Jaffna is a land that is rich with culture and history with breath-taking landscapes and a hospitable population. Jaffna is filled to the brim with places to go and mesmerising sights to see. From the grand Nallur Kovil, one of the most important Hindu temples dating back to 948 AD, to the quaint and picturesque Delft Island, where wild horses gallop on magnificent landscapes.
Just how would one get to such an enthralling hub of Northern culture? By bus or train. The journey by bus is a long one and might be gruelling depending on the transport option chosen. Assuming you want to travel from Colombo to Jaffna, the rates vary between a little bit less or more that Rs 1000 Rs for an ordinary/semi-luxury/luxury air-con bus, usually overnight lasting about eight hours.
It is commonly recommended to travel by train for the best and most comfortable experience as the rates are comparatively more attractive at 3rd/2nd/1st class costing abound Rs 350/600/1100. The journey would take about 6-8 hours.
Prestigious Hindu temple
Now that you have arrived in Jaffna, what would you do exactly? One of the most popular places to visit is the oldest and most prestigious Hindu temple in Jaffna; the Nallur Kovil. The exterior is meticulously crafted to awe-inspiring effect and the interior astounds with intricate architecture, for eyes only; meaning photography is forbidden.
Northern culture is driven by tradition and tradition must be followed by visitors; footwear is to be removed, and men must be shirtless in keeping with the customs of the grandiose temple. Doing so will grant you the Northern hospitality Jaffna is famous for.
Another place to visit would be Delft Island. A day trip to the island is the best way to take in all that the beautiful little island has to offer. The island itself is about 8 km long and 6 km in width, making travelling by foot unattractive. The Navy sponsors a ferry service to and from the island at no charge, though if one is easily seasick, some medicine beforehand is encouraged as the journey can be quite bumpy.
The journey lasts about 2 hours to the island. One can then hire the service of a van or tuk-tuk to explore the island, which may cost roughly Rs.1500-3000 depending on the exact service and whether or not you are good at haggling. Expect to see dazzling scenery and wildlife in between pockets of incredible architecture consisting of churches and forts and Delft’s numerous fishing villages.
Now that you’ve explored a few places in Jaffna, you might be feeling a bit hungry. Jaffna is very well known for their unique Northern cuisine and it is best experienced at the Mangos restaurant. It is infamous for its delectable dosas and would certainly satisfy without being too strenuous on the wallet.