Jaffna

Nilavarai Freshwater Well

The Nilavarai natural freshwater well is a stunning aquamarine colour and is located in the most unremarkable of places on the side of a junction, off the KKS road, north of Jaffna. A Hindu temple overlooks the well. It is thought to be bottomless. A team of divers conducted an experiment and found freshwater mixed with salt water as they went deeper. Nilavarai is also associated with legend, Rama is said to have rested at this place and to alleviate his thirst, struck his arrow into the ground where the well stands. It is not permitted to bathe or swim here,

The first 40 feet of the well contains fresh water and thereafter it is salty. This is because salt water is denser hence it sinks to the bottom. The salt water bears evidence that this pond is connected to the sea however the fresh water is a mystery. Some say the pond is connected to the Keeramale Ponds while some believe that the fresh water supply is through a tunnel all the way from Matale.

Legend says that this is the place where Rama from the Hindu epic Ramayana, stopped to rest and finding himself thirsty plunged his arrow into the ground whereupon water came spurting out. This story has a number of variations within the epic replacing the characters involved. Some say to quench Seetha’s thirst Rama shot the arrow and another says Hanuman shot the arrow to quench Rama’s thirst. Whichever the story this well has ever since provided a never-ending supply of fresh water.

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