Ancient Mamaduwa Wewa (වව්නියාවේ මාමඩුව වැව)

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Surrounded by Sinhalese villages such as Mahakachchakodiya, Etambagaskada and Agbopura and Tamil villages such as Vimangalla,  Mamaduwa is a small Sinhalese village located in north-east of Vavuniya in an area scattered with Buddhist Ruins. According to the folklore Prince Dutugemunu has gone across this area to Erupothana, the home town of one of his generals, Nandimithra after destroying the army of Elara. Hearing the arrival of the victorious prince, the villagers have built a massive shed (Maduwa) to celebrate the overthrowing of Elara by the prince. Thus this area where the “Maha Maduwa” was built evolved in the “Mamaduwa” with time.

With the shifting of the capital to Polonnaruwa and then further to the south, all the villages and the massive reservoirs which fed the paddy fields were abandoned for thousands of years. These Sinhalese villages were reborn again in 1839 and Mamaduwa had a total population of 16 villagers by this time under British rule but the dilapidated ancient Mamaduwa Reservoir was their main challenge to sustain their paddy fields. This massive reservoir was built during the reign of King Agbo (Aggabodhi I) in between 575 and 608.  According to inscriptions found at Mamaduwa, this reservoir was called Mahinda Thata Vapi during ancient times.

The villagers successfully appealed to the Jaffna Governor to re-build the reservoir but the Tamils in the area vehemently opposed this plan. Despite the resistance by Tamils, rebuilding this tank was undertaken in 1881 under the guidance of Henry Parker.

The reservoir today carries 3.8 million cubic meters of water covering approximately 1.25 square kilometers at full capacity and supports about 465 acres of farming land. The Bund  (embankment) of the tank is almost 1.9 kilometres long.

A slab inscription has been found buried on the reservoir bund during renovations. The inscription and pictures of a dog and a crow is carved on a 3½ feet high, 3 feet wide and 1½ feet thick slab which has broken into two pieces. The inscriptions state that those who use the water from the reservoir for farming and don’t carry out religious offerings shall be reborn as dogs and cows.

The last time Mamaduwa came to the news was in 1986 when the LTTE Tamil terrorist’s first-ever civilian bus bomb exploded near the Mamaduwa Cemetery on the 22nd of July. The bus filled with school children and villagers driven by a Tamil driver brought death to 32 civilians out of which 30 were from Mamaduwa and Mahakachchakodiya.


  • Weerasinghe, S.P.S. (2014) අපේ වැව්නියාව – වව්නියා දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ සිංහලයන්ගේ පුවත. Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka: Visidunu Publishers.

Also See

Map of  the Mamaduwa Wewa

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

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Traveling to Mamaduwa Wewa

Route from Vavuniaya to Mamaduwa Wewa
Through : Etambagaskada – Agbopura
Distance : 11  km
Travel time : 30 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


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