Keerimalai Hot Water Springs
Located in proximity to Naguleswaram which lies close to the Kanksanturai of Jaffna Peninsula, the Keerimalai Hot Water Springs are believed to possess a certain therapeutic value. They are called healing waters for a reason. The spring water passes through the fissures and crevices of the carbonated rocks. It then acquires the residues of the minerals. Thereafter, the springs encounters the sea water as it surfaces at the Keerimalai. Hindu Tamils gather at these springs on the day of the new moon in July so as to take a holy dip in the waters and pay tribute to the soul of their dead ancestors.
Point Pedro and surroundings
The northernmost point of Sri Lanka, Point Pedro has a light house at the coastal village which is a key attraction here. In the western end of the Point Pedro there is this Velvettiturai which is an infamous coastal village. For several decades the place was under a strong hold of the petty local smugglers. It has also been the landing point of the illegal immigrants who come here from South India. Until some three decades ago, the illegal immigrants known as Kallathoni who came here from the state of Tamil Nadu in India found Velvettiturai to be a convenient shore. At the northern end of the Manalkadu Desert which is a mere 5 km south of the lighthouse, there is a beautiful village of Vallipuram. Vallipuram once used to be the principal city of the Jaffna peninsula. It is today a home to the second largest Hindu Kovil of Sri Lanka. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this shrine is one of the very few shrines of Sri Lanka.
Manalkadu Sand Dunes
Jaffna also houses a mini version of a desert which is Manalkadu. The Manalkadu Sand dunes begin right at the town of the Point Pedro. It is a sparsely populated coastal stretch that is filled with many isolated villages which are cantered around the well of the village. There are acres of sand dunes here that are covered with thick bush. Beyond the sand dunes, you can also spot one of the most magnificent beaches of the Northern Province.
Another important place to see is the Nagadipa Viharaya. It is an ancient Buddhist temple that is located in Nagadipa. Nagadipa is an island in cluster which is situated in proximity to the Jaffna peninsula’s western coast. It has Palk Strait enveloping it. The stupa with moderate dimensions celebrates the third visit of Buddha to Sri Lanka. Right next to the stupa, the image House has a fine golden Buddhist statue. This is a great tourist attraction here.
Located in the town of Jaffna is the Vaitheeswara Kovil that lies along the KKS Road. This kovil is majorly known for the number of festivals that it hosts on annual basis. One major festival that is celebrated here is the Shivan festival which usually lasts for 20 odd days. The celebration ends with the full moon day in the month of March. Another festival that is celebrated here is the Ambal Devi festival that goes on being celebrated for ten days in the month of July. During the festival, a lot of tourists and locals swamp the place.
St. Mary’s Cathedral
Prominently known as the Jaffna Cathedral, the St. Mary’s Cathedral is located in the Jaffna Town. The founding stone of the cathedral was laid in the year 1789 in Goanese style. However, the construction of the cathedral was started a year later. It was led by Portuguese pastor Leonardo Rebeiro of the Oratory of Goa. There’s no surprise that the cathedral is architecturally beautiful, thereby making it an attraction you cannot miss.
Nallur Kandhaswamy Kovil in Jaffna
The principal place of Hindu worship in Jaffna is the Nallur Kandasamy Kovil. It is characterized by elaborate gopuram and golden arch which attracts a number of worshippers and pilgrims all round the year. There are some shops in the vicinity which cater to the needs of the devotees. You can shop for items like camphor, plantains and coconuts. The present building of this kovil has been in existence since the 18th century. The original temple however goes back to the times when Tamil Kings were destroyed in the year 1620 by the Portuguese. This temple is also the place of the most important religious festival that is celebrated on the Jaffna’s Peninsula. The festival lasts for 26 days and ends on the August’s full moon night.
Kadurugoda Temple lies amidst the palmyrah trees about 10 km away from Jaffna. It is a popular ancient Buddhist historical place. Here in the temple, you can spot small dagabas that are spread over about ½ acre land. These small structures are built by ash-coloured stone. Most of the dagabas only have a foundation. Some coins, a Buddha statue, stone scripture and Bodhisaththva statue are preserved in this museum.