Jaffna

Jaffna is the nucleus of the Northern Peninsula situated 398 km away from Colombo.

Jaffna is the nucleus of the Northern Peninsula situated 398 km away from Colombo. It is not only a geographic entity but also a cultural and ethnic one as well. Jaffna can be proud of its distinctive scenery and climate (warm and dry). There are many interesting evidences of Portuguese and Dutch occupation of the 16th 17th and 18th Centuries. Places of interest include a ruined Portuguese Church at Myliddy and at Atchuvely, a typical Dutch style church. The Fort and the Church in Jaffna are the best preserved Dutch antiques.

Another place of interest to visit is the famed Hindu temple dedicated to God Skanda at Nallur. Travellers can enjoy good swimming; very scenic unpopulated beaches and many off-shore islands, especially Nagadipa, a historic Buddhist Pilgrim Centre with a pre-Christian history. Another must place to visit is the delft island, once famous for its wild Ponies and Hammenhiel with its 390-year-old sea girt Fort. The Smugglers caverns at Kerudavil, the Nilavarai Tidal well and the Keerimalai mineral springs also deserve visits. There are archaeological excavations of Buddhist shrines currently being undertaken at Kantarodai. Jaffna is famous for many varieties of delicious Mangoes and Seafood. In Jaffna, the Palmyrah replaces the coconut palm.

Tourists Attractions in Jaffna

  • Nagadeepa Buddhist Temple

Nagadeepa Purana Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in the Jaffna district of Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It is one of the sixteen most-sacred places of worship by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Pilgrims have been coming to Nagadeepa since about the 1st century AC to worship at its famous Rajayathana stupa. The Rajayathana stupa was constructed by two warring Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara, at the site where Lord Buddha during His second visit to the country on a Bak Maha Amawaka Poya Day, five years after attaining enlightenment, intervened and mediated in settling a dispute over the possession of a gem-studded throne. The precious throne was offered to Lord Buddha and was returned to the Naga kings which was later enshrined in this Rajayathana stupa. History records that the temple was developed and reconstructed by pious kings, Devanampiyatissa and Dutugemunu and converted into a fully accomplished sacred place.

  • Dutch Fort

Jaffna is the nucleus of the Northern Peninsula situated 398 km away from Colombo. It is not only a geographic entity but also a cultural and ethnic one as well. Jaffna can be proud of its distinctive scenery and climate (warm and dry). There are many interesting evidences of Portuguese and Dutch occupation of the 16th 17th and 18th Centuries. The Fort and the Church in Jaffna are the best-preserved Dutch antiques.

  • Nallur Hindu Temple

The historic Nallur Kandaswamy Temple stands at Nallur 1 1/2km from Jaffna on the Point Pedro Road. The temple was built in the 15th century, by Sanpaha Perumal the adopted son of Bhuvanekababhu, the King of Kotte, who led an expedition to the North and brought Jaffna under the captivity of Kotte. Having established himself as the ruler of the Jaffna Kingdom, Sanpaha Perumal set about the task of building the city and erecting the temple. He then appointed Vijayabahu as the ruler and returned to Kotte. After some time, the deposed king Kanagasuriyan attacked and drove away the invader. Thereafter, he and his descendants managed the Nallur Temple up to the arrival of the Portuguese. The Portuguese defeated Sankili, the last king of Jaffna in 1560. The Portuguese General Philip de Olivera demolished the historic Kandaswamy Temple in 1620 and the temple then stood at Sankili thopu on the eastern side of the Point Pedro Road.

  • Elephant Pass

Currently Elephant Pass is synonymous with death and destruction. Many a battle has been fought in this narrow stretch of land that connects the Jaffna peninsula to the mainland. Thousands have died on either side of the ethnic divide fighting for this strategic piece of real-estate. The significance of Elephant Pass was identified centuries before it became a death ground for Sri Lankan youth in the recent past. The Dutch were the first to erect a fort here. It was more like a stockade or a watch post. Though well-fortified and built with strong defences, the extent of the fortifications was much smaller to that of Galle or Jaffna forts. For a better known comparison, the fortification at Elephant Pass can be compared to the Star Fort at Matara. Elephant Pass fort was part of an elaborate defensive structure that was meant to protect the Jaffna peninsula.

  • Jaffna Fort

Situated on the south side of the Jaffna peninsula at the water’s edge of the lagoon, the ancient fort in Jaffna is the second largest existing fort in the island. Originally built by the Portuguese in 1619 and re-built and expanded by the Dutch during the second half of the 17th and the 18th centuries to facilitate trading activities of Sri Lanka’s northern region indicate not only of Jaffna’s strategic importance to Europeans but its significance throughout Sri Lanka’s history. The five sided inner defence works consist of thick and high ramparts and bastions with a wide and deep moat around it. The layout resembles a geometrically regular pentagon which is defined by the ramparts with a bastion at each corner of the pentagon. Beyond these defence works is the star shaped moat, the outline of which roughly follows the bastion and rampart walls.

  • Keerimalai Wells

Keerimalai natural springs and wells are known for its water and rituals. The water with mineral contents has curative value. Hindus believe the water here has miraculous powers to cure many diseases. According to many legends, the sage "Nagula Muni" was born with mongoose face and meditated in a cave in“Keerimalai”. He bathed in “Keerimalai” springs and his mongoose face turned into a human face. "Keerimalai" was known as Thiruthambaleswaram. Keerimalai is 50 feet above the main sea level, and situated West of Palaly. The fresh water comes from an underground fresh water spring.

Jaffna on map

Sri Lanka Tourism Activities around Jaffna