Isurumuniya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka


Thissa Wewa is an ancient irrigation tank was built by King Devanampiya Thissa (250-210 BC). Only Panda Wewa and Abhaya Wewa are considered to be older than Thissa Wewa. The embankment of Thissa Wewa is 11,000 feet long (Two miles) and 25 feet high. The width of the top of the reservoir was found to be 12 feet to 18 feet. Base of the embankment is 160 feet. Thissa Wewa has an area of approximately 550 acres.

Mahawansa reports that King Bhatikabaya  (20 BC-9 AC) pumped water using a machine up to Ruwanweli Seya and sprayed water to flowers which covered the full stupa. Further, water from this reservoir was also used to fill the tanks of Ranmasu Uyana, the Royal water garden next to the Isurumuniya Viharaya.

Thissa Wewa receives water through the ancient canal of Jaya Ganga, an ancient canal originating at Kala Wewa. The excess water is released to the Malwathu Oya river. The embankment of the Thissa Wewa tank is approximately 3 km long.

Parker in 1909 reports that the embankment appears to be in original state ( that of 1100 years ago) and its so solidly built, with little maintenance this bund will last forever. Just as he commented, the Thissa Tank continues feed water to the Anuradhapura even today.

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