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Nature

Parakrama Samudraya

  Province North Centrel
  District Polonnaruwa
  Nearest Town Polonnaruwa
  Area 15 Km2
  Period 1153-1186 AD
  Ruler King Parakramabahu the Great
  Introduction

The Parakrama Samudra (Sea of Parakramabahu) is vast irrigation tank built by King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 AD) (or Parakrama's sea or the Sea of King Parakrama) is a shallow reservoir, consisting of five separate reservoirs separated by smaller dams to reduce the pressure on the main dam. Many smaller tanks have been built around the main tank to feed these primary tanks and to take excess water. Parakrama Samudraya originally consisted of five large reservoirs The main five reservoirs which consist of the Parakrama Samudraya are

Thopa Vawa

Eramudu Vewa (Katu Vewa)

Dumbuthulu Vewa

Kalahagala Vewa

Bhu Vewa

The northernmost reservoir is the oldest and referred to as Topa wewa (Sinhalese wewa = lake or reservoir) built around 386. The middle section Eramudu wewa and the southernmost portion, at the highest elevation, is Dumbutula wewa, both sections were added and the reservoir expanded during the reign of King Parakramabahu the great. Further more, the very end of the dam and further along the canal which feed the Parakrama Samudraya is called “Angammadilla”. This is the place where the Amban ganga (river) is diverted towards the Parakrama Samudraya.

Above named five minor lakes were incorporated in the building of the Parakrama Samudra, whose 8 1/2- mile or 14km length bund contains 4 1/2 million cubic yards of earth. One thousand men employed in the hand labor of the period, working 24 hours a day. Could scarcely have completed the great job in 12 years.

This is one of the most striking features in Polonnaruwa because it was one of the largest irrigation projects built by the king. The tank covers an area of more than 15 sq. km (body of water covers 5600 acres with an average depth of 40 feet or 12.2 metres). The dam is almost 14 km long and 12m high and over 18000 acres of paddy land is supported by this reservoir.

" Let not even a drop of rain water go to the sea without benefiting man”

King Parakrambahu the great (1153-1186 AD), the imperial designer and builder of rainwater reservoir "Sea of Parakrama"

Unforunatly today what we see as the Parakrama Samudraya is only a portion of his original creation.

Travelling to end of the dam afterer walking about 500 metres in to the jungle you can come to a still unspoilt camping/bathing site. Due to the distance from the main city this location is still untouched and is great place to spend the day. This area is elephant country and you can see the dung of wild elephants as you walk along the path to the river. A little scary if you try it when it is dark.