Attractions

Top Choice Hindu Site in Jaffna

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. Its sacred deity is Murugan (or Skanda), and during cacophono…
Top Choice Fort in Jaffna

Jaffna Fort

Sections of this vast complex overlooking the Jaffna lagoon have been recently restored, though much work continues. Once one of the greatest Dutch forts in Asia, it was built in 1680 over an earlier Portuguese orig…
Top Choice Historic Building in Jaffna

Cankili Thoppu Archway

The provenance of this Jaffna Kingdom relic is fairly secure. This archway is thought to be one of the palace’s original entrances. Among its weathered yet intricate carvings is an inscription to King Sangili from 1…
Library in Jaffna

Jaffna Public Library

Tellingly, one of the first major buildings to be rebuilt after the 2002 ceasefire was Jaffna's Public Library. It had been burnt down by pro-government mobs (some say forces) in July 1981, a destruction that many T…
Historic Building in Jaffna

Mantiri Manai

Set back from the road, it's easy to sense the beauty that was once part of this building's soul. Completely derelict now, and with walls covered in graffiti, the building keeps its secrets. There's much debate abou…
Historic Site in Jaffna

Yamuna Eri

This U-shaped pool made of carved stones is neglected but still intact – it’s thought to have been the women’s bathing pool of the royal family. The tank is north of St James' Church, which is on Chemmani Rd (and no…
Monument in Jaffna

Clock Tower

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 in 1875 to honour a visit by the Prince of Wales. In 2000 th…
Monument in Jaffna

Sangiliyan Statue

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). During the war the statue was removed. It was restored in 2011 b…
Museum in Jaffna

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, the…
Park in Jaffna

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 vaguely spooky ruins of the war-destroyed colonial-era Registr…