Travelling to Jaffna from Colombo by road takes a minimum of 7-8 hours on A 9 road. A 32 road from Mannar to Jaffna is now in operation via Poonarin.
Palmyrah trees (Borassus Flabellifer) are grown here and stand against the dry climate producing their characteristic purple skinned fruits. All parts of this tree are used by man, much as the coconut tree is in other parts of the island. The Palmyrah tree symbolizes the North.
Out of six islands Kayts, Mandathivu and Punkuduthivu are joined to each other and with the peninsula by long causeways. Hammenhiel Fort is between Kayts and Karaitivu islands. Boat services are available from Punkudathivu to Nainativu and Delft. Karaitivu island is joined to the main island by a causeway. Karainagar town is here and the popular beach Casuarina is in the North.
The name Casurina is due to the Casurina trees spread along the beach. This is a place where most of the visitors spend time having a see bath and swim. Beach at Karainagar locates about 20 km from Jaffna. One can walk a long way into the water with gentle waves moving towards the land.
Dambakola Patuna is an ancient port in the north of Sri Lanka which was used during pre Christian times. In the 3rd Century BC. Arahath Sangamitta (Sister of Arahath Mahinda) and retinue arrived in Dambakola Patuna Port with the Bo Sapling from Buddhagaya. The King Devanampiyatissa arrived in Dambakola Patuna to receive Arahath Sangamitta and Bo Sampling. After performing the necessary rituals, the Bo Sampling was ceremoniously carried to Mahamevna Uyana in Anuradhapura and it was planted there. This viharaya was built commemorating the arrival of the Bo Sapling by King Devanampiyatissa. The temple is maintained by the Sri Lanka Navy.
Nagadeepa Rajamaha Viharaya
Better known to Buddhist as Nagadeepa, te island has a Buddhist temple known as Nagadeepa Rajamaha Viharaya, which is visited by Buddhist devotees from all over the island. Tradition has it that the Buddha visited this spot to settle a dispute between the two Naga Kings “Mahodara” and “Chulodara” over a gem-set throne. Naga Pooshani Ambal temple is visited by the followers of Goddess Ambal Devi, who worship here seeking blessings. Many parents bring their new-born babies here for blessings. The distance from Jaffna town to Nagadeepa is about 30 km, so that you need to have at least half-a day to visit there. The boat service from the ferry is operated by private owners while the Sri Lanka Navy takes care of the safety of visitors.
Jaffna Public Library
The library was built in several stages from 1933, as a private collection and with the people of primarily local citizens, it became a full-fledged library. The library also became a repository of archival material written in palm leaf manuscripts, original copies of regionally important historic documents, political history of Sri Lanka and newspapers that were published in the Jaffna peninsula. It became a place of historic and symbolic importance to the local people and researchers from India and other countries too used it for research purpose. This library has been built in the Mogul style, reopened in 2003 after destroying in 1981 and burnt about 90,000 books by a mob.
Jaffna fort is located by the south of Jaffna City, bounding to the Lagoon. The famous Jaffna Library, the Dore Appa Stadium are located close by. This fort covers the area of 22 acres and consider as the second largest fort in Sri Lanka. Jaffna fort was constructed with black corals, which can be easily find in Jaffna District.
Jaffna Fort was constructed by Portuguese in year 1619. As what happened to most of the other forts in Sri Lanka, this was captured by Dutch in 1658 and then came under British rule in 1795. During the Dutch ruling time, this fort went through major reconstructions and it was completed in year 1680. Due to this, today this fort is mention as a Dutch Fort. With getting freedom from British, Jaffna Fort became under Sri Lankan government rule in year 1948.
During the recent past, Jaffna fort was under terrorist control but captured by Sri Lankan forces in year 1995. This fort got badly damaged during the war time. Now it happy to see that the renovation is going on and soon Jaffna Fort will gain its past pride and the beauty.
Nallur Kandasamy Kovil
The premier place of Hindu worship in Jaffna. This Kovil is characterized by a golden arch and elaborate gopuram. The original temple said to have been built by the King Buwanekabahu (1450-1467) was destroyed by the Portuguese and the present building of the Kovil dates back to the 18th Century during the Dutch period reconstructed by Mudaliyar who was in Dutch service.
The most important festival in the Jaffna peninsula is held here. The representation of the deity which is kept in the temple is brought out and placed on a chariot and thus is conducted the annual procession along the roads around the Kovil. The procession ends on the full moon day in the month of August and begins 26 days before this full moon day. Nallur Kovil is the most visited place in Jaffna by local and foreign visitors.
Similarly the mini desert or the sand dunes in the South at Bundala. Manalkadu is also a mini desert with a vast expanse of sand dunes. This is located at the Point Pedro. Visitors can see this long stretch of sand dunes while visiting Point Pedro and to Vallipuram Kovil.
Renowned for its freshwater spring, the place also offers some beautiful corals on the seashore. Nearby in the vicinity lies the Naguleshvaram Kovil with an old gopuram decorated with some very unusual themes. People believe that the spring water contains healing power, specially Hindus gather here on the new moon day in the month of June and dip in the water with the belief of that for obeisance to their ancestors. This place can be reached via Kankasanthurai.
Kantarodai Purana Rajamaha Viharaya
Near Chunnakkam there are 50 mini dagabas in different sizes varying up to about 4 m in height. These stupa are made out of limestone. Buddhists visit here to see these ruins. Kantarodai is also called as “Kadurugoda” as mentioned in Chronicles. Not only had these stupas, there had been statues, guard-stones, pillars which have been unearthed and displayed at the museum now.
The most northerly point of Sri Lanka. This point faces the bay of Bengal. The lighthouse marks this point. From here to the Southern point Dondra it is 435 km. Both the local and foreign visitors visit here and the famous Vallipuram Kovil is nearby.
This is one of the oldest Kovil in Jaffna located at Point Pedro. Large numbers of visitors attracts here too, and mainly Hindus. The main annual festival is in August or September after the Nallur festival. It has been discovered from inscriptions that the Kovil belongs to the period of King Vasamba (65-109 AC)