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Jaffna is the northernmost city in the tropical island of Sri Lanka located about 400 km north of Colombo and about 35 km from mainland India. Being a peninsula, the city of Jaffna stands as Sri Lanka’s 12th largest city.

Jaffna features a tropical rainforest climate with no true dry season month. Jaffna has the highest average temperature in Sri Lanka- 83 oF. The temperature is highest in the months of April- May and August- September. The temperature is lowest in December- January. The annual rainfall is brought in by the north-east monsoon and it varies from one place to the other and also from year to year.

Jaffna peninsula is made of limestone as it was submerged by sea during the Miocene period. Palmyrah groves can be seen where land has not been used for construction.

Prior to the Sri Lankan civil war, it was Sri Lanka’s second most populated city after Colombo. But due to the Tamil insurgency, the city tended to depopulate. Historically, Jaffna has been a contested city. It was made into a colonial port town during the Portuguese occupation in the Jaffna peninsula in 1619. It changed hands after the Dutch lost to the British in 1796. After Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, the political relationship between the minority Sri Lankan Tamils and majority Sinhalese worsened.

Majority of the city’s population are Sri Lankan Tamils, although there were a significant number of Sri Lankan Moors, Indian Tamils and Sinhalese present in the city in the past.

Best Places to Visit in Jaffna

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil
Nallur Kandasamy Kovil is Jaffna’s premier place of Hindu worship. Nallur Kandasamy Kovil characterised by a golden arch and elaborate gopuram attracts hundreds of pilgrims and worshippers.

Keerimalai /Naguleswaram Temple
Keerimalai is renowned for its natural water spring where illnesses and sicknesses are cured miraculously after bathing in it. Only a stone wall separate the pool from the sea but the water is fresh water coming from a spring. There is a Hindu Temple called Naguleeswaram Temple isituated near to the Keerimali pond, and is very popular among Hindu’s.

Casuarina beach
One of the best beaches in the Jaffna peninsula, the shallow waters and the very gentle waves make it an ideal for safe sea bathing. You can enjoy a long walk toward the sea in the clear blue water. It is a great place to visit to have a break during your travels. There are houses for rent if you want stay in this area, and it is around 15 Km away from Jaffna Town.

Kadurugoda Viharaya
There is an ancient Buddhist historical place called ‘Kandarodei’ situated in the midst of Palmyra trees near to Chunnakam and it is 8 Km away from Jaffna Town. There are small dagobas numbering 61 scattered over about 1/2 acre land. Those small structures are constructed with ash-coloured stone.

Jaffna Port
Situated on the south side of the Jaffna peninsula at the water’s edge of the lagoon, the ancient fort in Jaffna is the second largest existing fort in the Island. Originally built by the Portuguese in 1619 and re-built and expanded by the Dutch during the second half of the 17th and the 18th centuries to facilitate trading activities of Sri Lanka’s northern region indicate not only of Jaffna’s strategic importance to Europeans but its significance throughout Sri Lanka’s history.

Jaffna public library
The Jaffna library was one of the best in Asia before being burned down by some Sinhala extremists. Now most of it is restored and it is open for public viewing. It is one of the monumental buildings in Jaffna and very close to the town.

Charty Beach
This clean prestige beach is situated in Allaippiddy, which is located some 23 Km North of Jaffna Town.

There are boat services available and the boat ride is an enjoyable way to visit the island. The Island is a bit far from Jaffna and it will take around 2-3 hours to get there, depending on the availability of the boats.

Nagadeepa purana Viharaya
This Temple is one of the three places in Sri Lanka where Lord Buddha has visited so Nagadeepa viharaya is an important destination for Buddhist pilgrims.

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