Mannar is a town and district in the Northern province of Sri Lanka.

Understand edit

Mannar Thrikkuratti Mahadevar Temple

Mannar's name originated from the Tamil words maṉṉ and ār, meaning mud river or 1 clay river.    . Since ancient times, Mannar has had a great diversity of people, flora and fauna. With many bodies of water which welcome the presence of incredibly rare waders, Mannar is a great place for a retreat. You can almost be sure to catch a glimpse of the greater flamingoes during the bird migration season (December–April). Besides wildlife, the district also has a fascinating history from the time of the Portuguese and Dutch navigators; many forts still remain viewable, though in ruins.

History edit

Mannar, pronounced Mannārama by locals, has unclear origins as an independent district, It belonged to the central kingdom until the general political conflicts took hold of the country. Mannar functioned as an administration point for the Jaffna Kingdom prior to the Portuguese invasions where the land acted as fortresses for the invaders. After the Dutch occupied the outskirts of Sri Lanka, Mannar acted as a base where they built one of the most recognizable fortresses on the entire island. After the British was hired to fight the Dutch colonials, they took control of the Mannar District along with all its assets. In 1883, a new administrative structure declared Mannar as a district belonging to the Northern Province which hosted the Tamil ethnicity under British colonial rule. Starting in the early 1980s, the Tamil separatist LTTE occupied almost all the northern districts of the country including Mannar for almost two decades. During this time, Mannar's diversity started dropping and the Tamils were the only occupants in the district. While the Sinhalese greatly contributed to the start of the war, the occupants of the Mannar district were left miserable by the constant warfare and manhandling done by the LTTE. This also led to Mannar being in a less developed state in comparison to cities such as Colombo and Anuradhapura. As an example of the devastation and loss of life visited on the area during that period, in 2014, a mass grave of unidentified victims of war was uncovered adjacent to a Hindu kovil in Mannar. It is important that you pay your homage to the families dealing with loss when you visit the town. Talking about the civil war is mostly fine and is considered to be a normal topic of conversation, but do not disrespect or start quarrels regarding the politics of the war.

The royal family of Jaffna that ruled Mannar prior to the colonial invasions

Community edit

The majority of residents in Mannar belong to the Tamil ethnicity, Most of these families were displaced from other parts of the country during the civil war (Mannar was also one of the main residences of Sri Lankan Tamils prior to the civil war, but the diversity collapsed afterwards). Tamils are quite religious and extremely hospitable. You can witness their extravagant architecture through the structures scattered around the area. Be sure to smile and be respectful. Animals like cows are often considered to be holy in some parts of Mannar, so be sure to treat them with respect as well.

Communication edit

Most of the locals tend to communicate with tourists in a mix of both Sinhala and English due to the majority of visitors being familiar with Sinhala than with Tamil. Talking in Sinhala is the best option as it is more locally accepted in comparison to Tamil. For more information on the languages, check the Sinhala phrasebook or the Tamil phrasebook. You might also be able to hire a personal translator from a hotel or a local agency. Some of the locals may be fascinated by your presence and might try to communicate in "slurs", this is noticeably normal in Sri Lanka, especially if you are an African American, you might hear racial slurs coming from the locals, however they aren't attempting to offend you, these words are often used as most locals do not understand the criticality of using racial slurs, and they are most probably unaware of the origins and the general meaning since they've seen it being used in TV shows, movies and social media without the necessary context (this behavior is usually seen in large cities but it can be expected in Mannar as well).

Climate edit

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Mannar climatic chart as of 2019
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

The climate is generally warm, although sometimes Mannar drops to an average temperature of 24 °C. Monsoon seasons may affect weather conditions, but they usually bring only light showers. Whilst heavy rainfall is rare, it can occur without a warning due to a change of wind patterns and proximity to the Indian sub-continent. The citizens in Mannar have adapted to the heated climate of the district, you can spot refreshment stores frequently on your trip there. Despite the displeasing climate, the fauna manages to stay fresh and green while areas like Hambantota dry out the trees during the peak of spring.

Map of Mannar

Get in edit

By train edit

Trains are very cheap in Sri Lanka. A public train includes all the essential facilities. Trains on the Talaimannar line do not have A/C but the windows open. There are two trains per day in each direction.

Train service in Sri Lanka
  • Board the train at the Fort railway station in Colombo and get your tickets, while pre-booking is also available. The journey will take 8½ hours and will cost LKR 540 for 2nd class or LKR 335 for 3rd class. Seats can be reserved in 2nd class only. After getting off at the 2 Mannar station. You can continue your journey to your hotel by taxi.

By bus edit

Bus travel can be comfortable depending on the number of passengers and condition of the vehicle. The price range may also differ according to the type of bus. Bus services provided by the Ceylon Transport Board normally charge Rs. 20 for a trip, but an intercity bus will charge more. The difference between CTB and intercity buses is that an Intercity bus includes more facilities such as A/C, Wi-fi (not all have this) and TV.

CTB bus
Intercity bus
Mannar location in Sri Lanka
  • You will have to get on a bus at the Bastian Mawatha Bus Terminal in Colombo and continue on an 8-hour journey to Vavuniya. The price may vary according to the trip. After getting off at Vavuniya, you must get on a taxi and continue your journey to Mannar (it is suggested to pre-order a taxi). This would take at least 1½ hours.
  • Mannar to Colombo bus express, +94 11 5 116117. Rs. 610.80 per person.

By car edit

You can always rent a car and drive up to Mannar. A direct trip from Colombo to Mannar would take at least 6 hours not including stops. There are multiple routes that you can take and each hosts required facilities such as gas stations and strains of civilization. Driving expenses will vary according to the route and the number of stops you make. The road to Mannar is pleasant and relatively uncrowded, with the exception of a few central locations.

By plane edit

Since there are no direct flights to Mannar This mode of domestic flight is complex, but is easier and much more comfortable. The scheme for plane travel has many subsets such as by train and taxi. This mode of locomotion is ideal for an adventurous person.

By plane and train edit

The procedure for this journey will start from Diyawanna Oya, it is known by almost everyone in Sri Lanka, so getting there would be a piece of cake. There, you must enter the Diyawanna Oya Sea plane base. After hiring a plane for the tour which would range around the prices of 2000 to 26000 rupees. After getting on the flight, you will get to enjoy about 30 minutes of a pleasant tour which would come to a stop at Katugastota airport. Then you have to proceed to the Kurunegala Railway station by the use of a taxi (the prize for the taxi would be about 2300-3600 rupees in total). After boarding the specific train at the station, you will have to set your self on the seat for about five hours or so (expenses would be no more than a 1000 rupees). After reaching the Talaimannar station, you would simply have to take a taxi to Mannar. After you have completed the trip, it would cost you the about 32000 rupees.

By plane and taxi edit

However, there is an alternate method of plane travel. This way might cost thrice the price of the aforementioned method, but is less complicated. You have to board the plane at the Katunayake Airport, or the Bandaranaike International Airport. There are 2 main scheduled flights from the planes Cinnamon Air 9401 and Sri Lankan Airlines 5005 which stays in the port from 10 AM to 10:30 AM. After boarding the plane, you will get to enjoy a good 30-minute flight. The flight would cost at least a 100,000 rupees. After getting off at Sigiriya, you have to travel four hours by taxi to Mannar (this would cost 15,000 rupees at least). This trip would cost you about 120,000 rupees at most. It's four times more expensive than the aforementioned method, but it would get you to Mannar sooner.

Get around edit

  • Mannar is practically an island. It's too large for an average person to cover by foot, so it is best if you hire a car or another vehicle to get around town. You can always hire a tuk-tuk. When renting a vehicle, you must make sure that the vehicle is suitable for an adventure. If not, you will hardly get to experience the beauty of Mannar. If you are travelling alone, the best possible option is that you rent a bike (motorbike). When exploring the water bodies and plains, you must walk on foot. hiring a guide for the trip will help you identify the places you are willing to see.
  • Mannar cabs, +94 77 4436500 (mobile), . Cab hiring service with availability of airport transfer, a driver is included.
  • 1 CTB bus station, Mannar 41000. Main bus station of Mannar. Services are provided daily. Since this is a public service, it might be a little packed on public holidays or in peak season. condition of the vehicles are unconfirmed. The buses usually charge a very low price, but the rule is that you can't pay higher or lower than the given price. The current price for a trip is ranging around Rs. 20. Public bus services are usually rough, but they help you to get to your destination at a very low price. CTB (Ceylon Transport Board) buses can generally be identified as a plain maroon ashok Leyland.
  • 2 Mannar- Vehicle repair. Provides in-house vehicle repair services. You can come here for minor repairs. You Can park your vehicle inside or in front of the garage. The garage is positioned facing he main street, where you can identify it as a very old Shack.

Fuel edit

The prices are at the below given ranges, as of August 2019. The following prices are charged per liter and are set at all government-run Lanka Petrol filling stations.

  • Lanka Petrol 92 Octane: Rs. 177.00
  • Lanka Petrol 95 Octane Euro 4: Rs. 207.00
  • Lanka Auto Diesel: Rs. 121.00
  • Lanka Super Diesel 4 Star Euro 4: Rs. 131.00

Fuel stations are frequent throughout Sri Lanka, but it is suggested that you only use the stations operated by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. If you're heading into a sparsely-populated area, bring a jerry-can.

  • 3 Madhu Maatha Filling Station, Thalei Mannar road, madhu. 24 hours. A busy service station of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. Fuel cans available. Restrooms free.
  • 4 Lanka IOC Filling Station, Mannar. A very compact filling station, open 24 hours daily. The station only has 2 fuel dispensers and a few cans of petrol stored inside the maintenance shed. You can easily identify this station from the large billboard ( A billboard consisting of Orange and dark blue colors) that can be seen when driving through the Medhawachchiya—Talaimannar highway.

See edit

Mannar has many amazing geographical, archaeological and natural factors that are worth to see.

Landmarks edit

  • 1 Mannar Fort. A square -shaped fortress built by the Portuguese and later taken over by the Dutch and then the British. The fortress displays the ancient development of architecture in Sri Lanka. The fortress lies right at the edge of the part of the District that is adjoined with Sri Lanka. The area is well preserved with a collection of fishery villages. Parking space is less, however the entrance is completely free. You can get a promising view of the Mannar bridge from the remains of the fort, and in the evening, it would be a brilliant location for scenic photography.    
Adams Bridge aerial
  • 2 Baobab tree, Pallimunai Rd. Largest tree in Sri Lanka, over 700 years of age and has a circumference of 19.5 meters. This tree was believed to brought to Sri Lanka by Arabian traders. Even though forty baobab trees have been identified in Sri Lanka (35 in Mannar), this tree is believed to be the largest and oldest out of the few. The location of the baobab tree isn't that special, and there is only so little to see there. The tree is surrounded by a few houses and is in the middle of a small dusty field. The tree is mainly used as a backdrop for photographs and it's considered to be customary to snap a photo when visiting the area.
  • 3 Adam's Bridge. An amazing geographical feature which is the single remaining evidence that prove Sri Lanka was connected to India by land. The Adam's bridge is a narrow strip of land with the Indian Ocean by its side. The bridge is 48 km in length and it separates the Gulf of Mannar from Palk Strait. Records say that the bridge was fully over the sea before it was destroyed in a cyclone a few hundred years ago. The Adam's bridge appears in Indian legends such as Rama and Islamic legends such as Adam. It is believed in Islam that the Adams bridge was used for the religious significant Adam to continue from India to Adam's peak. Sources say that the bridge may have been constructed by Sri Lankans themselves.
  • 4 Giant's Tank (Yodha vawa). A large tank known as Yodha vawa by the locals (yodha is the Sinhala word for "giant"), merged with malwatu oya. It was constructed by King Dhathusena in the 5th century AD (459-477) and it later went through several reconstructions throughout time. It's considered to be quite a spectacle as it was made with impressive technology (at the time of its creation). The Tank premises also hosts a shop for beverages and snacks, an open area to enjoy a meal and restrooms for travelers. The 4.5 mile Tank bund serves as a platform to view the area, The wind blows rapidly and it's best to remove all headwear as there is a chance of it fluttering away into the tank.
  • 5 Arippu Dutch Fort (Allirani fort). The Arippu fort was a Portuguese fort handed over to the Dutch after they took over the coastlines of Sri Lanka. The fortress is a historical landmark linked to the famous sea voyager "Robert Knox's" escape from Ceylon in 17th century AD. The fort can be seen in ruins as of today and it's a quite interesting place to visit during your stay in Mannar.
  • 6 Doric Bungalow. A ruined bungalow built as the residence of the first British Governor of Sri Lanka located near the seaside outside of Mannar island in the Mannar District.
    Mannar Baobab
  • 7 Talaimannar Lighthouse (near the shores of Mannar island). A significant landmark built in 1915.

Holy places edit

  • 8 Thiruketheeswaram Kovil, +94 23 2 050 800. When the Indians arrived at the coastal lines of Sri Lanka in the early centuries, they built many permanent kovils. The Kovil was destroyed many times and reconstructed throughout time. The temple premises are quite expanded and peaceful, although demolition and reconstruction is still happening. It is required that the males take off their shirts/t-shirts when entering, following the removal of footwear. The Temple shows many architectural phenomenons constructed by the Sri Lankan Tamils. The ruins are well preserved and well maintained by the Hindu devotees and locals. Great paintings and statues can be seen all around the temple, including demolished remains of the older buildings.  
  • 9 National Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu (Madhu church/ Madhu palliya), Puliyadi Irakkamam, Madhu Road, Madu, +94 232 280 001. A historical Landmark built by Catholics almost 400 years ago as one of the main churches in Sri Lanka. The shrine acted as a refugee camp during the 30 year civil war and still remains a well preserved structure even after a war related incident that demolished the area killing 44 individuals. The Church itself is considered to be a must-see place for Catholics as it is one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious locations on the entire island.

sanctuaries, beaches and other locations edit

  • 10 Kora Kulam. A tank, adjacent scrubland. A bird watching site, recommended by the Ceylon Birds Club. The best time to visit the tank is during the Northern Migrating season. The artificial reservoir is 3 km north-west of Mannar. It is an excellent location for evening photography as well.
  • 11 Vankalai Sanctuary. Another place for bird watching. Frequently visited by Greater flamingoes. If you are into bird watching, the best time to visit would have to be the Northern migrant season. Has an amazing setting for evening and morning photography. Vankalai is an Open area with less trees and more water with a road with a double side view of the water bodies, hence It is an easy place to access through a vehicle. The sun normally peaks through and you cannot find much shade in the area so it is advised to bring some eye wear or headwear to protect yourself from the direct sunlight. Bringing along some binoculars will also be greatly beneficial since waders are mostly common in the area and it is unsafe to wander close to the birds as these water bodies are not inspected and are generally considered to be unsafe and unethical. Wearing a pair of shoes will also benefit you and this might even give you a chance to explore some of the more steep and dangerous areas (shrubberies and muddy pits).
  • 12 Keeri Beach. Secure beach on the coastal line of Mannar, a place to swim, frolic and even enjoy a beach picnic. You can also book hotels close to the beach to enjoy the view and get easy access to the beach itself. The location is scenic and its best to visit it early in the morning or in the evening for photography or film making.
  • 13 Donkey clinic and education Centre, Olaithoduwai Road, Thailankudiyiruppu 41000, +94712635444. A famous donkey clinic that has become a popular tourist attraction. The clinic allows you to interact with the animals with the necessary guidance. The clinic enforces a few health safety guidelines and will not tolerate any animal cruelty in the location. The clinic also sells souvenirs and accessories for the tourists at relatively cheap prices.

Do edit

Hotels and agencies will list quite a few activities, you can even explore on your own. Mannar is one of the most biodiverse locations in Sri Lanka, with marshes, sandy beaches and even woodlands.

  • Birdwatching. There are a lot of waders, best seen early in the morning. Many rare varieties of birds are present during migrating season. Spotting a bird is very easy at any time of the day, but there are some seasons where you can barely find any life in the surroundings, so as it is a prominent advice, visiting during the period of December–April would be best for wildlife interests. When you arrive in Sri Lanka, it would be obvious that the crow (Crows are raven like birds who are divided into two groups in Sri Lanka as House Crows and Large billed crows, House crows can be identified by the well groomed body and smaller beak, while Large billed crows have a larger beak and fluffy feathers.) is the most commonly found bird in the island. In Mannar, despite the crow's popularity, more waterbirds (waders) can be found. Sometimes, the consensus per time exceeds over 100 000 of the same species.
    Flamingos in the coast of Mannar, usually seen in the migrating season
  • Sightseeing. Locations such as the Dutch forts and the largest tree of Sri Lanka are amazing places. You can visit the 'Adams Bridge', which was the location which is the given evidence of India's former land connection to Sri Lanka. Mannar is also home to archeological structures that has remained from as ruins for thousands of years. You can also experience the tasteful architecture of early Sri Lankan Tamils through renovated buildings and temples. You can visit local villages to witness how the locals spend their day to day lives.
  • Zoology. Mannar is home to many animals, mainly reptiles and arthropods. You can observe and study many varieties of animals. Bringing a camera to photograph these animals would be a greatly beneficial. You can find a wide variety of bugs, reptiles and amphibians in the area (occasionally crocodiles in small ponds). The Gulf of Mannar possesses a coral reef that stands as a home for a wide variety of marine animals and the beaches are filled with crabs and other marine arthropods. The Gulf of Mannar is also a familiar place to the globally endangered "dugong" who visits the area more frequently than any other parts of the country.
  • Documenting. with its amazing landscape by the hand, you can document a great video to share with your friends or on social media. Documenting can be done by either a phone or a camera with a built in lens. Mannar hosts a wide selection of environments and will be a spectacular background for filmmaking. However, if a location does not allow cameras (temples, hotels and shops) please refrain from filming in those said areas. Please request the consent of the locals before filming them, especially young children as parents tend to dislike such actions and could result in physical confrontations. Mannar also hosts peaceful spaces such as a large stretch of concrete road that stands between the ocean and the marshy lands of mannar. Also be thoughtful and don't go diving in water bodies to film videos in an appealing frame, these water sources sometimes host homes for hostile creatures and sometimes even crocodiles in addition to questionably deadly diseases.
  • Photography. As stated above and many times as well, photography is the ideal hobby for a person who visits Mannar. The perfect known time for photography in Mannar is at sunrise or sunset. Bringing a camera with at least a 200mm lens would help you capture a nice photo of the scenery. A camera with a built in lens is also a good choice if the you enjoy capturing portraits. You can also bring along a monopod or a tripod to take photos with your camera steady. If you want to take photos of closeup objects, it is recommended to bring a camera with a macro-lens. Capturing a perfect scenery is not hard in the area, but sometimes, it takes patience to capture the best moments. one of the most important things to be aware of in the 'field' is protection of your device. Mannar is a naturally grown land, and risks of harm may await any the time. Remember to handle your device carefully. A few tips are to always keep your lens cap attached to the lens. Mannar is a dusty place, and particles such as dust and sand can scratch your lens easily, leaving permanent marks which might and might not affect your photographs. When you are venturing you must look out for slopes that has a high probability of falling, slip and falls might leave you with slight bruises, but it might permanently damage your camera.
  • Archaeology. Explore the majestic ruins of war during the Dutch and Portuguese era of Sri Lanka. Places like the Dutch fort tend to give you a staggering amount of information about the British and Dutch colony in the 16th and 17th century. You can also observe and get the basic idea of how the ancient Sri Lankans spent their day to day life whilst enjoying the ancient architectural designs from temples and ruined fortresses. You might even be able to purchase a few books to get familiar with the history of mannar.

Buy edit

Not many major purchases can be done in this district; minor souvenirs, such as keychains, can be bought from shopping stalls near tourist attractions. When buying essential food items, its recommended that you visit the trusted stores in the district such as Cargills and Keels. Many minor supermarkets are distributed all over the district, not to mention the local stores. You can also buy food items from food stalls at the Sunday market. Buying cloth and accessories can be done in textile shops, but be aware of touts who try to sell items at an unreasonable price without your knowledge. The roadside stores generally sell second-hand products such as flimsy sunglasses and other low-quality accessories, If you are open to helping out poor shopkeepers in Mannar you should purchase something from these stores, otherwise, it's not recommended since these products are cheap knock-offs of the original products.

Groceries and essentials edit

Such products can be bought from local supermarkets. They are manufactured by many brands, you may choose any you might like. The application methods are given on the packet. Soap is usually packed in a cardboard packet as an individual item, but you can buy several at the same time at a less or more price. The price of a bar of soap or a packet of detergent would vary according to the features and brand. buying snacks can be done from any shop, a packet of biscuits would cost at a price range of fifty to hundred rupees. Buying chewing gum and toffees would cost 10 rupees or less. The 2 most trusted trademarks for biscuit distribution is maliban and munchee.

  • 1 Lanka Sathosa, Grand Bazaar. Sri Lankan cooperative service. Cheap prices but a messy store. Parking out the front.
  • 2 Cargills food city - express, No Road 01, Pallimulei (0232 251 792). A trusted store in Sri Lanka, with groceries and other basic essentials. The branch in Mannar is an express version. It has consumer staples and a small pharmaceutical section where you can buy simple medication like Panadol, Loratadine and Bethalin. Limited parking.
  • 3 Sakthi Supermarket, B270, Mannar, +94 23 2 222 192. Closes 8PM. Small and basic shop for groceries and toiletries. Neat shop, good if you're looking for Indian products. The shop is hidden among a chain of electronic shops. Parking space is not available due to its proximity to the main street.

Electronic appliances edit

If you wish to purchase any electronic devices (Smartphones, kitchen appliances, electronic accessories) be sure to purchase these from a trusted location. Singer, Abans and Softlogic can be identified as some trusted dealers in the country. When purchasing these devices check twice to make sure that you aren't being scammed and try to get some professional advice when buying anything that is considered "expensive". Mannar is short of quality smart device and accessory (wrist watches, headsets) manufacturing companies which might increase the chance of meeting counterfeit second-hand products in the market, as for kitchen appliances, they are present in the market in a similar manner, you can find low quality products at a cheap price, however for convenience and for your personal safety, you should avoid buying any counterfeit products and stick to the more reliable stores.

  • 4 Abans stores, No.40 Grand Bazaar, +94 077 404 7420. 8:30AM-6:30PM. Abans is a trusted company in Sri Lanka for dealing electronic devices such as smartphones, kitchen appliances, computer accessories and so on. The Mannar Branch provides the basic equipment at reasonable prices, However some customers complaints report that the store has bad customer service (Mannar branch specifically).. Be sure to purchase your electronics from either Abans or Singer as they are stable companies that holds a low chance of reselling counterfeit products.
  • 5 Singer plus, 69 Centre Bazaar Rd, +94 23 2 222 013. A trusted electronics store. Singer is the official distributor of Samsung electronics in Sri Lanka, you can buy mobile phones, computers and wifi routers from different brand from this store. The maintenance and space management of the store is well cared for. The store is long but not wide. The exterior appearance of the store doesn't add much significance, but the interior is perfectly built and has a good inventory.

Clothes and souvenirs edit

Cloths and souvenirs can be purchased almost everywhere in Sri Lanka as the tourism in industry is a main source of income for the country, but when purchasing your cloths you have to avoid scammers. Some stores in Sri Lanka Specifically target tourists as they are unfamiliar with the local currency. They will attempt to sell you counterfeit products that they would claim to be the real thing at an extremely unreasonable price. Be aware and always recheck the quality of the item as these scams often happen in tourist attracted locations. Always visit a trusted store or a store that looks trustworthy.

  • 6 Infinitee, +94 075 038 4803. A t-shirt store.

Eat edit

Dining is usually provided by the hotels, but well maintained restaurants are available in the town (as mentioned below)

  • 1 Choice restaurant, Centre Bazaar Rd, +94 23 2 223 261. A restaurant which serves instantly prepared food.The store is small, and clean, it serves Lankan, Indian and Chinese food. It's a nice place for Lunch or dinner, Soft drinks are served. Parking is only available for motorbikes, and that also depends on the amount of space left. You can buy both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals from this restaurant. The place is not very cozy (Because it has plastic chairs) and judging by the climate, its usually hot and the absence of air conditioning makes it harder, this is one of the reasons for Dinner recommendations.Most who visited has reviewed it as a very inexpensive restaurant.
  • 2 AU Food Centre. Closes 10PM. A small breakfast and dinner food hut/restaurant, the building is decorated in a strong red colour. The restaurant serves dishes such as fried rice and noodles along with soft drinks. Apart from the main meals, the restaurant is open to buy snacks. Tea can also be served if requested. The restaurant has a menu to educate the customer about the dishes they serve. The road leading to the hut very narrow, so it is recommended to go their by a small vehicle. 076 128 1403.
  • 3 Kuddy Bakery & Cool Spot, +94 77 989 1957. A bakery and, a good option to enjoy breakfast. It is poorly constructed, but is an ideal location to purchase snacks and bakery products. The Bakery can be identified by its uniquely designed brownish and yellow banner. The food quality is questionable and might not be up to your standards.
  • 4 Victory Cream House. A place to purchase biscuits, mints, gum and such. It also sells ice cream and biscuits from trust worthy brands. The shop is packed yet has quite a lot of resources to be purchased. It serves as a perfect stop to purchase snacks and beverages.
  • 5 Burger land, +94 77 800 1869. a well maintained restaurant which serves fast food items such as burgers, pizza, fries, and nuggets. Well decorated, serves fruit juices and cool soft drinks. Parking space available in front of the store, but it's limited, bringing a small vehicle would ease it up. The store is enjoyable among a group of friends or family. It's also known to be a favorite restaurant for the tourists who visit Mannar. The restaurant is fairly small and should be enlarged fora better service but it's enough for enjoying a meal.

Snacks such as 'Wade' (wah-dei) can be bought from local stores along with other Indian-based food items such as pouri and hoppers. Most of these food items are prepared with flour and oil. They mostly act as dinner meals and can be found in most Mannar restaurants. String hoppers are mostly seen in these areas and are quite fulfilling meals. Most of these products are made to be enjoyed with a special type of curry such as "pol sambol" or dhal. Seafood is present in some of these restaurants. Crabs, lobsters, fish are all fine choices and can be usually found in inns and hotels (rather than streetside restaurants)

String hoppers

Other widely-available Sri Lankan-made snacks include Ritzbury and Kandos brand chocolates. Kandos is generally better quality, but significantly more expensive than Ritzbury products. Munchee and Maliban brand biscuits are also available everywhere.

Ice cream can usually be found in local supermarkets. The trusted ice cream companies in Mannar are limited to two options. They are Elephant House and Magic. You can also buy ice creams from carts which drive past beaches. Ice cream price may vary according to flavors, size and the content in it. The cheapest ice cream is a popsicle named "captain cool" which normally costs 20 Rupees. As always, it is best to stick to recognised brands. Mannar and other Northern districts have ice cream three-wheelers that roam around playing a tune, these vehicles can be found quite commonly in Mannar town and tourist attractions. Purchasing your ice cream from a three-wheeler is the second best option as they provide items that are manufactured by the afore mentioned brands. You can also find a substitute for popsicles known as "ice packets", these are generally considered to be unhygienic since they are manufactured by unofficial companies, This item is partially a beverage and is a semi-solid packet of frozen flavored liquids. You can consume it by biting off the corner edge of the polythene sheet that coats the contents and sipping from the hole. The packets are uncomfortable to consume, however, they are cheap (10 Rupees) and wildly refreshing.

You can also purchase sweets from stores, these sweets migrated with the Tamil culture and are quite high in quality, sweets such as jalebi are wildly known for their exquisite taste. Look for home-made varieties. You can also buy homemade chips and savory snacks, but their manufacture can be unhygenic. Snacks can be bought from grocery stores, pharmacies and common street stalls.

Drink edit

Packed water and soft drink bottles can be bought from any store in the district. You can also purchase 'king coconut juice' from local stores or outdoor food carts. Do not drink tap water. Hotels in mannar do not provide minibars, if you need any beverage you can request it from the manager. The most trusted and common soft drink company of Sri Lanka is Elephant House. Be wary of unbranded products. Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite can also be found in local store, cold drinks cost a bit more than unrefrigerated drinks.

  • 1 Laxaman wine store, Grand Bazar. A very compact alcohol store with strong products (wine might not be in stock).
  • 2 Hotel Flamingo, No 10 1st Cross St, +94 76 944 4254. A casual restaurant and hotel, suitable for children has free wifi. This hotel is situated quite close to attractions like the Baobab tree, Mannar Fort and Adams bridge. The food is a bit expensive at a local rate, but is affordable.

Soft Drinks- The term "soft drinks" is used for carbonated drinks in Sri Lanka like some other Asian and non-Asian countries. Sri Lanka has its own carbonated beverage company named Elephant House and it's generally cheaper than the other "branded" products. Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, 7up, Pepsi etc. are also available in stores, however, Elephant House products are more abundant since they are relatively cheaper. These drinks usually come in various flavors and can be bought in both cooled and non-cooled forms. Most stores have these drinks and they normally cost in the 1 dollar price range.

Sleep edit

An overnight stay here is required based on the time taken for the journey to get there. Many hotels in Mannar are low key. The hotels closer to the town are far better.

Façade of Mannar Guest House
  • 1 The Palmyrah house, Thalaimannar Road, Medawachchiya-Talaimannar Highway, +94 11 2 869 960. A luxury hotel with full facilities. Family friendly with a large garden with parking space. They welcome you with a free drink and a tour around the hotel. Rooms have balconies with a swing bench and a perfect view of the hotel garden. Air conditioning is available in all rooms. This hotel provides free wifi, and laundry services, it also has an outdoor pool and an outdoor pond where you can see several waterbirds in the Morning. Compared to the other hotels in Mannar, this hotel serves the most luxury services at a reasonable price ranging at Rs. 17000 per day. The hotel is surrounded by tall grass and a small thin forest. Birds such as collared doves are common. The hotel faces the main street which leads to the Town of Mannar, and along the way, you can see salt plains and marshes which adds a taste to the view.
  • 2 Pearl rest, Mother Teresa St, +94 77 529 2933 (mobile). A very low key and low price family friendly bungalow to spend the night. Has a small garden. Rooms include A/C and full bathroom facilities. It doesn't have a restaurant but has a refreshing bar. The staff is friendly, and helpful. The rest house is surrounded by the homes of the locals and is lead to by a lengthy concrete road. Many coconut trees can be seen along the road. The rest house doesn't seem like a nice place from the outside, but the interior is much better.
  • 3 Mannar- Guest house, Mannar 41000, +94 77 316 8202. A house themed hotel, free wifi included. Suitable for children and an overnight stay. A 3-story building with colorful patterns. Rooms are small with tiled floors and bathroom. Mosquito nets are provided. Presence of Air conditioning is unconfirmed. You have a chance of seeing flamingos if you lodge here. This hotel has a promising view of Mannar. price range - above 3000.
  • 4 Royal rest house, Ayan Theatre Rd, Mannar, +94 23 2 250 516. Quite close to the Mannar-guest house. Includes rooms and parking space. Food can be ordered as wanted. This rest house is most suitable if you are on a business trip.
  • 5 Baobab guest house., +94 23 2 222 306. close to Pearl rest, very low key, rooms include fan and AC. Suitable for an overnight stay. The rest house is constructed in a very traditional way. Rooms are more compact with a bathroom and LED TV .Parking space is available at least for about 2 cars, and the rest house is quite close to the baobab tree. The area is fairly dusty, but the rooms are usually clean and suitable for a pleasant stay.
  • 6 Agape hotel, +94 23 2 251 678. The hotel is well decorated and even though the rooms are a bit tight, you can expect to have a good nights sleep. Compared to most hotels in mannar, this one is much well designed and maintained to keep up with the standards of a home-based hotel. The rooms are splashed white and has a tiled with air-conditioning, fixed above the beds to spread sufficiently. The beds are arranged in an orderly way with small gaps from each other. The hotel also provides a free breakfast, alongside with free wifi. It also is eco-friendly and child friendly, with a great providence of room service. At night, the hotel is lit with lights and sets the guests up to the mood. Its a nice hotel to lodge in as groups.
  • 7 Four tees inn (Lawrence rest), Station Road Thoddaveli, Mannar. A very nice rest house next to the railway lines of Mannar. It has a great parking space with a sandy garden. The inn is broken into four parts as the Rooms, restaurants and the kitchens+maintenance buildings, each designed in a very classic architecture mixed with both Tamil and Sinhalese culture. The building is awfully dark and twisty from the inside, but is warm and sunny in the outside. It has a quite far stretched backyard where you can spot a few forest birds such as flame backs. The rooms are maintained well with two beds and a very small bathroom which is adequate for all uses, but taking a shower in it is not recommended. These are one of the hotels where you should check twice before getting into the beds and bathroom (because of the risk of snakes lodging up in those places). Dinner, Lunch and breakfast are instantly served in the restaurant which is very dim and settling. They usually serve traditional Tamil and Sinhala meals such as Rice and curry, Puri and Wadei. You can order crabs and seafood under request.Air conditioning is not provided, but mosquito nets are given. Its a nice inn for a person who seeks adventure. If you desire more comfort, the Palmyrah house is recommended.

Stay safe edit

Threats from animals edit

If you are lodging in a hotel exposed to the wilderness, be sure to check your room or get it checked for any lethal creatures such as snakes and spiders, and also make sure to double check your shoes/boots before wearing them. It's advised to keep your distance from animals such as cows and donkeys, as you will probably be treated with a nasty kick to the jaw if you intimidate them by any chance. Mosquitos, sandflies and other disease causing bugs are also abundant in Mannar (and most parts of the island). Be sure to check if your hotel/inn has mosquito nets installed (if the room isn't sealed or if it doesn't have air conditioning). If the hotel doesn't have any of those facilities, you can purchase a mosquito repellent from a nearby convenience store, it's best to purchase an anti-mosquito coil which typically stands in the 100-200 rupee price range, they do release a substantial amount of "toxic" fumes, but they aren't generally considered to be harmful to humans. If you get bitten by any spiders or snakes, visit the nearest hospital immediately (preferably a public hospital since private one's aren't that common in the area and the ones that exist aren't up to code.).

Threats from others edit

Besides the animals, there may be pick-pocketers in populated areas (e.g. Mannar town), and some may attempt to steal your belongings if you leave them unattended. Do not wear any jewelry in busy streets and don't carry your smartphone around carelessly, lest it might be snatched. Travelling alone after hours might also be risky. While it's fine to affect gifts from strangers, don't accept food without necessary supervision from an experienced individual. It's best to hire a responsible guide from your hotel when travelling to prevent any acts of violence or scams.

Medical edit

Diseases edit


Malaria is a disease caused by the protozoan known as Plasmodium.This disease was quite common in Sri Lanka, but in the year 2016, Sri Lanka was declared as a country which was able to eradicate malaria successfully and completely. Regardless of the abolition of this malady, there has been a few records of Malaria in 2018. The symptoms of Malaria are quite similar to the symptoms of common fever (Common Cold)

In case of a medical emergency, dial 110.

Dengue edit

Dengue mosquitoes are quite common in Mannar. Symptoms for dengue can be listed as follows: nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, fatigue, muscle pain and sudden high fever. If you have any three of these symptoms, visit the nearest hospital to confirm. It is treatable with medication.

  • Ways to prevent dengue — sleeping with a mosquito net (can be purchased or it will already be provided by the hotel) and applying mosquito repellent are simple tricks to be safe from dengue. To prevent this, you can always purchase items such as mosquito repellent coils and sprays.

Leishmaniasis edit

Leishmaniasis is a disease spread by sandfly bites. Wear long clothes and repellent to prevent bites. Leishmaniasis causes skin lesions that can leave permanent scars.

Connect edit

The telephone area code for mannar is 023. While the post codes are 41000-41999. Connecting to the internet can usually be done by Mobile data. Purchasing data cards or otherwise known reload/prepaid cards will enable you to connect to the internet. The cards are usually published by mobitel and dialog, but it is recommended to buy hutch or airtel in those areas. Dialog is also a good option, but a great connection strength is not assured. You can buy these reload cards from any local store.Instructions are usually given behind the card and they may vary according to the company they were distributed from, but the basics are all the same. If you are not clear with the instruction, asking the store owner is the best option.

  • 3 Sri lanka telecom—Mannar branch, Mannar 41000, +94 23 2 222 231. open only on weekdays. For more information regarding connection services you can visit here.

Emergency dials edit

  • Police emergency hotline—118/119— For fire brigades and ambulance services, the caller's location is automatically traced through the connection line.
  • Ambulance/fire and rescue—110
  • Tourist police—011-2421052
  • Government information service—1919
  • Child protection authority—1929—to report a missing child or to report violence against children.

Cope edit

Hospitals and pharmacies edit

Mannar has only a few hospitals and pharmacies. Basic medical items can be bought from pharmacies. If you have a simple fever or a headache, it's not the best idea to visit the hospital. For muscle sprains and body aches, you can apply ointment such as axe oil, siddhalepa and iodex (can be bought from local pharmacies).

  • 5 District general hospital, Thalvupadu - Mannar Rd, +94 23 2 222 261. General hospital of Mannar. Like many major hospitals, this one is pretty big in size (compared to other hospitals in the district.) The hospital is quite spacious and welcoming. It's well built, but not a lot of patients visit this location. The building is painted pale yellow and has an extensive architectural style.
  • 6 Hospital Murungan. A hospital which contains adequate facilities for treatment.
  • 7 Hospital Church. Close to the general hospital.
  • 8 Rajes Kantha Private Hospital, +94 23 2 223 383. A very compact private hospital facing the main road.
  • 9 New metro pharmacy, Hospital road, +94 237 911 312. A small pharmacy, has basic treatment medicine.
  • 10 Ben Pharmacy, Hospital rd. Home-based pharmacy.

Go next edit

  • Anuradhapura — only 2 hours away from Mannar, Anuradhapura is a   UNESCO World Heritage Site for its ancient ruins related to the Sinhalese and Tamils. Anuradhapura is also home to Sri Lanka's oldest tree, also considered a national treasure and a religious feature of Buddhism. You can reach the city by travelling via Medhawachchiya to the Talaimannar highway.
  • Jaffna— travelling from Mannar to Jaffna will take the minimum of 2 hours along the Mannar highway. Jaffna is a district that almost replicates the beauty and cultural diversity of Mannar. You can visit the elaborate ruins of the Jaffna kingdom, look around the bunkers of the LTTE and witness the devastation of the civil war. Jaffna has a wide variety of land and marine animals with scenic environments.
This district travel guide to Mannar is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.