Top things to do

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 South Indian in Jaffna

Mangos

With an open kitchen, lots of space and outdoor seating, Mangos is an atmospheric place to dine and is wildly popular with extended Tamil families and Westerners. The South Indian food is exceptional with around 20 …
Top Choice Ice Cream in Jaffna

Rio Ice Cream

For a typical Jaffna treat, head to this popular ice-cream parlour near the landmark Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil. Rio is a local favourite; join the crowds enjoying sweets inside or pout on the nice covered terrace. It …
Top Choice Rooftop Bar in Jaffna

Jetwing Jaffna Rooftop Bar

It gets no points for creative naming, but this place makes up for it with the sensational views. The rooftop bar at the hotel is breezy and has a variety of seating. It has a full range of cocktails and some light …
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…
Indian in Jaffna

Jaffna Heritage Hotel

For a refined ambience, the small open-air restaurant at the Jaffna Heritage Hotel is perfect. It offers excellent vegetarian Indian and Sri Lankan food, including wonderful coconut rotti and delicately spiced upsca…
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…