Built by the very king who introduced Buddhism to the country, King Devanampiyatissa, in the 3rd century BC, the Tissa Wewa in Anuradhapura does not only showcase the ingenuity of the ancient engineers of the island, but also their practical approach to building irrigation. The sole reason for the construction of the lake is to increase the water supply to the city, and to supply water to the Royal Gardens of Anuradhapura. The embankment of the ancient reservoir is believed to be 11,000 feet long and 25 feet high. Moreover, the width of the top of the reservoir was found to be 12 feet to 18 feet.
The reservoir was worked on by the kings that came after Devanampiyatissa, such as King Bhatikabaya, who is believed to have installed a machine to pump water from the reservoir to the flowers in Ruwanveliseya. The reservoir is also known to provide water to the Isurumuniya Viharaya too. What makes it even more enticing to many, is its peaceful and rustic atmosphere that surrounds the lake. Out of all the lakes in the country, only two other lakes, namely the Abhaya Wewa and the Panda Wewa are older, as they are believed to have been built during the 4th and 5th centuries BC.