About the City
The transformation of Jaffna to a bustling teeming city and the reawakening of some of the country‘s oldest archeological treasures and natural beaches are a must see. The Jaffna Fort, Delft Island, Point Pedro Beach and its unique mouth watering cuisine are only a few reasons to travel North.
A tour to Jaffna has become a definite stop and stay for most travelers seeking out something fresh, unspoiled and unseen. Vast and open landscapes combine with pristine beaches and ancient architecture. The busy Jaffna city market is not to be missed for the urban visitor looking for items which are only available in Jaffna from sweetmeats to woven handicraft to the unique spice mix that’s known to flavor Northern cuisine.
Attractions in Jaffna include the Nallur Kovil it’s most famous landmark and tourist attraction the Kovil is at the heart of Jaffna and is easy to find. Timing is important to catch the interior of the Kovil’s architectural grandeur as it opens only during ceremonial offerings or ‘poojas’.
There is also the Sri Nagapooshani Amman Temple on Nainativu island which is about three miles long and one mile across. It is about 25 miles south-west of Jaffna city. At Nainativu, the annual high festivals at the Hindu temple are conducted in the month of (June/July) for 16 days. The chariot festival which is celebrated on the 14th day attracts more than a hundred thousand pilgrims from all over the world.
Nagadipe Purana Vihara is an island temple that can be reached via a boat ride and needs a full afternoon to see. One hour drive from Jaffna Town and a boat ride takes you to this island temple which becomes busy during festival time in July. It is also a location where you can visit three different places of worship at once, a Hindu Kovil, a Muslim Mosque and a Buddhist Temple all at once. The Jaffna Fort built by the Dutch suffered serious damage in the war but is being renovated and will be restored to its former glory for future visitors.
Elephant Pass – Considered the gateway to Jaffna this is narrow neck of land that connects the Jaffna Peninsula to the rest of the island. It is the only place in Sri Lanka where if you stick around you can watch both the sunrise and the sunset. The Pass was a strategic military base and has much war history for the interested visitor.
Delft Islands – the only islands named after the Dutch this a unique destination which is home to very few people, herds of wild horses and is surrounded by coral fences. Access is only by boat and you will need one whole day for this detour.
Casuarina Beach – Lined with casuarina trees this is a long drive from Jaffna but a destination worth the trip! Pristine beaches and shallow clear water make this one of the most popular stops for visitors to the North.
Kanthoradai Viharaya – a fascination collection of 100 miniature buddhist temples and shrines dating back 2000 years. Shaped like igloos the biggest of these stupas are no more than 12 feet in diameter. There is speculation that the Viharaya was the location where Lord Buddha first arrived in Sri Lanka.
Kayts Causeway – A long ride on the longest causeway in Sri Lanka will give you a fascinating view of the Northern city and the sea surrounding it.
Map of the City