King Panduvasdev: Second King of Lanka
Nephew of King Vijaya and Queen – Baddhakachchana – (512 BC – 474 BC)
Prince Panduvasdev arrived Lanka and accepted the throne of Lanka after King Vijaya. While this was happening, another development was occurring in Shakya country. (The country of Lord Buddha). Fortunetellers told Shakya people that Shakya country and the people will be completely destroyed by King Vidudhaba (son of King Pasenadi Kosala). Hearing this, Prince “Sakka Pandu” left Shakya country and built a city away from Shakya country. King Sakka Pandu had an extremely beautiful daughter named “Baddhakachchana”. Seven Kings sent gifts requesting to marry Princess Baddhakachchana. Fearing a major war between competing Kings, Sakka Pandu made a ship and sent Princess Baddhakachchana with many of her attendants in the sea. King Sakka Pandu said to all competing Kings to look where the ship would land. The King of the land, where the ship lands will be able to marry her. The ship came to Lanka and King Panduvasdev accepted Princess Baddhakachchana as his Queen.
Panda Wewa (Panda Reservoir): Not mentioned in Mahavamsa
Mankind’s First Reservoir:
King Panduvasdev constructed Panda Wewa, in 450 B.C., in Sri Lanka, considered to be the worlds’ first reservoir. Panda wewa is located in the North Western province of Sri Lanka near Hettipola, sixteen miles from Chilaw. Fourteenth century book named “Pradhana Nuwarawal” (Major Cities) states that Panduwas Nuwara and Panda Wewa were built by King Panduwas Dev. The city was well fortified by a forty feet thick wall and a ten feet deep canal.
Note on Panda Wewa:
“Panda Wewa may be the first great reservoir ever constructed, if we omit from consideration the great lakes of Egypt, since they were merely immense natural hollows into which water was turned”
(Ref: H. Parker, Ancient Ceylon).
The Panda Wewa reservoir was formed by constructing a dam across Kolamunu Oya. The bund is 24 feet high and spans one and half miles. The ancient designer of this reservoir was able to reduce significant amount of earthwork by changing the direction of the embankment in a creative manner. Further he used 250 feet wide existing rock for the spillway. Full embankment of Panda Wewa is 8,400 feet long and 22 feet high. It has a slope of 2.5 feet horizontal to 1 ft vertical. Top of the embankment has a width of 8 ft. A layer of stones was placed on the inside slope of the reservoir to protect the slope from erosion due to wave action. When the reservoir is filled to its full capacity, it is capable of holding 416 million cu. ft of water and covers an area of 1,360 acres.
Note on Panda Wewa Design: (Ref. H. Parker)
“ Although the size of this reservoir was surpassed by other pre- Christian ones and left far behind by many post Christian ones, we can not failed to be astonished at the boldness and originality of the early Engineer who ventured to construct such an earthen bank across a valley down which floods of considerable volume passed in the rainy seasons. Owing to the heavy rainfall of the gathering ground, which averages about 85 inches per annum, the maximum flood may amount to 14,000 cu. ft per second.
Every Engineer will recognize that to get rid of this volume of water in safety would be a serious problem. The old designer of the works must have been a highly intelligent man to overcome it so successfully.
Besides this he made every effort to reduce the quantity of earthwork to a minimum. To effect this the line of the embankment was twisted in order to avoid low ground, in a manner never found in later works of larger size ”.
(Ref: H. Parker, Ancient Ceylon)
Note on Early Irrigation Works in Lanka and India:
“The nature of the flat plains around the sites of the primitive capitals of Southern India could never have encouraged the construction of reservoirs with high embankments, which in fact are still non existent on them. All that could be attempted there in very early times in the way of making reservoirs would be the formation of shallow village tanks, with embankments from six to twelve feet high, for retaining a supply of rain water for bathing purposes and for irrigation.
It was only in the districts surrounding the early capitals of Ceylon that necessary conditions existed promoting the construction of larger works of this character – a series of shallow valleys down which flowed seasonal streams of moderate times, and heavy rainfall lasting for only a short period of each monsoon. It may be assumed, therefore that the formation of all reservoirs of a class with embankments much higher than those of simple village tanks was originally due to the constructive genius of the Sinhalese themselves”.
(Ref: H. Parker, Ancient Ceylon)
Original Panda Wewa Design Still Being Used:
Most modern reservoirs of the world today do not deviate much from the ancient design of Panda Wewa. Main components, such as embankment to hold water, sluice to obtain water and a spillway to get rid of flood water had not change conceptually from Panda Wewa to most modern reservoirs in the twenty first century.
King Abhaya Third King of Sri Lanka
Son of King Panduvasdev: (474 BC – 454 BC)
King Panduvasdev had ten sons and one special daughter named “Chitra”. Oldest of the sons was Prince Abhaya. Chitra was the youngest and was extremely beautiful. Every man who saw her became maddened by her mere sight. Hence she was called “Unmada Chitra”. When she was born, fortunetellers predicted that her future son would kill all her brothers and unite the whole country.
Story of Unmada Chitra and Tower (Ektam Geya):
After the death of King Panduvasdev, oldest son Abhaya was consecrated as the King. Since fortunetellers predicted that Unmada Chitra’s future son would unite the country by killing her brothers, King Abhaya decided to imprison her in a tower where no man can go. This tower was known as “Ektam Geya” and was guarded by hundred soldiers day and night. One day when Unmada Chitra looked outside the window of the Ekatam geya, she happened to see “Deega Gamini”. They fell in love immediately. Deega Gamini built a secret ladder, climbed the Ektam geya at night, and met Unmada Chitra. They used to meet this way every night. Months later Unmada Chitra was pregnant and her brothers were very upset. Unmada Chitra’s brothers decided that if Unmada Chitra’s baby happened to be a son they would kill him. If the baby happened to be a daughter they would let her live. Unmada Chitra finally gave birth to a son and named him “Pandukabhaya”. Then she and her attendants found a female baby, born the same day from a nearby village and switched the two babies. Baby Pandukabhaya was removed from the Ektam geya and was given to an attendant. She took the baby boy to a nearby village. When Unmada Chitra’s brothers heard that she had given birth to a daughter, they were pleased.
Seven years later, Unmada Chitra’s brothers found out what Unmada Chitra did and that her son is living in a village named Dvaramandalaka. They sent soldiers to find the seven year old boy and kill him. When soldiers came, seven year old Pandukabhaya, hid inside a hollow tree. Soldiers killed all other boys and went away thinking Pandukabhaya is dead.
Then, when Prince Pandukabhaya was sixteen years old, his uncles again found out that he was not killed first time and sent soldiers to kill him. Prince Pandukabhaya escaped the soldiers for the second time. When Pandukabhaya was twenty years old, he developed an army on his own. When his uncles found out about Prince Pandukabhaya and his army, they came to attack him. Many battles took placed between Prince Pandukabhaya and his uncles. Finally, Prince Pandukabhaya was able to subdue all his uncles and become the King of the whole country. King Abhaya was given a high post in the Pandukabhaya government.