Located in the very north of the island of Sri Lanka, some 400 kms from Colombo, Jaffna is regarded as the cultural capital of the Tamils. Renowned for their keen interest in education, the Jaffna Public Library was first constructed in 1933 and by the 1980’s contained over 97,000 books and manuscripts, considered one of the largest in Asia. Targetted in the war, it was burnt in 1981 and reconstructed in 2001.
Throughout the area many buildings have been destroyed but there is a strong resilience within the people to look forward. Theya want to move on with their lives, and look to the future rather dwell on the past. Many tamils for example went in exile especially to Canada and Switzerland, and a small percentage of them are now returning to their roots.
With a reduced population of 88,000, Jaffna is expected to grow rapidly and many business opportunities exist especially within the tourist industry. Casuarina Beach is nearby but needs a complete revamp to reach Western standards, whereas the Nallur Kovil, Jaffna Fort, Keerimalai Hot Springs and the Bottomless Well bring in the crowds.
There are also many small islands off the coast line of Jaffna, and a trip to Delft Island is a pleasant day trip. Approachable only by boat, there are wild horses on the island as well as ruins.
There has been in the past a general lack of decent accommodation and also eating places in the Jaffna area, but this is set to change. The Cargill Square Shopping Centre with its Rio Ice Cream Parlour and Kentucky Fried Chicken are evidence of this.
Travel Tip: You can reach Jaffna by intercity train from Colombo in 6 1/2 hours.