North (Jaffna)

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Distance from Colombo: 396 km

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province and is also the centre of Sri Lanka’s Tamil and Hindu culture.

The Jaffna peninsula and the rest of the country’s Northern province is the driest region in the island. The peninsula is saved from being an island only by a half mile wide stripe of sand. The land is flat and dry with shallow lagoons and a number of offshore islands.

The Jaffna Fort which still stands in the heart of the city was a magnificent creation of the Dutch. This is probably the best preserved fortress on the island. There are some remains of Dutch era homes, churches and civil buildings as well as a number of British colonial era buildings such as the Clock tower and the Public library.

As you wonder through Jaffna’s narrow streets, you will become very aware of the cadjan fences surrounding almost every house. This fence made out of coconut or Palmyra and is a trademark of the city. Your strolls along the city roads will also take you to markets filled with an amazing variety of vegetables and fruits with the crowd drawers being the mango sellers. The Jaffna mango is famous throughout the country for its unusual sweetness. Its high season is in June and September.

Other Famous sites to visit in Jaffna are; Nallur Kovil (Temple), Selva Sannithi Temple, Nagapoosani Temple (Nainatheevu), Jaffna Library, Nagadeepa Temple, Sri Naga Vihara Temple & Vaddu kannaki amman temple. Nallur Kovil Chariot Festival is the biggest festivals in Jaffna. This is a feast for your senses, the chariot being pulled through the temple grounds while the faithful are praying. There is also an ancient Buddhist temple called 'Kandarodei' beyond Manipai about 10 Km away from Jaffna. There are small dagobas numbering 61, scattered over an area of about half an acre of land. The small structures are constructed with ash-coloured stone.

It’s a must to visit the surrounding islands when in jafna. Three of the major islands; Kayts, Karaitivu and Punkudutivu are joined to the mainland by causeways over shallow waters around the peninsula. The island of Delft is known for its traces of the Portuguese and Dutch eras. The small Dutch fort is only a short walk from the port and is made of huge, beautiful chunks of coral of which the island is mainly composed. You can find there some great temples, abandoned villages and friendly people.

Places of Interest
  • Nallur Kovil
  • Selva Sannithi Temple
  • Nagapoosani Temple
  • Jaffna Liberary
  • Nagadeepa Temple
  • Sri Naga Vihara Temple
  • Vaddu Kannaki Amman Temple
  • Kandarodei Temple
  • Island hopping (Kayts, Karaitivu, and Punkudutivu & Delft)