Jaffna is one of the biggest cities in Sri Lanka. This city takes up nearly a quarter of the Northern Province. Jaffna was known to be a city of trade in the past. The fact that makes a anybody sad is till recent, since nearly three decades it was only known to be a vast war stricken area. Due to the terrorist attacks, the beauty, ethnicity and culture of this beautiful city was forgotten.
With the end of war, Jaffna has now been subjected to a rapid development. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that Jaffna has come to life overnight. The very comfortable roads and the infrastructure being built, the beautiful city stores and shops being opened, the railway facilities being reconstructed is a wonder to anybody who visits the area now.
I myself got a chance to visit Jaffna for a holiday and it would be very ignorant of me to not put down the highlights of my trip in to words.
Jaffna is located about 350km away from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Visiting Jaffna would be one of the longest journeys a person could travel in Sri Lanka. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that it is the top most end of Sri Lankan land. The furthermost point you can visit is to “Sakkotei” where you will find a small monument to say that it is the corner of the land area. The visit to the place is one of the most unforgettable experience for me because knowing that one foot away to the sea would be not in Sri Lanka! Most common belief about this is that Point Pedro is the furthermost point. But a little further about 2 km ahead is the exact place. This is one place a person must visit during a travel experience to the area.
One would be amazed to hear that a fruitful visit to the Jaffna would take at least two days to finish sightseeing. After visiting the monument the best way to manage the visit is to head to the Jaffna city where most of the iconic places are situated. Here are few places I would recommend you to visit.
The world famous “Nallur kovil “which is a very spiritual religious destination of all Hindu pilgrims is situated in the heart of the city. The Jaffna national library is another important place of visit. Its magnificent architecture and the fact that it used to contain some of the oldest books published in the world are the reasons behind its importance.
The famous fort of Jaffna is a beautiful construction. This fort has been initially built by the Portuguese when Sri Lanka was a colony under them and has been subjected to various modifications and renovations during the reigns of the Dutch and English. Presently it is under further excavations by the Archeological Department.
Historic Buddhist Temple in Nagadeepa
Many objects of historical significance have been found around this area and they are must visit destinations in Jaffna. The beautiful ‘Naaga Vihara’ is also situated in the heart of the city. It is a famous religious place of visit for Buddhists. Visiting “Naagadeepa Rajamaha Viharaya” is another unforgettable experience one could ever have. The visit to this temple is supposed to be by boat because it is situated in an island named “Nainativu” away from the country land. It has a splendid view and anybody who visits get a beautiful boating experience. It is about 30 Km towards the kaytes island from the Jaffna town.
Beaches in Jaffna
The most outstanding aspect of the Jaffna environment is about the absolutely breathtaking beaches. The sea around the northern part of Sri Lanka is very dense due to the high concentration of salt. The salt composition is relatively very high compared to southern coast. Therefore the seas around Jaffna rarely have visible waves which makes It ideal for bathing and leisure time in water. But most part of it contains limestone which makes it impossible to walk on. But some outstanding coasts namely the “Satti beach” which is located about 15 Km from Jaffna ,“Kareinagar beach also named as the “Kasurina Coast” which is located about 20 Km away from Jaffna and the “Kankasanthurei Beach Stretch” which is located along the uppermost coast in Kankasanthurei are wonderful to spend time strolling and bathing for leisure.
Jaffna soil is very fertile. It is said that anything which is planted grows up to give harvest in this land. There is an old belief that this soil has been blessed by God. Traveling around the countryside it is a very common sight to see vast vegetable cultivations along the roadsides. The beautiful environment, the culture, the diversified variety of food, the colorful clothes and the hospitable smiles of the people will always remain as beautiful memory throughout my life. This land should be promoted and revealed to the world in a broader perspective where it wouldn’t be a wonder to see it grow in to one of the premium tourist destinations on earth. (Photos: Damruwani Abeysekara)