Anuradhapura was the first major kingdom established in Sri Lanka. For its citizens, irrigation was an important factor that their lives depended on. As such, to face tough droughts, the Sri Lankan Kings of old constructed massive tanks to act as stable water sources. Among these, Tissa Wewa is one of the most famous and frequently visited. One of the best ways to experience this marvel of ancient engineering is to bike ride along the tank, taking in all the sights and sounds around you.
Tissa Wewa was constructed by King Devanampiyatissa all the way back in the 3rd century BC. When compared with other prominent Sri Lankan reservoirs, only the Panda Wewa and the Abhaya Wewa are thought to be older than it. The Tissa Wewa is around 2 miles long and has a depth of around 25 feet. It is believed that the Tissa Wewa originally supplied water for the King’s rota botanical gardens. Over time, it became the basis for a substantial irrigational network that provided a water source for areas all around it.
You can rent a bike for as little as 5 USD for a day and start your ride along Tissa Wewa. While the tank will be on one side, the other will be graced with scenes from verdant paddy fields, charming streams and scenes from the quaint village of Neeraiya. Ardent birdwatchers should keep their eyes peeled for the rare types of avifauna that frequent the tank’s vicinity – fantastic species like the Malabar pied hornbill and the paradise flycatcher can make for fantastic sightings.