Nagapooshani Amman Temple on the island of Nainativu is a very ancient Hindu temple. It is believed that this temple was originally erected many millennia before by the Nagas who were a pre-historic race of people of Sri Lanka. The temple was originally erected and dedicated for the worship of the Serpent God called “Nayinar” by the Nagas. In the Nainativu temple, the object of worship in the sanctum sanctorum is a stone figure of a five-headed cobra. The festival of the Sri Nagapooshani Amman Kovil is generally held in the Tamil month of Aani (June/July) each year for fifteen days.
During the festive season, many childless couples come on pilgrimages to the Kovil to receive the blessings of the Nagapooshani Amman, the patron Mother Goddess of the Kovil. The devotees, whose wishes are bestowed, too come with their newborn babies to fulfil their vows. As such, the Sri Nagapooshani Amman Kovil becomes a place of high activity during the festive season. Nainativu is a unique islet that houses the religious places belonging to all main religions practiced in Sri Lanka, namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. The famous Buddhist temple, “ Nagadeepa Vihara ”, is also located on the same island near the Sri Nagapooshani Amman Kovil, symbolizing religious coexistence among peace-loving citizens in the country irrespective of their ethnic differences.
One important artifact that defines the ancient ruling powers of the Janffna Peninsula is found at this temple. A slab inscription by the king Parakramabahu the Great ( Parakramabahu I) who ruled from Polonnaruwa from 1153 to 1186. This is the earliest Tamil inscription by a Sinhalese king found in Jaffna District. This inscription is 3 feet 8 inches wide and 3 feet wide and contains certain trade regulations concerning wreckages off the port of Uratturai i.e. present-day Kayts in 23 lines of text.
In the words of Dr. Karthigesu Indrapala, Professor of History at the University of Jaffna, “The fact that this edict was issued not by any subordinate official, but by the king himself shows that the monarch was in supreme control of the northernmost region of the island.”
The translation of this inscription is “Foreigners must land and remain at Uraturai (Kayts) and they must be protected. If foreigners land at new ports they should be at this port. If ships laden with elephants and horses are wrecked, one-fourth of the share shall be taken by the Treasury and the other three parts shall be given to the owner. If merchant vessels are wrecked half of the share shall be taken by the Treasury and the other half given to the the owner. These edicts are inscribed on stone and copper. This edict shall last as long as the Sun and the Moon. These edicts are promulgated by Sakala Sinhala Chakrawarthi Deva Parakrama Bhuja”
Today part of the the inscription is broken and missing. Most of the text is illegible due to the workers at the kovil using this slab to sharpen knives at the kovil. The remains of this artifact now lie inside the kovil left to the main entrance.
Map of Nagapooshani Amman Kovil
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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Travel Directions to Nagapooshani Amman Kovil
Jaffna can be reached through 2 directions. The first one is over the Elephant Pass which is the normal route to Jaffna. The other entrance is from Pooneryn over the newly built Sangupiddi Bridge. This road connects to Mannar.
|Route 01 from Colombo to Jaffna (Through Kurunegala)
|Route 02 from Colombo to Jaffna (Through Puttalam)
|Through : Kurunegala – Dambulla – Anuradhapura – Vavuniya
Distance : 400 km
Travel Time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
|Through : Puttalam – Anuradhapura – Vavuniya
Distance : 400 km
Travel Time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
|Route from Jaffna to Nagapooshani Amman Kovil
|Through : Kaytes
Travel time : 45 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map. This route includes a ferry