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Jaffna

Nallur Kandaswamy temple

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is one of the most significant Hindu temples in the Jaffna District of Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It stands in the town of Nallur. The presiding deity is Lord Murugan or Katharagama Deviyo in the form of the holy ‘Vel’ in the Sanctum, the primary shrine, and in other forms, namely, Shanmugar, Muthukumaraswami, Valli Kaanthar with consorts Valli and Deivayanai, and Thendayuthapani, sans consorts in secondary shrines in the temple.

The original, Kandaswamy Temple was founded in 948 ad. According to the Yalpana Vaipava Malai, the temple was developed at the site in the 13th century by Buwanika Bahu, a minister to the King of Kotte. Sapumal Kumaraya (also known as Chempaha Perumal in Tamil), who ruled the Jaffna kingdom on behalf of the Kotte kingdom is credited with building the third Nallur Kandaswamy temple. Nallur served as the capital of the Jaffna kings, with the royal palace situated very close to the temple. Nallur was built with four entrances with gates. There were two main roadways and four temples at the four gateways.

Nagadeepaya

Nagadeepa Purana Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Jaffna district of Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It is among the country’s sixteen or seventeen holiest Buddhist shrines (Solosmasthana). According to contemporary history, the Gautama Buddha visited the site after five years of attaining Enlightenment to settle the dispute between two warring Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara.

Ancient history according to the Mahavamsa chronicles and the Tamil Buddhist epic Manimekalai mentions a gem-studded throne and a stone with the Buddha’s footprint at the island Nainativu, (also known as Nagadeepa) which pilgrims from India visited.

Jaffna Fort

Jaffna Fort is a fort built by the Portuguese at Jaffna, Sri Lanka in 1618 under Phillippe de Oliveira following the Portuguese invasion of Jaffna. The fort is located near Karaiyur. Due to numerous miracles attributed to the statue of Virgin Mary in the church inside the fort, Jaffna Fort was named as Fortress of Our Lady of Miracles of Jafanapatão (Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora dos Milagres de Jafanapatão). It was captured by the Dutch under Rijcklof van Goens in 1658 who expanded it. In 1795, it was taken over by the British, and remained under the control of a British garrison till 1948. As the only large military fort in the country, due to the presence of only government and military buildings within its ramparts, it was garrisoned by a detachment of the Ceylon Army.

Delft island

Neduntheevu or Neduntivu is an island in the Palk Strait, northern Sri Lanka. This island is named as Delft in the Admiralty Chart unlike the other islands, whose names are Tamil. The island’s area is 50 km² and it is roughly oval-shaped. Its length is 8 km and its maximum width about 6 km.

Neduntivu is a flat island surrounded by shallow waters and beaches of coral chunks and sand. It is home to a small population of Tamil people, mostly living in quiet compounds close to the northern coast. The vegetation is of a semi-arid tropical type, with palmyra palms, dry shrubs and grasses that grow on the pale Grey porous coralline soil. Papayas and bananas grow close to the local people’s homes. In the western coast of the island there are remains of a 1000-year-old temple built by the Chola Dynasty, as well as the ruins of a Dutch colonial fort. The water is slightly brackish, and it is taken from shallow wells using buckets made from palmyra palm leaves. A naval battle was fought off the coast of the island in 2008 during the Sri-Lankan Civil War. There are feral ponies on the island, descendants of forebears abandoned there in the Dutch period.

The island was named after the Dutch city of Delft by Rijckloff van Goens. He named the eight most important islands after Dutch cities.