Ancient Vannadi Paalama and Amuna (Anicut) in Mulathivu

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Yan Oya and Ma Oya were the main waterways in the north of Padaviya Lake in ancient times. The Yan Oya starts from the Habarana area and joins the sea from Pulmudai, north of the Trincomalee Sea. Ma Oya is enriched by the water from the Padaviya Reservoir and falls onto the sea from the Kokilai lagoon.

During the four months from October to January each year, a large amount of water flows through these two canals and falls onto the sea without being used. However, this water seems to have fed a large number of large and small reservoirs including Padaviya and Wahalkada reservoirs in the ancient past.

In ancient Sri Lanka, low-lying embankments (weirs, anicuts) built across rivers and streams were known as “Amuna“. These sluices diverted the river’s water to other canals and were used to fill rice fields or other reservoirs.

Vannadi Amuna (Wannadi Amuna) is one such ancient weir located inside a thick jungle in the Muhudubada Pattu Divisional Secretariat Division in the Mullaitivu District. Based on the blocks of stones and the chisel marks on them, it has been determined that this anicut belongs to the Anuradhapura era.

This Amuna is bordered on the north by the 223 Brigade Headquarters, on the south by a collective farm, on the east by the Yaya 5-6 fields and on the west by the village of Nikawewa.

This Amuna is built just below the confluence of Kivul Oya and Ma Oya. The excess water collected in the Padaviya tank flows on the Ma Oya and joins the sea from the Kokilai Lagoon. The water diverted from this Amuna was carried along Weli Ela and has been used to feed the Nika Wewa, Kiriibban Wewa and other tanks below.

The Vannadi Amuna (Wannadi Amuna) is about 200 meters in length. It is about nine meters wide and 2.5 – 3 meters high. The way large blocks of stone had been used to build this weir can still be seen today. One of these blocks of stones is about 60 cm wide and 1.8 m long.

About a kilometer northeast of this anicut, you can see the Welioya Stupa along the Welioya road from Parakramapura. Behind the cave of this ancient temple are the ruins of several large stone quarries. Here you can see some stones that have been blocked but have not been used. These blocks are similar to the rocks of the Vannadi Amuna and can be identified as a place where stones were supplied to the Amuna as there are no other stone structures near this quarry.

Today, the ruins of two gates of this weir can be seen, and the weir is now breached in three places. The residents of the area say that the weir was breached a long years ago due to a flooding of the canal when the Padaviya reservoir was overflowing during heavy rainfall.

Among the ruins of this weir, you can see the bricks laid on top of the stones at the northern corner. This indicates that the anicut was also used as a bridge to cross the river. Therefore, this is also known as the Vannadi Bridge (Wannadi Bridge).

Legend has it that an ancient road that used to pass through the area now known as Galwanguwa was built this bridge. Evidence to prove this has also been found in the surrounding areas. In 1961, a group of Padaviya settlers were digging a small canal to collect water from the Kivul Oya across the fields when they found three hearthstones, a spoon and ashes buried under the ground. Similarly, a large foundation that is still covered with sand can be seen near the collective farm. The settlers are of the opinion that the foundation closely resembles a foundation built by King Mahasen near Padavi Wewa. The ruins of a stupa at the end of the Vannadi Bridge can also be seen. There is no mention of this giant creation in any book or inscription, so it is not possible to say when, when, or by whom it was created.

The path to this bridge is stated in the book on Archeological sites in the Mullaitivu district published by the Department of Archeology.

To reach this place you have to cross the Welioya Bridge on the Welioya road from Parakramapura and travel about 500 meters. Turn left on this road for about 1.5 km and you will see this archaeological evidence.

But a Wikipedia report states that the path to this bridge is:

It is about 5 km from the center of Parakramapura town. Follow the tarred road 1 1/2 km north of Parakramapura town center and then 1 km west along the road adjacent to the 11th dividing canal (D11) and from there about 2 1/2 km northwards through thorn bushes. We have to follow a small path that runs through the bushes.

The above trajectories show some contradiction and show a difference of 2-3 km. However, the GPS value of this place has been shown in the Archaeological Impact Report of the Kivul Oya Reservoir Project. It is very similar to the location on the Wikipedia page.

Vannadi Palama Slab Inscription

A slab inscription was discovered at Vannadi Palama in 1974. The inscription is etched on a stone slab 4 feet 10 inches in height, 2 feet 10 inches wide at the bottom and 2 feet 7 inches wide at the top. The writing is on one side of the slab with 37 lines of script which was found to be in a good state of preservation. The inscription is made on the 2nd year of King Mahinda IV (956-972) of the Anuradhapura Kingdom.

This inscription documents the criminal law and their punishments during the 10th century. An interesting note is that this inscription demonstrates the treatment of animals during the era. The death penalty has been inscribed for murder, highway robbery and killing of cattle and goats. According to the content, the local rulers appointed by the king have been granted the powers to implement the laws.

About 14 similar inscriptions have been discovered in various places. See Wewalketiya Slab Inscription for details of the content of such inscriptions.

A map of Padaviya area with the Vannadi Amunna marked  drawn in 1969 based on colonial maps.
A map of Padaviya area drawn in 1969 based on colonial maps.
source : Archaeological Remains at Deiyyanne-kanda, Padaviya by L. A. Ādithiya (1969)


  1. අසංග, එම්. වී. පී. කේ. සහ නිශාන්ත, අයි. පී. ඇස්., 2018. පෞරාණික ස්ථාන හා ස්මාරක – මුලතිව් දිස්ත්‍රික්කය – පුරාවිද්‍යා දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව. 1වන සංස්කරණය. කොළඹ: රජයේ මුද්‍රණ දෙපාර්තුමේන්තුව,පිටු .96-97.
  2. පුරාවිද්‍යා දෙපාර්තුමේන්තුව, 2014. කිවුල්ඔය ජලාශ ව්‍යාපෘතිය පුරාවිද්‍යා බලපෑම් සමීක්ෂණ වාර්තාව. කොළඹ: පුරාවිද්‍යා දෙපාර්තුමේන්තුව.
  3. Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, 2012. Kivul Oya Reservoir Project (Feasibility Study). Volume 1 – Main Report. Colombo: Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, pp.14-19.
  4. 2020. ගල් පාළම, පදවිය. [online] Available at: <ගල්_පාළම,පදවිය> [Accessed 12 September 2020].
  5. Archaeological Remains at Deiyyanne-kanda, Padaviya  : L. A. Ādithiya : The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland New Series, Vol. 13 (1969)
  6. Ranawella, S. (2004) Inscriptions of Ceylon Vol V (part II). Colombo: Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka, pp 187-1190.

Also See

Map of Wannadi Palama and Amuna (Ancient Anicut)

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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Driving Directions of Wannadi Palama and Amuna (Ancient Anicut)

From Medawachchiya to Wannadi Palama and Amuna (Ancient Anicut)
Through : Kebithigollewa – Padaviya – Padavi Parakramapura
Distance : 70 kilometers
Time : 1.30 hours
Time to Spent : 30-45 minutes
Driving Directions : See Google Map here


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