Travellanka October 2017

93 Jaffna and the North | Jaffna Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil Kilinochchi Vavuniya Mullaitivu Mannar Talaimannar Keeramalai Kantarodai Point Pedro Kayts Nagadipa Karaitivu Nedunthivu number of small but inhabited sea islands, amongst them Karaithivu and Kayts, with its historic harbour; Nainathivu or Nagadipawith itsancientBuddhisttempleandNedunthivu(Delft) with its wild horses. The Dutch fort, built like a five pointed star was its main attraction but took the brunt of the attacks from two conflicting forces and is now being renovated with Dutch aid. The city has many Kovils, most dating from no later than the 19th century as older Hindu temples were demolished during the days of Portuguese rule. The most famous is the Kandaswamy Kovil in Nallur, just three km from the fort. A great festival is held here during July and August. In Jaffna market you can buy the famous Jaffna mangoes and see a wide variety of mats, baskets, hats and other items woven from leaves of the Palmyra palm. Kantarodai Just a short drive from the small town of Chunnakam is a most impressiveBuddhistsiteofKantarodai‘aminiatureAnuradhapura’. Excavations have revealed over a 100 small dagobas in a two acre site. W ith a distinctive environment and history, Dry and flat, surrounded by sea and lagoon with a harsh natural vegetation growing over sand and limestone soils, Jaffna peninsula contains some of the most fertile and intensively cultivated farmlands in the country – rich fields of onions, tobacco, potato chilli and mangoes. Also characteristic of this area is the Palmyra palm. An area of ancient settlement, at least from the beginning of recorded history, Jaffna was the seat of the Tamil Kingdom of the 13th to 17th centuries. Tamil culture and the Hindu religion are particularly evident in the northern and eastern provinces, but their greatest concentration and highest development is centred on the Jaffna peninsula, which is considered the homeland of the indigenous Tamils. To the west of the peninsula are a Enigmatic Jaffna and the North Slowly Jaffna awakens to greet her visitors after a prolonged respite. The peninsula is actually almost an island; only the narrow causeway known as Elephant Pass – for once elephants did wade across the shallow lagoon here, connects Jaffna with the rest of Sri Lanka.