Jaffna Travel Guide

Jaffna Tourism

Jaffna Tourism

About Jaffna

Jaffna, located in the nothern part of the Sri lanka, is a beautiful island of Sri Lanka that is gaining importance as a tourism location. Jaffna, located within ten degrees of latitude to the north of the equator, is the cultural and home town of the Tamil population of Sri Lanka. After facing violence for a long time, Jaffna tourism is gradually catching on. Travelers now can tour Jaffna after almost 20 years of civil war. Its healthy climate and a picturesque environment are attracting tourists.

Jaffna is an ancient port city, which is one of the most densely populated areas of Sri Lanka, spread over an area of 2560 square km. The peninsula is almost an island except the narrow neck of land occupied by the Chundikkulam Bird Sanctuary and the causeway known as Elephant Pass which connects Jaffna with the rest of Sri Lanka. Most of the area of Jaffna is dry and sandy. Good amount of area of Jaffna district is covered by shallow lagoons.

The main tourist attractions in Jaffna are the Dutch Fort and the unexplored beaches along with some pre-colonial buildings from the Dutch era. Jaffna is also home to many religious tourist attractions including temples, mosques and churches from past time.

History of Jaffna

Jaffna has a written history of about 2000 years. Historical facts of Jaffna are described in the books of the Mahavamsa and Chulavamsa, the Yalpana Vaipava Malai, Kailaya Malai, and Irasamurai. There is a reference of a place- Manipallavam in one of the five great epics of Tamil literature ‘Manimekalai’ which might well be Jaffna. Manimekalai speaks about Buddha’s visit to Jaffna. It is also mentioned in the Mahavamsa that Lord Buddha used his siddhi or yogic powers to visit Jaffna by air to resolve a crisis and to introduce Buddhism.

In the 16th century, there was a stronghold of Portguese in Jaffna who surrendered to the Dutch after a bitter three-month siege in 1658. Remains of Portuguese and Dutch fortifications spread around the peninsula, but most are either ruined or still in military use. The Dutch handed it over to the British in 1795. During the 1980s and 90s Jaffna has been fought over by Tamil guerrillas, Ceylon government troops and planes, and the Indian Peace Keeping Force – a period surely worse than never be in its history. Most of the residents of Jaffna are Sri Lanka Tamils, a minor presence of Sri Lankan Moors (Muslims) and Portuguese Burghers (Roman Catholics) is also there. In 1990 the LTTE forced out most of the Muslims, though around 3000 have now returned.

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