Nagadeepa (Nagadipa) Temple

Nagadeepa ( Nagadipa) Viharaya

Nagadeepa_nagadipa_temple_vihara
Photo by Chaturanga

Nagadeepa(Nagadipa) is a place of religious significance in Jaffna District of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, which attracts both Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims.  The name Nagadeepa has emerged due to existence of ‘Naga’ people in the island, who were known to be snake-worshippers during ancient times

Nagadeepa_nagadipa_temple_vihara
Photo by Chaturanga

The island is located about 30 kilometers away from Jaffna.  It is one of the smallest islands in Mannar which can be reached only through a boat ride.It is a notable and beautiful island with a lot of palm trees and a sandy flat land.  There are two jetties that provide entrance to the island

Nagadeepa_nagadipa_temple_vihara
Photo by Chaturanga

Nagadeepa (Nagadipa)is among the sixteen holiest Buddhist shrines, which are called ‘Solosmasthana’.  It is the secondly visited place, out of the three visited places in Sri Lanka by the Lord Buddha.  The Lord Buddha has visited this place after five years of attaining enlightenment, to settle a dispute between two Naga Kings, Chulodara and Mahodara.  The gem-studded throne, which was the theme for the war between the two kings, was finally presented by them to the Lord Buddha.  The Lord Buddha sat on the throne, converted it to a holy entity and gave back to them.  The place visited by the Lord Buddha has been developed to a temple called Nagadeepa Vihara, in which the throne has been enshrined in a stupa.   This stupa was built by the two Naga kings with the objective of expressing gratitude to Lord Buddha

Nagadeepa_nagadipa_temple_vihara
Photo by Chaturanga

The original temple was ruined and disappeared long ago.  Subsequently the temple was reconstructed in the times of King Devanampiya Tissa and further developed by King Dutugemunu.  The temple which appears today consists of an attractive silver coloured stupa and three Buddha statues in a domed space.  On the two sides of the entrance to the Vihara, a large ancient anchor and a big stone with an inscription by King Parakramabahu have been placed

There is also a Hindu temple located in the island called Naga Pooshani Amman Kovil.  This also attracts visitors with its distinctive red and white walls.

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