Historic Nagadeepa Viharaya at Nainativu, Jaffna (නාගදීප විහාරය)

RATE THIS LOCATION :1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (19 votes, average: 4.16 out of 5)
Nagadeepa Viharaya - Jaffna
Nagadeepa Stupa where a Gem Studded Throne is enshrined.

Nainativu is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Gulf of Mannar and is only about 35 miles from India. Merchants have long come here and the surrounding islands to buy the conch shells that are harvested in the warm shallow waters in the Gulf. The conch shell is of course essential for certain Hindu and Buddhist rituals and a particularly perfect specimen of one spiraling to the right can fetch an enormous price.

Pilgrims have also been coming to Nainativu since about the 1st century CE to worship at its famous stupa. In the Mahavamsa the island is one of the sixteen sacred places and the Tamil Buddhist epic, Manimekala, mentions a gem studded throne and a stone with the Buddha’s footprints at Nagadeepa which pilgrims from India used to come and worship. The heroine of the epic is described as wandering amongst the island’s long sandy dunes and lagoons’.

As the boat approaches the main jetty the pilgrim will see the distinctive red and white-striped walls of the Hindu temple (Nagapooshani Amman Kovil ). Although there has been a temple here for many centuries the present one is not old and is of no particular interest. However, on either side of the side entrance to the temple, there are two very ancient objects. On the left, as you enter is a large stone with an inscription of Parakramabahu I on it. In the first part of this inscription, the king says that foreigners coming into the country should enter only at Uraturai (Kayts) and that they should be helped if in need.

This undoubtedly refers to merchants and pilgrims from India. The second part says what measures should be taken if ships carrying elephants or horses and merchant ships are wrecked. On the right of the entrance is a large life saver-shaped stone, an ancient anchor. Arab ships used to carry such anchors.

Less than half a kilometer down the road from the temple is Nagadeepa Vihara marking the place where the Buddha is supposed to have stayed during his visit to the small island. On one side of the road is the Bodhi Tree and on the other is the silver-painted stupa. There are two temples as well, one containing a bronze Buddha image donated by the Burmese government in 1956. Nothing at Nagadeepa is of any aesthetic or historical interest, everything having been built in the 1950’s.

How To Get Nagadeepa Island from Jaffna

Half the enjoyment of a pilgrimage to Nagadeepa is actually getting there. The road from Jaffna runs across a long causeway to the island of Kayts from where another causeway leads to Punkudutivu. The landscape is flat and sandy, dotted with numerous palm trees, and completely different from everywhere else in Sri Lanka. On the far side of this second island, one must take a boat to Nainativu where there are two jetties, one at the Hindu temple and another at Nagadeepa Vihara. If most of the passengers are Hindus the boat stops at the former and if most are Buddhists it stops at the latter. Public and private buses run regularly from Jaffna to Punkudutivu and the boat is timed to leave just after the bus arrives. The total distance from Jaffna is 30 km.

From the Kurikadduwan Jetty in Punkudutivu regular boat services operate to Nagadeep Island. The boats have no schedule, but leave as soon they are filled. The cost per person is approx LKR 50. This pricing is valid for both locals and foreigners. The boat ride takes about 20 minutes.

Also See

Map of Nagadeepa Viharaya at Nainativu, Jaffna

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

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

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Nagadeepa Viharaya at Nainativu, Jaffna

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 Nagadeepa
Through : Kaytes
Distance :32
Travel time : 45 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map

© www.amazinglanka.com

0-09 m (87) 10-19 m (76) 20-29 m (43) 30-39 m (50) 40-49 m (24) 50-99 m (49) Ambalama (155) Ancient Anicuts (31) Articles (0) Asanaghara (8) Ashtapala Bodhi (5) Attraction Articles (3) Attractions (218) Beaches (9) Biosphere Reserves (3) Botanical Gardens (4) Bridges (34) Cave Art (6) Caving (7) Churches (17) Cities (9) Destinations (15) Dethis Pala Bodhi (15) Devalaya (41) Events Articles (2) Flora and Fauna (48) Forts (49) Heritage (1608) Heritage Articles (28) Historic Events (5) History (7) Hot Springs (9) Hydro Heritage (85) Irrigation Articles (4) Islands (15) Kovils (25) Kuludage (11) Lighthouses (27) Memorials (50) Mile Posts (6) Mosques (3) Museums (8) National Parks (22) over 100 m (20) Pabbatha Vihara (11) Personalities (7) Pillar/Slab Inscriptions (35) Pre Historic Burial Sites (19) Prehistory (38) Prehistory Articles (2) RAMSAR sites (6) Ravana (12) Reservoirs (46) Rock Inscriptions (1) Ruins in Wilpattu (5) Ruins in Yala (25) Santuaries (7) Sluice Gates (11) Stone Bridges (18) Strict Nature Reserves (3) Sumaithangi (3) Survey Towers (13) Tampita Vihara (239) Travel (3) View Points (16) Walawwa (12) War Memorials (23) Waterfalls (375) Wildlife Articles (24) Yathuru Pokuna (4)

Abhayagiri Monastery (21) Ampara District (193) Anuradhapura District (202) Badulla District (113) Batticaloa District (20) Colombo District (73) Galle District (62) Gampaha District (57) Hambantota District (103) India (1) Jaffna District (72) Kalutara District (50) Kandy District (187) Kegalle District (151) Kilinochchi District (13) Kingdom of Anuradhapura (80) Kingdom of Kandy (14) Kingdom of Kotte (9) Kingdom of Polonnaruwa (55) Kurunegala District (168) Maha Vihara (14) Mannar District (47) Mannar Island (10) Matale District (83) Matara District (41) Mihintale (22) Monaragala District (93) Mullaitivu District (20) Negombo (6) Nuwara Eliya District (117) Polonnaruwa District (113) Puttalam District (33) Ratnapura District (156) Trincomalee District (47) Vavuniya District (30) waterfalls in Sinharaja (3) z Delft 1 (5) z Jaffna 1 (20) z Jaffna 2 (24) z Jaffna 3 (12)

Leave a Reply