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Cultural Connection of Jaffna to South India

Jaffna has a strong connection to southern India because the majority of the people in Jaffna share the same ethnicity, religion and languages with people of southern India. Jaffna was under the reign of Sinhalese kings in the past. In fact, the majority of the people in Jaffna were of Sinhalese Buddhist origin.

Cultural Connection of Jaffna to South India

Jaffna is the major city of northern Sri Lanka. Today the peaceful environment in Jaffna allows you to choose Jaffna as your holiday destination in Sri Lanka. Jaffna is located in the northernmost part of the island and it is just a few kilometres from the southernmost tip of India. Jaffna is predominantly a Tamil region and people of Jaffna have a very close cultural and historical relationship with the south Indian Tamil community. Jaffna has become the hottest destination for travellers in the country, especially for local travellers.

Jaffna was an unexplored destination due to the closure of its gate for more than 30 years because of the civil war.  It was dangerous to travel in Jaffna and the surrounding region as it was out of the control of the central government. The people, who were going there were very concern about the safety because Jaffna was under the rule of an armed group. Today after the devastating civil war, the peaceful environment is maintained by the state forces and people are welcome to explore the attraction in Jaffna. Nagadeepa, Keerimale hot wells, Nallur Kandaswamy temple, Jaffna Fort and Royal palace ruins are some of the noteworthy places here.

Jaffna has a strong connection to southern India because the majority of the people in Jaffna share the same ethnicity, religion and languages with people of southern India. Jaffna was under the reign of Sinhalese kings in the past. In fact, the majority of the people in Jaffna were of Sinhalese Buddhist origin.

Nagadeepa temple is evidence of Buddhist occupation here in the past. There were many remains of Buddhist viharas and dagobas discovered in Jaffna, further strengthening the concept. But, in the 16th century, it had become an important centre of the Tamil community and occupied by a large number of Hindus. These people arrived in Sri Lanka either as invaders or settlers then anchored in the northern part of the country. By 13th century Tamils in Jaffna developed to a leading ethnic group and Jaffna appeared as a distinct Tamil kingdom. However, it soon became the subject of the king of Kotte and Jaffna was under the management of a minister.

The capital of Jaffna kingdom had been Nallur and it was fortified with gigantic walls. In the centre of Nallur was the palace of the king and his court. Today Jaffna is a peaceful city with many ethnic groups Such as Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim. Being a city with a sizable Hindu population, there is a large number of Hindu temples in Jaffna like in southern India. Most celebrations and cultural events have very close similarities with such events in southern India and both communities celebrate Hindu cultural events simultaneously.

Another important character of Hindu religion is the caste system and the Tamils in Jaffna follow the same exact rule of South Indian Tamils, when it comes to the caste system, while Sinhalese, the leading ethnic group in Sri Lanka, follows total different concept regarding the caste system. Even though there are some differences between South Indian Tamils and Jaffna Tamil such as dialect, both ethnic groups have more similarities than the similarities between Sinhalese and Tamil.

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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

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