Source: Original Story By TheCommonWanderer
“It’s.. different up there,” our tuk tuk driver, Dilshan warned us as we puttered through the tea plantations just outside Ella. “The north, it doesn’t even feel like the same country,” he continued. “Actually, you might not even like it”We’d been chatting about our plans to head north to Jaffna – an area of Sri Lanka often skipped over by travellers to this little island paradise – and while thankfully Dilshan’s warnings about not liking it ended up to be incorrect, he was definitely right about one thing: Jaffna. is. different. These northern realms of Sri Lanka drum to a beat of their own, lead by the Tamils and a strong Hindu culture so entirely separate from the Sinhalese and buddhist culture of the south.Colourful Hindu temples dot the region, frequented by sari-clad women and shirtless men praying to the gods. The language is distinct, the people more reserved, and the cuisine influenced strongly by southern India. The region, finally rebuilding and healing after a bloody 26 year civil war that only ended in 2009, still bears the scars from this tumultuous period. More than 100,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the conflict, while today a few burnt out homes and bullet-filled walls remain. For many, a deep pain and resentment towards the south and the outcome of the war is still felt.Yet despite it all, Jaffna is a seriously raw and authentic place to visit. We were blown away by the warmth of the locals, which although different to the south, is no less genuine. We also realised that, despite the lack of rope swings and insta-famous locations, Jaffna has an incredible amount of unique things to see and do, including ancient forts and temples, isolated islands, and truly amazing food. Dilshan was right, the north is very different, but we absolutely enjoyed it.The region’s still a while away from truly exploding as a tourism destination, but for those like us who were searching for an authentic travel experience, Jaffna is definitely a place we recommend you visit in Sri Lanka.