Adam and Eve’s Graves
The 40-foot-long grave of Adam and the 38-foot-long grave of Eve is today a worship place for the local Muslims, who strongly believe that these are the tombs of the first man and woman on Earth.
Birdwatching in Adam’s Bridge / Talaimannar Beach
From the months of November to April, many migratory and resident birds turn the first sand dune of the Adam’s bridge into their nesting grounds. One would have to be careful when walking around since you could walk too close to a bird’s eggs which would be simply lying on the ground and you would get angry calls from momma and pappa birds to stay away from their eggs. This site can be easily visited from Vayu resort. Unless you have made a reservation or have special permission to go into the resort, you would not be allowed in since it is private property. Otherwise, you would have to access the Adam’s Bridge from the other side which is a bit far out. If you decide to walk out from the 1st sand dune to the 2nd and so on, please know when the tides would come in, since the sand dunes move all the time and the road you went in would have changed during the day.
The Governor himself designed his bungalow which was called as Doric bungalow later on due to its architectural style being that of Greek Doric order style. The bungalow was built in 1804 to revive and supervise the pearl industry. Several legends place this bungalow in relation to a Tamil queen who ruled the Western and Northern coastal areas of Sri Lanka at one point in history. Due to the bungalow not being maintained properly over the centuries, part of the house has fallen down to the beach since the bungalow sits at the edge of a cliff.
Arippu Dutch Fort
The two-bastion fort was built by the Portuguese and then occupied by the Dutch and the British. The Doric bungalow was built later, from a small distance away from the Arippu Fort. The British governor Fredrick North used this fort as a storage facility and for the use of his army personnel. Robert Knox, a British sea captain was held captive in the Kandyan kingdom for 19 years by King Rajasinghe II. Robert Knox finally escaped from Kandy and arrived in Arippu Fort before securing safe passage back to England in 1679. The Arippu Fort was used to store some of the precious pearls as well.
Built by the Portuguese in 1560, this is located in the heart of the city overlooking the Indian Ocean making sure that this fort provides all the security that this trading port requires. During the war with the Dutch in 1658, this four-bastion fort was damaged but after they took over Sri Lanka, they rebuilt the fort in 1696. In 1795, the Dutch surrendered the Mannar fort to the British. The ruins inside the fort are interesting with one area being the church of the fort.
This Hindu temple is one of the five ancient Shiva kovils of Sri Lanka which were built to protect the island from invaders. Muneshwaram is in Chilaw, Koneshwaram is in Trincomalee, Naguleshwaram is in Jaffna, the kovil in Mirissa has been lost in time and the fifth temple is the Thiruketheeswaram temple in Mannar. Ancient Indian kings from the Pallava, Pandyan and Chola dynasties have provided for this temple’s, upkeep. In 1575, the Portuguese destroyed most of the temple which was later built in the current location in 1903.
Prince Vijaya of India was banished by his father for his bad behaviour along with his friends and they washed ashore of Sri Lanka, on the day Lord Buddha passed away. Many historians say that Vijaya was the first king of Sri Lanka which is not true at all. There were many Kings of old and Lord Buddha while he was alive once visited Sri Lanka to settle a dispute between two kings in Nagadeepa and Lord Buddha gifted the gem-studded throne to the King in Kelaniya. Vijaya used Kuveni who was the daughter of the king of that region and used her to gain control of Sri Lanka. Then Vijaya chased Kuveni away and married a woman from India. The children of Kuveni and Vijaya are said to be the first ancestors of the Forest Dwellers of Sri Lanka – the Veddas. It is also believed that Kuveni is the elder sister of the local deity Lord Saman who’s temple is in Ratnapura – Sumana Saman Devalaya. Today you can see the castle ruins of Queen Kuveni close to Wilpattu National Park.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu has a history of more than 400 years and is one of the oldest and most visited churches in the country. In 1924, Pope Pius XI granted a canonical coronation to the church. Before the civil war broke out in the country, there were times that during the August feast of the church, close to a million people would gather to this church making it the most visited feast in the country. However, the church is in the middle of a thick jungle where during the civil war, locals couldn’t visit this place.
Talaimannar Pier and Lighthouse
The Talaimannar pier was used when the ferry service between Sri Lanka and India existed until 1964 before a cyclone destroyed the pier. The railway line connects Talaimannar with all the major cities of the country and the ferry would take the guests to Rameshwaram in India. At present only part of the pier is accessible to the public since the Sri Lanka Navy is having their base of operations here. The lighthouse is close to the pier which was built in 1915 during the British rule to assist with the ships at sea. This lighthouse is 62 feet tall and has a lantern and a gallery at the top.
Kunchikulam Suspension Bridge
Across the Malwattu river, lies the 100-meter-long suspension bridge built during the colonial era. The bridge is held by two strong cables from each side of the river. This is a beautiful place to break your journey. If you are visiting Madhu Church, this is close to the turn off.
Giant granite blocks have been used to build a 200-meter-long anicut across the river to provide transportation. It is 27 meters wide and 4 meters high. During the rainy season when the water overflows the bridge, it is an exceptionally beautiful sight to witness, which creates a mini waterfall.
There are 2389 wetlands that are being protected all over the world by RAMSAR and 6 of them are in Sri Lanka. They are Wilpattu, Annaiwilundawa, Madu River, Bundala, Kumana and Vankalai sanctuary. There are many bird species that gather to Vankalai including rare migratory birds such as Spot-billed Duck, Comb Duck and Gadwall. One can see large numbers of Great Flamingos as well.
This tree is a gift from the African slaves who were traded in Jaffna and Mannar by the Portuguese. The tree has a huge trunk which can fit 4 – 5 adults inside and has a unique branch structure giving rise to legends such as the locals believing that this tree was planted upside down with its roots sticking up at the top towards the sky. These trees are more than 400 years old.
Located close to Wilpattu National Park, this point boasts of rich culture where there had been an ancient port city at this location. Later Prince Vijaya arrived at Sri Lanka by chance at this point. There are some areas where you can see black sand and many corals above the sea level. Kuveni’s Palace is close to Kudiramalai as well.
Wilpattu National Park
The largest national park in Sri Lanka is filled with leopards, sloth bears, wild elephants, wild boar, sambur deer, spotted deer, jackal, and many other animals. The park is one of the famous places for leopard and bear watching and now you can see the number of jeeps that enter the national park is increasing. There is a road that travels from Puttlam to Mannar via the Wilpattu National Park. This is a dust road which is not carpeted. Therefore, the road condition is not that good, unless you are travelling in a 4×4 vehicle. Kuveni’s Palace and Kudiramalai point is close to the park as well. During the “Palu” season in April, sometimes you are greeted with a breath-taking view to see bears climbing trees looking for these Palu fruits.
Giants Tank Sanctuary
Another breath-taking place in Mannar is the Giant’s tank and the sanctuary that surrounds it. The tank’s water keeps the vegetation in the sanctuary green and this attracts a lot of migratory birds into the tank and the sanctuary for feeding and breeding purposes. It is an amazing place to watch the sunset in the evening as well.
A beautiful agro farm where the visitors can interact with the owners and get involved in the farming process and learn how locals do their farming and help with the livestock as well. This farm also operates its own farm stay accommodation where visitors can stay for several nights getting to know the locals and using this farm as their base to explore the other sites in Mannar.
One of the most famous beaches in Mannar but still unknown to the world. The long beach is ideal for wedding photoshoots at Sunset which provides a magical setting with the Sun in the background. A safe place to have a bath in the Indian Ocean during the season from November to April. An ideal location for you to relax throughout the day with a book in your hand or pampering your body with a nice tan.
The beach is lively in the morning and in the evening due to the fishing village that is close by. If you arrive at the beach early in the morning you would be able to see the fishing boats arrive from their overnight fishing trips. During the day you might be able to see “Ma-Del” which is a long and huge net that the boats put into the ocean and from the beach they keep pulling the net. If you feel like it, you can join in and the fisherman will welcome your help with a smile on their face. This is a unique method of fishing in Sri Lanka. If you want to start-up any pesca tourism activities, this is a good place to be.
This has one of the longest beaches stretches in Mannar which is ideal for morning walks or jogs on the beach. Another beach that is close to a fishing village, but this is a much quieter beach compared to Pesale beach. The golden sand is the perfect place to be on your vacation to Mannar, to watch a breath-taking sunset.
Talaimannar Sand Dunes
There are many sand dunes in Talaimannar giving a different type of a holiday experience in Sri Lanka. Desert areas are rare in Sri Lanka and this is one of the few places that you can enjoy such a surrounding. If one is looking at locations for film tourism, this could be an ideal option.
Kal Aru Sea Viewpoint
Another beautiful beach point where the Indian Ocean can be seen for many miles along with the long beach. In the mornings and evenings, you will be able to see some photographers trying to capture that perfect early morning and late evening Sun rays into their lens. A good option for wedding and film tourism.