Slowly but surely reemerging as a bastion of Hindu tradition, art and creative culture, Jaffna is once again welcoming visitors and looking to rise again. It’s an intriguing, unimposing and mostly untouristed place that’s a thoroughly rewarding place to invest a few days discovering Sri Lankan Tamil culture.
Inescapably, decades of war, emigration, embargoes and loss of life and property have deeply affected this historic Tamil town. If you’ve just arrived from the south, the impact of all this is all too evident, with ruined homes, bombed churches, and civic buildings pockmarked by bullets and shrapnel very much part of the scene. Around one in five of the city’s structures suffered war damage. The military retain a strong presence and locals complain about harassment and infringement of property as well as livelihood. Peace and reconciliation are still works in progress.
As refugees and exiles return to rebuild the city, confidence and finance is returning. The city is surprisingly green and leafy, with attractive palm-shaded colonial-era suburbs and beautiful temples and churches. Physically, new structures (including the city’s first shopping mall) and upgraded road, rail and air connections are inspiring optimism. But you’ll appreciate Jaffna more for its insights into the Tamil people and their struggle than for any specific points of interest.
The city is also an ideal base for forays to the idyllic islands just to the west, and trips along the coastline and lagoons of the surrounding peninsula.
Things to Do:
Nallur Kovil / Naga Pooshani Ambal Kovil / Jaffna Fort / Nagadipa Purana Vihara / Neduntheevu (Delft Island) / Jaffna Public Library / Dambakola Patuna Sangamitta Temple / Elephant Pass / Kantharodai Viharaya / Naguleswaram Temple / Kayts Causeway / Casuarina Beach / Jaffna Market / Keerimalai Hot springs / Nilavarai Bottomless Well / Photo Shoots / BBQ Nights
Approximately Time & Distance from Colombo: 6 h 53 min (393.2 km)
Province: Northern Province | District: Jaffna District
Luxury Hotels in Area:
Fort Hammenhiel Resort | Approximately Price Range: 140 to 150 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Jaffna Heritage Hotel | Approximately Price Range: 100 to 110 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Normal Hotels in Area:
Tilko Jaffna City Hotel | Approximately Price Range: 90 to 100 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Pillaiyar Inn | Approximately Price Range: 60 to 70 USD | Click here to see the hotel