Proposing Parakrama Samudraya
as a World Heritage Site
The International Tourist Guide Day was celebrated at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourist Guide Lecturers (SLINTGL) with an event centred around the proposal to have Parakrama Samudraya declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ingenious reservoir, considered the apex of Sri Lanka’s ancient irrigation system, was built in the 12th century CE in the then capital city of Polonnaruwa, located in north-central Sri Lanka.
Invitees to the Head Table:
- President of SLINTGL – Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana
- President of Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) – Mr. Maheen Kariyawasan
- Asst. Secretary General of UNA – Dr. Kamal Abeywardane
- Director HR, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) – Mr. Mihira Liyanarachchi
- Board Director, SLTDA – Mr.Thilak Weerasinghe
- Director General, Central Cultural Fund (CCF) – Prof. Gamini Adikari
Students from University college Anuradhapura, Hiking and Trekking team, Officers from the Department of Archaeology, President of the Chauffeur Guide Association and 46 NTGLs.
- National Anthem.
- Moment of Appreciation.
- Theme Song of the SLINTGL.
- Lighting the Oil Lamp.
- Mr. Dodangoda invited the President of SLINTGL Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana for welcome Speech and introduction of WTGD.
- Speech by Treasurer of SLINTGL, Mr. Priyalal Malevirachchi.
- Message of Chairperson of SLTDA by Director HR, Mr.Mihira Liyanarachchi.
- Speech by President of SLAITO, Mr. Maheen Kariyawasam.
- “Evolution of Water Management System from “Wapi” to “Samudra”, Mr. Indika Manawadu.
- “Why Parakrama Samudra has to be declared as a World Heritage Site” by Mr. Sunil Gunathilake.
- “Socio economic benefits of declaring Parakrama Samudraya as a World Heritage Site” Ms. Sasankaa Gunathilke.
- Conclusion speech by Director General of CCF, Prof. Gamini Adikari.
- Vote of Thanks by Treasurer of SLINTGL, Mr. Priyalal Maleviarachchi.
- Program conclusion.
The Director General of the Central Cultural Fund promised to organize meetings at SLINTGL with the officials of the World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka for building up the mutual understanding between both parties.
The program ended successfully, commemorating the ITGD 2020 and proposing Parakrama Samudraya as a World Heritage Site. The request was handed over to the Director General of CCF and to the Asst. Secretary General of UNA, who are on the accreditation board of UNESCO.
Parakrama Samudra and its unique water management system as a solution for impacts of global warming. Let’s make it a World Heritage Site.
Theme for ITGD 2020- Tourist Guides: Contributors to Sustainable Tourism & Jobs
History of water management in Sri Lanka goes back to 8th century BC where primitive micro irrigation system appeared for the first time. The first technically feasible tank was built by king Pandukaabhaya in 4th century BC and it is called as Abhaya wewa or Basawakkulama.
Building large sized reservoirs had been started in the 1st century B.C. during the reign of King Wasabha (67 – 111 BC). He has built 11 large reservoirs and two irrigation canals. It was followed by many small and medium size tanks that built all over the island. By the 3rd century, King Mahasen built 16 large reservoirs including Minneriya,Kaudulla ,Kanthale, Nachchiduwa and Mahakanadharawewa in Anuradhapura. These huge reservoirs were supported with a complex network of river diversions and miles long man-made channel systems.
Kalawewa was built during the reign of king Dhathusena in 5th century and the tradition of building lakes and water management continued to the Polonnaruwa period where it reached to its climax.
During the Anuradhapura period, the lakes were built based on the concept of “wapi” where the sole purpose of the lakes were to provide water for the agriculture. The lakes became more sophisticated in technology in the reign of King Parakramabahu the Great and the concept of “Samudra” s evolved. A “Samudra” was versatile in contributing to the protection of the capital of the kingdom, and most importantly to maintain the water table at a higher level which enable the development of a self-sufficient economy in ancient Sri Lanka. Simply, the Samudra concept was the unseen foundation of the “granary and greenery of East”.