Are you searching for a destination full of culture and history? Look no further than Jaffna, located in the northern tip of Sri Lanka. Surrounded by stunning beaches, centuries-old fortresses, and temples, this city will surely please any traveler looking to experience something unique.
Jaffna is a vibrant and culturally rich city with a fascinating history and a unique way of life. It is a place that is known for its delicious cuisine and friendly people. Despite being affected by the civil war in Sri Lanka, Jaffna has made a remarkable recovery and is now a popular destination for travelers looking to experience the beauty and culture of the northern part of the island.
Whether you plan on exploring its many sights or simply immersing yourself in local culture, there’s an abundance of things to do in Jaffna that are guaranteed to make your trip highly memorable! Read on as we explore some must-dos during your visit.
History of Jaffna
Jaffna is a city with a long and rich history. The region has been inhabited since the 10th century BC, with numerous ancient temples and fortresses that still stand today, such as the historic Nallur Kandaswamy Temple and Jaffna Fort. Visitors can take a trip back in time by exploring these historical sites for an unforgettable glimpse into Jaffna’s past.
10 Best Things To Do In Jaffna
Discover the magic of Jaffna, a treasure trove of stunning sights and thrilling experiences just waiting to be explored! Below is a list of the 10 best things to do in Jaffna.
1. Visit Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil
In the heart of Jaffna lies the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, a vibrant and colorful Hindu temple that draws devotees from all over Sri Lanka. It is one of the most sacred sites in Jaffna and an absolute must-see for any visitor.
2. Explore Jaffna Fort
Jaffna Fort is an impressive 16th-century bastion that stands tall in the city. It was built by Portuguese colonialists and has since been rebuilt to its former glory. You can take a guided tour of the fort, learning about its history and admiring the stunning views from atop its walls.
3. Visit the Jaffna Public Library
It would be best to visit the Jaffna Public Library, a symbol of hope and pride for local Tamil people. After being destroyed in 1981, it was rebuilt by locals, who worked tirelessly on its restoration. Visiting this iconic landmark will surely be an experience you won’t forget anytime soon.
4. Take a boat ride to Delft Island
No trip to Jaffna is complete without a boat ride to Delft Island, or Neduntheevu, as it’s known by the locals. This small yet beautiful island is full of natural wonders and rich history, and is a must-visit for those seeking to experience the best of what Sri Lanka has to offer.
Delft Island is renowned for its peculiar topography, characterized by imposing limestone formations, vibrant coral reefs, and water so clear that you can see right through it.
A visit to Delft Island is incomplete without laying eyes upon its legendary wild horses. Rumored to have been brought to the island by Portuguese mariners in the 16th century, these enigmatic equines have adapted to the island’s singular ecosystem and thrived ever since. Visitors can witness these majestic beasts grazing amid the island’s verdant fields and forests, offering a truly unforgettable sight.
5. Visit the Keerimalai Springs
The Keerimalai Springs is a natural phenomenon located just outside of the city. Its sacred pools can supposedly cure any ailment, making it a popular pilgrimage site for Hindus. A visit to the springs will make your trip to Jaffna much more special.
6. Visit the Jaffna Museum
The Jaffna Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the rich history and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka’s northern region. Located in the heart of Jaffna city, the museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, artwork, and historical objects that tell the story of Jaffna’s complex past.
The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from ancient history to colonial rule to contemporary art. Visitors can explore collections of archaeological finds, including ancient pottery and stone carvings, as well as displays of traditional Tamil art, including paintings and sculptures.
One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of artifacts related to the Dutch and British colonial periods in Sri Lanka. These exhibits offer a fascinating glimpse into Jaffna’s colonial past and the impact of European influence on the region’s culture and society.
The Museum also offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the Tamil people, their language, and their traditions. The museum’s collection includes exhibits on Tamil literature, music, and dance, as well as displays of traditional Tamil clothing and jewelry.
7. Visit the Jaffna Market
Jaffna market is a vibrant and busy market offering abundant local produce, spices, and handicrafts. Stroll through the alleyways and sample some tantalizing Sri Lankan snacks while at it! At the market you will experience locals going about their daily lives buying their produce for the week.
8. Katurogoda Ancient Vihara
Don’t miss out on visiting the Katurogoda Ancient Vihara, a renowned Buddhist temple that dates back to the 13th century. Here you can admire its ancient frescoes and take in the serene atmosphere of this sacred site.
9. Jaffna cuisine crab curry
Jaffna cuisine crab curry is one of the must-try dishes for any visitor to Jaffna. It’s a delicious and fragrant dish with fresh crabs, coconut milk, and spices. It can be found at most local restaurants in the city and is an absolute must-try! I had this crab curry when we visited Delft Island.
Also read: Top 10 Best Things To Do In Sigiriya
10. Pannai Causeway
The Pannai Causeway is a stunning artificial bridge that connects the mainland to the nearby island of Kayts. It was built by the British in the 19th century; today, it’s one of the most iconic attractions in Jaffna. Taking a stroll across this picturesque causeway is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Plus, the Dutch Fort, delft island, and Jaffna fish market is must-see places.
Jaffna is a city steeped in culture and history, with plenty of exciting things to do for any traveler. From exploring ancient temples and fortresses to sampling local delicacies, there’s something here for everyone! Make sure you make the most of your visit by trying out these must-dos during your time in Jaffna.
Jaffna Sri Lanka FAQ
Jaffna is renowned for its rich culture and history. It is home to several historic attractions, such as the atmospheric Jaffna Fort, ancient temples like Nallur Kandaswamy temple, and numerous museums. The city also boasts stunning beaches with crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming or sunbathing.
Jaffna is known for its unique and flavorful cuisine. Traditional Sri Lankan dishes like kottu roti, seeni sambal, and amble are all must-try dishes during a trip to the city. Seafood lovers should sample some of Jaffna’s fresh seafood, such as prawns, crabs, and fish dishes. Additionally, there are plenty of vegetarian options available throughout the city.
Jaffna is renowned for its delicious fruit. Papayas, bananas, pineapples, and mangoes can all be found in abundance throughout the city. Other local specialties include jackfruit and ambarella, a sweet-tart yellow fruit popularly used to make traditional sweet dishes.
Yes! Jaffna is a great destination for those looking to explore the underwater world. With its warm waters and stunning coral reefs, this region of Sri Lanka is perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sea-fishing. Plenty of dive sites around the area offer great opportunities to spot a range of marine life.
The primary language spoken is Tamil, one of the most widely used languages in South India. English and Sinhalese are also widely spoken in the city, making it easy for visitors to communicate with locals.
Yes, Jaffna is definitely worth visiting! It offers a truly unique travel experience that is unlike any other destination in Sri Lanka. The city’s rich history and culture, combined with its beautiful natural scenery, make it a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Yes, Jaffna is generally safe for tourists to visit. The security situation in the city has improved significantly in recent years, and the Sri Lankan government has implemented various measures to ensure the safety and security of visitors to the area.
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