The Bottomless Well



The Nilavarai well in Jaffna, in arid northern Sri Lanka, is said to be bottomless. It provides an endless supply of fresh water even during severe droughts. Legend has it that the well was created by the Hindu god Rama by shooting an arrow in to the ground to provide fresh drinking water to his wife Sita.

The well is not really bottomless. Sri Lanka Navy divers found bottom at 52.5 m. They also noted several tunnels located at different levels. The well contains fresh water up to a depth of 18.3 m after which it becomes saline.

Even though there is not a lot to see or do, the ‘bottomless well’ continues to draw crowds. It has been smartened up since my first visit four years ago and the well is now surrounded by an iron fence. There are a couple of benches in the shade if one wishes to sit and contemplate. A guard makes sure that you pay to enter.





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