The sun rises up igniting the sky with a beautiful yellow. The morning wind blows by tousling the leaves of the trees gently, as if in love. The soft rustle of the leaves adds to the harmony of the birds as they perform their ballads to the world. Away from the humdrum of busy urban noise is the beauty of Mullaitivu. It is truly a natural paradise where nature shares its home with humans. I got to explore this beautiful district during my time in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka and I have yet to witness beauty and simplistic co-existence between humans and nature anywhere else. I was so fortunate to be able to admire the Real Mullaitivu.
Mullaitivu is a beautiful district filled with lush lagoons and gorgeous beaches. The people are just as stunning and vibrant as the nature that surrounds them. Acres and acres of paddy fields unfold before you in all its light green and yellow glory. It is an incredible sight to see the stalks of paddy sway to and fro as if in a dance with the wind. You may see a cheerful farmer or two cultivating their field with a shovel and a smile. These farmers are very resourceful. To avoid using harmful pesticides, they use a plant named Sentil which is ground and the powder is used a natural pesticide. As I went about exploring, I found inland tanks that were full of lotus flowers. These inland tanks looked as if they were covered in a carpet of violet mixed with yellow ochre and was a breathtaking sight..
THE MULLAITIVU . The inner part of the Mullaitivu district is full of lush lagoons and forest areas that are home to a plethora of fauna. The Kokkilai Bird Sanctuary is a haven for migratory and local birds due to its tropical climate and marshy areas that facilitate reproduction. Due to the homage provided by the mangrove forests, the birds tend to stay for extended periods of time thus establishing Sri Lanka as the beautiful bird house of Asia. Besides the natural beauty, the Mullaitivu district covers most of the forest cover in the area. The Mulliyawalai West Forest is a massive expanse of lush green forest area that spreads from the coast to the west. This forest is a keeper of ancient secrets and ruins of historic palaces and structures that are still being investigated by archaeologists.
The Mulliyawalai Village is just past the tranquil path of the forest. This village is very well known for its Palmyra based products and handloom clothing. As far as Palmyra based products are concerned, from sweet and delicious toddy, palmyra root dishes and wine to palmyra based handicrafts, this little village has it all. The women of Mullaitivu are very skilled at making palmyra based roots and special dishes. They even make utensils, luggage, containers and beautifully crafted ornaments. It was so refreshing to see how much they are against the use of plastics and are encouraging the people to use palmyra as much as possible.
The Mahawansa is considered the greatest chronicle of ancient Sri Lanka. It speaks of an Aryan prince, Vijaya, who met a Sri Lankan woman by the name of Kuveni. She was seen making threads for clothing during this fateful meeting. Hundreds of years later, the people of Mulliyawalai have not forgotten those roots. The handloom industry is thriving and it provides clothing for everyone without harming the environment. Travellers are welcomed to see the process of threading and buy themselves some souvenirs. The authentic sarongs, sarees and linen explode with colours of every hue in the rainbow. I couldn’t help myself and I had to buy a sarong. Further on in my travels around Mullaitivu, I came upon the famous Vattapalai Kovil. This kovil is dedicated to the Goddess Kannaki who is fabled to have brought on rain during a severe drought while also giving people the wealth of children through fertility.
It is a magnificent kovil with its grand and vibrant colours, ornate statues and architecture. Not only the locals, but hundreds of devotees from Kerala of India visit this kovil to pay respects as well as to receive blessings from the Goddess. The place has a very spiritual aura to it where as you walk around and engage in the necessary procedures, your soul feels lighter and you’re filled with hope.
I left the Vattapalai Kovil with my faith renewed and continued on withs my sight-seeing. This was when I found myself at Kanukarni Kulam reservoir. Known as one of the largest irrigation reservoirs in Mullaitivu, it is what provides the smaller tanks in the surrounding area with water. It is also a hub for multiple species of aquatic flora and very rare species of birds. Another perfect location for photographers and environmental enthusiasts to watch the sun set over the lake and paint the sky with its glorious inferno.
In addition to this, Mullaitivu is home to so many beautiful lagoons, one of which is the Nandikadal Lagoon. This wondrous lagoon looks like a cone from a bird’s eye view due to the number of small rivers that feed it. It is a beautifully photogenic location that is also thought provoking as you witness the birds fly in search of their food in the dawn. It is also home to the Vadduvagal Bridge; a 430-meter long sea road that connects the land between the lagoon to the Mullaitivu City. Surrounded by hundreds of mangroves, this area is currently home to approximately 60 families whose livelihood is fishing.
The Puthukkudiyiruppu Military Museum and Monument is also in this vicinity. It is visited by hundreds of people to see the monument that tributes the end of a dark period and the new beginning of more peaceful times. Even though the dark shadow that is cast by years of war still lingers around, the people have slowly stepped into the light and keep on persevering together as one unit. There is also quite a large Sinhalese community that resides within the district. The people are wonderful, cheery, very helpful and kind. When I needed it, the helpful souls stopped their own work and tended to me which was very generous of them. The Pudumathalan Lagoon is another picturesque lagoon that is close to the North east coast of Sri Lanka. For a vast variety of endemic flora and fauna, this lagoon’s lush greenery is home. You are more than likely to find a few fishermen trying their luck on the clear waters. The Nayaru beach and lagoon is also amazing. From a bird’s eye view, it looks like a snake slithering out into the open ocean. It is blocked by a sandy ridge of water. The lagoon is surrounded by mangroves, with coconut trees towering over. The entire place is home to species of small fish and ducks. What’s more? The sand here is black. Yes. Black. It is a very unusual colour that elevates the beauty of the lagoon and beach..
Another wondrous location within the forest cover of the district was the Archaelogical ruins of Kurunduwasoka. According to archaeological records, it holds the largest inscription ever found in Sri Lanka. This massive inscription was prepared during the time of King Mahinda the 3rd. The aramaya or shrine was built by a different king during a different time in history. The Kurundammale Temple is another historic marvel, however, the temple has been destroyed by treasure hunters. It is said that a priceless treasure lies under the soil of this temple. All these archaeological marvels are surrounded by the magnificent covers of forest around. After exploring the inside of Mullaitivu, I finally decided it’s time to pay a visit to its beautiful beaches and I am so thankful that I did. It is said that the incredible coastline of Mullaitivu was used by the Kings who ruled the Jaffna Kingdom for their trade activities. The Mullaitivu beach is gorgeous with turquoise blue water lapping at the shores leaving a white, frothy mark on the sand as if some kind of milk moustache. The beach is shallow and safe for swimming so you are more than likely to encounter families frolicking around on a Sunday. The calmer of the two beaches is the Alampil Beach. It is a small beachline that consists of some very friendly and hospitable people in the village. It is a small fishing community that stays together in harmony with sea. One thing common in both beaches, are the crimson sunsets and sunrises. It is truly a moment of transcendence as you watch the warm glowing sun sink in to the horizon and watch it rise again the next morning. The sky is lit by shades of crimson, yellow, red, purple, magenta and more. It really makes you realize how beautiful and incredible the universe we live in is.
In a way, the district of Mullaitivu is mirrored by its people. The colours, the lifestyle, the lush expanses of forests, ancient ruins and lovely beaches combine together to form one body and one soul that breathes and lives intertwined with nature without harming it or letting it overcome the urban development. This is clearly evident with the feeding of monkeys that they do and the peaceful dealings with wild elephants. This is a prime example of living with nature but what’s more? They give back to nature. They pay their homage to mother earth by protecting it to the best of their abilities and nature in turn rewards them back. That is what peaceful co- existence is. That is how you live in an eco-friendly way. That. Is. The Real Mullaitivu.