…soak in liquid Viagra, have a free lunch, laze the afternoon away on the beach, watch the sunset and eat great ice-cream in the evening…
Jaffna in Northern Sri Lanka is not exactly Rio but has its own quiet charm. Here are some of the things I enjoyed in one day during a recent visit to the historic city which was out of bounds for nearly 30 years.
1. Eat a Great Breakfast
You will wake up to the sound of traffic and loud Tamil music. If you ask for tea, you will get it very sweet and milky. But the vegetarian Tamil breakfast of Dosai, Idli, Wadai, Sambar and coconut chutney will be fantastic. Any wayside cafe will serve it.
2. Take a dip at Keerimalai
Some say the waters of Keerimalai mineral springs can cure male impotency and female infertility. Naturally, the nearby Hindu temple has the biggest Sivalingam of the country. According to legend, an ancient sage was cured of his mongoose face after bathing in the springs.
3. Have Lunch at the Kovil
The Hindu Kovil next to the Keerimalai springs invites all visitors to a free vegetarian lunch of red Jaffna Nadu rice and vegetables served on a banana leaf. The atmosphere is electric and the food delicious.
4. Laze the afternoon away on Casuarina beach
20 kms. from Jaffna at Karainagar, Casuarina is the best beach in Jaffna, so called because of the Casuarina trees lining it. The sea here is shallow and the waves gentle.
5. Watch the sunset from the Dutch Fort
Jaffna fort is probably the best preserved Dutch fort in Asia built in 1680 over a Portuguese fortification of 1618. It was severely damaged during then recent Civil War but is undergoing renovation. A path leads from the car park to the entrance. No tickets are needed to enter this impressive structure.
6. Eat Great Ice Cream At Rio
Rio Ice Cream Parlour in the centre of Jaffna is fun place to be at any time. I had mango ice cream and Nelli Crush and loved it.