The Forgotten Ancient Sluice Gate of Parakrama Samudraya (පරාක්‍රම සමුද්‍රය පැරණි සොරොව්ව)

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Parakrama Samudraya, the massive reservoir built by king Parakramabahu (1153-1186) is surrounded with a large amount of ancient ruins, some well known and others lesser known to the general public.

The name “Parakrama Samudraya” translates to “Sea of Parakrama” in English, reflecting the grandeur and vastness of the reservoir. Parakrama Samudraya originally consisted of five large reservoirs separated by smaller dams to reduce the pressure on the main dam. Many smaller tanks has been built around the main tank to feed these primary tanks and to take in excess water.

During reconstruction of the Parakrama Samudraya in the latter half of 19th century, the water which was supposed to flow to the Thopa Vawa has started flowing to the Bhu Vewa. To control this the engineers constructed a temporary dam to block the water flowing to the Bhu Vewa. This temporary dam became a permanent road and this road isolated Kalahagala Vewa and Bhu Vewa from the Parakrama Samudraya.

The new reconstruction process has ignored most of the ancient technology which this tank was built in reducing the capacity of the tank further. As at today, the dam of Parakrama Samudraya is 8 ½ miles (14 kilometres) in length and 40 feet (12.2 meters) in height. The body of water covers 5350 acres with an average depth of 25 feet. Over 18000 acres of paddy land is supported by this reservoir.

The ancient sluice gates of Parakrama Samudraya are an important engineering feat that allowed King Parakramabahu the Great to control the water flow of the reservoir and distribute water for irrigation in a systematic manner. The sluice gates were designed to regulate the water levels in the reservoir, prevent flooding during the rainy season, and supply water to the surrounding agricultural lands during the dry season.

There is a massive sluice gate built of of large blocks of stones hidden from the public close to the Giritale Polonnaruwa road. The Slice Gate now stands on the dry ground during most of the year is about 12 feet in height. Two openings at the bottom allows the water in to the slice gate.

This slice gate is located in front of the Archaeology Department Holiday Bungalow, on the opposite side of the road but hidden from view due to the thick thicket between the structure and the road.

Also See

Map of Ancient Sluice Gate of Parakrama Samudraya

ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින් – Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map –

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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Driving Directions to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

The modern town of Polonnaruwa is also known as New Town, and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Central Highway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :226 km
Travel time : 4.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Matale – Dambulla – Habarana
Distance from Colombo : 145 km
Travel time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Though : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance from colombo : 105 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Chenkaladi – Valachchena
Distance from colombo :100 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map


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