Unique species of Horses at the Delft Island

Delft Island Or Neduntheevu: All You Need To Know

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Delft Island, or Neduntheevu, is an island situated between India and Sri Lanka mainland. As a result, the flat island is surrounded by shallow waters and sand and coral chunk beaches. The place is home to a small Tamil population who live in quiet compounds close to the Northern Coast. This place’s ambiance is unique and distinct from other sites in Sri Lanka and demands to be noticed, felt, and experienced. Here’s everything you need to know about this quaint place.

Delft Island Or Neduntheevu Travel Guide

What’s Special About Delft Island?

Neduntheevu or Delft Island near Jaffna, Sri Lanka

I would say Delft Island is the land of corals. The entire island is infested with coral reefs on land. In fact, house walls, stones, forts, and more are made of coral stones. You will notice diverse coral patterns on the island. So if you’re looking for natural souvenirs, try collecting these before returning home. The oval-shaped island spans about 50 sq. km with a length of 8 km and a maximum width of about 6 km.

Due to the abundant availability of corals, people believe the island might have been submerged in the sea a few hundred or thousand years ago.

How To Reach Delft Island?

By Air

Jaffna International Airport (Airport code: JAF) is the nearest airport. The newly built airport has limited connectivity. From Jaffna, you must travel by road and hop on a boat to reach the island (explained below).

By Rail

Jaffna Railway Station has good connectivity to Colombo. From the Jaffna Railway Station, take a tuk-tuk or bus or walk for 15 minutes to reach the Jaffna bus stand.

By Road

From the Jaffna bus stand, take the bus (bus number: 776) with the name board as Kurikadduwan or Nainativu, and get down at the last stop near the Kurikadduwan Jetty. From here, you must hop on a boat to reach Delft Island.

Boat Timings

Very few boats shuttle between Delft Island and Kurikkaduwan – The first one leaves at 8:15 AM, and the second leaves at 4 PM. From the island to Kurikkaduwan, there are two boats – One leaves at 7 AM, and the other leaves at 3 PM. If you plan to explore the island for the day, you must catch a bus from Jaffna at 6:45 AM to catch the 8:15 AM boat leaving from Kurikkaduwan. You can wander around, visit sites, eat, and return to the mainland by the 3 PM boat. These boats operate daily and will only stop services if the wind is too strong for the boat to pass through. 

Boat Trip Cost

Vada Tharakai ship

I hopped onto the morning boat that charged LKR 200 for one-way. The boat was pretty basic and good enough to help me reach the destination. While returning, I got onto a ship named Vada Tharakai, operated by the Sri Lankan Navy. The return journey was free of cost as it is made for the public. The ship had amenities such as restrooms, underground and ground-level seating, fans, and more that made my return journey comfortable.

Duration

The journey between the Jaffna bus stand and Kurikkaduwan Jetty will take about 1 hour or 1 hour 30 minutes. The morning boat ride will last an hour and a half, and the return journey on Vada Tharakai will take an hour. When you do the math, you’ll see that you can get 5 hours on the island if you visit Delft Island as a day trip and return before dusk. If you plan to stop overnight, you can spend more time in the isle.

Exploring The Island

The island is secluded and quite desolate too. It’s almost like remnants of civilization remain in this vast expanse. Thus, I advise you not to explore the place alone or on foot. You can hire a tuk-tuk which would cost you LKR 6000, or a jeep-like van (non-AC), which would cost you LKR 9000. However, the van can accommodate 12 people, and if you’re traveling solo, it might not be your best option. Since I was traveling solo, I joined a family and explored the island in the jeep. Between the jeep and the tuk-tuk, the former is a better option as the roads are not well-laid, and you’ll be offroading most of the time. 

Contact for the Jeep: +94 764596316, Sanjeev (Speaks Tamil, English, and limited Sinhalese)

Contact for the Auto: +94 774119058, Thevaraj (Speaks Tamil, English, and Sinhalese)

Best Time To Visit

Delft island or Neduntheevu island

The best time to visit Delft Island or Neduntheevu is between February and March, just after the rains between November and January. The summer starts in May and lasts till August. The weather is too hot and humid to explore the place properly during this time. However, I went in May and carried sufficient supplies of sunscreen and appropriate gear to protect myself from the scorching heat.

Where To Stay?

Only two accommodations are on the island – Delft Samudra and Delft JKS Pvt Ltd (village stay). These accommodations provide food as well. The village stay is comparatively cheaper than Delft Samudra. 

Another alternative is to pitch your tent on the Delft beach if you have one or call the person below to arrange tents for your stay.

Contact: +94 774119058, Thevaraj (Speaks Tamil, English, and Sinhalese)

 

Where To Eat?

Delft Island has limited dining options. Although shops across the island for snacks and basic amenities exist, there are no sit-in restaurants to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I ate in a home arranged by Sanjeev, our driver. You can tell them what you need for lunch so they’ll prepare it for you. This way, you get the authentic taste of the local cuisine and style of food preparation.

Do not miss tasting the fresh berries on the island and avocado juice (LKR 100) near the Queen’s Tower. Oh, the best I’ve ever tasted in Sri Lanka.

Languages Spoken

Sinhala Tamil is spoken by most people on the Delft island. Very few can communicate in Sinhala or English.

11 Places To Visit On Delft Island

I visited several places during my exploration. All the places I experienced have been mentioned below. Note that these places do not have dedicated opening and closing times, and you don’t have to pay any entry fees to see the sites.

1. Pigeon’s Nest & British Court

Pigeons nest

The Pigeon’s Nest and the British Court are colonial structures used by the Dutch and the British during their reign. The Nest used to be home to pigeons who were the Dutch army’s secret messengers. The officials tied letters with secret messages on the pigeons’ legs and sent them to the kings or other officials.

Beside Pigeon’s Nest resides an old Dutch Court that the British took over. The court bears the British Emblem of 1905, proving their invasion. The Court is a complex comprising a prison, a chamber for advocates, a residence for justice, and more.

2. Dutch Fort

Dutch fort in Delft Island

The Portuguese built the Donjon Fort for defense, but later on, the Dutch conquered it and made the place their own with the help of two bastions. The place offers an incredible view. All you need to do is climb to the first floor of the two-storey structure and witness the sea and the coast.

3. Vediyarasan Fort

Vediyarasan fort

According to tales and legends, the Vediyarasan Fort might have served as a temple or a stupa during its time. However, today, you can only see its circular basement, and the ruins offer nothing else besides a view of the sea.

4. Hanuman’s Footprint

Delft Island seems to be home to several legends. Another intriguing legend is that when Hindu God Hanuman carried the Sanjeevi Hill from India to Sri Lanka, he placed his foot in this region. The carved footprint is about three times larger than the average human foot. However, people don’t conduct any poojas here.

5. Horse Stable

Old horse staple ruins

The horse stable is a stone’s throw away from Hanuman’s Footprint. The Dutch and Portuguese once used the place to accommodate at least 50 horses, but today only the ruined pillars and walls exist. You will notice corals even in these pillars.

6. The Horses & Cows

The horses of Delft Island are said to be one of a kind and unique. The breeds of the Dutch and Portuguese horses are said to live here. You can find a herd of these wild horses and cows roaming freely in the grassy plains of the island.

During a conversation with Sanjeev (the driver), he mentioned these horses belong to the government, but people of the island can grow and feed them in their homes. Usually, in the houses where cows live, horses are needed too. People ride horses to get hold of the cows roaming the island.

7. Queen’s Tower

Queen's tower

Queen’s Tower is a tall tower overlooking the sea. It was used as a lighthouse to guide ships and boats during those times before electricity was invented. The people would light the fire at the base, and the smoke would come out through the chimney hole above. The smoke was used to guide the ships and boats that arrived by the sea. 

Note: Do not miss trying the avocado juice in the shop behind the tower.

8. Banyan Jungle

Banyan jungle

Situated close to an old Hindu temple, the expansive banyan tree is believed to be the oldest among all banyan trees on the planet. Its roots gracefully touch the ground, forging a unique path that has given rise to another tree. With its remarkable size and sprawling branches, the banyan tree provides ample shade inviting a cool and refreshing breeze that envelops the tree’s surroundings.

9. The Growing Stone

The growing stone at Delft Island

Resembling a 5 headed snake, the growing stone is a fascinating spot. The stone is said to grow yearly, rising a few inches from the ground. When I enquired with Sanjeev, he said that when he was a kid, the stone was half the size it is now. People worship and do poojas to the growing stone. So, footwear is not allowed when you go near the stone.

10. Baobab Tree

Baobab tree

A baobab tree has a hole where at least 25 people can comfortably hide. Its scientific name is Adansonia Genus, and it is native to the warmer regions of Africa and Arabia. Planted by traders during Portuguese rule in the 16th century, the baobab tree can store water in its trunks, and the fruits of the tree have an abundance of nutrients. 

11. Delft Beach

Delft beach

The white sandy beach near the Delft Jetty is known as the Delft Beach. The minimal waves and turquoise blue waters invite you for a good swim. There are a few benches and umbrellas installed to provide shade. Besides these, you can find many shells and corals near the beach. Sadly, there are no water adventure activities on Delft Island.

We hope this guide on Delft Island was helpful to you while planning your trip. If you have any queries, do comment below.

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2 comments

Sanjeevan 06/29/2023 - 11:43 PM

Thank you for visiting this trip in delft island
Akka

Reply
Twins 07/01/2023 - 8:23 AM

It’s our Pleasure 😀 Had a great time in exploring the island.

Reply

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