Located in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, the Jaffna Peninsula houses the famous capital city of Jaffna. Most of the land mass of the Jaffna Kingdom is now in the Jaffna Peninsula. Kadurugoda Temple, which is believed to be part of an ancient well-respected Buddhist Monastery, is situated at Chunnakkam in the Jaffna Peninsula. Divided into three regions, the Jaffna Peninsula is composed of Vadamarachi, Thenmarachi, and Valikamam.
History of the Jaffna Peninsula
The Jaffa Peninsula was given the popular name “Naga Nadu” during the pre-medieval era to mean “Land of the Nagas,” and it was home to the Naga people one of the early tribes of Sri Lanka. The Naga identity has always been witnessed in the personal names inspired by the Pali chronicles and the Tamil Sangam Literature. It is postulated by some scholars that it was one of the ancient tribes of Sri Lanka, and they are thought to be ancestors of Dravidians speaking people of Tamil.
The Kingdom of Jaffna
From the 13th Century, the Jaffna Peninsula which is in the Northern part of Sri Lanka, was ruled by the Pandyan dynasty. One other Kingdom that was under the same leadership was called the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa with Minister Kulasekara Cinkaiariyan being the King. This dynasty ruled the region of the Jaffna peninsula up to 1619 when the Portuguese conquered the region.
The Jaffna Peninsula is filled with breathtaking Palmyra palms, unique and elaborate Technicolor temples, holy springs, and miles of extended coastlines. With the abundance of Casuarina trees, the Casuarina beach is one of the tourist's destinations protected from pollution by the locals. The beach’s beautiful powder soft sand and high waters coupled with the lack of strong waves place the beach as an ideal bathing spot in the Jaffna Peninsula.
The Jaffna Peninsula experiences tropical Monsoon climate. With temperatures ranging to the highs of 26°F-33°F, the regions still experience seasonal rains with annual precipitation ranging from 696 mm to 1,125 mm. Divided into two agro-ecological regions, the Jaffna Peninsula is surrounded by diverse water bodies used by the farmers and the locals. The flat terrains of this Peninsula gradually rise towards the central section of Tellippalai which has an elevation of 10.5m above sea level. The climatic conditions of this Peninsula have brought about some dramatic natural disasters. The Northern and Eastern coasts of Jaffna Peninsula have been significantly affected in the past by tsunamis that have caused widespread destruction to the locals and affected the fisheries sectors. The 2004 Indian ocean earthquake led to the deaths of 2,640 people and injuries of 1,647 and there were 1,204 reported missing.
Economic and Social Conditions
With a population of 600,000 people, Jaffna Peninsula is home to a booming agricultural and fisheries industry which are the core economic activities of the region. This greatly contributes to the GNP of the nation. Despite the growing economic activities, the rural areas of the Peninsula are experiencing a 27.9% unemployment rate while the urban area is at 25.8%.
Where is the Jaffna Peninsula?
The Jaffna Peninsula is found in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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