This small enigmatic island 30 kilometers from the Jaffna Peninsula can only be reached upon passing the suckling current of the ‘meeting place of the unpredictable often forbidding seven seas’, and the lighthouse which allows one a glimpse of India, a stone’s throw away or so it seems bobbing along in a motor boat. Originally called ‘the island of cows’, it is an intriguing place with its classic old school tuck shops, old traditional fishing Quays, Buddhist temple ruins, its own legendary royal ruler King Vaidyarasan, credited with the ancient agricultural constructions, and a strange, bleak, windswept landscape that wild horses trot across daily. Some say these natural beauties came with the Portuguese and then bred into the wild herd you see wandering freely through out the island as if it were their own.
The ancient walls of the unusual ancestral homes are made of huge coral chunks that were once used as ballast for the trading ships and stones with simple Palmyra leaf fan fences given the island an idyllic feel. The architecture feels as if it has been hewn from nature and has a haunting beauty about it combined with its fascinating attractions such as the giant baobab tree, with its doorway-like opening that legendarily constricts like a shrinking room during storms. Is just one of many reasons to make this sometimes precarious journey to enjoy the spicy Jaffna food home stay style and see the Quindah Tower, the old stables, the ‘Devil’s Well’, which is the only fresh water source on the island.
If you are of religious persuasion you can put money into the cracks of rocks with messages for good fortune that grow on religious ground and have resulted in more than a few wishes coming true. No trip whether saddled up to a wild pony or riding around the island on an old singer bike would be complete without seeing the remnants of the temple ruins from the Chola dynasty, which is yet another simply amazing feature of this incredibly historic island.