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Archive for the ‘Jaffna’ Category

Point Pedro Beach

We also visited Point Pedro Beach, which is pristine and beautiful.  Frankly, I’m surprised it hasn’t been taken over by the tourism industry yet, but it’s likely because the land is owned by the government, given the civil war and the tsunami.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it becomes yet another tourist hot spot.

There was no one on the beach, literally. Even the fishermen weren't around.

 

We were there mid-afternoon. Long shadows.

So ends my recent Jaffna adventure.  I’m looking forward to going back and exploring more.  Even though it sounds strange, it’s one of my most favorite areas in Sri Lanka, perhaps because it holds such promise for the future.

And as a plug, there is really only one place to stay in Jaffna: Expo Pavilion II on Kandy Road.  It’s delightfully Sri Lankan and while it’s nothing fancy, it’s clean and the breakfast is awesome.  Be sure to have the sweet and salty lime juice, nature’s Gatorade.

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Point Pedro

Point Pedro is the northernmost point in Sri Lanka.  It’s about 30 km from Jaffna town and takes about an hour to an hour and a half to get there.  It may take you close to two hours to get back if you take the long, really roundabout way, but hey, that’s what adventures are for, right?

Like most areas in the North, Point Pedro was impacted by Sri Lanka’s civil war and 2004’s tsunami.  The tsunami affected much of Sri Lanka’s south, but recovering from the tsunami has been a slower process in the North.  This is very much evident in Point Pedro.

Methodist Church across from Hartley College: Started in 1887 and finshed in 1889.

Original Stained Glass?

Hanging out by the water on a Sunday afternoon.

Anpusthanam's House--damaged by tsunami or war?

Another home destroyed by the tsunami or the war. It's difficult to say which.

Sting Rays becoming dried fish.

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Jaffna Everyday Life

By far the best part of exploring Northern Sri Lanka is happening upon everyday life.  Rural life vs. Urban life is different in any country, but I think it’s more pronounced when you’re recovering from a war and are in a less developed country.

Music and Bikes

Bicycles are the primary form of transportation in Jaffna and I would bet most of the North.  All the bike riding makes me wish we’d ride our bikes more in cities, but I’m so sure that’s how people in the North would view it. It’s HOT in the North, hence the umbrella bike riding.

Bus and Bike

Mosquito nets hanging out to dry.

Jaffna House built in 1933. You need the mosquito nets since so many houses have open air spaces to allow things to cool off during the day and night.

 

And saving the best for last, ice cream!  Jaffna is known for it’s awesome ice cream and Rio is the arguably the most popular spot.  Check out these photos for proof.  Over the course of an hour long stop there on a Sunday night we probably saw a hundred or so people walk in and out.  It’s a VERY popular place and it has a prime location right next to the Nallur Kovil.  As an ice cream aficionado, I’d say it’s pretty tasty.  Yum.

I love my ice cream!

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The predominant religion in Jaffna is Hinduism, but thanks to the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British, Christianity is also very prevalent.  There are some Muslims in Jaffna, but most fled as a result of the war, and they are only now slowly returning to the North.  There are some Buddhists, too, but most of the people who visit the main Buddhist temple in town are either Sinhalese Buddhist tourists or members of the Sri Lankan police and army who are stationed in Jaffna.

Large Hindu Kovils are everywhere.  I didn’t make it into any of the kovils in the North, primarily because they were closed when I was going around town, but I hate to admit, that kovils have become like most churches in Europe for me–you’ve seen a few, you’ve seen them all.  But they’re still fun to take pictures of because they are so different from what we experience in the United States.

New Section of the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple

Behind Nallur Temple

For a much better picture of this scene, take a look at the Al Jazeera photos from a few months ago.

At a Purity Ceremony

There are pretty churches all over Sri Lanka, but I think the ones in Jaffna stand out because there is often little development around these churches.

St. James

Inside of St. John the Baptist's

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I traveled to Jaffna this past weekend and this time it was for fun, not work, so I was able to snap some pictures and explore.  I find Jaffna fascinating and it’s interesting to imagine what it would be like if it hadn’t been so affected by 30 + year civil war.  But the people of Jaffna are resilient and signs of recovery are all over the place.

You also see evidence of the various impacts that the Portuguese, Dutch and British all had on the region.  Let’s hope most of these buildings are preserved as the recovery continues.

Colorful Storefronts

Jaffna Public Library

This was a church and then a government building and then it was destroyed during the war.

Jaffna Fort: there are A LOT of renovations taking place in the Fort area, primarily wtih support from the Dutch. I think they figured, we helped build it, the least we can do is help preserve it!

See all that new construction? And the sunset?

For more Jaffna posts, look here.

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One of the most important Hindu temples is in Jaffna.  It’s called the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil.  (Kovil means “temple” in Tamil.)  The temple was closed when we saw it, but it is still impressive even without going inside.

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil

Roar

Colonial houses can be found in lots of cities in Sri Lanka.  Colombo is full of them.  Perhaps they are not all colonial, but they are at least built in this classic British colonial/tropical paradise style.  I liked this one.  A lot of these colonial houses look like just like this–abandoned, run-down, and in need of some love and care.  But they all have such potential.

Colonial House

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Jaffna II

A highlight of Jaffna is the Jaffna Fort.  It’s very similar to Galle Fort.  Both were built by the Portuguese in the 1600s and then later used by the Dutch.  The Jaffna Fort was also used by the LTTE during the civil war.  Jaffna is experiencing a surge of tourism.  Many Sri Lankans have either never been to Jaffna or haven’t been in years because of the war so now they are going in droves.

Jaffna Fort

Tons of Tourists

Built by the Portuguese

The Jaffna Public Library

Nice view....even from the bunkers.

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