Nagadeepa Viharaya Essay

932 words - 4 pages

Millions of harsh Sunrays covered the Nainativu Island, and the visitors were nearly burnt from the heat. The nature’s efforts to stop the crowd from entering the peaceful Island was in vain, as there were many numbers of devotees present even on a day when there was no long weekend. Near the entrance to the island at one of the army checkpoints, soldiers ensured us that the day we went as a good day to worship the temple, as it was less crowded. Let your imagination run wild and visualize a crowded day. Very difficult, even to imagine isn’t it? The temple is a world-renowned tourist destination and being out of reach for 30-years made this temple today as one of the highly demanded places of worship in the country.
Nagadeepa Viharaya, the temple at Nainativu Islands, is one of the most venerated places of worship of the local and foreign Buddhists. During our visit to the temple, not only Buddhists even visitors from other faiths were there dressed in light pastel hues. Mahavamsa explains the importance of the Nagadeepa Viharaya as a place where Buddha paid a visit during his second visit to the country on Bak Maha Poya Day. The story says that the Naga King Mahodara and Prince Chulodara, father and son-in-law, were all set to war over a gem-studded chair after the death of King Mahodara's daughter who was the wife of Chulodara. This gem-studded chair had been a wedding gift from the King. Hearing of this impending war, Lord Buddha visited Nagadeepa and resolved the conflict peacefully. It is at this site that the Nagadeepa Temple of today lies. This incident is depicted in a mural near the bo tree. The Tamil Buddhist epic, Manimekala, cites a gem studded throne and a stone with the Buddha’s footprints at Nagadipa, which pilgrims from India used to come and worship. The heroine of the epic is described as wandering amongst the island’s 'long sandy dunes and lagoons’.
The journey to Nagadeepa from Jaffna is exciting. The road from Jaffna runs across a long causeway to the island of Kayts then from there drives on another causeway, which leads to Punkudutivu. From the far end of the Punkudutivu, from the Kurikadduvan Jetty, the visitors must take a boat to reach the temple. Sri Lanka Navy oversee this service while many private groups carry out the boat service. The 15 minutes journey to the temple was not at all thrilling. The boat was crowded with nearly hundred people from all walks of life. Since the boat roof was low, we had a hard time trying to stand properly. The crowed increased the inside temperature making it difficult even to breathe. However, as soon as we reached the island, I assure...

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