The hub of the Hindu culture in Sri Lanka
Jaffna is a city on the northern tip of Sri Lanka. Nallur Kandaswamy is a huge Hindu temple with golden arches and an ornate gopuram tower. By the coast, star-shaped Jaffna Fort was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century and later occupied by the Dutch and British. Jaffna Public Library is a symbol of the city’s post-war regeneration. Jaffna Archaeological Museum has Dutch cannons and pre-colonial artifacts.
The city is surrounded by Jaffna Lagoon to its west and south, Kokkuvil and Thirunelveli to the north, and Nallur to the east. Jaffna peninsula is made of limestone as it was submerged under sea during the Miocene period. The limestone is grey, yellow and white porous type. The entire land mass is flat and lies at sea level. Within one mile (1.6 kilometres) of the city center is the island of Mandativu which is connected by a causway.
Jaffna city was founded as a trading town by European merchants. Although a historic port used by the native Jaffna kingdom was already in existence when the Portuguese arrived, it was the European mercantile activity that made it prominent. In colonial times, production of clothes, items of gold and silver, processing of tobacco, rice and other related activities formed an important part of the economic activities. In modern times, the port was its principal source of revenue but it has declined drastically. Currently it survives as a fishing port. The city had a wide range of industries, including food processing, packaging, making of household items, and salt processing.