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Mineriya Wewa

  Province North Centrel
  District Polonnaruwa
  Nearest Town Minneriya
  Area 18.9 km2
  Period 275 – 301 AD
  Ruler King Mahasen
  Introduction

Minneriya tank, which was built by King Mahasena (275 301AD), is equipped with two spillways. The one on the south spills to Agalwan Oya and other releases water to Kantale tank through Gal Oya and it enter Kantale

The Mahavamsa, the ancient chronicle of Sri Lanka, states that Mahasen constructed sixteen large tanks and two irrigation canals. The largest among these is the Minneriya tank, which covers an area of 4,670 acres (18.9 km2). The tank has a circumference of 21 miles (34 km), and its 44-foot (13 m) high bund is 1.25 miles (2.01 km) long. The Minneriya tank provides water for a large area, and its water supply is maintained by the Elahara canal. Henry Ward, a governor of Sri Lanka when it was a British crown colony, had stated;

“No wisdom and no power in the ruler can have forced such efforts even upon the most passive oriental nations, without general persuasion that the work was one of paramount necessity and that all would participate in its benefits”

Most significant feature of the ancient Minneriya Tank is kingdom for for wild elephants and wild animals eventhough built this tank in 3rd century AD, by King Mahasen. This massive reservoir provides water for the agriculture in the area and creates an optimum condition for a viable population of wild Elephants not less than 300. Except when the reservoir is swollen up to the full capacity in December, the skirting grassland is an ideal feeding ground for the elephants, during the rest of the year. Minneriya Tank is the most important tank built by King Mahasen. A number of canals were cut to take the waters of this tank , to the neighbouring fields. Cultivation prospered and a good harvest was obtained every year. The granaries were full and the country was self-sufficient in food. King Mahasen is the 54th great king of Sri Lanka. He ruled the country for 27 years and passed away in 301 AD. Even today we have benifited all our kings’ irrigation works. Sri Lankan countrymen regarded him as a god or deity after the construction of the Minneriya tank, and he was named Minneri Deviyo (God of Minneriya).