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Nature

Kantale Wewa

  Province Eastern
  District Trincomalee
  Nearest Town Kantale
  Area 216 km2
  Period 275 – 301 AD
  Ruler King Mahesen
  Introduction

This is another stupendous work of King Mahasen. He built this reservoir during the end of his reign. Originally known as Ganthalwe Wewa. (plain gifted to temples) It has a circumference of 20 miles with a height of 30 ft. The bund of the reservoir at the base is measured to be 150 ft. It has a submerged area of 3,700 acres. The bund was built using large stones piled up in a manner to contain water. Stupendous amount of labor was expended for the construction of the bund of this reservoir. The ancient Engineer selected this location for the reservoir due to surrounding hills. He made maximum use of the existing hills to contain water. Henry Cave writes the following on Kanthalai.

“Spotted deer are browsing: Peacocks airing their gaudy plumage, strut over the plain; a majestic elephant is enjoying his evening bath in the shallows; herds of buffaloes leave the shade of the woods to slake their thirst; grim crocodiles are basking on the shore; troops of chattering monkeys are sky larking in the trees, while the stately cranes and pink flamingos stalk the shallows. Such are the scenes that surround the lake of Kanthalai”

It was rehabilitated by King Agbo the II (608-618) and rehabilitated and further developed by King Parakramabahu (1153 - 1186) the Great.

Specifications of Kanthale Wewa

Catchment 216 Sq. Km.

Length of Dam 2300 m.

Height of Dam 18 m.

Capacity 135 millions cu. M

This tank is Located on the Polonnaruwa-Trincomalee road, the Kantale Tank is an ancient reservoir rebuilt by King Aggabodhi II (604-614 AD) covering an extent of 3,750 hectares. Constructed for the irrigation of crops in this arid region, its source of water is the Mahaweli River, the longest in the island, which flows out to the sea at Trincomalee. The Kantale tank supports a thriving inland fishing industry and has been designated an Important Bird Area by Bird life International in recognition of the large populations of water-birds and birds of prey it supports. Large herd of elephants also visit the shores of the tank to cool off and have a drink in the evening from the surrounding jungle.