Jaffna Archaeological Museum


This small, unkempt but interesting museum is hidden away at the end of a messy garden behind a concrete events hall. At the door are a pair of rusty Dutch cannons from the fort and a set of whale bones. Inside, there are a few treasures, including some 15th-century Buddha torsos found at Kantarodai and a 14th-century ‘seven-mouthed pot'.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Jaffna attractions

1. Miralliamman Kovil

0.32 MILES

Easily overshadowed by the nearby Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, this temple tries hard to be noticed with especially vibrant colours.

3. Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil


This huge Hindu temple, crowned by a towering god-encrusted, golden-ochre gopuram, is one of the most significant Hindu religious complexes in Sri Lanka…

5. Old Park


A grand expanse of grass with very old, huge shade trees, first laid out by the British in 1829. Besides a playground and the cute Dora Cafe, it has the…

6. Sangiliyan Statue

0.81 MILES

Glistening in the sun, this gold-hued statue was first erected in 1974. It portrays Cankili II, the last king of the Jaffna Kingdom (he died in 1623)…

7. Clock Tower

0.86 MILES

An architectural curiosity, the spindly Clock Tower has a Moorish domed top, which makes it look like it belongs somewhere in North Africa. It was erected…

8. St Mary’s Cathedral

0.91 MILES

Built by the Dutch along classical lines in the 1790s, St Mary’s Cathedral is astonishingly large, but it’s curious to see corrugated-iron roofing held up…