Thursday, January 17, 2013

Renovation of Kaudulla Reservoir

Trip Name: Renovation of Kaudulla Reservoir

Year and Month: August 2012

Number of Days : One Day

Crew : Alone

Accommodation : None

Transport : Mountain Bycicle

Activities : Cycling, Sight Seeing

Weather : Sunny, Windy,

Route :
Newtown > Kaudulla Reservoir Police Check Point > Kaudulla Reservoir.

Special remarks :
  • If you intend take bath ask a local to point out suitable places.
  • Do not swim far in to the reservior.
  • Do not approach or provoke wild animals.
Resources : 
  • There is a small island which is connected to the main land via a thin sand bridge. This place is an excellent choice to see the surrounding.
View Larger Map

If you read my Somawathiya Travelogue then you know I spent my August vacation in Newtown, Medirigiriya with my relatives. On one morning while I was there, I overheard a chat between my uncle and a friend of him. They kept talking about renovation of Kaudulla Reservior and an underwater canal. An underwater canal. An UNDERWATER canal!!?? what the hell is an underwater canal!; yes that's the same thing I thought when I heard it first. I waited for uncles friend to leave and asked him about it. Then he told me of a canal which is in the base of the Kaudulla Reservoir. He said that its purpose is to direct water current towards the sluice gates. Then he told me I could go see it being renovated by government contractors.

On My Way

Man Made Chanel Gone Dry
I was so thrilled to hear this I almost forgot to pack my camera. It took me half an hour to arrive at the reservoir.

Sluice Gates

Gone Dry

Sluice Gates

Repairing Sluice Gates

Sluice Gates

Iron Rope that Controls the Sluice Gate
Reservoir was dry except for deeper sections and I could see excavators and trucks in the middle of the reservoir. It was not cheerful to see reservoir gone dry but it was something new. Trucks ans other vehicles looked like miniature toys.


From there I slowly cycled on the reservoir bunt looking for a good place to go in to the dry reservoir and get a good look at this canal.

Small Shrine
Once I was in the reservoir base I got off my bicycle as rugged reservoir basin could puncture the tire.

After walking a bit I came near the canal. It was larger and deeper than I thought. I walked alongside it while enjoying the scenery.

The Canal

The canal up-close

The Canal and Excavators in the Background

Excellent Scenery

"Wew Pitiya"

Drought has Cost this One Its Life



I waited there enjoying the scenery for another one hour or so. And while I was enjoying the scenery I remembered a story my mother had told me. The story of how Kaudulla reservoir came to be...

It was during Polonnaruwa Kingdom. The King Mahasen ruled the country. In His early years of ruling a feud broke out between Him and His sister, Princess Bisobandara. Princess Bisobandara married a man that his brother ; The King did not approve of and it cost her all her royal titles and was banned from the capital. So she went to some remote area away from the capital to start a new life with her husband. Years passed and King was busily involved in renovating Kingdoms irrigation system. He was not pleased with the capacity of existing water tanks so he started to build a massive reservoir that the kingdom has never seen before. But the completion of the reservoir's bunt failed regardless of countless efforts made by royal engineers. Over the frustration of continues failures King was led to believe that there was some evil spiritual activity in the area and its demanding a human sacrifice. Not just any human sacrifice but royal blood. So in reluctance and frustration he turned to his Queen. But she said no to the demand. Then king remembered his sister Bisobandara. She must have children by now, the king thought. He sent a few royal men to ask her sister to give one of her children for the sacrifice. Princess Bisobandara was left with no choice. Even though it was a request she knew she must comply with it. After all his brother was no mere man but the King, above all a frustrated King. She knew more problems would occur if she didn't comply. So she sent her younger child with the royal party back to the capital. King was so pleased he arranged the sacrifice ceremony the next day. However chief of minister in kings ward was very fond of this little prince. Therefore he decided to disobey kings orders and arranged a ruse.He managed to hid the prince in a nearby village and sacrificed an animal instead. In others eyes sacrifice ceremony was a success and engineers soon began to work and completed the bunt within a few weeks. This reservoir was then given the name "Minneriya"

Time passed and Kingdom prospered with the help of its newly built irrigation system but the King seemed to be heavily depressed over the sacrifice of his own nephew. When chief of minister realized this he asked the King to promise him forgiveness for a confession he was about to make. After king gave the promise he came clean about the ruse he carried out to save the little boys life. King was not only pleased to hear this but demanded to see his sweet nephew at once. Prince was escorted back to the Kings palace with a royal welcome. After this King realized the wrongs he had done to his sister and decided to make amends. King sent and royal ward to escort her sister back to the capital. Once she came He asked for her forgiveness and gave her child back to her. Reunited with his brother she was then taken to see kings life's work, Minneriya Reservoir. After seeing the reservoir princess laughed. King was confused by this and asked why she laughed. Then she said its about something that best not told in words but to witness by kings own eyes and asked him to travel to the village she spen her exile. King with his entourage came to sisters village in where he was asked to come see a tank her sister has built during the time King built Minneriya reservoir. Then the king walked with her sister to see this tank. When the He saw it his jaws dropped. It was no mere tank it was a sea. It was twice the size of Minneriya. A boundless blue silk organza spreading beyond horizon. Seeing his brother in awe sister walked near him and said " Ayiyandige nambiliya  danna mama korahak haduwa"(In Sinhalese - අයියණ්ඩිගේ නැඹිලිය දාන්න මම කොරහක් හැදුව) (In English - To put you smaller pot I made a Larger one) .

And this "කොරහ " is now known to us as  "Kaudulla Reservoir".

Repairing the Bunt

Finally... Water!!!

This Becomes an Island When Reservoir is full


It was almost dark when I woke up from dreamworld of Kings and reservoirs. Since it was dangerous to stay there after sunset due to wild elephants I started paddling back home.

No comments:

Post a Comment