Overview of Activities in Jaffna
Since the end of the country’s divisive civil war in 2009, Jaffna, the former stronghold of the terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has become a significant tourist hotspot. Partly due to remnants of the war which can still be witnessed, its illustrious history and natural endowments, hosts of locals and foreign tourists flock to the northern most part of the island to indulge in a unique Sri Lankan experience, with a hearty mix of culture, food and history. As the capital of the Northern Province, the area is abundant with things to do and see; so if you’re in the mood for an action-packed holiday, you know where to go.
If you’re more inclined for a holiday filled with the sea, sand and the sun, do not miss out on the popular Casuarina Beach. Constantly packed with locals in the area, the beach is a pleasant enough place for a quick dip, or a laid back game of cricket along its sandy shores. Taking its name from the string of Casuarina trees lining the beach, it is a must visit when in Jaffna, although more modest clothing is required if you decide to venture here. If you want a more private experience, you can inquire around and pay a local fisherman to take you a few kilometres into the sea for a quiet swim away from the crowds. The azure waters of the ocean are perfect for a pleasant dip in the summer; basically year round in Sri Lanka.
If you’re not one for swimming however, you can always take a scenic boat ride to the Delft Island, located about an hour’s ride away from the Punkuditivu Pier. Home to multitudes of families and wildlife, the island is a frequently visited tourist site. Here, you can catch sight of majestic, wild horses grazing peacefully on the planes of the island, believed to have been introduced here by the Portugese. If however, you’re after a more communal experience and want a glimpse of local life, simply head over to the Keerimalai Water Springs. This is a community bathing pool sourcing fresh spring water, believed by the Hindus to have miraculous restorative powers. Despite being located close to the sea, the water is in fact drawn from a fresh water spring in Tellipallai-Maviddapuram. Keerimalai translates to Mongoose Mound in Tamil, and it is believed this name is drawn from when an Indian priest, Nagula Swami, bathed in the pond and his mongoose face transformed into human likeness.
The Jaffna peninsula is also a popular spot for ornithologists and avid bird enthusiasts. Kayts, the Delft Island and Mandathivu are must visits if your intention is to spend hours bird watching in this ecological wonderland. The coastal areas and other wetlands in the region are also hotbeds of activity, and on a good day you may be able to witness a number of brightly coloured winged creatures, perhaps even a few migratory and resident waders, much to the delight of those who know their ornithology. Come armed with binoculars and a camera if you’re intent on capturing the precious avifauna in Jaffna.
If you’re interested in a quick tour of some of the LTTE strongholds, the Sea Tiger Shipyard has got to be on your travel list. Containing a strange mix of partially constructed vessels, the area is where experimental submarines and boats were built to carry out naval attacks. There’s even a canal which was used to bring in and take vessels to and from the sea.
Want to know what else to do, when in Jaffna? Hit us up for more information and we’ll be glad to supply you with what you need! Take a quick glance at our sections below for more places to visit and things to do on your holiday in Sri Lanka.