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Beautiful Jaffna

A city in the Asian country of Sri Lanka

By Rasma RaistersPublished about a month ago 3 min read

The capital of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, Jaffna is the Jaffna District's administrative headquarters. It is located on a peninsula of the same name and is Sri Lanka’s 12th-largest city.

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is a huge Hindu temple that is topped with a towering gold-encrusted, golden-ochre gopuram (monumental tower). This temple is one of the most significant Hindu religious complexes in Sri Lanka. Its sacred deity is Murugan or Skanda and offerings are made at certain times during the day. In shrines surrounding the inner sanctum are other Hindu deities like Ganesh. The temple is located about 1.5 km northeast of the center.

The Jaffna Public Library was one of the major buildings, rebuilt after the 2002 ceasefire. In reconstruction, it was rebuilt in the original neo-Mughal design. The library was an important Tamil cultural center and historic institution inaugurated in 1841. The library’s world-renowned collection included over 90,000 volumes among them irreplaceable Tamil documents like the one surviving copy of Yalpanam Vaipavama, a history of Jaffna. Unfortunately, this all went up in flames. Out in front, you’ll see a statue of Saraswati the Hindi goddess of knowledge.

Jaffna Fort stands overlooking the Jaffna lagoon. This was once one of the greatest Dutch forts in Asia. It has been recently restored but remains largely in ruins. The fort was built in 1680 over an earlier Portuguese original and defensive triangles were added in 1792 to produce the classic Vaubanesque star form. This citadel once housed thousands of troops and civilians. Still hidden beneath overgrown slopes you can see the walls of the fort constructed from coral, stone, brick, and mortar. During the war, government forces used the fort as an encampment.

The SJV Chelvanayakum Monument is an unusual-looking top-heavy pillar erected near the Jaffna Library, celebrating the founder of the Tamil Federal Party. His statue stands beside the monument.

Amazingly large and built along classical Dutch lines is St. Mary’s Cathedral. It has corrugated iron roofing and impressive wooden vaulting.

An unusual piece of architecture is the Clock Tower with a Moorish domed top.

Fort Hammenhiel stands on a rock at the entrance to the Jaffna lagoon, surrounded by the sea on all sides. This fort stood on the north, guarding the passage by water to the Key Fort in Jaffna. It was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century on a small island. Fort Hammenhiel was captured later on, rebuilt, and renamed by the Dutch in memory of a “heel of the ham”. In more recent history it was used as a correction facility for naval personnel but has since been refurbished and turned into a resort and restaurant. An interesting place to stay is old Dutch prison cells turned into rooms to give everyone a prison cell experience.

The Keerimalai Hot Water Springs have therapeutic value and contain healing waters. The spring water flows through the crevices and fissures of the carbonated rocks, acquiring residues of minerals and encountering seawater at its surface. Hindu Tamils gather at these springs on the new moon day of July as they dip into the waters and pay tribute to the souls of departed ancestors.

Take an interesting look at Point Pedro and its surroundings. The lighthouse at the coastal village of Point Pedro marks the northernmost point of Sri Lanka.

The Manalkadu Sand Dunes begin at Point Pedro. This is a sparsely populated coastal stretch with isolated villages centered around a village well. There are acres of sand dunes covered with thick bush and beyond the dunes you can see one of the most beautiful beaches of the Northern Province.

Nagadipa Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Nagadipa, one of the islands clustered close to the western coast of Jaffna Peninsula. The stupa commemorates the Buddha’s third visit to Sri Lanka. The Image House next to the stupa is home to a fine golden Buddhist statue.

Take the time to visit the wonderful Wilpattu National Park. It has been named for the hundreds of willus or ponds scattered about its 131,693 hectares. This is one of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka. The dominating animal here is the leopard. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world-renowned for its leopard population. Other species of mammals here include the sloth bear, water buffalo, sambhur, and spotted deer.

Among the bird population, you’ll find the painted stork, the open bill, and little cormorants. There are also many species of owls, terns, gulls, eagles, and kite buzzards. Among the wetland bird species are the spoonbill white ibis, large white egret, cattle egret, and purple heron.

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About the Creator

Rasma Raisters

My passions are writing and creating poetry. I write for several sites online and have four themed blogs on Wordpress. Please follow me on Twitter.

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    Rasma RaistersWritten by Rasma Raisters

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