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  3. Exploring nature’s miracle constructs: A look at Sri Lanka’s stunning Reservoirs & Lakes

Exploring nature’s miracle constructs: A look at Sri Lanka's stunning Reservoirs & Lakes

The world has an abundance of breathtaking lakes and intriguing reservoirs, but Sri Lanka probably has the most visited waterbodies in the world. This is owed to the stunning natural combination of lush green forests and wetlands, coupled with our mesmerising lakes and reservoirs, set to the backdrop of everyday living amidst the beauty of nature. The country’s diverse and beautiful lakes and reservoirs have become a major tourist attraction, drawing in visitors from all over the world. Sri Lanka is known for its picturesque landscapes, and its waterbodies are just one of the many wonders that captivate tourists – and become a bonus viewing during their authentic Sri Lankan adventure.

 

Want to find out what are the most memorable lakes and reservoirs to visit when in Sri Lanka?

 

Here are our top picks:

 

Bolgoda Lake

Bolgoda Lake, or Bolgoda River, is a freshwater lake that straddles the border between the Colombo District and Kalutara District in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. It consists of two main bodies of water that cover a 374 square kilometre radius. Its natural beauty and proximity to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, make it a great respite, offering holiday stays, Airbnb options, and plenty of venues for social events. The area is renowned for its lush vegetation, diverse wildlife, and stunning waters. It also offers a variety of activities for visitors, such as adrenaline-filled water sports, bird-watching, and plenty of nature activities for avid naturalists.

 

Bonus tip: Visit Bolgoda from November to March, as you avoid the monsoon season in Colombo.

 

Diywanna Lake

Diyawanna Lake or Parliament Lake, is one of the lakes within Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Sri Lanka’s Capital City. It is quite popular as the Sri Lankan Parliament Building was built on an artificial island at the centre of the lake, and welcomes many visitors to it every evening for wellness and fitness activities. Although a commercialised area, the lake offers a soothing backdrop for evening strolls and even family outings.

 

Bonus tip: Visit Diwanna Lake from November to March, as you avoid the monsoon season in Colombo.

 

Lake Gregory

Lake Gregory (aka Gregory Lake or Gregory Reservoir), is a reservoir located in heart of the  tea capital of Sri Lanka – Nuwara Eliya. Constructed during the period of British Governor Sir William Gregory in 1873 – Lake Gregory (aka Gregory Lake or Gregory Reservoir), is a reservoir located in heart of the tea capital of Sri Lanka – Nuwara Eliya. Constructed during the period of British Governor Sir William Gregory in 1873 – Gregory Lake is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a variety of activities such as boating, fishing, and birdwatching. The surrounding area is also home to many picturesque tea plantations and stunning views of the nearby mountains. It welcomes visitors from far and wide to retreat into the serenity of nature’s bosom.

 

Bonus tip: For a picture-perfect visit to Lake Gregory, plan your trip here between February and April.

 

Giritale Tank

The Giritale Tank is a reservoir in Giritale and Minneriya – the North Central Province. It was built by King Agbo II in the 7th Century, and is believed that the tank was renovated by King Parakramabahu, the Great. Later, it was subjected to renovation in 1905, 1942 and 1952 during the colonial era and today stands as one of Sri Lanka’s historic constructs and a must-visit site for many tourists. Visiting this location provides tourists with an authentic experience of its surrounding villages and the livelihoods that are dependent on the water body.

 

Bonus tip: The best time to visit the reservoir is in July, August and then January. The area experiences maximum rainfall between October & December. Visit both the Girtale Tank and Minneriya Tank in one trip!

 

Minneriya Tank

The Minneriya Tank is a reservoir in Sri Lanka made by ancient Ceylonese civilisations located in the Anuradhapura Kingdom and is considered to be one of the oldest irrigation systems created under the orders of King Mahasena of Sri Lanka. The erected dam across the Minneriya River led to the formation of the Minneriya Lake, and the ensuing tank which covers 4,670 acres. Visiting this location provides tourists with an authentic experience of its surrounding villages and the livelihoods that are dependent on the water body.

 

Bonus tip: The best time to visit the reservoir is in July, August and then January. The area experiences maximum rainfall between October & December. Visit both the Girtale Tank and Minneriya Tank in one trip!

 

Parakrama Samudra

Parakrama Samudra is a shallow reservoir, consisting of five separate lakes (lake – “wewa” in Sinhalese) connected by narrow channels across Polonnaruwa, in the North Central Province. The northernmost reservoir is the oldest and referred to as Topa wewa and was constricted around 386 AD. Enjoy scenic cycle and boat tours, or opt for a less crowded route and travel your own path to discovering this Sri Lankan marvel. From witnessing the everyday life of the quaint villages in the area to exploring paths, and getting up close and personal with the flora and fauna specific to the area, rest assured your experience will be a spiritual one that reconnects you with the miracle of nature.

 

Bonus tip: Visit between the months of May and October, preferably in the moringa to really experience the inner workings of this natural paradise.

 

Kandy Lake

Located in Sri Lanka’s central city and the famous Kandian Kingdom – Kandy Lake is situated at the heart of the city across from the Temple of the Tooth, and is the feature piece of the cultural city. With Kandy’s bustling streets and tourist attractions, Kandy Lake offers a removed, yet central location for evening strolls, and relaxing conversations and even houses a man-made fountain at its centre. Home to a plethora of avian and marine life, Kandy Lake still retains its natural wonder, set against the backdrop of a sleepy town.

 

Bonus tip: Make sure to visit Kandy Lake when you’re in the vicinity. Early mornings and late evenings are the best time to visit, avoiding humid afternoons and early evenings, as well as to avoid getting caught up in the day-to-day bustle of city life, as the day unfolds.

 

Kala Wewa

Kala Wewa is located outside the city limits of Anuradhapura, in Kekirawa. Kala Wewa plays a significant role in the tale of King Datusena and his son King Kashyapa, the latter who created the citadel of Sigiriya (a UNESCO World Heritage site). Built by King Datusena in 460 A.D., Kala Wewais a twin reservoir complex which has a capacity of 123 million cubic meters – and the largest lake in Sri Lanka. This reservoir complex stands as a testament to the engineering prowess of Sri Lanka’s ancient civilisations, connecting it to a stone spillway and three main sluices.

 

Bonus tip: The best time to visit the reservoir is in July, August and then January. The area experiences maximum rainfall between October & December.

 

Tissa Wewa

Unwind and relax, letting your spiritual being soar at Tissa Wewa. A wonderful representation of Sri Lanka’s ancient irrigation systems, Tissa Wewa is an artificial reservoir built by Devanampiya Tissa in order to increase the water supply to his capital city of Anuradhapura. Considered one of the oldest “wewas”, the embankment of Tissa Wewa is 2 miles long and 25 feet high.

 

Bonus tip: Visit Tissa wewa during the day to experience the beauty and natural abundance of the area, but come back by 5.30 pm to watch the birds return to roost for the night; whilst thousands of large fruit bats head out for the night.

 

Ready to take on Sri Lanka? Don’t miss out on the numerous lakes and reservoirs in Sri Lanka, including the Sembuwatta man-made lake, the Beira Lake in Central Colombo and so much more!

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