This little unpolished gem certainly has the capacity to keep visitors happy with its many charms. Be there before Jaffna becomes a significant tourist hotspot.
Jaffna on My Mind
To delve into the many charms of this lovely city, you will undoubtedly encounter deep insights into the ancient history of Sri Lanka. Civil wars and many old battles may have disrupted its journey in keeping pace with the other historic cities of the island, but it is making up for lost time quite rapidly. Still, on the threshold of urbanization, Jaffna offers you a more laidback rural ambience compared to Sri Lanka’s other tourist cities. Your wanderings around the city will introduce you to its unique blend of cultures – Sri Lankan Tamil, British and Dutch, to be found in its historic spots, architecture, and cultural pursuits.
Culture and Community Charm
First-time visitors may want to learn more about Jaffna’s lesser-known allurements through the eyes of local guides. Still, even if you wander around on your own, there is much that will engage your curiosity about the people and places you encounter. A good place to zero in to the local vibe is the bustling Chunnakam market. Enjoy photos of the locals thronging the shops here, but do pick up souvenirs in the form of the beautiful handicrafts on display. The items are created out of the different parts of the palmyra and coconut trees. At the ancient Naguleswaram Temple in Keerimalai, dip your hands in the natural spring pool, whose waters are believed to have medicinal properties. The shrine is believed to be one of the five ancient Shiva temples built in the 7th century in Sri Lanka.
While most people think of Arugam Bay as Sri Lanka’s surfers’ paradise, it has also been a pioneer in creating a more sustainable lifestyle. Spend some time at Wasteless Arugam Bay and Rice & Carry – to discover how these two unique social enterprises have shown the way forward in the anti-waste and recycling movement in Sri Lanka. They are closely involved in projects that help preserve the city’s ecosystem and empower the local community. One of these works with local schools, community stakeholders, and travelers to raise awareness and promote behavioral change. The other NGO encourages the local women to transform traditional rice bags into chic pouches, laptop covers, handbags, and many more valuable items as a source of livelihood.
Sacred Spaces of Nallur
The Hindu shrine of Kandiswamy Kovil, dated back to the 13th century, was at the heart of the old capital of Jaffna — Nallur. A significant monument to the island’s Dravidian culture, it is a venerable site that has been raised from the ashes of destruction four times. One of Sri Lanka’s most special places of worship, the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, has long been a symbol of amity for the region to individuals of all faiths. The presiding deity here is Lord Murugan, god of love, war, and beauty. The shrine, which features a holy tank and garden, is renowned for its architecture and depiction of the Hindu deities.