Jaffna is one of the oldest human settlements in the peninsular region of Northern Sri Lanka. Once the 2 nd largest city in Sri Lanka Jaffna, remains a bastion of Hindu tradition and culture. This city was an important colonial hold of the Portuguese and Dutch settlers, with the Dutch Fort still dominating the Jaffna skyline spread over an area of 22 hectares within the city limits. The star shaped Jaffna Fort built in 1680 by the Dutch is considered one of the best examples of Dutch fortifications in Asia.
The city was the epicenter of the Country’s civil which deeply affected this historic city. However, with the end of thw war in 2009 reconstruction has begun and city is slowly returning to its once vibrant state.
Visitors are treated to historic sites in the center of Jaffna town and its outskirts such as the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil in Nallur, the Dutch fort and the Kadurugoda Temple in Kantarodai. The architecture of the Kandaswamy Kovil reflects the style of South India. This shrine dates back to the 10 th century. At Kantarodai, there are about 100 miniature dagobas or stupas (approximately 4 meters in diameter) crowded in a land area of about one hectare. It is believed that this temple dates back to the Anuradhapura era.
The city is also an ideal base to visit the many islands around the peninsular and for trips along the coastline and lagoons that surround it. Delft Island (Neduntivu islet) is 35 km from the city, is home to a fort built by the Portuguese. Behind the Fort is a beautiful beach with exquisite shells. A ferry service connects the mainland with the largest island in the Palk straits.
Nagadeepa is a small island an hour’s journey by boat from the city. The Buddhist temple recently restored on this islet is one that is revered by Buddhists of Sri Lanka who believe that it was visited by the Buddha.