reservoir is 2.8 km long and covers 34,000 acres (13.76 sq. km) when full. The total water holding capacity is 36 250 acre feet ( 44,714,000 cubic meters). Even today about 3500 families depend on the waters from the reservoir farming 6100 acres of paddy land.

From the embankment, you can get a good view of the Mihintale Mountains. Travelling a further 2 km from the dam, you will find one of the longest ancient stone bridges in the country which has been partially restored.

References

  1. Soysa. (2015). ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ඉපැරිණි වැව් සහ වාරි කර්මාන්ත (1st ed.) [Print].

Also See

Map of  the Mahakanadarawa Wewa

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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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Traveling to Mahakanadarawa Wewa

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and through Kurunegala. Travelling from Puttalam, you will pass the scenic Wilpattu area. From Kurunegala, there are two main routes to Anuradhapura. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is through Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the most commonly used is the Kurunegala-Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo : 210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 223 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Narammala – Wariyapola – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :203 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel Time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Route from Anuradhapura to Mahakanadarawa Wewa
Through : Puttalam – Anuradhapura
Distance : 30 km
Travel time : 20 mins
Driving directions : see on Google map

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