Delft Island – Named Delft by the Dutch, the island is also known as Neduntivu by the Tamils living in the Jaffna Peninsula – Sri Lanka. Neduntivu means big island. In fact, this is the largest of the islands in Sri Lanka.
Coral reefs can be seen even along the coast of Delft Island, a plain island. Even inland, many places are covered with coral sand. There are also several natural lakes in the interior of the island. Palmyra is abundant throughout the island.
To reach Delft Island, one must first arrive at the Kurikadduwan Jetty from Jaffna. SLTB and private buses have also been deployed for this purpose. Several vessels operate daily between the Kurikadduwan Jetty and Delft Island. The Vadataraki and Kumudini vessels used by the Road Development Authority are special. Passengers will not be charged for these vessels and other vessels will be charged. During rough seas, it takes about an hour to travel between Kurikadduwan and Delft, and during rough seasons it takes a little longer. As soon as a ferry arrives on Delft Island, the bus assigned to pick it up arrives and the bus transports passengers to various destinations around the island. This bus is used about four times a day.
Upon entering Delft Island, to the right is the main naval base, and as you pass by, you will see a statue of a Christian priest. It is the epitome of Jacqueline van Jones, who originally named the island Delft. The main road runs south along with the statue, passing through it to access the various government agencies and stalls set up for the administration of Delft Island. Government agencies established for the administration of Delft include the police, the post office, the divisional secretariat, the school, the wildlife office, and various banks. Several temples and Christian churches have been established in various parts of the island for the religious activities of the islanders.
Most of the houses on Delft Island are roofed with palm or coconut leaves, and the walls are made of stacked coral reefs. Some of the walls are made of palm leaf roofing after laying coral reefs on top of each other. These coral reef walls are called Irish walls.
Delft Island is one of the most popular islands in the country and tourists can book a safari jeep, tractor, or three-wheeler around the island. There are also a number of accommodations available for tourists, most of which are very affordable. The most expensive accommodation on Delft Island is called Delft Sea, which is luxury accommodation. In addition, the nearby beach at Delft Police Station is a great place to bathe and is a safe place for tourists to swim. Several wells have been constructed at the site for freshwater bathing after bathing in the sea. Camping at the beach can also be done by informing the Navy Base and the Delft Police. The tourist attractions of Delft Island are as follows.
It is believed that the tower was used as a lighthouse during the colonial era. The middle part is built as a chimney and is designed to carry the wind upwards. This may have been used to signal the naval vessels, often by the smoke emitted from the lower part of the fire.
This rock, also known as flint, is about five feet [5 m] above the ground. According to the belief of the islanders, this is a gradually growing rock. Moreover, the islanders believe that this rock has supernatural power. Therefore, they offer flowers and offerings to this rock
These baobab trees are presently found in the Puttalam, Mannar, and Jaffna districts of the country and are native to Ethiopia. It is believed that this baobab plant, which is believed to have been brought to South Asia by Arab traders, may have been planted on Delft Island in the Dutch era on the needs of the horses of Delft Island. The baobab tree found in Delft today is very large and has a trunk that can be easily penetrated by several minnows. The size of the foliage is very small and the size of the trunk is a major tourist attraction today.
These horses, which can be seen on Delft Island, are now known as wild horses, but not in the past. The horses were first brought to the island by the Dutch, who bred thousands of horses on the island and sold the horses to ships sailing across the Delft. By that time they had earned a good income. After the Dutch left the country, these horses gradually became wild and wild horses. The islanders then engaged in activities such as taming and flax capture of the horses, but the area where the horses now live has been declared a wildlife reserve, and the above activities and the release of the horses from the island are strictly prohibited. Extreme levels of flood danger were announced in many parts of the country during this time of year, and horses are dying due to lack of water. But now the Wildlife Department, in collaboration with the Navy, has developed a system for watering horses during droughts and their efforts should be appreciated.
This ancient stable was built during the Dutch era and is said to have been used by the Dutch to house horses that were then bred and prepared for sale.
This giant stone footprint-shaped structure is now widely known as Adam’s Foot.
Giant nuga tree
This nuga tree is also of extraordinary size and its branches cover a very large area and form a canopy. Here the roots are supported by roots hanging down from the branches. The people of Delft Island also perform various rituals centered on this Nuga tree and there is a temple built for it nearby.
Ancient Dutch fort
During the colonial period, the Portuguese and the Dutch were very concerned about their own safety, and as a result, the Portuguese first built a fort on Delft Island. After the conquest of Delft Island by the Dutch, the fort was fortified by the Dutch on two floors, and the ruins of the Dutch fort can now be seen near the Delft Hospital. According to historical records, the ground floor was used as an ammunition depot, an armory, and a prison cell, and the present ruins testify that there were no air vents. Upstairs there are air vents and the floor is said to have been built for guards
Ruins of the Dutch Hospital, pigeon cages, and court complex
Pass the ruins of the Dutch fort and head towards the Delft Jetty. Upon entering the grounds, one can see the building of the old Dutch Hospital and the ruins of the court complex behind it. This court was started by the Dutch and later maintained by the British and has become a ruin. The most unique creation in the area is the dovecote pillar, which was created in the Dutch era for pigeons. It is said that pigeons were trained to communicate with Delft Island and other surrounding lands. It is possible that the pigeons were trained to go to a certain place, hand over the message, and return.
Ruins of ancient stupas
It is said that Ven. Sangamitta took a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi and rested at this place on his way to Dambakola Patuna, but there is no archeological evidence to prove it. However, the first excavations carried out at this site during the British colonial period have uncovered the ruins of a Buddhist temple at this site and the excavations carried out at this site after the liberation from the British have revealed the limestone used to build this stupa and its tower. Next to the main stupa, the ruins of other small stupas which can be considered as their accompanying stupas can be seen today. These stupas, which were made of limestone at that time, now have only the base left.