Nainativu Island, Jaffna
The most sacred Buddhist site in our peninsular north
Arguably one of the most visited of Jaffna’s islands, Nainativu, or Nagadeepa as it is referred to in Sinhala, holds an important place in Buddhist and Hindu histories. For the former, the Nagadeepa Purana Viharaya is worshipped as one of Sri Lanka’s holiest Buddhist sites where the Buddha was said to have once called upon two Naga kings in disagreement with each other. And for the latter, the Nagapooshani Amman Kovil, which is referred to in several ancient chronicles as one of 64 Shakthi Peethams located across South Asia – shrines dedicated to Shakthi, the Hindu goddess of power.
From Jetwing Jaffna, travellers to Nainativu must first hop across two islands on a journey to the Kurikkaduwan Jetty, located approximately one hour away. From here, you will embark on a crowded 15-minute ferry to either the Nagadeepa Purana Viharaya, or the Nagapooshani Amman Kovil. You may even choose to enter Nainativu from one, then walk or take a short tuk-tuk ride to the other when leaving, in order to experience both journeys in one go.