Friday, February 24, 2017

Jaffna via Poonarin over the Sangupiddy Bridge

Follow my Photo writing after the description below.........

Jaffna today is one of my favourite leisure haunts and a preferred travel destination and will be always longing to be there when time permits.

I have been here twice before in 2011 and 2014. Both trips have been recorded in this Blog as well. The first in 2011 was just for eight hours while 2014 was a bird watching trip based in Chundikulam. The likns to them are as below. 

Go here to see my visit in 2011 ....... and here for my visit to Chundikulam in 2014.

My third visit to the peninsular during the Christmas weekend from 24th to 26th of December 2016 was mainly to capture the colour and the shapes in the peninsular on my camera lenses and to study any changes to the native lifestyles since my first visit in 2011 after the war. My habit of bird-watching had to take the back seat this time as the interests of the other members took priority. Nevertheless allowing them to their interests I had the much needed free time on my own to see what the general eye would slip on these trips.

Sun..... Sea....and the soil blended with its legendary reddish-brown earth of the peninsular is a kaleidoscope of colour and a marvel for the photographer.

One significant change that I saw when compared to the first visit in 2011…was the enticing reception of visitors to the area by the youth. There was however an occasional pessimistic comment from a senior citizen which could be understood. The local travel industry is big business over here and the revenue is definitely trickling down to grass root level.

Day to day affairs seem to run smooth.... it was evident in the busy public market while the town itself is a hive of activity with traffic congestion needing control through traffic lights. People are in all smiles and happy though some change in their habits were significant. The ubiquitous peddle bicycle the most preferred mode of conveyance then has been replaced by the motor scooter. The peddle bicycle that was limited to the school going girl for the fairer sex then, is extended to the lady riding the motor scooter today. However when on a motor bicycle she prefers not to straddle the pillion but to perch herself side ways with both legs on the same side. To sit otherwise is still to be considered a violation of female modesty in this delicate society.

Numerous are the Hindu Temples dedicated to the same God sitting in different adobes divided among the extremely cast controlled social hierarchy of Jaffna. Most of these old temple structures have been knocked down and large and elaborate modern temples dedicated to the same gods are coming up in line with the rehabilitation of other infrastructure. The old temples are salvaged and transported south as artifacts fetching exorbitant prices per piece. The old timber crafted scared animals are now done in cement and fiber. However the iconic Nallur Temple still stands high and mighty with its old grandeur and is the center of attraction in the city.

The three ice cream parlors in Nallur ……… the famous Raja, Lingam and the Rio are big business enterprises with their multiple flavours and colour catering to the ever increasing local traveler frequenting the Nallur Kovil which today is more a tourist attraction than a place of worship.

Nainathive the island with a regular public transport facility by ferry is the sacred land for the Buddhist traveler….. The enlightened one is said to have set foot on this piece of land. The walk between the arrival and departure ferries to the island is an ideal view port to judge the islanders sea faring lifestyle.

However it was pleasing to see many Moor families crammed in the ferries bound Nainathive way devoid of the general haram conditions laid down in associating with other religions and beliefs. The purdah and the abaya worn by the Moor women was more a tradition here than a regulation. This was a common site in most public places and tourist attractions. A good sign of coexistence of the communities after a brutal war that tried to put the them apart.
   
My habit of bird watching though not a priority this time did demand a stop for a click while in Mandathive when the Flamingos were in plentiful and at very close range for photography.

The visit to Point Pedro had to be postponed for the morning on the last day as  time was running out while the Naguleswaram temple in Keerimalai and the adjoining beach was a nightly visit. The two grand kids were adamant to get in the water and insisted on a moonlit sea bath. It was then that the the sea close to the beach started emanating multiple neon flashes and the kids were pulled out of water fearing the bright flashes to be of jelly fish. Our team consisted of two professional zoologist with one specialized in marine biology; and it was later found that it was a type of sea worm that were in the act of spawning emanating such lighting for attraction of the opposite gender. We were back at the hotel with a specimen collected for reference.

Following day we checked out and rushed all the way to Point Pedro to be at the Northern most point in the island. It was sad to see the actual place not to be frequented by the traveler but to stop over at the large jetty that came up as a need during the war used more as a car par now being mistakenly identified as the northern most point in the island.

The actual point is further west from this point and is found to be just abandoned. Much could be derived from this place with a proper interpretation of the location with better photo backgrounds provided to attract the visitor where in return the local community would benefit both socially and economically.

On the way back we checked in at an ancient mansion supposed to be used by a local chieftain and the once famous Jaffna Fort; now rehabilitated to its ancient glory. This fort had had a sever battering during the famous siege of it with the Sri Lanka Army trapped within during the war. A daredevil rescue operation saved the  Sri Lankan Army and never was the fort a strategic location in the 30 year war again. Today the Duraiappah Stadium has had a total face lift and the statues of Duraiappah and Chelvanayagam have been replaced discarding the old decapitated ones seen in 2011. A special feature and a land mark in Jaffna that I would identify is its clock tower. A very tall one compared to the other ones in the country, the Jaffna clock tower is seen in a distance over the trees and the building to read the time clearly and visibly. 

The general traveler still prefers to visit the religious localities discussed in the chronicles linking India and Buddhism but tend to neglect in seeing the uniqueness of this piece land and its geology. The Northern Provincial Council has identified tourist locations and historically important sites in the peninsular and marked with direction boards. However the general traveler seem to be ignorant of them. A better interpretation with a route map and write-ups should be available to the traveler which will definitely be of value to both the authorities and the community.


Photo-Writing …………………

Poonarin..... the green patch of the Kilinochchi District of the North is now a flourishing rice paddy......

Jaffna via Poonarin.......name corrupted from Poonakari




Sangupiddy.... the British Colonial rule planned to build a cause way across the shallow waters linking Sangupiddy with Karathivu in 1932; this was objected by the local fishermen and the salt producers. The partially built cause way was nevertheless used until after the war this magnificent bridge came up allowing boat traffic under it.







                            





Jaffna City and its suburbs are linked historically

The Kadurugodai for the northerner and Kadurugoda for the southerner is a ancient Buddhist temple that survived the war in the Chunnakkam area






The Maruthanar Madam Anjanajar Temple....this statue of god hanuman is 72 feet high and was established in early 2013. It can be seen from far even though the electricity cabling in front of it disturbs the gigantic view of it.







The Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil....is the most significant of all the Hindu temples in the Jaffna District. It stands in the town of Nallur just outside Jaffna and is dedicated to Lord Murugan or God Kandaswami. Today it is a tourist attraction and a significant land mark in the peninsular.







Rio Ice-cream a must in Nallur....






Jaffna Fort and its vicinity... 



The ancient clock tower stands tall above the rest

Modern infrastructure catering to the traveler





Nainativu...as described in history is a small island hamlet in the north of Sri Lanka where the Naga people existed. The Buddhist shrine on the island is said to have been visited by the enlightened one to resolve a dispute among the Nagas...while the Nagapooshani Amman Kovil also located in the island is dedicated to Parvati a consort of Shiva............the ferries arrive at the Buddhist shine location and depart at the Kovil location giving the traveler the prominence of visiting both sites.








The Nagadeepa Vihara......





Life in the island

Peripheral fencing done in slanted stakes to keep the goats away. The slant prohibits the animal to pass through...


Flamingo a common bird around is molded to proportion.....  
 Sea shells of varied forms are for sale 








Mango and Nelli fruit used for juicing is also for sale




Nagapooshani Amman Kovil










Island People







The Traveler......

 









Mandathiu....is an islet situated off the Jaffna peninsula and is connected to the city of Jaffna by means of a causeway. The islet is thus surrounded by the sea on three sides and on one side by land.


 



Kankesanthurai or KKS..... is the Northern most area on the country and was famous for the primary cement factory which was destroyed in the 30 year war......



Dambakola Patuna from where the Sacred Sapling was brought in from Gaya in India







The true Northern most point in KKS....


People and Lifestyles in KKS






The Traveler...




Nature in KKS.....

Whimbrel a migratory species 




The Naguleswaram temple in Keerimalai... is also known as the Thirutambaleswaram Kovil of Keerimalai. It is located to the north of Jaffna, in the suburb of Kankesanthurai. One of the oldest shrines of the region, it is the northernmost of the island's Pancha Ishwarams of Lord Siva, venerated by Hindus across the world from classical antiquity. Hindus believe its adjacent water tank, the Keerimalai Springs, to have curative properties, which irrigation studies attribute to high mineral content sourced from underground.





Jaffna Market.... a marvel of color and activity

Fish...shrimp...crab...squid..... 














Dried and salted fish.....



Vegetables and Fruit...produce of Jaffna...















Betel-nut & Betel- leaf is dressed and ready for the habitual.... 





Household Commodities is all for sale...










Market People...







The Traveler....



The traditional railway is still the preferred mode of conveyance with the rehabilitated rail system and the infrastructure  


No comments:

Post a Comment