Kuttam Pokuna (“Twin Pools/Ponds”), built in the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
“The twin pond is undoubtedly the best surviving example of landscape architecture in ancient Sri Lanka” -Professor Anuradha Seneviratne.
An outstanding example of hydrological engineering, the Kuttam Pokuna are ritual baths used by Buddhist monks, and are thought to date to the 8th or 9th centuries. ‘Kuttam pokuna’ is the name given to these pools in the 20th century, their ancient name is not known. Water was transferred to these pools through underground ducts.
The second pool is located directly behind the one shown, better displayed in this photo. Although referred to as “twins”, the northern pool is significantly larger than southern one, the northern being 40m long, and the southern, 28m.
“Of the two ponds the one in the north, seems to have been constructed before the southern one. Fine architectural differences confirm this point. It seems that after the construction of the southern pond an attempt has been made to connect them. The two ponds varying in size and architectural details areharmonised to create to make up a composite place of artistic creation”
During excavations, a metal box was discovered at the bottom of a pool. Within this box were small replicas of water dwelling animals, such as of a fish and crab, now displayed at the Anuradhapura Museum.
Photos courtesy & taken by Vasse Nicolas Antoine. The quoted sections are from Professor Anuradha Seneviratne’s book Ancient Anuradhapura (1994).