Jaffna provides a unique insight into the culture and traditions of the country’s Northern Province. FOX JAFFNA by Fox Resorts makes an ideal base from which to visit many well-known local attractions each with their own distinct characteristics be it to do with the local way of life, religious heritage or stunning natural beauty.
Get a real feel of the pulse of this vibrant city at Jaffna Town and its popular local market set amidst a lively atmosphere. Colourful and seemingly chaotic, the Jaffna Market is always full of activity as vendors offer a delightful array of vegetable, fruits, spices and sweets as well as locally produced goods that are unique to the region. Also on offer are traditional clothing like sarees and salwars along with glittering gold jewellery that make for great additions to one’s collection of fashion accessories.
Ideally located just five minutes away from FOX JAFFNA by Fox Resorts, the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in the country. A popular pilgrimage site, this kovil is known for its impressive gopuram that features Hindu deities. The temple itself pays homage to Murugan (also known as Skanda) and visitors can witness a puja or ceremony to this god and other deities held daily in the morning, afternoon and evening. This kovil which is one of the foremost places to Visit in Jaffna goes back to 1734 also hosts the immensely popular Nallur Festival which spans several weeks in July / August.
Considered as one of Asia’s best libraries at the time, the famed Jaffna Library was burnt in the 1980’s but has since been rebuilt, preserving its characteristic neo-Mughal architecture. Today, it is once again an active library and its monumental design including a statue of the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge, Saraswati (located near the library entrance), certainly makes for a fascinating visit.
The immense St. Mary’s Cathedral dates back to the time of the Dutch colonial rule and had its humble beginnings in the late 18th century. While the original structure began as a thatched house, with the increased amount of worshipers attending over the years the cathedral was expanded to its current size. At present it is Jaffna’s largest Roman Catholic cathedral and witnessing local mass held here is an ideal way in which to get an idea about local catholic traditions.
Dating back to 1618 during the time of Portuguese rule, the Jaffna Fort is a historic structure from the colonial era. The fort which looks out across the Jaffna Lagoon was subsequently taken over and expanded by the Dutch before being occupied by the British till the country’s independence in 1948. The site was also linked with stories of a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary that was found inside a church within its walls. While today much of the fort is in ruins and some areas restricted, visitors can still explore parts of it including the ramparts and get a sense of its former grandeur.
No trip to Jaffna (or Sri Lanka for that matter!) is complete without a trip to the shore and when it comes to the best beach in the region, Casuarina Beach is top of the list. Located in Karainagar, within easy reach of Jaffna Town, this white sandy beach is named after the Casuarina trees that line the coastline. It has become a popular place amongst locals for a sea-bath, picnic on the sand or taking in sunsets as yet another day comes slowly to an end in this enchanting part of the island.