Explore the sights which give Mannar its unique character. As visitors explore and become more familiar with the surroundings, flagship names like Adam’s Bridge, Mannar Fort and Doric House will soon become a part of the jargon. Mannar provides the diversity of sights that any visitor would hope for, meshing the unique facets of local tradition and history with the effortless abundance of nature's gifts.
A 30km long expanse of 18 sand banks, which connect the island of Sri Lanka to India, as well as separating the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar. This iconic natural formation is famed for both its part in the legend of Ramayana, as well as being a resting stop for many migratory birds annually. The waters around these islets are home to the rare and elusive dugongs.
The sanctuary is over 4,800 hectares large, and is one of the best spots in Sri Lanka for spotting migratory birds, as well as other animal species.
An ancient fort, built by the Portuguese in the 17th century.
An uncommon sight in this part of the world, said to have been brought by Arabian traders’ centuries ago. It is a sight that precedes the colonial era.
Just as Adam’s Bridge connects Sri Lanka to India, this single road joins Mannar Island to the mainland.
Built over two centuries ago by Ceylon’s first British Governor, Sir Frederick North.
A marvel of agricultural engineering that is over 1500 years old, these days it is popular for birding, boating and fishing.
A suspension bridge hanging over the Aruiyaaru River built nearly a century ago.
Built over 450 years ago, Mannar Fort was built to monitor the Talaimannar Strait, one of the few places where large ships could safely pass through. It was a vital area for the ancient maritime Silk and Spice routes.
The Lady of Madhu Church was built in 1872, which houses the revered shrine for the Lady of Madhu, which is two centuries older. The Lady of Madhu is one of the few remaining relics that survived the Dutch Protestant persecution in the 17th century. Every 15th of August, a large festival is held to celebrate the Day of Assumption, drawing Catholics from all over Sri Lanka.
The northern most port on Mannar Island, which used to have a ferry service to India, before a storm destroyed the receiving port. There are additionally two lighthouses, an older iron one which used fire, and a newer one that was built in 1915.
An ancient temple and village which is over 2200 years old. It hosts one of the few saplings grown of the original Bodhi tree under which Buddha reached enlightenment, as well as many other historical monuments.
A temple dedicated to the supreme god Siva, it was originally built several centuries before being destroyed in the 17th century at the beginning of the Colonial era, and was later rebuilt in the exact same place in the 19th century. It hosts the Maha Shivaratri festival annually.
A national park bordering Mannar district, it was established in 1938. It is one of the best places to see leopards and barking deers; in addition, it holds the historical Kudirimalai, an ancient port. It is also well known for the villus, naturally formed rainwater lakes, which attracts wildlife from all over the park.
An open-aired Islamic shrine, in which lies two 40 foot long graves, supposedly containing the bodies of Adam and Eve according to the local tradition.