Dambakola Patuna is the modern spelling of the most important ancient natural harbour of the Jaffna Peninsula, which is situated at its northern coastline, to the west of the famous Shiva temple of Keerimalai (Naguleshvaram). Dambakola is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in northern Sri Lanka. The sanctuary is known as Samudda Pansala. The temple that can be seen today was built in the late 20th century by the Sri Lankan Navy during the civil war at the place of the ancient Jambukola Viharaya, of which almost nothing remains. The stupa at Dambakola Pattuna commemorates the landing place of the first sapling of the sacred Bo tree which was brought by Ashoka’s daughter Sanghamitta, who was the first Buddhist nun of the island.
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There are two war memorials at the Elephant Pass, which is the most important link between Jaffna Peninsula and mainland Sri Lanka. The northern one on the peninsula celebrates the unity of the island. The memorial at the southern end of the causeway is dedicated to Sri Lanka’s most famous war hero of recent decades, who lost his lifewhen he successfully stopped an attack of an armoured bulldozer by approaching it and tossing grenades into it. Gamini Kularatne is also known as Hasalaka Gamini after his, named after his home village. His death contributed significantly to prevent the Sri Lanka army garrison from being overrun during this massive attack of about 5000 secessionist guerilla fighters, which was launched on the night of 10 July 1991, to overrun the garrison of about 600 army troops. The fight known as the First Battle of Elephant Pass continued for 18 days and cost about 2000 lives, being one of the most ferocious combats of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Finally, an army force of 10,000 soldiers conducted an amphibious landing to reinforce the defenders, decisively helping to repel the attackers successfully. The war memorial honoroung Gamini Kularatne was set up after the end of the war.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka,