Many legends in Sri Lanka talk about how this island was the Garden of Eden mentioned in the Holy Bible. The Adam’s Peak mountain top is said to be where God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and they took the long road out of Eden. Adam’s Bridge is where they crossed out into the rest of the world filled with sin. After their deaths, Adam and Eve were brought back into the Garden of Eden to be buried in the garden that God created for them.
Millennia have passed, history became legends and legends have turned into myths. But today you have the opportunity to witness the graves of Adam and Eve just outside the ancient port city of Mannar which is right at the edge of Adam’s Bridge.
The locals have been paying their respects for generations to the father and mother of all our ancestors. It is quite a simple place which is open to all men and women from around the world. Experience Zen while you walk around the two graves which lie side by side.
Did you know that the blue sapphire stone in the engagement ring of the late Princess Diana was from Sri Lanka? Prince William gave this ring to his fiancée at the time Kate Middleton. There are many blue sapphires in the United Kingdom royal monarchy heirlooms that came from the mines of Sri Lanka. Just like the blue sapphires, the pearls of Sri Lanka were incredibly famous during the colonial period as well.
Sri Lanka, also known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” or “Pearl of the East” got these names due to the breath-taking pearls that were found off the shores of the island. Many international monarchs bought some of the best pearls and the Chinese and Arab traders who visited the island many centuries ago carried these pearls to the rest of the world.
The British during their occupation of Sri Lanka capitalized on the Pearl industry in Mannar, when the first governor of Sri Lanka – Fredrick North, son of the British Prime Minister, built his residence on the shores of Mannar overlooking the entire stretch of beach dedicated to the Pearl industry.
A heritage centring around Hinduism and the Tamil community, Mannar is the perfect balance between colonial heritage and the Old World’s legendary iconic places. The city boasts the possession of one of the ancient Shiva temples and the most sacred Roman Catholic church in the country which used to receive close to a million visitors during its feast (At the time, the entire country’s population was 6 – 6.5 million people)
The city of Mannar has seen its share of colonial invasions from Portuguese, Dutch and British. Then for 25 years this was one of the central locations of the civil war. Despite all these invasions and wars, Mannar stands strong with its roots and heritage.
The people of Mannar have always been proud of their heritage and they fought to protect their culture during hard times. Due to their persistence, we have so many ancient monuments still standing for us to witness today.
One of the richest areas in the country in terms of wildlife since you will have the chance to witness the elusive leopards, sloth bears climbing very tall trees in search of their favourite fruits, wild elephants travelling in herds and spotted deer ever so watchful of their surroundings. Apart from these animals there are many water buffaloes, crocodiles enjoying their tan under the burning Sun and jackals always running around looking for prey.
If you like to wake up early in the morning, head over to Vankalai sanctuary which is one of the best birdwatching hotspots in the country. During the migratory season you will be feasted to multiple species of birds travelling together and coming to Vankalai after their long journey across the Indian Ocean.
The natural phenomenon of Adam’s Bridge can be witnessed during your stay here in Mannar as well where you can walk along some parts of the mythical bridge between Sri Lanka and India. Watch over for the bird eggs that may have been laid on the floor.
The beaches of Mannar are incredibly famous for wedding and film photography since the areas are pristine and untouched. On top of that, the areas are not filled with tourists since most of them are unaware of these amazing beach hot spots that they are missing out on. The sunsets are the best in Mannar and if you find the correct curves of a bay, you may be able to enjoy lovely sunrises from across the East as well. The sand dunes and hills provide a different experience to the beach, where one can go on Sand hill hikes and trails which you cannot do anywhere else in the country.