Panda Wewa – The First man made Reservoir in the World – පාන්ඩ වැව

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Panda wewa (now known as Kottambapitiya Wewa) the is situated closer to Ancient Kingdom is Panduwasnuwara. The area can be reached though Negambo – Chillaw side or from Kurunegala. Although no direct mention has been found in the ancient texts which could be used to find the origins of the tank, this is believed to be the tank built by King Panduwasdeva (504-474 BC) in 450 BC for irrigation as well as for daily use by the citizens of Panduwasnuwara. The 14th centaury manuscript “Pradhana Nuwarawal” provides a detail description of the city built by King Panduwasdeva along with the tank which he built. H. Parker, in his publication “Ancient Ceylon” in 1909, believes that may be the first great reservoir ever constructed, if we omit from consideration the great lakes of Egypt, since they were merely immense natural hollows into which water was turned.

Also he shows his amazement of ancient irrigation engineers ability to control such a large volume of water the ability to build such a large dam as early as 5th Century BC.

…. we must be prepared to admit that either brick-making or stone-cutting, or both, as well as the art of building with those materials, were sufficiently understood in Ceylon at that early period for the designer to venture to construct a masonry outlet or, sluice for the purpose of regulating the flow of the water and passing it out for the use of the rice fields that would be cultivated lower down the valley by its aid. Such a great body of water would never be retained for the mere use of the inhabitants of the city; and the tank must have been originally intended for irrigating rice lands in addition to providing the people with a supply of water for drinking and bathing purposes. For fulfilling such an object some kind of substantially built outlet at a low level would be a necessity.

On the other hand, there can be no doubt that the arts of stone-cutting and brick-burning were well advanced long before the erection of the first dagabas, and the cutting of the earliest inscriptions and the fronts of the cave shelters of the Buddhist monks, in the third century B.C. No mere learners could have done the works in brick-burning and building, and in stone-cutting, which are still preserved. King Pandukabhaya, who probably became king at about the end of the fourth century B.C. (that is, less than seventy years after Panduwasa Deva), certainly formed a reservoir which had an embankment higher than that of Panda-waewa …………..

Also according to his publication, the tank was being used use until 19th centaury ( for over 2300 years) until the bunt was breached after a heavy rainy season. But after repairs to the breach, even today this tank is being used to cultivate land around area.

Also See

Map of  the Panda Wewa

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The marker points to approximate location. See travel directions above.

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 Panda Wewa

Route from Colombo Town to Panda Wewa

Through :
Distance : 120 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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