Kantale Wewa

Kantale Wewa is a reservoir located in Kantale in Trincomalee. As mentioned in the chronicles, this reservoir was built by King Aggabodhi II.
Kantale Wewa

Kantale Wewa (Sinhala: කන්තලේ වැව; Tamil: கந்தளாய் அணை) is a reservoir located in Kantale in Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka.


Kantale Wewa

As mentioned in the chronicles, this reservoir is the ancient Gangatatavapi, also known as the Gangatalawewa tank built by King Aggabodhi II [(604-614 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969; Nicholas, 1963; Ray, 1959]. It was supplied by a canal 29 miles long which was issued from Minneriya Wewa (Ray, 1959). Although King Agghabodhi II built Kantale Wewa, the project was planned and the feeder canal was constructed during his predecessor's reign (Ray, 1959). The tank was improved by King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) in the 12th century A.D. (Arumugam, 1969). An inscription by Parakramabahu I mentions the length of the bund of Gangatala tank as 4300 riyan (Nicholas, 1963). King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) built an alms hall named Parvati at Gangatala (also called Caturveda-Brahmapura) and declared the tank a sanctuary for animals (Nicholas, 1963). In the 13th century, the Gangatala area was occupied by Tamil invaders (Nicholas, 1963).

Local Tamils are in the belief that this is the Thirukulam tank (the Sacred tank) of Kulakoddai Arasan built for the upkeep of Koneswaram Temple lands at Thambalagamuwa [(or Tampalakamam) Arumugam, 1969].

Restorations and disasters

The reservoir was restored in 1869 (Arumugam, 1969). On 20 April 1986, the dam breached due to the crumbling and collapse of one of its two sluices (Samarajiva et al., 2006). About 127 people were killed and more than a thousand homes were destroyed or damaged (Samarajiva et al., 2006).

The Reservoir

Except for the drainage from its own catchment area, the reservoir also receives drainage from the Gal Oya and Alut Oya catchments through the Kantale Yodha Ela (Arumugam, 1969). The reservoir has 2 sluices and 1 spill with 10 radial gates (Arumugam, 1969).


1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.255.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.46.
3) Ray, H.C. (Editor in chief), 1959. History of Ceylon: Vol. I: Part I. Ceylon University Press. Colombo. p.354.
4) Samarajiva, R., Goswami, D. and Ennen, L.R., 2006. Concept paper for a dam-related hazard warning system in Sri Lanka. LIRNEasia. p.3.


1) Kantale Dam by Raveendran Mathusha is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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This page was last updated on 31 March 2024

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