By Mabel Collins
Jaffna, situated close to the northern extremity of the island, stands as one of the most charming cities in the country. Renowned as the cultural hub of Sri Lanka's Tamil community due to its significant Tamil population, Jaffna captures the hearts of all who visit with the genuine hospitality and amiable nature of its inhabitants.
Emerging from a turbulent past, Jaffna is experiencing a remarkable resurgence. From the depths of isolation and conflict, it has risen like a phoenix, transforming into a vibrant and captivating city that beckons to the hearts of avid travelers. Since the end of the civil war, Jaffna has been undergoing a gradual revival, shedding the scars of its difficult history and positioning itself as a promising destination for tourists.
Through this article, we will discover top places to visit in Jaffna that you should list on your travel plan when coming to Sri Lanka.
History Of Jaffna Sri Lanka
Jaffna has a complex history, starting with invasions by South Indian forces. The Sinhalese King Dutugemunu's victory over Tamil leader Elara in the 2nd century BC is well-known. The Tamils gradually established their presence, forming the independent kingdom of Jaffna by 1400. Portuguese colonization in 1619 led to the destruction of Hindu temples and the rise of Christianity. Dutch rule followed a long siege in 1658, and later British colonial rule began in 1795. Today, remnants of Portuguese and Dutch fortifications can still be seen.
The city endured a long and devastating civil war from the 1980s to 2009, resulting in population loss and widespread destruction. Despite enduring countless bombings and devastation, Jaffna somehow managed to survive and began to rebuild once peace was established following the end of the war in 2009.
Some Basic Information For Tourists
Where is Jaffna?
Jaffna is located in the northern part of Sri Lanka, near the northernmost tip of the island. It is the capital city of the Jaffna District and serves as the administrative center for the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Jaffna is situated approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka.
Jaffna is one of the most attractive destinations in Sri Lanka
When to go to Jaffna?
Jaffna weather experiences a tropical savanna climate characterized by distinct dry and wet seasons. For optimal weather conditions, the recommended period to visit Jaffna is from January to September.
During this time, the temperatures are warmer, and the chances of rainfall are lower compared to other months. The warmest months span from February to November, while the highest rainfall occurs in October and November. For those seeking the most favorable weather, the ideal time to visit is from January 29th to April 8th or June 4th to August 12th. If you prefer milder temperatures, December to March offers more comfortable weather conditions.
How to get to Jaffna?
There are several ways to reach Jaffna:
By Air: The easiest and quickest way to reach Jaffna is by air. The city has its own domestic airport, the Jaffna International Airport (JAF), which offers regular flights from Colombo and other major cities in Sri Lanka. The flight duration from Colombo to Jaffna is approximately one hour.
By Train: Jaffna is well-connected to the rest of Sri Lanka's railway network. Colombo to Jaffna train offers a scenic journey through the countryside. The train journey takes around 6 to 8 hours, depending on the train and class of travel. The overnight sleeper trains provide a comfortable option for those who prefer to travel while they sleep.
By Road: Jaffna can be reached by road from various parts of Sri Lanka. From Colombo, you can take the A9 highway, which is the main road connecting the capital city to Jaffna. The journey by road takes approximately 6 to 8 hours, depending on the traffic and road conditions. It is advisable to plan for stops along the way to rest and explore attractions en route.
By Ferry: Another unique way to reach Jaffna is by taking a ferry from the city of Mannar. The ferry service operates between Mannar and Jaffna, offering a scenic and enjoyable ride across the Palk Strait. The ferry journey takes around 3 to 4 hours, providing an alternative travel option for those seeking a different experience.
Best Places To Visit In Jaffna Sri Lanka
Jaffna is not only home to stunning landscapes and warm-hearted individuals but is also an inviting destination for travelers. Now, the question arises: what are the must-see places in Jaffna? Below, we have compiled a list of some of Jaffna tourist places for first-time travelers to explore.
1. Nallur Kovil
No visit to Jaffna would be complete without a trip to Nallur Kovil, one of the most significant Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. The Kovil is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war, and is renowned for its stunning architecture and intricate sculptures. The vibrant annual festival held here, known as the Nallur Festival, attracts thousands of devotees from all over the country and is a sight to behold.
Nallur Kandaswamy Temple
2. Jaffna Fort
A testament to Jaffna's colonial past, the Jaffna Fort is a must-visit historical site. Built by the Portuguese in the 17th century and later fortified by the Dutch and the British, the fort stands as a symbol of Jaffna's strategic importance throughout history. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ramparts, ancient cannons, and the Dutch Governor's residence, which now serves as a museum displaying artifacts from the colonial era.
3. Jaffna Public Library
Recognized as one of Asia's largest and most impressive libraries, the Jaffna Public Library is a cultural gem that was tragically destroyed during the civil war but has been beautifully restored. The library is not only a repository of knowledge but also an architectural marvel, with its distinctive red and white building that blends modern and traditional design elements. It is a symbol of resilience and the thirst for knowledge that resonates with the people of Jaffna.
Jaffna Public Library draws everyone's attention to come to visit
Located on the northern coast of Jaffna, Keerimalai is a place of natural beauty and spiritual significance. The Keerimalai natural springs are believed to possess healing properties, and many locals and visitors come here to take a dip in the cool, refreshing waters. The nearby Keerimalai Naguleswaram Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is also worth a visit for its historical and cultural significance.
Keerimalai Naguleswaram Temple has a very unique shape
5. Casuarina Beach
If you're looking to unwind and enjoy the sun and sand, Casuarina Beach is the perfect spot. This pristine beach stretches for miles along the Jaffna Peninsula, offering visitors a chance to relax, swim, or take a leisurely stroll. With its crystal-clear waters, golden sands, and gentle ocean breeze, Casuarina Beach is a serene and picturesque escape from bustling city life.
Casuarina Beach is one of the best places to visit in Jaffna
6. Jaffna Clock Tower
A prominent landmark in Jaffna, the Jaffna Clock Tower is a symbol of the city's resilience and revival. Originally built in 1875, the clock tower was destroyed during the civil war but was meticulously reconstructed as a part of Jaffna's restoration efforts. Standing tall in the heart of the city, it serves as a reminder of Jaffna's enduring spirit and the progress made in rebuilding the region.
Jaffna Clock Tower
Ready To Discover Best Places To Visit In Jaffna With Us
As you can see, Jaffna truly offers a wide array of attractions and experiences, making it a captivating destination for all types of travelers. With its rich history and diverse offerings, Jaffna allows you to create cherished memories and gain a deeper appreciation for Sri Lanka's cultural tapestry.
Do you want to travel to Jaffna, Sri Lanka? This is the right place for you. Come and get a Sri Lanka e-visa through Sri Lanka Immigration Services. Coming to us, you will experience the simplest application process ever. With basic required documents, travelers can obtain an e-visa within 05 hours.
Don't forget we also provide a 4G SIM Card for travelers, helping to stay connected to the internet throughout your trip. Also, don't miss the Car pick-up service. Our professional driver will pick you up at the airport and take you to your requested address quickly and safely.
So, prepare yourself for an extraordinary adventure to the most beautiful places to visit in Jaffna. Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey!