Waterfall, Sri Lanka

Once upon a time in Lanka, the mountains in the centre were our natural reservoirs. Primeval forests covered this central mountain region in a panorama of green, wrapped in the eternal rhythm of rainfall, leaf-fall and regeneration. This is Skanda the newborn.

The forests helped to condense the vapour-laden clouds and intercept the rain's action like an umbrella. The force of the monsoon thus broken, the forest soils absorbed the moisture and slowly released a perennial flow. The life force water, having anointed Lanka's sacred hills, journeyed down to the plains below through streams, waterfalls and rivers. This was a time when natural and man-made lakes, or wewas, dotted the sun-scorched plains to provide food for our people, who made the cultivation of rice their religion.

Sir Edmund Leach, professor of anthropology at Cambridge University in England and a leading authority on irrigation agriculture, claims that in Sri Lanka large water tanks may have been the work of a centralized bureaucracy, hut that the small village tanks were maintained by the villagers themselves.

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