|Morning at Giritale reservoir.|
I wonder what was there, 14 centuries ago.
Somewhere between 608 AD and 618 AD, King Agbo II of Anuradhapura Kingdom chose the ideal place at Giritale to build a reservoir. When the reservoir was built, it became the naturally deepest reservoir of Sri Lanka, a record which it still holds.
|On the roadside: Giritale-Elahera Road.|
The construction of Giritale reservoir could have been a mighty project. King Agbo II mobilized his 5th century engineers to plan the construction. He might have organized massive manpower and animal power such as herds of tamed elephants and bulls to power the construction work as planned. King Agbo II ultimately finished the reservoir with a 550 meter long, 23 meter high dam, covering 24 square kilometers, containing 24 million cubic meters of water to support the agricultural economy of the country.
|The Deer Park hotel garden.|
Fourteen centuries ago, the construction site of the Giritale reservoir could have been covered with thick dry-zone jungle rich in wildlife including deer, elephant, wild boar, squirrels etc. The workers might have taken meal breaks with chats and jokes to relax a bit while the work was going on. During the nights fireflies might have lit the jungle around the site.
Today, the scenario has changed a bit. Walk along the bund of Giritale reservoir, starting from Giritale junction towards Elahera. In the morning it is cool and a breeze blows. Fisher folk is out there rowing the canoes on Giritale reservoir, spreading the nets and bringing their catch.
Walking about a few hundred meters more you come to a centre of hospitality. The white letters on the brown wooden board reads, “The Deer Park”. The Deer Park has been built under the shades of huge dry-zone trees where tropical wildlife and vegetation is found abundant in an ancient Polonnaruwa kingdom setting. The environment is set to look like an epic palace garden in the history.