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JAFFNA
 
 
 
Welcome To Jaffna
 
The Jaffna kingdom (1215-1619 CE), also known as Kingdom of Aryacakravarti, of modern northern Sri Lanka came into existence after the invasion of Magha, who is said to have been from Kalinga, in India. It eventually became a tribute paying feudatory of the Pandyan Empire in modern South India in 1258, gaining independence later with the fragmentation of the Pandyan control. For a brief period, in the early to mid-fourteenth century, it was an ascendant power in the island of Sri Lanka when all regional kingdoms accepted subordination. However, the kingdom was eventually overpowered by the rival Kotte Kingdom, around 1450.

It was freed of Kotte control in 1467; its subsequent rulers directed their energies towards consolidating its economic potential by maximising revenue from pearls and elephant exports and land revenue. It was less feudal than most of other regional kingdoms in the island of Sri Lanka of the same period. During this period, important local Tamil literature was produced and Hindu temples were built including an academy for language advancement.

The arrival of the Portuguese colonial power to the island of Sri Lanka in 1505, and its strategic location in the Palk Strait connecting all interior Sinhalese kingdoms to South India, created political problems. Many of its kings confronted and ultimately made peace with the Portuguese colonials. In 1617, Cankili II, an usurper to the throne, confronted the Portuguese but was defeated, thus bringing the kingdom’s independent existence to an end in 1619.

 
Jaffna Fort
 
A piece of colonial history spanning the 17th and 18th centuries, the Portuguese, Dutch and British have all woven its elaborate past. Jaffna was fought over by the Portuguese and Dutch in 1658 in a prolonged siege. The British arrived in the island and took control over the Jaffna Fort in 1795. Although the bustling town lies just beyond, the Fort Jaffna turns a deaf ear as it takes on a life of its own. Here everything seems to play in black and white as if to speak of golden days and weathered storms……….

The inscription stop the arched entrance that tunneled into the Fort reads “ANNO 1680”, a date of its beginning set in stone. Within the premises the most prominent is what some refer to as the Hangman’s Tower. One is dwarfed by its sheer height, the thick columns, and it is visible from all parts of the Fort.
 
 
 
     
 
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