Long lost in harsh terrorism, Jaffna, in the northern tip of Sri Lanka, is more of a hidden gem in the country. We are ready to disclose and outline the most important things about this destination and show you why you shouldn’t miss this place.
Largely influenced by Southern India, Jaffna is like another different world within Sri Lanka, known for its indisputable culture. It is located in the northern end of the country, which is closer to south India than the country’s capital Colombo. There are many landmarks and places to explore around this region while enjoying its characteristic ethical difference.
So, let us take you along the Palmyra-lined route to Jaffna to show you the wonder of Sri Lanka in a different dimension!
Getting To Know About Jaffna…
To begin with, Jaffna is one of the most iconic regions of Sri Lanka, located on the northern edge of the country. It is the capital of the Jaffna district and belongs to the Northern Province.
Located approximately 250 miles north of the main city of Colombo, Jaffna is known to be closer to southern India than to the capital city of Sri Lanka.
The area is rich in agriculture, has notable landmarks, and sketches a significant milestone in Sri Lankan history. About 85% of the population in Jaffna are Tamilians and Hindus, while the minority belongs to Catholics, Muslims, and Sinhalese.
A Flashback To The Important History Of Jaffna…
As mentioned earlier, Jaffna is a significant breakthrough in Sri Lankan history, famed for its association with the Jaffna Kingdom. From the 12th century, the Tamils increasingly entered northern Sri Lanka. And by the early 14th century, they were strong enough to set up a kingdom based on the Jaffna Peninsula.
Jaffna was the capital of a Tamil kingdom for centuries before Europeans overthrew it, and the city still has many unique Tamil cultural characteristics. It fell under Portuguese control in 1619, which was their last control in Sri Lanka before being taken over by the Dutch in 1658.
The name “Jaffna” is a Portuguese transformation of a Tamil word meaning “port of the lyre.” From 1983 to 1995, Jaffna was under the control of a group of terrorists called the Eelam or Tigers. The civil war continued for 30 years and finally came to an end on May 19th, 2009.
This is one of the victorious milestones in Sri Lankan history, and after that, the gates to Jaffna were opened for the rest of the people in the country as well as the world.
The Unique Experiences In Jaffna
After Jaffna was opened up to the world, thousands of travelers across the country and globe started to visit this place to experience its uniqueness. The unparalleled cultural difference, climatic transformation, and unchanged historical importance stand out Jaffna from the rest of the places in the country.
You will need 3-4 days to complete exploring this spectacular place as you have plenty of things to do here beyond your expectations. You can start by sightseeing in Jaffna, visiting all those ancient Hindu Kovils and Buddhist temples, the Dutch fort, Jaffna public library, etc. Hit on the beaches and natural pools for a swim and spend some quality time under the sun.
Casuarina Beach, Charty Beach, and Akkarai Beach are some of the pristine beaches you’ll find here, while the Keerimalai Pond will become a stunning water body to refresh. Chundikulam National Park, Karaveddy Lagoon, and Delft Island are local places to indulge in beautiful wildlife.
You should also take a small step towards the countryside to witness the richness of their agriculture. Treat yourself to locally-made ice cream and eat out at a Tamil restaurant or a cafe to savor hot Dosa and many other Tamil-influenced foods.
How Can You Get To Jaffna?
Since most people start the journey to Jaffna either from Colombo or Kandy, we thought of guiding your way to reach this destination from both these locations. However, you can get to Jaffna by using three main transportation methods.
That is by bus, train, and private taxi. You can also book a domestic flight ahead of time, which could be a wonderful experience yet a bit tough on your budget. But if that’s not a problem for you, it is the quickest way to get to Jaffna. Traveling by bus or train is the next common option used by the majority of travelers. Buses and trains also can be booked in advance.
The journey will roughly take anywhere from 8-10 hours, whether you start from Colombo or Kandy. The “Yal Devi” train is specified to take you to Jaffna, which is known to be one of the best train rides you can have in Sri Lanka. In addition, you can also travel by a rented vehicle which will be more convenient than using public transport.
Nevertheless, the time to reach your destination depends on the speed of the vehicle and the stops you take throughout the journey. Traveling by private vehicle can cost a little more than using public transport since you have to go to the end of the country.
Traveling Around Jaffna…
Ever since Jaffna was opened up for tourism, transportation within the region has also developed. Thus, you will find plenty of tuk-tuks and hiring vehicles to help you out to take you to the places you need when roaming around the area.
However, boat rides are arranged by the Sri Lankan Navy to take you to nearby islands safely, so you need not worry about that. You can also seek a tour guide’s help and explore the villages’ rustic beauty on a push bike!
Things You Need To Know About Safety and Security When Traveling To Jaffna
Once the most dangerous zone in Sri Lanka is now free and safe like any other place in the country! But still, there are some important things that you should know before traveling to Jaffna. This region was once held captive by terrorists, where they placed bombs underground in most places. Therefore, the Sri Lankan forces still label many of these places as high-security zones.
So, you must stick with the majority and avoid exploring any isolated area of this region. There are also customs when visiting the Hindu Kovils and Buddhist temples in this area. Especially women should dress modestly when visiting these religious sites.
And men are also advised to dress in a sarong or long pants, while men have to be topless, especially when entering the Nallur Kandaswamy Hindu Temple. Photography and videography inside these religious sites are also prohibited, and you should be cautious when clicking snaps in high-security zones.
Also, you should carry your identification documents as sometimes you can be checked at random checkpoints. In addition, you should keep in mind that Jaffna is a very warm and sunny area. So, do not forget your sun protection gear and applications like sunscreen lotions, hats, sunglasses, etc.
Best Spots To Eat And Places Of Accommodation In Jaffna
Jaffna is the perfect place to enjoy Indian-inspired food without traveling to India. There are a few restaurants and cafes in Jaffna town where you can relish a variety of different South Indian-style foods and drinks.
Dosa, Idli, and Thali (rice with many curries) are some of the famous food items you can have here. Another place that recently became famous is Rio Ice Cream Parlor. You can have a range of locally made ice creams, milkshakes, and sweets at this place.
Moreover, there are comfortable stays in Jaffna for you to spend a few days. You can choose from budget stays to luxury hotels based on your requirement. Here are some of our suggestions if you need to pick the best stays during your trip to Jaffna:
- Jetwing Jaffna
- North Gate Hotel
- Fox Resorts Jaffna
- Jaffna Heritage Hotel
- The Valampuri
Top Attractions In Nearby Places In Jaffna
Once you’re done visiting and exploring around Jaffna, you can head out to the beaches and other attractions located a few miles from Jaffna. And they include:
- Delft Island
- Charty Beach
- Fort Hammenhiel
- Akkarai Beach
If not, you can take a detour and head to Trincomalee to enjoy some of the best beaches in the country.
Hit The Northern Tip Of The Country- Enjoy The Glaring Beauty Of Jaffna!
Tucked away in the darkness for so many years, Jaffna is one of the most important places in Sri Lanka that came into light after 30 years of a horrendous war. The true beauty and charm of this place of the country have been hidden for so long that travelers from around the world are so eager to witness its lively wonder. From historical sites to beautiful landmarks, Jaffna is genuinely a place that is worth visiting during your Sri Lanka itinerary.