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Nagadeepa Temple

  Province Northern
  District Jaffna
  Nearest Town Jaffna
  Period 12th century CE
  Ruler King Parakramabahu I


Constructed by the two warring Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara, at the site where Lord Buddha during His second visit to Lanka, five years after attaining Enlightenment intervened and mediated in settling a dispute over the possession of a gem-studded throne; This precious throne. Which was offered to the Buddha, was returned to the Naga Kings and was later enshrined in this stupa. Nagadipa Vihara is one of the 16 sacred places of Buddhist worship in Sri Lanka.


Naga Deepa was the name of the whole Jaffna peninsula in some historical documents. There are number of Buddhist myths associated with the interactions of people of this historical place with Buddha. The two Tamil Buddhist epics of Kundalakesi and Manimekalai describe the islet of Manipallavam which is identified with this islet of the Jaffna peninsula. Manimekalai describes the ancient island of Manipallavam from where merchants came to obtain gems and conch shells. The Tamil language inscription of the Nainativu temple by Parâkramabâhu I of the 12th century CE states that foreign merchants must land at Kayts before entering the island, and for other ports. The Hindu temple was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1620 CE. It was restored and re-established in 1788. A portion of the inscription slab is built into the wall of the present restored temple. Nainativu temple was attacked and burnt in June, 1958, and and in March 1986. The Naga Deepa Buddhist Vihara was built in the 1940s by a resident monk.