The north of Sri Lanka- the Jaffna Peninsula, is a riot of culture and tradition. The beautiful city is well on its way to transforming itself for the better on the back of a long civil conflict that destroyed and damaged cherished buildings and artifacts, in addition to taking many lives. However, the resilience of the people of Jaffna shines through, as always.
If you are ever lucky enough to visit this unique place in the island, make the most if it. The city is rife with extraordinary architecture and picture-perfect sites, from ancient Hindu temples to churches and even Forts and palaces from the colonial era.
But these are the usual places to visit. For anyone who is quite unfamiliar with the place, it is easy to miss out on a golden spot – the Jaffna Performing Arts Association building, situated on Racca Road. Tamil cultural events are staged here quite frequently, and an interesting addition to the place is a new Art Gallery.
The building is a wonderful haven for fledgling artists who have a passion for painting and using their skill as a means to share the pain they experienced in the war, which is also a cathartic process. Yet, the war and its effects is not the only theme of the work housed there. Many other Tamil cultural art and sculpt pieces draw the discerning eye. Art students use the gallery to showcase their talent, and what’s more, the gallery has several rooms along with a dormitory for visiting artists who wish to stay there temporarily.
Of course, assuming you’re not a visiting artist, but just an ‘artsy’ tourist or traveler, there are several new hotels and rest-houses in Jaffna, among which The Thinnai comes highly recommended. This is an All-Suite Boutique Hotel with well-appointed accommodation, mouthwatering Jaffna and international cuisine, and lots of leisure activities to indulge in. The word around town is that the service here is just spectacular!
Sri Lanka is a country of many delights, and Jaffna is a gem hidden at its tip. Experience it if you can, because there really is no place like this anywhere else on earth….