Verakkadu Buddhist Ruins in Jaffna

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Verakkadu Buddhist Ruins in Jaffna - යාපනය වේරක්කඩු බෞද්ධ පුරාවිද්‍යා නටබුන්
Verakkadu Buddhist Ruins in Jaffna – යාපනය වේරක්කඩු බෞද්ධ පුරාවිද්‍යා නටබුන්

In 1922, Rev. S. Gnana Prakasar, a missionary working in Jaffna had left a detailed note a ruined site, possibly a Buddhist monastery at an area named ‘Verak-Kadu’ in Jaffna peninsula. Later this site was documented by by P. Ragupathy for his masters thesis. Fortunately he had given the Latitude / Longitude of this location (9°41’20.0″N 80°11’55.0″E) to place this site fairly accurately.

In the article “Some Ruins in Jaffna” written by Rev. Gnana Prakasar in 1922, he describes the site ;

Verak-Kadu-—There are some extensive ruins in Mantuvil known as Verak-Kadu. This spot can be best reached by the Mantuvil-Varany road. You get down near the first mile stone and a ten minutes walk in an easterly direction through the first beaten track you discover, will bring you to a collection of big mounds of sand crowned with brushwood and ‘jungle-trees’—this is why the place is known as ‘Kadu‘: jungle. The qualification ‘Vera’ evidently alludes to a Vihara (also known in Sinhalese as Vehera) or Viharas which once existed there. The palmyra grove below, to the N. W., is simply known as ‘Veram‘.

The mounds seem to cover nearly ten acres of land—all Crown property. The plot might once have comprised a larger extent as some of the land seems to have been transferred to private owners and a good deal of encroachment has certainly taken place. There are two principal mounds, one on the East about 25 feet high, and one on the West much higher than this and conical in form. The folklore of the place would identify this with a Buddhist dagoba. The people believe that some kings (or queens) had their treasures buried in a well on the top of this mound and that a detachment of ‘bhutas’ or ghosts are guarding it to the present day. My informant assured me that on Tuesday and Friday nights people in the neighbourhood distinctly hear the clangs and thuds made in the act of opening the treasure-safe by the ghosts, presumably for verifying its contents, and forthwith flashes of lightning play round the spot and all sorts of noises abound. I signified my desire to watch these wonderful proceedings one night. But my interlocutor smiled and said : “Oh sir, such things will not happen when persons like you want to examine the affair !”

This particular mound will certainly repay careful excavation. Its slopes, where made bare by rain torrents, display quantities of rubble stones evidently used for the building of the circular wall. All throughout the ruins people have dug up rubble as well as coral stones in plenty and this continues year after year. The well cut coral stone seems to line the walls while the uncut rubble forms the interior mass. The former is in great demand among the neighbouring toddy-drawers who make excellent lime from it for besmearing their sweet-toddy pots with.

There is a depression between the Eastern and Western mounds representing perhaps an old street and water course. The people’s version is that the kings or queens who had their palaces here had begun to cut a navigable canal leading right up to Kachay (four or five miles away !) and, finding that the sea water was not enough to float their vessels, gave up the attempt and eventually departed from here.

In 1980’s  P. Ragupathy states that this area is of high sand dunes covered by Scrub. He also reports that a new housing scheme coming up in this site at the time of reporting.

This report is now over 40 years old and during the the Tamil Terrorist war which lasted for over 30 years, whether any remains can be found is doubtful. However the respective authorities should research on such places and preserve any ancient heritage for the future generations.

References

  • Rev. Fr. Gnana Prakasar, S., 1922. Some Ruins in Jaffna. Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register, VII.
  • Ragupathy, P., 1987. Early settlements in Jaffna : An Archaeological Survey. 1st ed. Madras: Sudarsan Graphics.

Also See

Map of Verakkadu Buddhist Ruins in Jaffna

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Driving Directions to Verakkadu Buddhist Ruins in Jaffna

Jaffna can be reached through 2 directions. 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)
Though : 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
Jaffna town to Verakkadu Buddhist Ruins
Through : Chavakachcheri
Distance : 25 km
Time to travel  : 30 mins
Driving Directions : click here for Google Map

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