Malagamuwa Wewa Bisokotu in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa – (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු මාලගමුව වැව බිසෝකොටු)

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Quite well preserved Malagamuwa Wewa Bisokotuwa [1] considered the largest of Bisokotuwa structures discovered in Sri Lanka now lying forgotten and hidden  on the northern end in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa - (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු මාලගමුව වැව බිසෝකොටු)
Quite well preserved Malagamuwa Wewa Bisokotuwa [1] considered the largest of Bisokotuwa structures discovered in Sri Lanka now lying forgotten and hidden on the northern end in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa – (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු මාලගමුව වැව බිසෝකොටු)
source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

Wasgamuwa National Park is a jungle dotted with a large number of ancient Buddhist ruins known only to few. They are inaccessible to general visitors to park as well as anybody who wishes specifically visit the sites. There are are no roads and the access is by foot many kilometers through the wildlife infested jungle paths. Currently only the treasure hunters seem to have unlimited access to these sites.

`The northern boundary of Wasgamuwa National Park is specially packed with ruins of the ancient civilization in Sri Lanka. Malagamuwa Reservoir is a comparatively medium sized reservoir in this area now dwstroyed and absorbed in to the jungle of Wasgamuwa. Details of this reservoir was reported by HCP Bell in 1905 Archaeological Commissioners report. This reservoir called Malagommana is ranked one of the largest reservoirs in Thamankaduwa.

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The reservoir had been inspected in 1898 by a D Blair and reports

There are other irrigation works in the district unconnected with the great canals, yet worthy of remark –

One of these is Malagomuwa-vewa, situated in Meda Pattuwa, 3 miles south of Kotavella village. All that remains now is a sheet of shallow water covering about 40 acres, retained by a bund in perfect order on the south-east joining two hills of bare rock.

North of it the Nagaha-eti-ela flows through a narrow gorge between two hills of bare rock, and it is here that the tank was breached. A bund 60 ft. long and 30 ft. high with a sluice and spill in it would be all that is necessary to restore
this tank, when it would cover 200 or 300 acres and irrigate the land between it and the Mahaveli-ganga. To this day names of ” fields ” are given to stretches of open land below it, testifying to its former usefulness, and the ruins of an ancient stone amuna were found on the stream issuing from the tank.

In a visit 3 years later in 1901, HCP Bell, then the Commissioner of Archaeology writes that the embarkment is 700 yards long and 40 to feet in height. It also reports 2 sluices, both equipped with Bisokotu and one of which was in working order. The two Bisokotuwa’s lie 850 meters apart.

The bisokotuwa to the southern side is placed in a spit of the bund projecting slightly into the tank. Bell provides the dimensions in 1905 as 10×10 feet on the sides , a 8 feet depth with 25 feet long intake. The outlet channel is Okamura’s report in 2012 provides more precise measurements of 370x320cm on the sides and a depth of about 390cm. The internal walls of the structure is built with precisely cut large slabs of stones with brickwork backing 8 feet in height. These slabs are 95cm high 140cm long and 35cm thick. The upper layer of the bisokotuwa is now collapsed but lower layers of the wall are in a reasonable condition.

Also been discovered here are rocks with wedge holes which had been prepared for splitting (photo 14) and based on the shape of these holes it can be assumed that this Bisokotuwa belongs to the era of the Polonnaruwa kingdom. According to officials of the Archeology department this is the largest Bisokotuwa in the country ever discovered elevating the importance of preserving this site and protecting from further damage by treasure hunters.

The bund of the reservoir is in 2 parts where it mergers with a rock cluster in the middle. The first segment was measured to be 564 yards (5`16 meters). Then it connects the cluster of rocks. The second Bisokotuwa lies is 91 yards long (83 meters) along the second segment of the rock after the rock cluster amidst rocks at the extremity of the hillock known as Malagamuwa kanda. This bisokotuwa too is somewhat juts in to the Malagamuwa Wewa. Bell notes that its square pit and brick supports are of the same size as that of the other sluice, but its intake channel is only 21 feet long and the outlet “race” 74 feet. .The Nagaha-eti-ela, flowing from the north, after receiving the Malagomuwa-ela on the west and describing a loop, continues eastwards. But instead of passing through the sluice, as in olden days, it has breached the bund (45 ft. high) also to west of the bisowkotuwa , forcing its way through a rock bound gorge.

The bisokotuwa was measured as 350 cm x 330 cm at the top with a depth of 280 cm or more by Okamura. Part of the inner wall was remaining while the rest has collapsed inside. The bottom is filled with the earth and scattered with a collapsed stone plates and bricks.

References

  • Bell, H., 1909. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon – North Central, Central, and Northern Provinces Annual Report 1905. Colombo: Archaeological Department of Ceylon, p.45.
  • Okamura, T., 2012. Ruins of Wasgomuwa National Park – Sri Lanka — 2009/2010 Survey Report. Tokyo: South Asian Ruins Exploration and Research Society (SARERS)

Map of Malagamuwa Wewa Bisokotu in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa

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Travel Directions to Malagamuwa Wewa Bisokotu in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa

Route from Dambulla to Wasgamuwa National Park Entrance
Through : Bakamuna
Distance : 80 km
Travel time : 1.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
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