India – ALLOVERIST

The seventh largest country is often intimidating to both locals and foreign travelers. Its many languages, culture, food, people challenges you no matter who you are. Like many large countries, you cannot fix an itinerary. If you don’t know what you want and where you want to go, but want to explore this is the country you want to be. India is a mixed bag, not only for tourists, but also for Indian citizens.

Highlights of my travel here in a month

Karnataka

Karnataka is a South Indian state, it is the eight largest in India, and the largest in South India. Kannada is the main language in the state although there are people of many ethnicities, and different language speakers living here. It has a coast, the plains, and the plateau.

Hampi                                                                Source: Thrilliophilia

Bangalore

Five Places Created For Special Purposes

Eight Suburbs Named After Non-Humans

The Citadel of Devanahalli

Bannerghatta Biological Park

The Lalbhagh Flower Show

Catch a Play at the Ranga Shankara

Temple for the Krishna Conscious

Hobby of the Bangalore’s Affluent

The Only ‘Buy an Aircraft’ Store

Idu Namma Bengaluru

Mangalore

Living in Mangalore

Kerala

Kerala is a South Indian state known as the ‘Gods Own Country’. I had a chance to travel in Kerala in 2014. Known for the spices, curries, and fish, it is one of the richest states in the country.

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Houseboat                                                               Source: Tourism of India

Kochi

Coastal Kerala – Fort Kochi

Things to do in Kochi

More Things to do in Kochi

Alleppey

Coastal Kerala – Alappuzha (Alleppey)

Coastal Kerala – Alappuzha 2

Varkala

Coastal Kerala – Varkala

Maharashtra

Maharashtra is the biggest economy in India, is on the Western coast where one of the biggest city in the world is located. The capital city of Maharashtra is also the financial capital of the country. But that is not what it is entirely known for. There are ancient sites, attractions that could puzzle anybody.

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Elephanta Caves                                                   Source: Memorable India

Mumbai

Enduring The Maximum City

Enduring The Maximum City – Part 2

Enduring The Maximum City – Part 3

Maximum City Stories

The Chinatown

Buddhist Temple of Worlinaka

Bombay in Photographs

Photographs – 2

Finland – ALLOVERIST

Finland is a Scandanavian country that shares borders with Russia, Sweden, and Norway. The Gulf of Finland is in between Finland and Estonia. The famous Northen Lights for which tourists flock to is visible in Finland. They are proud of their Mediterranean forests, rare animals, coffee, food, language, their people.

Taipalsaari

From Russia with Beer

Career Archives – ALLOVERIST

by Kishor May 16, 2014 Comments0

Media monitoring is the activity of monitoring of media content, mostly news. It a process of carefully reading, watching, and listening to the…

by Kishor May 30, 2010 Comments0

Finding your niche simply means doing something specific, a segment of a particular area of interest. For example, in the Hospitality industry, guest…

Copyright and Disclaimer – ALLOVERIST

The content in the blog belongs to me, so it’s only mine. I don’t mind sharing it. You may share it on your blog post or Facebook timeline. But please do give a link back to my blog post if you are sharing. I will do the same if I find anything interesting. I am responsible for any grammatical errors, and errors in sentence structuring.

Content outside this blog

I have linked posts to another blog posts, and I am in no way responsible for what is at the other end of that link. I have not/will not intentionally try to post offensive links but since web sites do change hands, or change content over time I cannot be held liable for the content of that link.

Photographs

All the photographs are mine unless I say otherwise.

Disclaimer

The views expressed on this blog are mine, and the opinions expressed in the comments by other people are theirs alone. They are not the views of any organizations, people, or associations because this blog does not represent them.

Copyright © 2010-2016

Please Note: You still have to call an ambulance in case of any medical emergencies, call the cops if you see trouble, and call the fire service if you see fire. Thank you.

10 Things to do in Polonnaruwa – ALLOVERIST

Polonnaruwa has many names. At first a city is named something else, in a different era they give it a different name. Polonnaruwa is another capital of ancient Sri Lanka. No wait, is the name Jananathamangalam correct? Throw in Thambapanni. Currently the city is hanging on to the name Polonnaruwa, which is easier to pronounce than Jananathamangalam. The Tamils called it Polannaruvai, and other different names.

Entering Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is well connected to the rest of Sri Lanka. It is one of the important sites of the Cultural Triangle in Sri Lanka. It is a two hour journey from Anuradhapura, fours hours from Kandy, and a good six hours from Colombo.

The entrance fee is US$25, and Indians pay only US$13. It is smaller than Anuradhapura, and you can see everything within three hours. I went in the evening when it was lot cooler. There are guest houses where you can rent bicycles. Tuk tuk drivers offer to take you on a tour for astronomical LKR 4000 to LKR 6000 without including the entry fee.

What’s the Story?

Anuradhapura is a little closer to South India, so moving the capital closer to Central Sri Lanka looked like a nice thing to do. The Cholas from South India decided that they will not give up on their claim on North Sri Lankan cities whilst Sinhala rulers fought each other to decide who will be worthy to challenge South Indian kings showing up the cities they built.

You read about how Mr. Dutugemunu took back Anuradhapura after killing Mr. Ellalan, the veteran badass Chola King. Polonnaruwa has a similar story as Anuradhapura, but the siege on Anuradhapura is even more dramatic.

The first siege was not so dramatic because Vijayabahu had not figured out how he would defend the city against the Cholas who had an endless supply of soldiers and siege weapons. He took Polonnaruwa, held it for a while, but had to give up when another Chola army came in to take the city back. So, try again.

The Second Siege

Vijayabahu laid siege on Polonnaruwa, and seven long months later he took Polonnaruwa. He needed three armies for the job. He stationed one army at Mahathittha’s port in the Western coast of Sri Lanka to engage boats that had Chola reinforcements. Reinforcements kept arriving, and Vijayabahu’s soldiers were sent to the beaches and the ports to lie in wait for the boats to arrive. Some of the soldiers from Mahathittha marched into the North West part of Polonnaruwa. The second army attacked from the East. Vijayabahu led a third army straight into Polonnaruwa.

Soldiers threw everything but the public baths at each other during the siege. In this war, along with cities, human resource, and Buddhism took a hit. After the war Vijayabahu became the King, he helped grow Buddhism, repaired, and rebuilt temples. He even quelled a rebellion in his time.

Parakramabahu

Parakramabahu, who became King beautified the city, told his people not to waste water, built hospitals, unified three kingdoms, namely the Rajrata, Dakkhinadesa, and Ruhana under him (long story), became friends with the Pandyas against the Cholas who was common enemy, attacked and captured a Burmese kingdom for insulting Sri Lankans, and also traded with China, and the Middle East. King Nissankamalla became King after him, and he did not do too bad either. He was one of the last monarchs of Sri Lanka. In 1293, the people of Polonnaruwa left the city for good.

Today

1. Today, Polonnaruwa is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The only beings mostly inhabiting Polonnaruwa ruins are the monkeys. You can mostly see Langurs, and Macaques. The New Town supports the local tourism that tourists use as a base to visit the ancient city.

2. The popular British band Duran Duran were in Sri Lanka. They filmed their song ‘Save a Prayer‘ in Polonnaruwa, the Lion Rock, and some beaches.

3. British primatologist (Chimpanzee expert) Jane Goodall was here.

4. Disney made a movie called Monkey Kingdom here.

5. Lake Parakrama Samudraya is so big that the authorities are actually planning to run a number of hovercrafts on it to solve Sri Lanka’s traffic problem.

Places to See in Polonnaruwa

1. Parakrama Samudraya

Parakrama Samudraya

This is a reservoir built by Parakrabahu, it is three different reservoirs namely Topa Wewa, Eramudu Wewa, and Dumbutula wewa connected to each other by channels. Because of this huge lake, and the surrounding forests, Polonnaruwa is easily defendable than Anuradhapura.

Outside the museum

2. Archaeology Museum

You walk into the Archaeology Museum. You buy tickets at the reception and go in. No pictures, no making noise. There are important artifacts from ruins around Sri Lanka, South East Asia, India, and China. I have no idea what happened to the reception team, but they decided to laugh at me, stare at me the whole time, creeping me out. I did not figure out why they laughed. 🙁

‘What is the entrance fee?’

‘Hahaha’

‘What time does the site close?’

‘Hahaha’

‘Thank you’

‘Hahaha’

3. The Citadel Area

The picture shows ruins of King Parakramabahu’s palace. This was a seven storey building which had 50 rooms. Scientists say that the walls of the palace was three meter thick, the first three floors made of stone, and the next four levels made of wood.

The Council Chamber – Elephant and Lion Carvings on the wall

The City Administration took decisions here

The Kumara Pokuna, or the Royal Bath, built during Parakramabahu’s reign is near to the Citadel area. In the middle in a circular stone, and the platform on the edges are resting area for people.

Kumara Pokuna

4. Nissankamalla’s Palace Complex

A palace was built during the reign of King Nissankamalla. He had an Audience Hall to conduct meetings too.

Nissankamalla’s Palace Complex

Audience Hall

5. Shiva Devale

The Shiva Temple

The Sanctum of the Shiva Temple

This is the ancient trading area. Traders sat here selling their wares.

Trading Area

This second Shiva temple was probably built by the Cholas while they were ruling in Polonnuruwa, and one of the oldest building. There are few Hindu temples in the ancient city, and this one is the most intact.

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Shiva Devale – 2

The Evening Sun

6. The Sacred Quadrangle

This is the most interesting part of the city. The Sacread Quadrangle consists of the Vatagade (Stupa House), the Hatadage, the Thuparama Image House, Nissankalata Mandapa, Stone Block, Satmal Prasada.

The Thuparama Image house is the only building where the roof is intact. The roof known as gedige is made of bricks. Archaeologists say that there was a big statue of the Buddha inside the building, but today only a portion of it remains.

Thuparama Image House

At the Nissankalata Mandapa listened recital of Buddhist scriptures, the Pirith. It is a small structure with a pillar structure that stimulates a stalk of the lotus flower.

Nissankalata Mandapa

The Vatadage is a relic house. It was built during the reign of Parakramabahu to hold the relic of the tooth of the Buddha, or during Nissanka Malla to hold the alms bowl of the Buddha. So it is an important structure in Polonnaruwa’s history. The diameter of outer wall of the structure is 18 meters, and it has four entrances. The doorway has guard stones. There are four Buddha statues facing the four different doors. The structure once had a wooden roof supported by stone columns.

The Vatadage of Polonnaruwa

The Hatadage is a relic shrine built by Nissankamalla to keep the tooth relic of the Buddha. It is made of stone, brick, and wood, and it a two storey structure. There are three statues of the Buddha inside the shrine. The name comes from the time it took to build it. Hata means sixty

The Satmal Prasadaya is a magnificent structure which scientists say is a stupa.

Satmal Prasadaya

Gal Potha, a stone slab that details the life of King Nissankamalla is inscribed into it. It is at the left of the Satmal Prasadaya.

Gal Potha

A fellow visitor

7. Rankot Vihara

Rankot Vihara is a 54 meter tall dagoba. Inscriptions on a stone identifies this structure as Ruwanweli to resemble it with Ruwanwelisaya at Anuradhapura. ‘Ran’ means gold, and Kotha means the pinnacle of the stupa. King Nissankamalla built the stupa. It is the fourth biggest stupa in Sri Lanka.

Rankot Vihara

8. Lankatilaka

This is an ancient Buddhist temple that has a 17 meter tall Buddha statue. There seems to be a roof, but it is missing. At its helm, this was one of the grandest structure in ancient Sri Lanka.

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The Buddha Statue, Lankatilaka

9. Kiri Viharaya

This dagoba is white in color. It was built white, and it was found in perfect white even after 700 years. Built by a queen of King Parakramabahu.

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Kiri Vihara

10. Gal Viharaya

When I got here it was almost dark, and the monks started the evening ritual. The Gal Viharaya, also called Uttarama is a rock temple dedicated to the Buddha. The Buddha figures are carved out of the rocks. There is a large sitting Buddha on the left, and another Buddha image inside a shrine. There is a standing Buddha, and a reclining one.

The standing Buddha might be Ananda, Buddha’s disciple. There is a rock inscription which teaches the code of conduct for the Buddhist monks.

The Gal Viharaya

Listicle Archives – ALLOVERIST

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Peaceful countries exist. Not absurd at all. The Global Peace Index has listed 162 countries in this list. The rank is based on…

Jaffna is a nice little town, cut off from the rest of Sri Lanka for almost all of its independent history, today Jaffna is…

Colombo was hot for me, but I got to see a lot. It is Sri Lanka’s largest city and there are lot of places to…

Bangalore is hardly the market area, or majestic people know of today. Back then the city was started with the pété’s, and then the…

Bangalore has grown way beyond the founder intended it to. Not many of them would take time to know the history of the place…

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Five Reasons To Visit-Dehiwala-Mount – ALLOVERIST

Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, known as Dehiwala-Mount by the locals, is one of the largest localities in Colombo. It is a 45 minute to an hour’s bus ride from the Fort Railway Station, Colombo’s main railway station. I was told to stay near the Galle Face promenade because most of the attractions are at the Fort, Pettah area. However, I ended up staying at Dehiwala, and it was a great cheer. Prema, my host was a nice lady who helped me get around.

Temples

There are many temples in the Dehiwala region. Two of the notable temples are Sri Subodharama Raja Maha Viharaya, and Sri Mangalaramaya. Queit, serene, and nice place for a walk, or talk to a devotee and learn.

Beaches

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Mount Lavinia Beach

Sri Lanka has beautiful beaches, and one such beach people go to straight off of a plane is the beach at Mount Lavinia. The town is a tourism hotspot that has a quiet nightlife. Mount Lavinia Hotel is a the place to stay in if you want to stay here. This hotel has a nice pool I heard. There are many nice beaches in Dehiwala too. There is a railway along the beach. The beach is even better if you are in the train.

Food

I travel to try food. And there is lot of unique meals you can try in Sri Lanka. There are lot of variety of food to eat, but on a typical Dehiwala – Mount Lavinian day you could try:

Fish Curry and Rice:

Curry is mostly eaten in India, Sri Lanka, and countries surrounding it. Curry they make in Sri Lanka is spicy, with lot of spices. Rice and Curry can be made with anything, chicken, lamb, and fish. Because you are in Sri Lanka you will eat Fish Curry and Rice. What is it? It is a big bowl of rice. Another big bowl of the same size has this spicy and tasty curry. Maybe there is a competition among India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other Southeast Asian countries as to who could make the most spiciest curry.

Watallapam:

Watallapam (not a waterplan as per Google’s autocorrect) This is a custard made from milk, jaggery, eggs, cashew nuts, and powdered cardamom. Eat the spiciest Fish and Curry, and then order a Watallapam. This desert is popular in Sri Lanka, and it is made during festivals. The custard is too sweet if you are not aware of how jaggery tastes like.

How about toddy in the evening?

Authorities Discussing Safety Before Swimming Race

Attractions

Dehiwala Puppet Museum:

This museum is not advertised in travel shows, or magazines. It is hidden somewhere in Dehiwala. Here is the museum on the Google Maps. I like museums, but I missed this though. I head nice things about this place. They have puppets from around the world, some hanging from the roof, some greeting you, and some living inside a model house. They also have traditional masks you may see in your nightmares. The pictures are cool. You would want to own one of them.

Dehiwala Zoo:

The National Zoological Gardens is in Dehiwala. I have not been here either, but I told it has dancing elephants. I don’t like going to a zoo, but if you like caged animals, why not? There are most animals you learnt of in school. The website says they have 72 species of mammals, 65 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles, 30 species of butterflies, and 89 species of fishes. The elephants performing there would be a delight for some. But if you see the animal keepers beat up the animals, please don’t judge them. You will have to pay 2000 rupees if you are a foreigner.

Stay at Dehiwala-Mount

Colombo Sea View Apartment

The Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia is a huge suburb, and there is no shortage of places to stay. Mount Lavinia has some of the high end hotels, so if you do not like spending a lot, stay at Dehiwala.

Mount Lavinia Hotel: Like I said, people come straight off of the airplane to this beach view hotel.

Colombo Sea View Hostel: This is where I stayed. This one is right next to the beach. There are lot of beach side shacks and restaurants where you could eat. This hostel is operated out of an apartment. A lady named Prema is the care taker of this place. Galle Face is to the North of this place, and Mount Lavinia Beach is to the South. I think both these places can be reached in equal time. However, there is no air conditioning, so this place gets too hot and humid

Need more options? Try Booking.com          Agoda          Airbnb

Dambulla Cave Temple – ALLOVERIST

The Buddha in Dhyana Chakra Mudra

After Anuradhapura, I went to the Dambulla Cave Temple next. Two days at Anuradhapura, I saw an ancient city, made friends, ate delicious food. Next, I booked ‘The Monkey Camp’, at Polonnaruwa. The Dambulla Cave Temple was on the way to Anuradhapura, that’s how I planned it. I got off the bus at the Bentota Bake House. The receptionist was kind enough to keep my backpack at the restaurant, took off to the cave temple. The golden Buddha statue was easy to spot. The giant golden Buddha statue is one of its kind, because the Buddha has his hands in a Dhyana Chakra Mudra position. Sweating tourists with Coca-Cola, or water in hand were exiting the premises.

‘Is the climb hard?’, I asked a tourist.

‘No. But buy water, just in case’, she said to me.

The Climb

I checked my watch. 11:00, it said. I went to the cafe, bought a bottle of water, and then looked up the stairs. How hard is it? Not difficult at all. The climb offers you a beautiful view. The building in front of the Buddha that looks like the Lotus flower is a museum. I was keen on the climb than checking out the museum, so I gave it a pass. People who I asked about the museum were not keen on it too.

‘Is that the Lion Rock?’, I heard the tourist ask during the climb.

‘Yes’, said her friend.

‘That’s where we’re going next.’

That’s where I was going the next day.

Sigiriya (Lion Rock)

Another trouble you may face up the climb to the temples is because of the monkeys. They are in plenty, and can spot food like an eagle can spot a rodent. It is advisable to keep the food in the bad during the climb. So, after the climb did I realize that if I had climbed up all the 360 or so steps without stopping for pictures, I would have reached the top in fifteen minutes. It is easy, and doable. Only threat is dehydration, but a bottle of water can defeat it. The climb is not hard, and temples are beautiful.

He does not want trouble.

The temple had an entrance fee previously, but the authorities have done away with entrance fee altogether. The complex has five caves with temple which  is more than 2000 years old, and is well preserved. I left my footwear under a tree near the series of shops near the entrance.

History of Dambulla Cave Temple

People were living here for the past two thousand or more years. There were no partitions to this cave, it was a one large cave. There are many changes made to the temple complex over the years. When the Chola Kings pushed towards South, they took Anuradhapura. The Sinhala rulers of Anuradhapura fled to Dambulla, and further South. Some of them took refuge here, where they plotted a return. When the young Dutugamunu, pushed an offensive into Anuradhapura, and then succeeded in killing the veteran South Indian King Ellalan, he built the first temple. King Nissankamalla further made the temples attractive. So did Senerath, and Kirti Sri Rajasingha, two Kandyan kings.

The Cave Complex

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Map of the Cave Complex                                   Source: Albinger

Cave 1 (Devaraja Viharaya)

The temple of the Lord of the Gods is said to to be created by Lord Vishnu. The temple has a sleeping Buddha, that is 14 meters long.

The Head of the Sleeping Buddha

Sleeping Buddha’s Feet

Ananda, Buddha’s disciple stands beside Buddha’s feet. He towers over you.

Cave 2 (Maharaja Vihara)

The Temple of the Great Kings is the biggest temple in the complex created by Vattagamini Abhaya. It has brilliantly painted murals on the walls. King Nissankamalla and Vattagamini Abhaya are painted on the wall, among the murals. There is an enclosure in which a water drips into the pot that never runs dry even in worst of droughts. The ceiling, and the walls in this cave is covered with paintings. You can find pictures of the life of the Buddha, elephants, and many more.

The reclining Buddha

The enclosure where water drips into the pot

The Buddha Statues

Cave 3 (Maha Alut Viharaya)

Kirti Sri Rajasinha created The Great New Temple that looks like an giant tent, with sloping ceilings. This cave is full of Buddha statues, standing, sitting, and in different postures. There is a status of Kirti Sri Rajasinha at the right of the entrance.

Entrance to Cave 3

Kirti Sri Rajasinha with his attendants painted on the wall

Cave 4 (Paccima Viharaya)

The Western Temple is small. There is a dagoba in the middle of the cave, and Buddha statues sitting, or standing around the dagoba. The Buddha with the Dhyana Mudra position is ten in number. There figures are well executed. The robe the Buddha is wearing is a work of art. The roof, and the walls are painted, mostly of the Buddha.

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The dagoba, and the Buddha statues

Cave 5 (Devana Alut Viharaya)

The Second New Temple was a storeroom before, it now contains statues of the Buddha made of brick and plaster. There are murals of the Buddha. In total there are 164 Buddha statues throughout the complex.

A pond

Getting to Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla is in the middle of the Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle. Taxi would be an obvious choice to travel. But if you are a (transportation) adventure lover, then there are many buses that connects to Dambulla.

If you are traveling from Colombo, take a train to Kandy, and from there take a bus to Dambulla. The bus stops in front of the Bentota Bake House. There are many tuk tuks that waits to take tourists to the cave temple.

I arrived at Dambulla from Anuradhapura. After the visit to the cave temple, I had lunch at Bentota Bake House, and took a bus to Polonnaruwa.

12 Things to do in Jaffna – ALLOVERIST

Jaffna is a nice little town, cut off from the rest of Sri Lanka for almost all of its independent history, today Jaffna is the capital of Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Warred, bombed for decades, Jaffna is scarred, but trying to catch up with rest of Sri Lanka. Predominantly Tamil, but there is some Buddhism. It has culture, cuisine different from the rest of Sri Lanka. There are no big businesses or organizations working here, because it is predominantly rural. People go to big cities for work.

Getting Here:

Train: Lot of trains from Colombo, Kandy, Anuradhapura. There are Chinese made blue color AC trains. Check for information on trains here. Best way to book a train is to get help from a hotel, or anyone in Sri Lanka.

Bus: Plenty of buses from Colombo, Kandy, and Anuradhapura. The private buses are little expensive than the government run buses.

Flights: Cinnamon Air runs air taxis that fly between Jaffna and major Sri Lankan cities.

48 hours is the ideal number of hours to stay here. If you speak Tamil, you are cool. Here is the to do list.

1. Book a Homestay

Small town, but plenty of nice homestays to try if budget stay is your thing. Jaffna is opening up to tourists since recently, but try and stay with a local. You might hear stories about their life during the war. The house I stayed at was large, had more than four rooms, and a huge backyard with coconut trees.

2. Check Out War Ruins

Decades of war has battered establishments, buildings here. The effect of war shows. Many buildings used by the rebels, and the army is abandoned today. There is a Jaffna tour that takes you around these ruins. Jaffna is economically recovering, but ruin tours is one of important incomes for tour companies here.

War Ruins                                                                      Source: For91days

3. Eat South Indian breakfast

You booked a homestay, reached Jaffna, and you are at the homestay. Either there is breakfast at the homestay or not, you tell the host you will be back for dinner, and then take off to find breakfast. You reach the Nallur kovil, and look around. There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants around. So you pick a restaurant, sit on a chair, and order South Indian breakfast.

Idly with sambhar, or nool puttu with some sauces. Too bad the restaurant I tried did not have strong coffee Bangalore has. Drink sweet milk tea to wash it all down. Then you call the waiter pay and say, ‘Saar, nalla irukku’.

4. Jaffna Archeology Museum

Jaffna has a museum, it is small, and the collection is small, but informative. It is a fifteen minute walk from the Nallur Kovil. It is a small street, lot of houses. Only way to tell the museum, and other buildings apart is the pair of cannons inside the compound.

Address: Navalar Road, Jaffna

Timings: 8AM to 4PM

5. Cathedrals

There are few cathedrals in Jaffna, but it is spread around. St. James’ Cathedral is about fifteen minute walk from the Nallur Kovil. Other cathedrals to visit are St. Mary’s, St. John’s.

St. James Cathedral

6. Nallur Kanthasamy Kovil

Nallur Kanthaswamy Kovil is the most famous temple in Jaffna. This temple has daily rituals in the afternoon, and in the evening. Photography is not allowed inside the temple, and men have to take off their shirt before entering. There are many small shops selling incense sticks, coconuts.

Nallur Kanthaswamy Kovil

7. Dutch Fort

The Dutch Fort of Jaffna was built by the Portuguese. After the Dutch took the fort, Jaffna became an important hub for trade in Sri Lanka. Back in the days many battles have taken place during the civil war, and the years of assault to it in the war shows. There is restoration activities going on here. There are also army soldiers stationed here.

6. Jaffna Library

The Jaffna library was built during the 1930s. It is right next to the Fort. There is a sports stadium being constructed opposite the library. This white building is one of the most beautiful in Jaffna, and one of the biggest in Asia. The library was burnt during the war, but it is being fully restored. Some of the books from the library was spread around many small libraries in Jaffna to protect them.

7. Eat Delicious Seafood

The local food is to die for in Jaffna. It has a flavor different from rest of Sri Lanka, and tasty varieties. Two of my favorite places to eat is the Hotel Rolex, and the Cosy Restaurant. Both these places have great food, but try and make sure you get here during lunch, at 1 PM to 3 PM to get warm and delicious food.

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Delicious?

For Vegetarians? – Try Mangos, Temple Road, Nallur. You could eat delicious South Indian meals for 200 to 400 LKR. They have great parota, idiyappam also. After lunch, head out for desserts at Rio ice cream shop. It is a short walk from Mangos.

8. Point Pedro

So after visiting the above mentioned places you go back to your accommodation. Sleep early so that you can wake up early to catch a bus to Point Pedro. There is a lighthouse, a church, and a temple. There are lot of buses to and from Point Pedro, but the direct buses stop at 6PM in the evening. I missed the 6PM bus, and I had to take a bus to a village on the Jaffna-Kandy highway, and take a Jaffna bus from there.

9. Markets

There are many small markets in Jaffna, many of them near the Jaffna Fort. The fish market on Beach Road is busy, and you can catch up on all the activities there. Early morning is a nice time to be there.

Dried fish

10. Nagavihara Buddhist International Centre

Nagavihara Buddhist temple is located on Stanley Road about fifteen minute walk from the Dutch Fort. There is a State Bank of India branch near it. Considering the history of the temple, this is an important place of worship. This is one of the most earliest established Buddha Viharas in Jaffna.

Address: Stanley Road Junction, Jaffna.

Nagavihara

11. Nainativu Island

I did not visit this place, but the locals and the guides suggest this place to visit. The island is reachable by boat. The island has interesting places to visit, including a temple.

12. Have lunch at a temple

The Hindu temples in Jaffna that serves delicious lunch at temples for interested devotees. Rice with vegetable curry is usually what is served in a banana leaf. It is free, but if you want to pay for the food, pay it in the form of donation to the temple.