09 Nov 2020

Jaffna – The unseen side of Sri Lanka

A bit off the beaten path, Jaffna is just raw but authentic! If you have been to South India and reminisce the subcontinent for its food, architecture, and the folks, Jaffna will hold your attention as if it’s a carbon copy. Jaffna, the capital of the northern province of Sri Lanka is mainly lead by the Tamils and so is the strong Hindu culture that dominates the entire little island paradise. After a good touring of south Sri Lanka, Jaffna feels like a different place somewhere I had longed to explore for a while. Quite different than actual Sri Lanka. Colorful Hindu temples and the sari-clad women dot the region.

Thank god the bloody civil war ended in 2009 which cursed the island for almost 26 years. Despite it all, Jaffna has a plethora of unique things to explore. Of all, the Jaffna Fort is my favorite. Though not a typical insta-famous site like Galle Fort, Jaffna Fort offers charming views of Jaffna Lagoons and the city from the moat. I recommend seeing magical sunset over the city from the fort viewpoint. It's completely free to explore the entire site. Had there been no civil war, the ruins would have many stories to unfold.

Gleaming white under the sun, step in the Jaffna public library, being one of the architectural highlights of the region. Though being burned down in a mysterious fire of 1981, the library still among the impressive buildings to be seen in Jaffna city. Do leaf through the English Newspaper from 1990 to 1995 for a day to day detailing of life for some unique stories.

A visit to Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil temple just outside Jaffna is worth your time. The outer architecture reminded me of the rainbow-colored vivid temples of South India. The echoes of the beating drums and the brass trumpets were riveting.

Have a go at bartering in the chaotic yet vibrant bazaars of Jaffna. Be a bystander and notice the hustling crowd busy at the sprawling stalls around.

Rent a moped for a day and go exploring the Jaffna further. You will definitely pin-up something new!

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