The Ocean of the King Parakramanahu
The vast water reservoir was built by King Parakramabahu (1153-1186) and today what you see as the Parakrama Samudraya is only a portion of his original creation.
Parakrama Samudraya originally consisted of five large reservoirs separated by smaller dams to reduce the pressure on the main dam. Many smaller tanks has been built around the main tank to feed these primary tanks and to take excess water.
The main five reservoirs which consist of the Parakrama Samudraya are
During reconstruction of the Parakrama Samudraya, the water which was supposed to come to the Thopa Vawa has started flowing to the Bhu Vewa. Then the engineers constructed a temporary dam to block the water flowing to the Bhu Vewa. This temporary wall then became a permanent road and this road isolated Kalahagala Vewa and Bhu Vewa from the Parakrama Samudraya. The new reconstruction process has ignored most of the ancient technology which this tank was built in reducing the capacity of the tank further.
As at today, the dam of Parakrama Samudraya is 8 ½ miles (14 kilometres) in length and 40 feet (12.2 metres) in height. The body of water covers 5350 acres with an average depth of 25 feet. Over 18000 acres of paddy land is supported by this reservoir.
On one edge of the reservoir is the Polonnaruwa rest house managed by Hotels Corporation. Along the dam there are few star class hotels closer to the Pothgul Vehera (Pothgul Temple).
After travelling to the very end of the dam (all 8 ½ miles) and further along the canal which feed the Parakrama Samudraya you come to place called “Angammadilla”. This is the place where the Amban ganga (river) is diverted towards the Parakrama Samudraya. After 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.
The king of wewas - Parakrama Samudra - by Kishanie S. Fernando
February 11, 2007