The Jaffna peninsula, located at the northernmost end of Sri Lanka, is scattered with brightly painted Hindu kovils, the ruins of ancient Buddhist temples, and churches from the colonial period that go back in time to the 17th Century.
Most Hindu kovils in Jaffna have their own festivals and pageants during which the temple deity is paraded through the streets in a decorated chariot. The Nallur Kandasamy Kovil, one of Jaffna’s main kovils, has its annual festival in August. The festival which goes on for more than 25 days has thousands of devotees from all over the country congregating here at this time. A boat ride to the remote island of Nainativu or Nagadipa as it is also known, will take you to the ancient Buddhist Nagadipa Vihara which is visited by Buddhist pilgrims during the Vesak and Poson festivals in May and June. About 20 km from the Jaffna town is the Dambakola Patuna, the ancient sea port at which the Buddhist nun Sangamitta landed with a Bo sapling from India. At the northern end of the peninsula are the famous Keeramalai fresh water springs which are known for their healing and curative properties.