The Dambakola Patuna is an ancient port located in northern Jaffna with a long history dating back to the first days of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Back in 250 B.C., Mihindu Maha Thero brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka, following which Theri Sanhamitta, his sister, brought the famed Sacred Bo Sapling to the site of the Dambakola Patuna.
To commemorate this event, King Devanampiya Tissa built the Jambukola Viharaya. The sapling grew to become the Sri Maha Bodhi, recorded as one of the oldest planted trees on Earth. He later planted eight shoots from the tree in the same area.
As time passed, the viharaya fell to ruins, and the port faded in significance in terms of the importance of the sea routes that pass it. Even though the ruins around the port don’t depict much of its ancient splendour, it still holds a level of importance in the hearts of Sri Lankan Buddhists.
The Sri Lanka Navy, however, had carried out some renovations on the temple premises relatively recently, such as the reconstruction of a stupa, which took a record 65 days to complete; whereas the bo tree currently situated in the area was only planted in 1998, also by the Navy.
Regardless, the modern temple, known as Sri Sangamitta Viharaya, serves as a key Buddhist landmark. If you do visit, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the Southern Indian coastline and gorgeous blue waters, so don’t hesitate to make the trip to this little slice of Sri Lanka’s ancient Buddhist history.