Jaffna

Jaffna, located at the northern most peninsula of the country is the main city of the Jaffna district in the Northern Province. Going back into the history of the city, Jaffna or Nagadipa as it was called back then, has been spoken of in relation the Buddha’s second visit to Sri Lanka where he had made peace during a rift between two Naga kings. Initially Nagadipa was said to be inhabited by the Sinhalese of the Kotte Kingdom and later on during the ruling of the Dutch it was populated with South Indians who had been brought in for tobacco cultivation. Currently the city of Jaffna is mainly inhabited by the Tamils of Sri Lanka. And you can say that after decades of being battered down by war, this town is now looking into an era of new projects and upgrades that will make its days of isolation a thing of the past.

You can gain access to this town by a drive through the A9 motor road from Colombo, but due to the poor conditions of the road, you rise will take close to hours or more and will not be the most comfortable as well. Jaffna does have a domestic airport located 18km away at Palaly that allows for very little air travel to and from the town. The Elephant pass is a narrow strip of land that connects Wanni to the Jaffna peninsula. Both the A9 highway and the railway tracks to Jaffna have to pass through this isthmus, therefore in a sense the Elephant pass is the gateway to Jaffna, and during the days of the war was thought to be impregnable. The northernmost point of Sri Lanka, Point Pedro is the point of entry for illegal immigrants from south India. To the south of Point Pedro you have the village of Vallipuram, where the famous Vallipuram gold foil of inscriptions was unearthed.

The Nallur Kandhaswamy Kovil, is the most significant landmark of the city of Jaffna and is located about 3km away from the town center. It is a kovil dedicated to the Hindu God Murugan. Built in the 15th century, the original structure was home to both Hindu Gods as well Lord Buddha, but it was in 1625. The Kovil was again rebuilt in 1807 during the British reign. Many Tamil festivals are celebrated with splendor at this venue. You also have the Manalkadu sand dunes, which is a sparsely populated coastal stretch, and beyond the acres of sand hills you will be able to visualize some of the most beautiful beaches in the Northern Province.

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