Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Sri Lanka drenched in vibrant tales of history and splendorous buildings, there is no doubt about it – Jaffna was one of the most iconic and cleanest places in the country before the chaos all unfolded. Although, we say that the past is in the past, the same cannot be said for a place such as Jaffna that was exhausted by war. The past still remains quite vivid here in the ruins of the 30-year long war that Sri Lanka suffered.
Arrive in Jaffna and you’ll find that no one stares or grins about the fact that you might be from an entirely different part of the world or a different part of the country – as to your surprise, they will greet you with pleasant smiles and thoughtful looks! The people here are as honest and wouldn’t dream of fleecing you of your money. Unlike other touristy regions in the country, vendors in Jaffna won’t overcharge you. The prices here are cheap and very reasonable whatever you choose to buy – they are kind and genuine people. This makes it easy to walk around town without being bombarded by scammers. While walking through the streets, you’ll find that in some areas, shops have been shut down or are in shambles altogether. What might have been absolutely beautiful dwellings once upon a time are now just empty shells with blackened balconies and empty archways.
Sad as it may be, this was once the only thing known to the victims of war in this area. Moreover, there are a few of the bunkers that were used by Tamil Tigers. This is now a part of war tourism in Sri Lanka and has signposts guiding tourists. It is also quite inspiring to see how the people of the opposing force were determined to fight for their rights. It is this determination that drove them to build what they’ve built and continued their operations in Jaffna. As they say that there are two sides to a war story, neither of us can judge the soldiers who valiantly fought on both sides. All we can see today is that it is a story of the past and it certainly teaches us that war and violence is never an answer for retaliation and revolution!