Blogs from Jaffna, Northern Province, Sri Lanka, Asia

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna March 3rd 2019

As we drove towards the northern tip of Sri Lanka we realised our driver Saman was nervous. We knew he wasn’t happy about going to Jaffna, but we had told the company we wished to visit the area prior to booking with them. Jaffna is the capitol city of the northern province, a peninsula which bears the same name. The majority of the city’s population are Sri Lankan Tamils and most are Hindus. It was also the region that, until 2002, was involved in a long running civil war between Sri Lankan government troops and Tamil guerrillas. It was effectively a no go area for many years and has only recently has welcomed tourism and the dollars it brings. It is still not on the established tourist route, probably because of it’s distance from the rest ... read more
Mayalsian Cafe, an old traditional cafe in the market area, Jaffna city
Street scene,  Jaffna city
The golden-ochre coloured Nullur Kandaswamy Kovil, an enormous Hindu temple

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna March 29th 2017

HE SAID... Today we were travelling north from Anuradhapura to Jaffna. We woke at 6am, organised our packs and headed down to breakfast. I served myself super sweet sultana bran, toast, jam, pol roti (coconut roti), pol sambol (shredded coconut with onions, chilli and lime), tea and fruit juice. I wasn’t feeling 100%% – a chest cold had swept through our previous group, and it seemed to be catching up with me after a few days incubation. We checked out of our comfortable hotel (The Lakeside at Nuwarawewa), drove a short distance (via minibus) to Anuradhapura’s quiet and uncrowded railway station, walked to our platform and boarded the train to Jaffna at 9:30am. We snacked on incredibly tasty vegetable pan rolls (filled and rolled up crepes, that are crumbed and fried) that we’d picked from the ... read more
lakeside at nuwarawewa string hopper breakfast
green grass hotel rice and curry lunch
kantarodai ruins

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna April 2nd 2015

31 mars Il est 11h30AM. J'embarque dans un train en direction de Jaffna, à la pointe extrême nord du Sri Lanka. C'est dans cette partie du Pays que s'est enflammé la guerre civile qui a tenue le Sri Lanka pendant 20 ans sur le bord du gouffre. Depuis la fin des hostilités et le retour de la paix en 2009, le gouvernement a graduellement réouvert les régions du Nord au tourisme. Me voilà donc en route pour Jaffna, hors des sentiers habituellement empruntés par les touristes. Je suis le seul blanc dans le train pour ce 4 heures de trajet. Les derniers foreigns que j'ai croisé occupaient la gare et repartaient pour Colombo, tout au sud. La température va augmenter durant les prochaines heures. Elle atteindra son apogée à destination. Autour du chemin de fer, les ... read more
Night Pujab
Temple tamoul
Camion de transport

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna January 20th 2014

I had been to Jaffna with family and friends before my teenage years which means i can't remember. But the lagoons, the spicy food and Crab, which is also a synominous to Jaffna and the Palm fringed landscape are few things i vaguely remember. They say the mind is selective. You only remember what you want to remember. Even as a kid. I think that's what happened. Anyways, 2009 came, the war was finally over after 3 decades of misery. The guns were finally silenced and it was a brand new beginning. Peace has finally dawned on the island which everyone longed for. Like most people, i was thrilled of the fact that we could now finally discover this fertile, rugged, Palm fringed land and it's beautiful peninsula. After a year had passed and the dust ... read more
Jaffna 2 006
Jaffna 2 007
Jaffna 2 011

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna October 1st 2013

If you would eat beef, you would eat your own mother...because cows are our mother, they give us their milk. I have heard this sentiment expressed a number of times in Sri Lanka, and both Hindus and Buddhists refrain from eating beef. Have you ever heard the expression, "I must have touched on someone's sacred cow"? Well here, cows truly are sacred and are given a place in life and both religious and daily art to confirm this. Cows are allowed to wander as they like, including in the roads, and are definitely not seen as burgers on hooves. They return home in the evenings to be milked by their owners, whose mark they bear. Having seen this belief in action, Phil was surprised to open the hotel curtains one morning and see a cow tethered ... read more
Cow Statues on Roof
The Cows have pride of place.
Guardian Cow on household gate

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna September 29th 2013

Jaffna Streets and the Dutch Fort: As we travelled north past Vivuniya we couldn't help but wonder what we would find in Jaffna. To the left and right were pockmarked, roofless, partly-destroyed buildings and vast areas with very little population. The civil war which started in 1983 had taken quite a toll on the countryside. The highway itself had been "newly carpeted", which means it had been improved and had new "blacktop" on it, so the road was smooth enough, and the trainline was being rebuilt and had gotten as far as Kilinochchie, once the centre of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) separatist administration. Have you ever read "Havana Bay"? It talks about the sense of timewarp when going to Cuba, where the cars on the road are from the 1950s, from the time before the US ... read more
Jaffna street
Jaffna new markets
Taxi rank of tuk tuks

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna September 24th 2013

Annual August Hindu Festival at Nallur Kandaswamy Temple: This Hindu temple is one of the oldest (several centuries) and most revered in Sri Lanka. Every August there is a 25-day Festival and people travel from around Sri Lanka and many come from overseas to attend. At our small hotel we met folks from India, Canada and Australia who had come especially for it. We were happy that our travels got us to Jaffna during the festival time and our hotel was a short walk from it. We went over to it several times and always dutifully removed our shoes at the barricades so we could be allowed within its proximity. Had we wanted to enter the temple itself, Phil would have had to remove his shirt, too, and the glare from that mass of white skin ... read more
Nallur Temple from the side
Nallur Temple side--closer view
Festival atmosphere

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna September 21st 2013

Jaffna and Point Pedro: A Promise Fulfilled Part of the reason we wanted to visit Sri Lanka is because in the past year we have made friends with many Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Sydney. So of course we offered to take presents and messages to their families back home. Francis Nimalraj, who is now employed near Berowra thanks to Azadeh's help, stopped by after work one day with some boxes of gourmet chocolates for us to take to his family. He knew we were going to his home place of Jaffna in the far north. These were not the only gifts we carried to Sri Lanka, but they were the last to get delivered, due to our idiosyncratic pathway through the country. What we didn't know was that Jaffna is both a city and a ... read more
The Welcoming Committee with Phil
Martha and Phil with Gowteesan
Francis' family with Martha

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna September 9th 2012

Once again sorry for neglecting the blog for the last few days but the spicy food has finally taken its toll. One after the other we've been hit (usually after an optimistic comment about how we never get ill) but hopefully, (fingers crossed!) everyone has recovered and we can get back to our work and filling you in on our adventures. Despite illness our spirits have remained high and we have had an enjoyable last couple of days. Very early on Wednesday morning we began the long journey up to Jaffna, breaking up the 14 hour drive with stops at Dambulla and Sigiriya along the way. As well as the unplanned emergency roadside pit stops! Dambulla is home to one of the largest golden Buddha statues in Sri Lanka and it is situated next to the ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Jaffna September 29th 2011

Note to self, and others. I wrote this a few days ago but this silly website hasn’t let me post it until now. Well hello one and all! I have only been in Sri Lanka a few days but already I can tell I am going to like it. The people here seem very decent and hospitable which makes things much easier. For me it is not the sights that make a place, but the people. After a while temples and beaches only hold limited appeal, what keeps you going is the people you are surrounded by, and in the case of Sri Lanka I may just have I have stuck gold. After the relatively sedentary time in Thailand I felt the need to get back in to travelling again, actually physically moving around. The rest ... read more
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