700-year old temple unearthed in Jaffna Sri Lanka

700-year old temple (built in 15th century) is unearthed in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. A team of archaeologists of Jaffna University have explored the ruins of the Hindu temple in a thick jungle. Led by Prof Pushparatnam, the team discovered the temple buried in the sand in Pooneryn of North Sri Lanka.

Express Buzz reports:

Archaeologists of Jaffna University, led by Prof Pushparatnam, have discovered the ruins of a 15th century Hindu temple buried in the sand in the middle of a thick jungle in Pooneryn in North Sri Lanka, which could unravel a part of Sri Lankan history in which the Pooneryn area of the Wanni was on the high road linking Jaffna with South Lanka.

“The temple, 130 ft by 30 ft, is located in Kaudaari Munai, on a narrow stretch of land almost fully surrounded by the sea. Most locals do not venture into this area because the place is snake- infested. However, they knew that there was a temple buried in the sand and informed us,” Pushparatnam told Express on Wednesday.

The Jaffna team found to their astonishment, the remains of a garbhagraham, vimanam, karnakoodu,  maadam and a place for the parivaara deivangal.

Asked how ancient the temple might be, the historian said that dating it scientifically would take time because no inscriptions had been found yet.

“However, we are checking out if this was the temple which finds mention in the 15th Century Sinhalese Buddhist historical-poetic work Kokila Sandesaya (The Message of the Cuckoo) on the conquest of Jaffna by the southern Sinhalese prince Sapumal Kumaraya,” he said.

Sapumal Kumaraya or Shenbaga Perumal, a man of Kerala origin, was the adopted son of the Sinhalese king of Kotte in the South. He had conducted an expedition to Jaffna to seize it from the Tamil King Kanakasuriya Singaiya Rayan of the Arya Chakravarti dynasty around 1450.

The expedition was a historic and comprehensive success for the Sinhalese, because it also led to the subjugation of the Tamil chieftains of the Wanni (where Pooneryn is located).

Sapumal Kumaraya had also taken revenge against the Pandyan king of Madurai, who had seized a Lanka ship laden with cinnamon.

The victory over the Arya Chakravarthi’s is hailed in south Lanka as a major event in Sinhalese history because it had punished the Arya Chakravarthis for raiding the southern town of Yapahuwa (between  present day Kurunegala and Anuradhapura) and taking away the Buddha’s Tooth Relic. Sapumal Kumaraya’s conquest of Jaffna is sung in the Sinhalese epic Kokila Sandesaya.

According to Pushparatnam, the Kaudaari Munai area must have been on a major route linking the north and south of Lanka.

“We have found Chola and Roman coins here. There is a Portuguese period fort too, in Pooneryn,” he said.

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