Tripin 2019 - page 77

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Day 1
Start your morning by getting
acquainted with Jaffna town. If
you like to get to know a city by
wandering around and getting
a bit lost, Jaffna is perfect – the
town centre is very walkable and
there are lots of shops and stalls
to peruse. The central markets
in particular are fantastic; just
make sure you visit the fruit and
vegetable section for one of
Jaffna’s famous mangoes! If you
prefer a bit more structure, a tuk-
tuk driver can take you on a tour of
the sights.
Eat lunch at the Malayan Café, an
institution in Jaffna. It has been
serving cheap, tasty vegetarian
food for more than 40 years and
it doesn’t look like it has changed
much since it first opened. The
interior is full of old-school wood
paneling, the delicious curries are
served on banana leaves rather
blueberry sundae (250 LKR). The
Jaffna Heritage Hotel just up the
road is an oasis in the afternoon
sun, you can cool off here with a
swim in their shady swimming pool
(300 LKR per person) or simply
hang out on the lawn.
When you’re feeling up to it, you
can visit the Nallur Kandaswamy
temple, which is a two-minute walk
from the Heritage. This is one of
the largest and most significant
Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. You
need to remove your shoes at the
gate and men need to remove their
shirt before entering the temple
itself. It’s a stunning, ornate temple
and the 4:30 prayers are simply
mesmerising.
Across the road from the temple
and down a little laneway is
Mangos restaurant, our favourite
spot to eat in Jaffna. They do
spectacular Southern Indian style
meals and dinner is usually quite
busy with a mix of travellers and
locals. We loved the mango lassis,
dosas and curries – all mopped
up with mouth-watering parotta
(Indian flat bread). A large dinner
for two will cost around 1500 to
2000 LKR.
Day 2
For a busy second day of exploring
the North, make sure you are
fuelled up with a big breakfast
(Our favourite was coconut roti,
dhal curry, pol sambol and eggs –
tasty, spicy and filling!)
There are a number of small
islands north of Jaffna that extend
almost to the tip of India. They
are mostly connected by bridges
and causeways, and are definitely
worth a look. You can hire scooters
and drive yourself, or like us find
a tuk-tuk driver for the day (3750
LKR + tip). Make sure you take
plenty of water and sunscreen
than plates, and there is no cutlery
so do as the locals and eat with
your right hand! A delicious meal
will set you back around 120 – 250
LKR per person.
After lunch, grab a short tuk-tuk
over to the Jaffna Archaeological
Museum in nearby Nallur (3km,
200 LKR). It’s a great little
museum with a range of interesting
artifacts accompanied by diagrams
explaining how they were used.
The attendant enjoyed watching
our horrified faces as he showed us
photos and explained how Hindu
devotees suspend their bodies
from meat hooks during the Vel
Hinduism festival in Jaffna.
It’s best to avoid the mid-afternoon
heat so walk around the corner
to another of Jaffna’s institutions,
Rio’s Ice-cream Shop. The massive
building was heaving with happy
Sri Lankans when we visited,
and we understood why when
we tucked into our enormous
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