Jaffna

Is the capital of the Northern Province that sustained substantial damage during the country’s civil war. Since the end of this conflict in 2009, the capital has re-emerged as a rejuvenated vibrant city.

Jaffna city was originally created by European merchants as a trading point and became a Portuguese port town in 1619. The Portuguese then lost this city to the Dutch, who in-turn lost it to the British in 1796. The population consists of Sri Lanka Hindu Tamils, Indian Tamils, Sri Lankan Muslims and some other ethnic groups.

Jaffna offers a glimpse into the Sri Lanka Tamil lifestyle and culture with its very unique blend of spicy local food and particularly sea food (prawn, lobster, fish). Known for rich cultural heritage and natural beauty there are a number of sites to visit, one of the more recognised is the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil (Temple) dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Murugan. The temple was constructed in the 15th century by Sanpaha Perumal the accepted son of the king of Kotte, king Bhuvanekababhu, who led an expedition force to Jaffna and acquired it under the authority of Kotte.

Jaffna Fort was built by the Portuguese as a fortified settlement in 1619 to defend attacks from a local rebel. The fort encompassed a small town, harbour, Catholic chapels and government buildings to administer the area. The Dutch were more tolerant than the Portuguese in many aspects of daily life and religion and under Dutch control the city increased in size. The fort was expanded considerably, population and business merchants thrived. Under British rule they further developed the city and encouraged higher education with rapid growth and prosperity. The fort still stands and since the end of the recent civil war has undergone some renovations.

In addition to the above places to visit, you will find the following sites of interest – Jaffna Public Library, Jaffna Peninsula, Jaffna Market, Maruthanamadam Anjaneyar kovil with its delightful 21.9Meters/72 feet Anjaneyar idol (Hanuman the Hindu monkey God), Kadurugoda (Kantharodai Viharaya), Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman Temple , Nagadeepa Purana Viharaya, Nilavarai Bottomless Well, Chundikulam sanctuary in Jaffna, Delft Island, Jaffna Archaeological Museum, Jaffna Market, Elephant Pass – Elephant Pass War Memorial which you will pass by on the way to Jaffna.

There are a number of pretty beaches to visit, such as the Casuarina beach. Jaffna is now developing its tourism industry, as it offers a diversified range of places to see and things to do!