President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning (October 14) paid homage to Nagadeepa Purana Raja Maha Viharaya in Jaffna peninsula.
Following participating in number of official events and ceremonies in Jaffna yesterday President Rajapaksa visited the Nagapeeda Temple and received blessings form the chief incumbent of the Temple venerable Navadagala Padumakiththi Tissa Thera.
President also laid the foundation stone for the construction of a 48 ft. Buddha statue in Abhaya Mudra and took time out to chat with the devotees who visited the Temple.
President then Naagapushani Amman' Kovil and participated in religious activities.
The Nagadeepa Purana Raja maha Viharaya is one of the sixteen most sacred places of worship by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Pilgrims have been coming to the Nagadeepa since about the 1st century AC to worship at its famous Rajayathana stupa.
The Rajayathana stupa was constructed by two warring Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara, at the site where the Buddha during his second visit to the country, five years after attaining enlightenment, intervened and mediated in settling a dispute over the possession of a gem-studded throne.
According to the chronicles the precious throne was offered to the Buddha, was returned to the Naga Kings and was later enshrined in this Rajayathana stupa.
History records that the Nagadeepa Purana Rajamaha Vharaya was developed and reconstructed by pious kings, Devanampiyatissa, Dutugemunu and converted into a fully accomplished sacred place.
After the Government liberated North from the clutches of terrorism, the Northern Provincial Council arranged facilities for devotees visiting Nagadeepa, under Uthuru Vasanthaya development program. New resting places, transport services and mini-markets for devotees from South visiting the Nagadeepa temple.
Naagapushani Amman' Kovil is an important tourist attraction in Nagadeepa. As it is said in legends, the old god statue in this kovil emerged from the earth, thousands of years ago and Indian merchants who frequented Jaffna constructed this kovil.
The Amman Kovil was destroyed by the Portuguese but was rebuilt in 1788.