Delft Island Fort – Jaffna – ඩෙල්ෆ් බලකොටුව

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The ruins of Dutch Fort at Delft island in Jaffna

The ruins of Dutch Fort at Delft island in Jaffna
Image courtesy of Dr. Ashan Geeganage

This island was called by the Portuguese ilha das Vacas, had a fort built by them. The Dutch called it Delft Island. The tamils call it the Neduntheevu or Neduntivu. This is the largest island in the Palk Strait, northern Sri Lanka.

Very little of the fort remains today. but the book “Romantic Ceylon: its history, legend, and story” By Ralph Henry Bassett describes the fort and the island in detail


” … Traces of the Portuguese administration of Delft remain in the ruins of a fort which was undoubtedly built by them, as Dutch military architecture was of a more modem type. It is a very strongly fortified two-storied dwelling, covering an area about fifty yards square, with a double centre wall of immense thickness. This wall completely cuts the fort in half at Ground-level, the only means of communication being on the first floor-a common precautionary measure in defensive structures of that period. As a result, it is a very complicated edifice, full of long narrow and little square rooms.

The ruins of Dutch Fort at Delft island in Jaffna

The ruins of Dutch Fort at Delft island in Jaffna
Image courtesy of Dr. Ashan Geeganage

The stairs run in the double walls. and lead out on to what must have been a flat roof, judging from the marks of the rafter sockets in the masonry. In one corner is the dungeon, a small square room, with a floor below ground level. Without any door, and having only one small window about two feet square, leading into the interior of the fort. The unfortunate prisoners must have been pushed in through this little aperture, or let down through a trapdoor in the floor above, and could have got out only by means of a rope; a good many must have met their death in this little chamber. There is one large room which has the appearance of a mess-room, and a large number of small sleeping-rooms connected by corridors.

The coral walls of Dutch Fort at Delft island in Jaffna

The coral walls of Dutch Fort at Delft island in Jaffna
Image courtesy of Dr. Ashan Geeganage

The Dutch built a barracks about a quarter of a mile from the fort, arid within their premises is a fine large Residency, now in use as the Government bungalow. The barracks were surrounded by a wall, a great part of which still stands, enclosing an area of about two hundred square yards. One of the barrack rooms is still in existence, although part of the wall has fallen almost to ground level. The most striking building is the Dutch dovecot, still in a state of perfect repair. It is made of coral stone, with a solid base about eight feet square…. ”

Also See

Map of  Delft Island Fort

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.

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Driving Directions to Jaffna (Delft Island Fort)

Route 01 from Colombo to Jaffna

Route 02 from Colombo to Jaffna

Though : Kurunegala – Dambulla – Anuradhapura – Vavunia
Distance :400 km
Travel time : 7-8 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Puttlam – Anuradhapura – Vavunia
Distance : 400 km
Travel time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

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