Things to do in Jaffna

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Jaffna town is in the northern parts of Sri-Lanka, near the Indian border, a region that previously had been under civil war and isolation from the rest of the country. It is, however, emerging as a choice destination for many travelers, both local and foreign. In Jaffna, there are many fascinating places to visit and numerous activities to engage in as a visitor. You will be at a loss whether to enjoy the beautiful natural attractions or indulge in the appealing local cultures. Whether you manage to visit all or a few, you will ultimately have a fulfilling holiday.

Natural Attractions
From the abundant water expanses to semi-desert dunes that reach heights of 12-15 meters, Jaffna offers an array of natural attractions. The Jaffna lagoon, which is marked by some islands, is quite appealing with colorful catamarans and outriggers sailing in the lagoon making a picturesque form of the tranquil azure waters. Thondamannar, Senthankulam, Casuarina beach and Kalmunani point near Jaffna make some of the elongated, unspoilt and secluded beaches in this area. Alluring lovers of water sports, these beaches are frequented by many visitors who sail, sunbathe, swim, water ski and many other water games.

Bird lovers are not left out as Jaffna offers them something worthy a reminiscing holiday. Bird species such as the Indian courser, grey partridge, ring dove, curlew, reef heron, plover, great stone plover, Lapwings, egrets among others are found in the Jaffna islands. Bird attraction coupled with a striking biodiversity is a magnet that pulls nature lovers and eco-tourists from afar.

Cultural Attractions
With its captivating almagation of colonial enchantments and lively Tamil culture, Jaffna town is the foremost panorama in the Sri Lanka’s northern frontier. Coupled with a series of local temples; Buddhist and Hindu alike, the Jaffna cape, and the adjoining islands form what I dub “a cultural wonderland”. Religious festivals have an enthralling aura of their own, most characterized by dance, music and color, and sometimes beautiful processions.

The Sinhala singsong cadences, hordes of kamikaze cyclists all over Jaffna streets as well as the Tamil’s quick fire-intonations make tourists first to notice the most prominent Indian culture upon their arrival at Jaffna.
A number of heritage sites add to the attractions that people tour. Jaffna fort is a must visit for many. The castle at Deft Island, the Buddhist site at Kantarodai and Sangalitoppu at Nallur are other intriguing places. At Pooneryn, Katyts and Elephant pass, adventurers discover small Dutch forts. At Chankanai, you will see the remains of Dutch Church of the 1640s, a structure of coral masonry. Most of the heritage sites in and around Jaffna date form Pre-Christian times to the colonial era.

People also visit the Bottomless Well at Puttur. The well is 45 meters long. According to the local legend, the hero of Epic Ramayana of Indian fame, Rama thrust his arrow into the soil around here resulting in water drenching out of the soil and quenched his thirst. The spring has never dried out.

Pilgrimage Destination
Jaffna is also a pilgrimage destination. There is a belief that the fresh water spring on the beach at Keeramalai has healing powers, drawing a gradually increasing visitor numbers. People too believe Lord Buddha has blessed the Nagadeepa island and as a result, the Sinhala Buddhists from the south travel to their temple in this island to pay homage to their Master. With a Hindu temple on the island, Hindus visit for pilgrim purposes. As for Christians, the Katchchativu and Palaitivu are famous places in which Catholics from both Sri Lanka and India flock in thousands.

Jaffna caters for all and a visitor here will always have something to do. While these are few highlights of what to do and see in Jaffna, you will be surprised to discover lots of other things when you visit.


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