Queen’s Tower on Delft Island – ඩෙල්ෆ් දුපතේ රැජිණ කුළුණ

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This island 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. Delft is the largest island in the Palk Strait, northern Sri Lanka. The island covers 11,500 acres and is a low and arid island. Delft Island is a mostly bare island with little shade. Delft Island is a mostly bare island with little shade. The most common tree here is the Palmyra tree. The Palmyra Toddy is one of the chief articles of food in Delft.

The island has been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British in the past. Other than the Portuguese Fort, much if the ruins found in the island belongs to the Dutch period or the British. The island was a primary breeding site for horses from the time of Portuguese continuing on to Dutch and the British.

Among the archaeological heritage of this island, the Queen’s Tower which lies at at the south-eastern ridge of the island in quite popular among the visitors. This is well preserved trigonometric station built by the British. However, there has been another unknown trigonometric station called King’s Tower on the same island.

W. H Cole in 1884 records 2 triangulation survey towers in Delft as observed in 1876. One on the north western end of the island and the other on the south eastern point of the island. The southeastern station is the Queens Tower as known today and the Northwestern station has to be the King’s Tower.

These survey towers were built to take measurements in the surrounding area during the British era. However there is a false belief that the Queen’s Tower was also used as a lighthouse. Its been discussed and written that a fire was lit at the bottom of the which created a vacuum, forcing air upwards. Its light was supposed to have been passed through the tower’s chimney-like tube to the top where sailors would be able to see the light from a distance. This is probably a folklore which is now been documented as a fact. It has been confirmed that these towers had been built to place survey measurement instruments at the top on a platform. There many other such survey towers built during British era found all over the country.

The Queens Tower at Delft is 55 feet in height. It has five levels, each level a little smaller than the bottom. There is a doorway on the bottom level which goes all the way to the opposite side of the tower. As in most buildings on this island, this tower has been built using blocks of limestone, the only building metrical found on this island.


  • Lewis, J., 1909. NOTES ON DELFT. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 21(62), pp.341-360.
  • කෝරළගේ, එස්. බී. and කල්ප අසංක, එම්. වී. ජී. , 2017. යාපනය දිස්ත්‍රික්කය. 1st ed. කොළඹ: පුරාවිද්‍යා දෙපාර්තුමේන්තුව, p.91.
  • S. de A. Goonatilake, S. Ekanayake, T.P. Kumara, D. Liyanapathirana, D.K. Weerakoon and A. Wadugodapitiya, 2013. Sustainable Development of Delft Island: An ecological, socio-economic and archaeological assessment. Number 14. Colombo: IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Colombo.
  • 1890. Account of the Operations of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India Volume 13 – Details of the Principal Triangulation of Five of the Component Series of the Southern Trigon. 1st ed. India: Office of the Trigonometrical Branch, Survey Of India, p.16g.

Also See

Map of King’s Tower on Delft Island

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Traveling Directions to Jaffna (King’s Tower on Delft Island)

Route 01 from Colombo to JaffnaRoute 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
From Jaffna to King’s Tower on Delft Island
Total distance: 32 km
Duration: With boat trip (between 2-3 hours)
Driving directions:  See Google Map  (Kurikadduwan Jetty)
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