Heritage of Jaffna Heritage of Jaffna - Traditional Buildings of Jaffna

Home Page

Main Article - Traditional Buildings of Jaffna

Introduction gr_sdi.gif (96 bytes)
Village Houses gr_sdi.gif (96 bytes)
Coutryard Houses gr_sdi.gif (96 bytes)
Colonial Houses gr_sdi.gif (96 bytes)
Miscellaneous gr_sdi.gif (96 bytes)
Conclusion gr_sdi.gif (96 bytes)

Decorative aspects of Jaffna Houses

Photo Gallery -  Jaffna Buildings and Environment


previous.jpg (10706 bytes) next.jpg (10084 bytes)


The information that was discussed in the previous pages show that, while the traditional buildings of Jaffna  represent, a now forgotten aspect of the culture of old Jaffna, they also remain as probable evidences of a common conceptual base that shaped the culture of a larger region covering South Indian states of Thamilnadu and Kerala together with Jaffna. As the information on similar South Indian buildings is inadequate, a proper comparative study was not possible.

Similarly no attempt was made to compare the Jaffna buildings with the buildings of Singhalese communities of southern Srilanka. Many scholars believe that the Jaffna peninsula was occupied by the Singhalese people before the arrival of Tamils in to this land. They point out that, most of the place names in Jaffna and Vanni are in fact Tamilised versions of Singhalese names. Some of them also say that for such a large scale adoption, of the Singhalese names by the Tamil community, would have only been possible, if they had lived together in this region for a long time. If this is true, it is logical for someone to expect a considerable influence of Singhalese culture in the Jaffna buildings. No such influence is openly visible. However a through comparative study may throw some light in this matter.

The present day houses in Jaffna may be neater, durable and suitable for some of our modern requirements. However it is not difficult for someone to observe several contradictions in the relationship between the modern houses and the life-style of the people. The traditional houses and other buildings, which are more sympathetic towards the local, socio-cultural, economic and physical conditions, can provide conceptual basis for new buildings.

Apart from the changes caused by 'Time" and the life-style based on western notions, the war situation also has taken toll of many of the valued buildings. Hundreds of such buildings are still existing all over Jaffna region. We should at least record information related to these buildings in suitable formats such as measured drawings, photographs, videos, descriptive texts etc. for the use of future generations. 

previous.jpg (10706 bytes) next.jpg (10084 bytes)



Last updated on 04 February 2005