Yathuru Pokuna (Key Pond) at Ruwanweli Maha Seya Monastery (රුවන්වැලි මහා සෑය අසළ යතුරු පොකුණ)

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Yathuru Pokuna literary means the Key Pond in English. These ponds are called as such since they take the shape of a key. There are 2 Yathuru Pokunas’ in the Jethawanaramaya Monastery (Yathuru Pokuna I and Yathuru Pokuna II) complex, one in Abhayagiri Monastery and one in Maha Vihara Complex close to the Ruwanweliseya.

Out of the four ponds, Yathuru Pokuna number 1 at Jethawanaramaya and the Jethawanaramaya Monastery has the best resemblance to a key. The staircase down to the pond starts from the bit part of the key and takes a sharp right-angle turn in the middle of the steps and the stairs continue along the shaft of the key. The circular pond at the end of the stairs represents the bow of the key. Yathuru Pokuna number II as well as the Yathuru Pokuna at Ruwanweli Maha Seya does have the bit part and the stairs start at the shaft of the key shape and travel directly to the pond. However, the Pokuna at Ruwanweli Seya is the largest and most well-built.

Unlike other Yathuru Pokuna ponds in Anuradhapura’s ancient city, this pond called Kantaka Kupa is quite large and made of stone blocks. Perfectly carved blocks of stones have been tightly fitted together to create the pond. The pond gradually enlarges itself from the bottom to the top. No historical information is found of the pond but like other ponds of Jethawanarama Monastery, this too would have been used to satisfy the water requirements of the priests of the Maha Viharaya Monastery. Indications of an underground water supply to this pond can be seen from the stone water inlet below the ground level.

Although this pond lies on the main entrance less than 25 meters away from the Welimaluwa of Ruwanweli Seya stupa, very few pilgrims are aware of the marvellous creation of the ancients as this lies inside the new Sangawasa (living quarters of bhikkhus) and is covered by the wall. As you enter Ruwanweli Seya from the ruins of the outer Vahalkada and walk along a white wall, you will come across a small gate to the right with some steps. The pond lies inside this premises. Unfortunately, you cannot just walk in unless you speak to a priest and obtain permission to enter.


  1. Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.139

Also See

Map of Yathuru Pokuna (Key Pond) at Ruwanweli Maha Seya

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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 Yathuru Pokuna (Key Pond) at Ruwanweli Maha Seya

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and through Kurunegala. Travelling from Puttalam, you will pass the scenic Wilpattu area. From Kurunegala, there are two main routes to Anuradhapura. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is through Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the most commonly used is the Kurunegala-Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo : 210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 223 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Narammala – Wariyapola – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :203 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel Time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map

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