Jaffna Palace ruins

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Jaffna Palace ruins refer to the remains of the Royal Palace of Jaffna, the royal abode of the ruling dynasty of the Kingdom of Jaffna, Nallur, Jaffna in Northern Sri Lanka.

Mantri Manai or Residence of the Ministers among the ruins

History and Inception[edit]

The palace was the home to the Aryacakravarti dynasty which became a powerful force in the North, North-East and the West of the islands prior to the conquest of the Portuguese into the island.[1]

According to Ibn Batuta, a renowned Moroccan historian, the kingdom had two capitals;Nallur was one and the other being Puttalam presently in the Western Province.[2][3]


The palace and a flower garden was built by a Tamil king named Koolanghai in 104 AD.[4]

There were two main roadways and four temples at the four gateways that have now been destroyed. The rebuilt temples that exist now do not match their original locations which instead are occupied by churches erected by the Portuguese. The center of the city was Muthirai Santhai (market place) and was surrounded by a square fortification around it. There were courtly buildings for the Kings, Brahmin priests, soldiers and other service providers in the palace premises. The old Nallur Kandaswamy temple functioned as a defensive fort with high walls. In general, the palace and the city was laid out like the traditional temple towns in South India.[4][5]


Yamuna Eri

The Jaffna Palace was significantly damaged during the Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna Kingdom. The fall of Cankili II, the last of the ruling dynasty at the hands of a 5000 men-strong Portuguese invaders inevitably meant the fall of the Jaffna Throne and Portuguese Imperialism.[citation needed]

Over the next 40 years, the Portuguese destroyed every Hindu temple in the region and the Saraswathy Mahal library in Nallur, the royal repository of all literary output of the kingdom.[citation needed]

The palace also endured further damage in the Civil War when it was indiscriminately bombed by the Sri Lankan Army.[citation needed]

Yamuna Eri, Cankili Thoppu archway and Mantri Manai are few of the only remaining parts of the palace apart from several small monuments that dot the compound.[6][7]



  1. ^ Abeysinghe, T Jaffna Under the Portuguese, p.4
  2. ^ Gunasingam, M Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism, p.54
  3. ^ Codrington, Humphry William. "Short history of Sri Lanka:Dambadeniya and Gampola Kings (1215–1411)". Lakdiva.org. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  4. ^ a b Jaffna Palace Ruins
  5. ^ "Nallur Rajadhani: City Layout". V.N.Giritharan. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  6. ^ "Places of interest in Jaffna". Urlaub-sr-lanka.info. 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  7. ^ "Rise of ruins from ravages of war". Sundaytimes.lk. Retrieved 2013-11-28.