Tissa Wewa (Tissamaharama)

Tissa Wewa is said to be the ancient Tissavapi tank built by Ilanaga. it is considered the first large tank built at Mahagama, the capital of Rohana.
Not to be confused with Tissa Wewa, Anuradhapura

Tissa Wewa, Tissamaharama

Tissa Wewa (Sinhala: තිස්ස වැව) is a reservoir situated near Tissamaharama Viharaya in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.


The reservoir is said to be the ancient Tissavapi tank built by Ilanaga [(33-43 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969; Nicholas, 1963]. Some believe that it was built by Mahanaga, the brother of King Devanampiyatissa [(250-210 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. However, it is considered the first large tank built at Mahagama, the capital of the principality of Rohana (Nicholas, 1963).


The Governor of Ceylon Sir Henry Ward visited the site in 1859 and recommended the restoration of the reservoir (Abeyawardana, 2004). The present tank was restored in 1879 and improved in 1939, 1949, and 1955 (Arumugam, 1969).


Except for the drainage from its own catchment area, a channel from the Ellagala Anicut of Kirindi Oya scheme supplies water to the Tissa Wewa reservoir (Arumugam, 1969). The bund of the reservoir is about 15 feet tall and 0.75 miles long (Arumugam, 1969). The water is extending in an area of about 575 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). The reservoir has 3 sluices and 1 spill (Arumugam, 1969).


1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.127.
2) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.130.
3) 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.60.


1) Thissa Lake තිසා වැව, Thissamaharama, Southern Province, Sri Lanka by Yashaswin Dineth Bamunusingha is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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This page was last updated on 3 December 2023

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