Jaffna, the northern most peninsula of Sri Lanka is a pop of culture, color and ethnicity. With a foremost Hindu based culture, the majority of the residents are Tamils. From the food to the attire, everything takes a tumbling turn in Jaffna. Flying is the easiest method of transport to Jaffna and with scheduled flights operating from Ratmalana to Jaffna you can reach Jaffna in a mere 1 hour. The second best method of transport is the goo old locomotive, with much comfortable trains and a few trips available from Colombo to Jaffna on a daily basis.
Jaffna has a list of attractions, varying from religious pit stops to natural bindings. The list of attractions worth covering properly takes you three days. A quick cut can take you through the places of utmost importance. In a day’s trip Nallur Kovil, Jaffna Fort, Jaffna Library, Minister’s house, is worth covering.
Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil – Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is a temple to the deity of Lord Murugan. The vast temple is mostly embodied in gold with miniature statues from top to bottom. As for all Hindu temples, Nallur temple also has a pond in center. The main shrine is far inside the temple and a pilgrim can walk around the temple reading the wall paintings that say a cultural story. Dress code to enter the temple, women should cover the knees and shoulders, men are expected to enter shirtless. Photography inside the temple is prohibited.
Library of Jaffna – Jaffna library at one time used to be the best library with the most number of first copies in the south Asia. As a result of the civil conflict the whole library was burnt down in the year 1983 losing all valuable books. It’s been rebuilt now with most books restored. You can walk around the library to get a good idea of the collection but visitors are not permitted to enter the library sections.
The Jaffna Fort – the second biggest Dutch fort built in Sri Lanka is an archaeological monument that has had a direct onslaught as a result of the recent 30 year of armed conflict. An outer moat exists outside the ramparts. Outside the moat is the outer rampart which has built in to it five tunnels each in a twin formation. The monuments within the fort had been destroyed during the conflict that raged in the area. Of these the monument named the Queen’s Palace is in sufficient level of preservation than the rest as it could be identified. Its superstructure is completely destroyed and the remaining walls are in the process of being destroyed due to the presence of invasive plants having taken roots in them. The fort is a free visiting area to the tourists during the day. Carry a hat to protect from direct rays of sun.
Minister’s House – Jaffna being a sub kingdom as in relation to the main ruler of the country. The independent remnants of it lie around the city. Of it is the minister’s house, a fully formed building which clearly looks being belonged to elite. The house is in full structure and is made of wood and clay and is full with intricate wood carvings. The site is without any much information and in Tamil it is known as manthri manai.
Stop for an ice cream at Rio – from the days of history, Jaffna inhibitors preferred their ice cream sweeter. Thus, Jaffna’s Rio ice cream became a stop to any tourist entering Jaffna. The wooden stool laid ice cream shop doesn’t really let you pick ice cream looking at it directly; instead you have to look at a menu with pictures and order. As almost, the ice cream comes out similar to what the picture shows. Rio is known mostly for sundae style ice cream and this is a sweeter a little less creamier version to the Italian gelato.
On a day’s trip to Jaffna the important island tours such as the Nainathiu island which houses Nagadeepa Buddhist temple, a Hindu Kovil, the island of delft with the remnants from the Dutch period and wild horses, the point pedro cannot be covered but a proper trip to Jaffna should cover all these attractions.
The food in Jaffna – Jaffna takes shape of food similar to southern Indian cuisine. Once in Jaffna the Jaffna Crab curry with white rice (Jetwing Jaffna serves a tasty portion of Crab), which cooks the whole sea crab in a chili infused curry served with plain white rice is a must try. Also, try the oodial kool, a seafood broth also served with white rice. In other dishes, idiappam, idli and chapahi with local curries are fusion favorites too.
What to take with you – although most Jaffna towners speak very good English, a guide to take you around who speaks Tamil will come in as an advantage. Do remember to carry a hat, sunglasses and lotion to cover from extreme sun. It is advisable to carry bottled mineral water or buy high quality bottled water than drinking water direct from the tap.