Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka 2000 years ago with the arrival of Theri Sanghamitta, the daughter of Indian Emperor Ashoka, where she landed in the ancient port of Dambakola Patuna in Sri Lanka carrying with her the sacred Bo sapling from the Bodhiya under which the Buddha gained enlightenment. King Devanampiyatissa who reigned in Sri Lanka at that time used this Sacred Bo Saplin to plant the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura which is the most visited sacred places of Buddhism in Sri Lanka today.
The Samudde-Pansala (Jambukola Viharaya) was constructed to honor the arrival of the Saplin. However, the remains of this landmark are not visible today. The Sri Lanka Navy went ahead and constructed another temple which they named the Sri Sangamitta Viharaya and today this Viharaya takes pride of place in the Northern Peninsula of Sri Lanka.
This port began its downward trend fading in importance, while port Mahathiththa now known as Mantai which sits at the opening of Malwatu Oya then became a key intersection for ships and the Dambakola Patuna faded into the anal of history.
Dambakola Patuna is reachable in a 45-minute journey from Jaffna. The Sri Sangamitta Viharaya is on the edge of Northern Sri Lanka and is a serene outlook across the beautiful ocean in the Pal Strait. If you are lucky to be there on a sunny day, you would be able to see the coastline and edge of Southern India as well. The Mahawamsa states that pilgrims came from the country “Yonaka” to Jambukola to pay homage to the Jambukola Viharaya in the ancient eras.
Today there is nothing evident of what a wonderful history this beautiful place had many centuries ago. Sri Lanka is indeed a haven for historical beauty.