So I’ve finally made the time to work on the backlog of my roadtrips here at home. It’s 2016 and the rains have started – almost; and so on a gloomy Sunday morning I look back at the memories…
Going back to 2015, we travelled up to Mannar in February. Mannar is more of a fishing village in the North Western coasts of Sri Lanka and world renowned for centuries for producing the world’s finest pearls. It was one of the strategic locations during the civil war and still holds remnants of those daunting times.
There are two routes to Mannar – one is a coastal route via Puttlam and the other inland via Kurunegala.
A predominantly Muslim village with a past. History seeps through the broke walls and ramparts of old forts built during the times of the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch. The Mannar Railway is a popular attraction as one of the oldest rails in the country.
We stayed at Shell Coast Resort, Mannar – a decent, quiet place a little close to town. The resort had about 10 spacious cabanas, with plenty of space for all four of us in one room. It’s on the beach itself, so we could walk down at dawn for an early morning sea-swim and watch the sunset.
Make sure you take a bicycle ride or drive into town and further away from town along the coasts. There are a few of historic sites, old torn villages, the infamous baobab tree and the Mannar Fort. Thanthirimale is another renowned Buddhist site with beautiful stone Buddhist sculptures.
One other is The Doric House and Tower at Arippu, which is located on the Puttlam-Mannar road; the remains of what used to be one grand bungalow of Sir Frederick North, a British Governor and later the Earl of Guildford. The mansion was built for Sir Frederick who arrived in Ceylon in the late 1700’s to supervise the pearl fisheries operations in the region which was revived during the time of the British.
A drive into town also led us here – a Naval base near the battered railway station. While in town, we stopped at a street-side shop for some lunch – the local fried rice is a must-try! And of course a glass of cool lemon juice from a bicycle vendor to quench your thirst on a hot day.