Apr 10, 2015


Jaffna

A place that was not safe to visit during the thirty years of Sri Lanka's raging civil war...

The North of Sri Lanka is finally open and a 'must see', for Jaffna is a place with its own charm and unique culture. What's super about Jaffna is its' food! Its' almost a fourteen hour journey by bus, so you are bound to be hungry once you get there. There are numerous vegetarian food outlets that will provide you with mouthwatering 'vadai', 'idli', 'dosai', and 'poori' accompanied by 'sambar', and 'coconut sambol'. Majority of the population are Tamil Hindus who are vegetarians themselves by way of religion, although you do get your share of places that have incredible sea food cuisine! Jaffna is after all a coastal fishing village with a variety of fish, prawns, lobsters, cuttlefish and squid in its waters!


While you're there visit the 'Keerimalai mineral springs' in Palaly. 50 kilometres above sea level, the water emerges from a natural spring. It is said that the waters can cure male impotency and female infertility. Hindus also believe that the waters have many miraculous properties and can cure many diseases. Legend goes that the sage 'Nagula Muni' who had a mongoose looking face meditated in a cave called 'Keerimalai'. No sooner he bathed in the springs of Keerimalai, his face was transformed into a human face. Hence, many rituals are performed here usually by men. The 'Naguleswaran Keerimalai' temple next door to the springs offers a free delicious lunch of rice and curry (vegetarian of course) served on a banana leaf to anyone who visits. It's a different atmosphere altogether.


20 kilometres from Jaffna is the 'Casuarina' beach in Karainagar which probably got its name from the 'Casuarina trees lining the beach. Here, the waves are gentle, the seas shallow and one can walk a long way into the waters.


The Dutch Fort in Jaffna is the second largest fort in Sri Lanka built by the Dutch as the name goes and was used as a military front and later expanded to facilitate trading activities. There is no entrance fee to enter this structure so go ahead and explore. You could even watch the sunset from here which is remarkable.


There are many places to stay in Jaffna – guest houses and hotels which are comfortable and economical while the climate is hot. So make sure you have appropriate head gear, comfortable clothes, practical footwear and lots of water when you visit.