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Ian Lockwood -

An intriguing locale contributing to Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage. Mannar was formerly a renowned pearl fishing centre, and today, it hosts some of the most remarkable attractions in Sri Lanka. The city is home to lots of magnificent colonial artifacts, massive baobab trees, a paradise of birds and even donkeys! Don't forget to wear your sun block.

Nature, Beaches and Wildlife

The city preserves the charm and beauty of a coastal town, featuring numerous unique and multi-coloured birds. You can also find the oldest baobab tree in Sri Lanka.

An island off the coast of Sri Lanka, connected to the mainland through a 30 kilometre long causeway.

Also known as Vankalai Sanctuary, it is a paradise of numerous exotic migratory birds, both aquatic and semi-aquatic.

A massive irrigation tank constructed in the 5th century by King Dhatusena and restored by King Parakramabahu in the 12th century.

Planted by Arab Traders, it is a 700 year old tree with a bark resembling the skin of an elephant.

A lovely beach of golden sand and turquoise waters with excellent swimming spots.

A panoramic fishing destination with small waves, salty seas and golden sand.

A well-maintained welfare centre for abandoned and wounded donkeys in Mannar.

Heritage and Religious Sites

Mannar had been an important part of Sri Lanka’s colonial history, where you can still catch a glimpse of the architecture and monuments of all three colonizers of Ceylon - the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.

A 500 year old fortress built by the Portuguese, fortified by the Dutch and later occupied by the British.

A mythical bridge believed to be constructed by God Rama to rescue his wife Sita, who was held captive in Sri Lanka by the Rakshasa king, Ravana.

A magnificent ancient Hindu temple, dating more than 2000 years back, dedicated to the Great God Shiva.

Dedicated to Mother Mary, it is the Holiest Catholic Shrine in the island, with a history spanning over 400 years.

Built in the 19th century, it is an iron structure used to guide boats with fire as a navigational light.

Formerly known as Sonbithoduvai, the ancient lighthouse was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

The Doric Bungalow was built by the British governor, Sir Frederick North, alongside the Arippu Dutch Fort.

At the request of ascetic Thivakka, the procession which brought the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi from Dambakola Patuna to Anuradhapura, came to Thanthirimale and rested for a night. This ancient 3rd-century BC temple consists of amazing Buddha statues, library and an ancient Bodhi tree.

A coastal settlement in Mannar, with the Talaimannar lighthouse and pier by the beach.