Things To Do In Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Last Updated On October 29, 2021

Jaffna is a city located in the northern part of Sri Lanka. Most people in town are Tamils and have a solid Hindu culture different from the south Sinhalese and Buddhist cultures. The city has a strong Indian influence, which can be seen on the streets and in the food, distinct from central or southern Sri Lanka. It's a beautiful off-the-beaten-path vacation for 2 to 3 days, but keep in mind that you'll need some extra time in Sri Lanka because it's a little off the beaten road from the usual tourist pitfalls.

beaches in jaffna

Photo by Amith Anuradha from Pexels

How to get to Jaffna

From Colombo to Jaffna

1. Train 

The quickest and most scenic route to get from Colombo to Jaffna is the train It's one of the longest train rides in Sri Lanka. The journey covers a distance of 397Km. 

Travel time | 7 - 8 hours.

Cost | 2nd class: 600 LKR ($3) per person, 3rd class: 350 LKR ($1.5) per person.

Best time to visit Jaffna | Weather in Jaffna

The best time to visit Jaffna is between January and September because of the warmer months and less frequent rainfall. However, there may be short periods of drizzling lasting 10 to 15 minutes. Jaffna has an average temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius in these months.

Things to do in Jaffna

1. Nallur Kandaswamy Temple

The Nallur Kandaswamy temple, dedicated to Skanda/Murugan — the god of love, war, and beauty – is a prominent Hindu temple among Sri Lanka's Tamil population. The Sanpaha Perumal built this temple in the 15th century. He was the adopted son of King Bhuwanekabahu, who ruled in Kotte at the time. Sanpaha Perumal established himself in Jaffna and declared it his empire. Non-Hindus are welcome to visit the temple, but they must dress appropriately. For women, this means covering their shoulders and legs, and for men, it means removing their shirts. When visiting the temple, do not wear animal skin (such as leather). If you're in Jaffna in August, make a point of stopping by Nallur Kandiswamy temple for the Nallur festival, a month-long celebration of the colorful Northern culture.

Nallur Kandaswamy Temple


2. Jaffna Fort

Around the 17th century, the Portuguese built the Jaffna Fort, which was later modified by the Dutch and English. However, you can only see the ruins that were destroyed by the civil war. According to the ruins left behind, this fort housed a Dutch church, a prison, and a hospital.

Jaffna Fort

Image by 7764806 from Pixabay 

3. Jaffna Public Library

The Jaffna Public Library is a well-known landmark in the city. This building was constructed in 1933 and was destroyed in 1981 as a result of the civil war in Sri Lanka. It was once thought to have one of the most extensive libraries in South Asia. Following the end of the war, this was rebuilt. Which now provides book-lending services to thousands of children and adults in the area, allowing them to improve their knowledge.

Jaffna Public Library

4. Casuarina Beach

Casuarina Beach is a popular tourist attraction in Jaffna. During the sunset, the pure blue water on this beach is heaven for a dip and relaxation during your visit to Jaffna. Casuarina Beach is about 27 kilometers from Jaffna town and takes about 30-40 minutes to get there.

Casuarina Beach in Jaffna

Tweed Shire Council

5. Delft Island

Delft Island has a diverse range of attractions, each one distinct from the others. The travelers can get to all of the island's attractions in a short amount of time by taking a tuk-tuk ride across the island. The ruins of the famous Delft Island Fort and the Queen's Tower provide insight into the history of this island. With its white sands and clear waters, the beach is the ideal place to relax after a long day of sightseeing.

Delft Island in Jaffna

6. Dutch Fort

The Dutch Fort of Jaffna has stood erect since 1618, under Portuguese rule, and was once the Dutch Fort of Asia. It is a monument that recalls the events that have occurred since then and the role that the Fort played. The Fort was passed down from one ruler to the next, and it now stands in ruins.

Dutch Fort in Jaffna


7. Dambakola Patuna

Dambakola Patuna, also known as Jambukola Fort, is one of the country's oldest locations. This monument has a long history, and the port is significant to the Buddhist community. Dambakola Patuna has historical and religious significance. Because in 249BC, one of the saplings of the Bodhi tree, the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, was brought to the country and planted, along with a stupa. Still, no such remains can be found today. The Sri Lankan navy constructed a replica of the stupa and even planted a Bodhi tree for Buddhists.

Dambakola Patuna

8. Kankesanthurai Beach

The Kankesanthurai Beach is one of the most well-known beaches in Sri Lanka's northern province. The golden sands and cool blue waters soothe and relax visitors who come to enjoy the beach. The beach is unique because, unlike other beaches, it has had less interaction with visitors. Kankesanthurai beach is ideal for sunny mornings where one can engage in beach sports, water sports in the clear waters, or simply sit and relax in the sand. It is also ideal for late-night walks along the seashore, with cold water occasionally brushing against the feet. 

Kankesanthurai Beach