Malwathu Oya basin was among regions that supported the original civilization in Sri Lanka, at the time Prince Vijaya landed near the river estuary. The landing was not by chance, the location was part of the ancient trade route with pearls being found in the nearby sea. Yodha Wewa in Mannar, is the lifeline for hundreds of paddy cultivators in the area knows as the Paddy Bowl of Sri Lanka, This is the second largest reservoir made in the ancient Sri Lanka with a 7.4 km long curving dam is attributed to king Dhatusena (459-477) who diverted water from Malwathu Oya and a built a 25km long canal along the flat land to built Yodha Wewa.
This reservoir was a experiment of a gigantic scale since the conventional reservoirs were built across a river or stream encompassing a valley around for several miles over a large area of a river basin creating a reservoir. The land in Mannar district was so flat that a new way to irrigate the land was required. The engineers under king Dhatusena then decided to build a 25km long canal from Malwathu Oya to a natural depression in the area where the Yodha Wewa stands today. Although the reservoir lies just over 5 kms from Malwathu Oya as crow flies, the engineers selected a location almost 20 km upstream to divert the water considering the level of the river and the reservoir.
The water was diverted at a location know as Thekkama on Mawathu Oya. The Thekkama Anicut is constructed with giant granite blocks using a rocky foundation at an angle across the river. This anicut is about 640 feet (approx 200 meters) long, 90 feet wide (27.5 meters) and rises up to 12 feet (3.7 meters). On the northern side of the anicut, there are 3 large openings to release excess water.
A canal has been cut to carry the diverted waters just before the anicut. The canal snakes through the natural counters of the the terrain parallel to the Malwathu Oya for over 10 km before turning north finding its own route to the final destination.
The levels taken along this canal in the course of modern schemes for restoration of the ancient works disclosed a striking illustration of the exactitude with which the ancient Sinhalese worked.
To reach this ancient wonder you need to take the Mannar road from Medawachchiya and travel 42 km along this road passing the police station. There is a narrow gravel road to the south 250 meters passing the Police Station entrance. Take this road for about 650 meters in to the jungle. to reach the anicut.
Map of the Ancient Thekkama Anicut
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Travel Directions to Thekkama Anicut
Route from Medawachchiya to Thekkama Anicut
|Through : Mannar Road|
Distance :43 km
Travel time : 45 – 60 mins
Time to spend : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map