Jaffna

It is unfortunate that Jaffna's recent chequered history overshadows its much more glorious ancient history. However there is no ignoring the effect the civil conflict has had on Jaffna and its surrounding areas. It is evident throughout the town and the peninsula. While the conflict has had a devastating impact, and the fact that Jaffna was cut off from the rest of the island for 20 years has helped preserve some of its distinct cultural traditions.

People are often quick to liken Jaffna with its northern neighbours in India_ While there are some similarities, it has its own special characteristics. Since the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) signed a ceasefire agreement in 2002, tens of thousands of travellers have made the journey to Jaffna to find out for themselves.

Tourism infrastructure is not well developed again in Jaffna, although it was a tourist destination before hostilities broke out in the 1980s. At present there is a resurgence in tourism development, with new hotels and guest houses or other enterprises opening. Foreigners are ever increasing in Jaffna with the flow of aid workers who were earlier more evident now deteriorating over the years after peace in the region had been established. Where infrastructure may be lacking, hospitality most certainly is not. You will find Jaffna people more than happy to share with you their vast knowledge of the region and its attractions.

Jaffna is worth more than a fleeting visit to fully appreciate all it has to offer. Roam the bazaars and the fish market, visit the religious places, admire the colonial architecture, buy handicrafts and souvenirs such as┬ábasketry made from the palmyrah palm – take time to relish or step away from the town and be charmed by the beauty of the landscape and villages, the abundance of bird life, and enjoy the evening light which seems so different in the north.