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The archaeological and historical heritage of Nagadipaya


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Nagadipaya called as Nainathive  island. Lord Buddha went to Sri lanka third time. At the second time Lord Buddha arrived at Nagadipaya. It is happened  on fifth year after enlightment According to past information ven came here to settle down the fight among  two brothers, Chulodara and Mahodara. They fought for jem  chair. The people who were tribals gathered there .Lord  Buddha  discoursed preaching to tribals and concurred the battle and  avoiding huge homicide. They  worshipped  gem  chair to Buddhist and later Nagadipa cairn was made deep- rooting chair. This can be seen bo tree , temple and ancient cairn.

The  Buddhist temple of Nagadipa  stood on the island of Nainativu eight miles from kayts. According to hoary legend .Nagadipa has direct connections with the life of Gautama  Buddha. In the olden days only a shrine existed, but by  dint of devoutness  the temple had grown  to sizable proportions .Isolated as it was, and lacking  financial  support from a  steady  flow of pilgrims, the temples had still managed to survive and  preserve  its atmosphere of quiet holiness.

In commemoration of Buddha Jayanthi celebrations the Burmese government had given  to the Nagadipa vihara a magnificent  bronze- allay statue. This image had been  taken round  in various  canters  in the south so that  as many  persons as possible could see it before enshrinement in Nainamativu.

One afternoon  a gang of ‘’Goondas’’ suspected  to be among  those who had earlier destroyed  the boats at kayts  (  presumably with a view to preventing any chance of being pursed  by  the  police ) set out on the eight mile trip to Nainativu.

There  they acted  swiftly and skillfully. This act of desecration  was, without doubt, premediated  and  planned. With vicious zeal  they set about destroying  the  temple .They  dynamited  the  Dagoba, snapping off the capering top section. They  burnt  every  building  except one, an  outhouse. A small  detachment of the gang wreaked  their anger  on the  Buddha image from Burma. They hauled it off the pedestal and  carried it away  with them. Perhaps it proved  too heavy for them  to carry across to the mainland for display as trophy, because it never reached Kayts. With what  surely  must have been demoniacal purpose, the goondas sawed through the neck, one arm and some fingers of the image Their intent was to damage I beyond repair in case it should be recovered later.Then they tossed  the truncated body and  its smaller parts into the see at various points.

The news of this dangerous  devilry reached Colombo  two daya later .It was an act  of such  gross  vandalism  with such  huge potentialities for rousing  the already fermenting  south into foaming anger that the Governor General  and the Army command were  loathe to believe their ears. As each hour passed they expected  the story to spread through the Buddhist population, sparking a massacre. But the strict secrecy which had to be maintained until the military had really  dug in and established themselves as a formidable force throughout the island was some how kept unbroken .The  Minister of Transport and works, Mr. Maitripala  Senanayake was sent to Nainativu to investigate. He confirmed the earlier  reports, destruction almost complete.

The incumbent Bhikku  of Nagadipa was invented to Colombo and told the temple would be restored to better shape than it was before the ‘’Goonda’’ attack. The Bhikku maintained a dignified and discreet silence the public works Department was instructed to start restoration work at once. By the end of July a brand new temple had risen from the debris of the old edifice .The navy  undertook  the alost task of salvaging the image .They   had no clue as to  where it was  dumped but miraculously, they  found  the spot, as expected the damage was irreparable.

With the assistance of the Burmese Ambassador , the Governor  general was able to  secure  a  replica of the destroyed image from Burma. It was  brought to Ceylon in the early August as a gift ‘’relic’’ from the Burmese navy to the Ceylon navy.

 

They  story of the destruction of Nagadipa and the way  it was rebuilt in eight weeks will weave itself into Buddhist legend in the years to come. But when the tension dies, people who relate the story will forget  its most significant aspect.    

  • Jaffna, Sri Lanka

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