They had their own advanced technology. Tank builders tapped hill streams and their water glided into giant tanks large as small harbors. The huge tanks were linked with a network of canals and smaller tanks, which flourished every single portion of soil in the island.
It was king “Parakramabahu the Great”, who was an expert of irrigation engineering, built an unconventional amazingly intricate irrigation system to nourish the country leading it the best rice supplier in Asia. He said that not even a single drop of rain should reach sea without man making some use of it. It is said that he controlled the most complicated and advanced irrigation system ever in Sri Lanka, as convincingly as a spider who controls his cobweb.
Even before 2500 years, Sri Lankan ancestors had highly advanced techniques with extraordinary abilities in every single field. The “Biso kotu” of ancient water tanks are compared to the valve pits of modern times. Recently, remnants of an ancient sluice and a dam emerged, while the surveys were done for the new dam site of “Maduru oya” reservoir. Modern engineers are surprised by “Yoda Ela”, running from Kalawewa to Anuradhapura which has a gradient of only six inches for the first seventeen miles.
The soil taken out during constructions of reservoirs was used to build dagobas and temples. Both economic and spiritual progress went hand in hand. The “wewa and dagoba” became the symbols of the ancient civilization. They built sky high dagobas such as “Jethawanaramaya”, “Ruwanweliseya”, “Abhayagiriya” and a lot more, which dwell dominating the blue sky even today. They also built sky scrapers for the Buddhist monks like “Lowamahapaya”, whose ruins tell the majesty of the Sri Lankan gleaming past to the present world.
The surgical instruments salvaged from the archeological excavations in Mihintale recently, are very much similar to modern surgical equipment. The historical Mihintale hospital is regarded as the oldest hospital in the world. Evidence have been discovered which prove that they had hospital complexes with highly advanced equipment, where they separately practiced general medicine, surgery, midwifery and veterinary medicine in separate hospital blocks. It is believed that the ancient Sinhalese are perhaps responsible for introducing the concept of hospitals to the world.
Almost all the ancient kingdoms are proclaimed as world heritage sites by today. Among them, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Yapahuwa, Sigiriya still bear the most stupendous ruins of palace complexes with monasteries, schools, temples, dagobas, reservoirs, gardens, hospitals, and all the other city building multiplexes fitted with infrastructure facilities.
Sigiriya and Yapahuwa were rock fortresses, built using the advantages of natural rocks, forests and water streams which made them inaccessible to enemies. Sigiriya built by king Kasyapa in 6th century AD was shaped as a gigantic sitting lion, about 180m height. On the top of the rock, residual ruins of royal palace complex replete with flowering trees, ponds and fountains which are operative even today show great engineering feats of Sri Lankan ancestors. Modern engineers are still in a midst of finding the way of supplying the water to the ponds at the top of Sigiriya through the rock. In the rock crevices, “The maidens of the Clouds”, 21 non identified female figures, compared to the most beautiful creations of Ajanta, were painted and the paints are visible even today. Around the rock, city multiplex was constructed. Later, the early people (after 6th century AD) visited Sigiriya and wrote “Sigiri graphics” on the “Mirror wall”, a side wall of the rock, when their hearts filled with delight of its exquisiteness. Hence, “Sigiri graphics” represents the earliest Sinhalese literature.
Thousands of years ago, Sri Lankans were ahead of almost all the countries on the Earth, in each and every field such as geometry, engineering, architecture, medicine, agriculture, textiles, literature, and of course including spirituality. All the ruins remaining at present are the proudest monuments which remain of the former greatness of the country. These unique features bear witness to the superior knowledge and technological expertise of the ancient Sri Lankans.