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Updated by Joanna James on Feb 11, 2018
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 4 places to visit in Jaffna – A bit of beach and culture all in one place

Thinking of heading to Sri Lanka's northernmost tip? Here're a few places worth checking out.

1

Casuarina Beach

Lined with Casuarina trees, from which the beach aptly derives its name, this beach is undoubtedly one of the most popular in the region. The waters here are said to be quite shallow, and the waves, gentle, making this an ideal place for a fun family day out at the beach. If you're wondering how to get here, transport within Jaffna for tourists is usually via tuk-tuk or private vehicle. So you can either hop into a three-wheeler that you flag down in town, or if you have rented out a vehicle from a rental service such as Casons Rent a Car or one of the other companies offering car rental in Sri Lanka, you can drive there yourself. Just ask for directions to Casuarina Beach in town before you set off on your journey. You'll likely not find a soul who hasn't heard about the place.

2

Keerimalai

Located right on the beach and close to Naguleeswaram Temple, Keerimalai lies close to the town of Kankeesanthurai, which is about 15 kilometres out from Jaffna Town. This site is known for its large bathing pool/pond which is situated adjacent to the sea. The waters in it, which stem from a natural water spring, are said to possess healing powers. There are tales of many ill people, who have bathed in its waters, making a full recovery from their ailments.

3

Nallur Kandaswamy Temple

Around a kilometre away from Jaffna Town, you'll find the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple; one of the most important temples to the Hindu Tamils of Sri Lanka. Although the original temple is said to date back to the times when Tamil Kings ruled the land, the current structure dates back only to the eighteenth century as the temple had to be rebuilt after having faced considerable damage dealt by the Portuguese who invaded the island in the sixteenth century. Nallur Temple hosts one of the most popular religious festivals in the region which attracts locals as well as Tamil Diaspora the world over.

4

The Island of Nainatheevu

On top of being home to a well-known Hindu temple which has featured in Tamil literature of old, travelling to the island can also be a lot of fun. The island is about a two to three-hour journey from the Jaffna mainland, and to get there, you can make use of one of the many boat services that you will find on offer in the area. The Hindu temple, or 'kovil' on the island is called Naga Pooshani Ambal Kovil. It was reconstructed in the eighteenth century following its demise at the hands of Portuguese invaders in the sixteenth century. Many locals come here to obtain blessings for their newborns from the Hindu goddess Parvati, who is said to be the wife of the god Shiva. There is also a renowned Buddist temple on the island; the Nagadipa Purana Vihara, which is said to have once been visited by the Lord Buddha.

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