Cultureand Heritage Beckon

Jaffna is a city steeped in history, with a unique culture that has survived much turmoil. Your trip to Jaffna should include some time to visit the historical and cultural sites and monuments that tell the story of a colourful city and its people.

❂ Useful Tips:

  • Always come prepared when traversing the streets of Jaffna, as it can get hot and humid very fast.
  • You will be required to adhere to conservative dress codes when entering places of worship.
  • Public ferries to the islands of Nagadipa and Delft operate according to a specific timetable.

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil

With a history of more than 2000 years, the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is probably the largest Hindu place of worship in the country. It plays host to a popular 25-day festival dedicated to Lord Murugan (Hindu deity). This temple allows you to delve into Hinduism, a religion deeply rooted in the social fabric of Jaffna.

Delft Island

Located off the coast of the main city limits of Jaffna, Delft Island is a reminder of the city’s Dutch colonial past. Complete with ruins of forts, stables, and towers, the island possesses several monuments waiting to be explored. The public ferry service or the hiring of a private boat is the only way to reach the island.

Nainativu (Nagadeepa)

A relatively smaller island when compared to the likes of Delft, Nainativu is one of the most historic sites for Buddhists and Hindus alike, due to the temple and kovil that lie right next to the jetties of the island.

The Nagadeepa Raja Maha Viharaya is a sacred Buddhist temple that is a designated ‘Solosmasthana’ (one of the 16 sacred sites Lord Buddha visited when in Sri Lanka), and is an important pilgrim site for devotees from around the country.

The Hindu Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman Kovil is an ancient temple dedicated to the Goddess Parvati and is revered by the Hindu community. The temple contains more than 10,000 sculptures and carvings, making it one of the grander temples in the country. A ferry service that follows a specific timetable will transport you to the island.

Ruins of the Chola Empire

Scattered around the mainland of Jaffna are a myriad of ruins that date back to the South Indian Chola Empire. The remnants of the Yapa Patuna (Port of Yapanaya) is evidence that the Chola Empire prioritised trade and commerce when the city was under their rule. Moreover, the façade of King Cankili II’s Royal Palace showcases the distinct architectural style used during the empire’s glory days.