Located around 5 and a half hours up north from Colombo, lies the town of Vavuniya, widely regarded as the gateway to the north of Sri Lanka. Although not necessarily adorned with rich heritage and history, as opposed to its more popular Jaffna neighbor, the town still has some interesting features up its sleeve in the form of some interesting places of worship and interesting views of northern Sri Lanka, making it a great place to take a break in, should you be travelling around the northern areas of the country.

Top Reason to Visit

Vavuniya may be home to a few interesting sights that interest the traveller, however, ever since the end of the 3-decade long Civil War in 2009, after defeating the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), Vavuniya has become quite an important resting spot for the traveller journeying across the north of Sri Lanka, hence being dubbed the ‘Gateway of northern Sri Lanka’. More recently, the diverse and peaceful coexistence of the religious groups in the area, along with some interesting places of worship certainly has accentuated the town’s popularity among travellers, thus taking the top reason to visit the town.

While You’re There

An attractive tank to observe:

One of the few sights that Vavuniya is quite notable for is the Vavuniya Kulam, which is an irrigation tank that is quite picturesque when viewing from the sprawling Ganesh temple, the Kudiyiruppu Pillaiyar Kovil. Taking a morning stroll or evening stroll really brings out some interesting views of the natural splendour of the town, something that is often overlooked and unnoticed by even the locals.

Amazing places of worship:

What makes this town special though is the peaceful coexistence of the major religions of the country that work together in unison. This unity in harmony can be seen in the many places of worship located very close to each other. The ancient Madukanda Vihara, the photogenic Kandasamy Kovil and the lavishly decorated Grand Jummah Mosque lay testament to the unhindered cooperation of the religious communities that dwell in the area, even after being in the thick of a 3-decade long Civil War.

History of the North:

Another, rather, unknown site of Vavuniya is the Archaeological Museum that displays a great detail about the history of the north of Sri Lanka. From its 4th to 5th century pinched - faced terracotta figures to the 5th to 8th century Buddha statues; anyone can understand how the town contributes to the colossal and unique history of the Paradise Island of Sri Lanka. What makes it even more enticing is the fact that this museum is open to the public and does not charge any entrance fee, thus making a part of Sri Lankan history easy to access for the masses.

Insider Advise

Travel: Getting about in Vavuniya is relatively easy, since most places of interest are located walking distance to each other. Should you opt for a motorized option, then there are tuk-tuks and busses, however, make sure you research on the distance of your destination before hopping on a tuk-tuk, since they do not possess metres and could overcharge.

Weather: Vavuniya experiences hot and humid climate all throughout the year with temperatures reaching up to 35°C. However, the months from January to March have proven to be quite bearable, as temperatures drop down to at least 27°C with bearable humidity too.

Money: Credit and debit cards are quite worthless here, so it is mandatory that you carry cash in hand with small notes like LKR 20s, 50s and 100s.

Clothing: Being clad in comfortable / light clothing is the best way to go about the town, except for the religious places of worship.

Safety: Vavuniya is generally a very safe place, however, do be careful of your belongings and do avoid travelling after dark as the town can get quite empty and lonely.

Meals and refreshments: There are quite a few small eateries located near the Kandasamy Kovil, apart from your accommodation provider.

In conclusion, Vavuniya may not be the perfect place to spend that perfect holiday you have been dreaming of, since it has only recently come out of intense conflict and does not have many sights to interest the traveller. However, it certainly is a place that has to be visited, at least, for a few hours since its few sights are, in fact, quite interesting. Coupled with such a unique society, it is the perfect place to take a break in after a hard day’s travel in northern Sri Lanka.

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