The Jaffna fort, built in 1619 by the Portuguese Army to prevent enemy invasions from the sea, is a most popular site in Jaffna. The fort which was under "Yuan De Melo" during the reign of Portuguese was repaired by the Dutch in 1658 and Ian Vandelite was the officer in charge of the fort during the period of Dutch. The Dutch captured this fort from the Portuguese without much effort and the English, in their turn, captured the fort from Dutch in 1795. Though it is possible to walk around the Galle fort, it is not possible to walk around the Jaffna fort
Jaffna library which is still considered as the symbol of Jaffna, was established in 1935 and was completely destroyed by fire in 1981. The library was reconstructed and made open to the public again in 2004. Currently, the library has books worth around Rs 100 000.
The Jaffna library is open from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM on everyday except for Mondays.
The Jaffna museum, which is the home to many Sinhala and Tamil antiques, is open to public from 8.30 AM to 4.30 AM everyday except for Tuesdays.
|From jaffna town trip|
The kovil is said to have been built by Prince Sapumal, under king Buwanekabahu who ruled Sri Lanka in 15thcentury. The Portuguese raised the kovil to the ground during their invasion in 1560 and king Sangili, the ruler of Jaffna at that time, had protected the celestial jewelry and other holy items, hiding them in a place about 01 Km off, in the road running to point Pedro.
The services are held at the kovil at 07.30 AM, 10.00 AM and 03.30 PM.
King Sangili is known as a warrior in the history and he is said to have protected Jaffna from all enemy invasions. The statue of a warrior on horseback, one will meet walking along the road before the Nallur Kovil, is believed to be a statue of King Sangili. Once the statue is passed, one will meet a huge gate, built by the Dutch and after the gate, the palace of king Sangili can be seen, bearing traits of a combination of Dutch and Indian architecture.
Naga Viharaya, the only Buddhist temple in Jaffna, is situated in the Stanley road in Jaffna town. According to the history, king Devanampiyathissa and a group had been to Jaffna to receive Theri Sanghamiththa and the group bringing Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi's southern branch to Sri Lanka. On the group's way back to Anuradhapura, the king was requested by the 'Naga' tribesmen of Jaffna to let them keep the Bodhi tree branch with them for one week's time. Accordingly, the Bodhi branch had been planted in Jaffna for one week's time before it was finally brought to Anuradhapura.
It is this incident that is described in the famous verse used for worshipping the Bodhi,
"Dev lowa deviyan puda kala bodhiya,
Naa lowa sathiyak puda kala bodhiya"
Siri Vimala thero is the present incumbent of the Naga viaharaya.
You can find the best Kotta kilangu, Palmyra jaggery, Palmyra yams, grape wine and Nelli crust at the Jaffna market. The most special is Jaffna ice cream, which is found only in Jaffna. 'Raja Ice Cream Parlor', 'Lingam Ice Cream Parlor and Rio Ice Cream Parlor are the most popular ice cream parlors in Jaffna. And for grapes and nelli crusts 'Arul Angram' is the best place in Jaffna.