Iluppakadavai Padavuthurai Old Survey Tower

Iluppakadavai Padavuthurai Old Survey Tower
Iluppakadavai Padavuthurai Old Survey Tower (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Iluppakadavai Padavuthurai Old Survey Tower (Sinhala: ඉලුප්පකඩවයි පඩවුතුරෙෙ මිනුම් කුළුණ) is a colonial period survey tower located in Mannar District, Sri Lanka. 

According to folklore, this tower is constructed by the Portuguese who arrived in Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 16th century (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). However, observing its architectural features, it can be assumed that this tower was built by the British after the establishment of the Survey Department in 1800.

Department of Survey of Sri Lanka
The Department of Survey of Sri Lanka (or the Department of the Surveyor General) which is the oldest unchanged government department in the country, was established by the British on 2 August 1800 (Vithana, 2006). Under the Surveyor General W. D. Gosset (1855-1858), the establishment of control for surveys on the island commenced with the base measurements in 1857 for Principal Triangulation and several survey towers were used across the country for this process (Dias et al., 2016).

The tower at Iluppakadavai Padavuthurai is said to be one of such survey towers erected by them.

The tower
The square-shaped tower is about 12-13 m in height (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). It has five representative stories and they get smaller as the tower rises from the bottom to the top. The bottom story is made of cubic shape cut limestone rocks while other stories are built using bricks (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). An arch-shaped passage along the east-west direction is found at the bottom story of the tower. The entrance of this passage is 1.7 m tall and 0.78 wide (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). A square-shaped small opening can be seen running from the bottom to the top of the tower along with its central point (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018).

There is said to be a wall around this tower, but it is no more available (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018).

A protected monument
The survey tower at Iluppakadavai Padavuthurai belonging to Iluppakadavai village situated in Grama Niladhari Division, No. 04, Iluppakadavai, in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Manthai South is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 24 March 2016.

1) Asanga, M. V. G. K.; Nishantha, I. P. S., 2018. Mannarama Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-10-9. pp.113-114.
2) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. p.226.
2) Vithana, P. K., 2006. Surveying and mapping in Sri Lanka. Seventeenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific Bangkok. pp.1-9.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1960. 24 March 2016. p.229.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 2 July 2023

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