Inhabited by households, Nainative is a thriving island bustling with pilgrims, devotees, and tourists. The isle harbors Hindu and Buddhist temples, visited by worshippers from all over the world. Even the locals frequently move to and fro the island to offer their prayers. In front of the Kurikadduvan Jetty, you will see a Hindu Temple Tower and a silver-painted dagoba at a distance on the island.
In this guide, we’ll take you through all information necessary to visit the place and make the most out of the visit. Let’s jump right in.
Nainativu, A Pilgrim Island
How To Reach Nainativu From Jaffna?
You must hop onto a bus from the Jaffna bus stand. Take bus number 776 or look for buses named Kurikadduwan or Nainativu. Get down at the last stop near the Kurikadduwan Jetty. Alternatively, you can also reach the place via your own vehicle. From here, you must board a boat to reach Nainativu Island.
- The ferry to Nainativu from Kurikadduwan Jetty takes about 30 mins one way.
- The ferry ride costs LKR 80 (Per person | One way). You must pay additional fees to take your two-wheelers or four-wheelers with you.
- Ferries are frequent and are available once every 30 minutes.
- The boat service to Nainativu starts at 8 AM, and the last boat leaves the island at 6 PM. However, if you want to reach the Jaffna bus stand, by bus, after the boat ride, you have to take the boat at the latest by 4:30 PM.
There is a small parking space available on the Kurikadduvan Jetty. Vehicles can also be boarded on the ferry to Nainativu at additional costs.
Bank of Ceylon ATM is available just opposite the Nagadeepa Vihara Buddhist temple on the island.
Dialog and Mobitel have a very good network on Nainativu island.
Best Time To Visit Nainativu Island
Nainativu can be visited throughout the year. The festival days in June/July are super crowded as devotees are drawn to the island like moths to a flame.
Where To Eat & Stay?
There are no accommodations for visitors on Nainativu. People usually take a day trip from Jaffna, and we advise you the same. Free food is served thrice a day at the Naga Pooshani Amman Devasthanam. You can also find a few other restaurants to try the local food and satisfy your hunger.
Places To Visit In Nainativu
The shrines are located within a walkable distance from each other. You can walk or take a tuk-tuk to commute between the two landmarks. Everyone should remove their footwear and hat while visiting these holy places of worship.
Naga Pooshani Amman Devasthanam
An ancient Hindu Temple, Naga Pooshani Amman Devasthanam, is dedicated to the Serpent Goddess, Meenakshi, Lord Shiva’s consort. The sanctum houses a stone figure of a five-headed cobra.
The Sri Nagapooshani Amman Kovil festival, called Mahotsav, is generally held in June/July for 15 days. During the festival, on an auspicious day, a snake will come to a stone, and an eagle will come from the opposite direction and go past the snake. This happens every year, and people flock from all over Sri Lanka to witness this ethereal sight.
Note: Male devotees have to remove their shirts before entering the temple.
- Timings: 6 AM to 1:30 PM; 4:30 PM – 6 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
Nagadeepa Raja Maha Viharaya
North’s only major pilgrimage site is the Nagadeepa Temple. It is one of the sixteen holy Buddhist shrines in Sri Lanka. According to the legend, Gautama Buddha visited this island after his enlightenment. The image house next to the stupa features a fine golden Buddhist statue.
- Timings: 9 AM to 4:30 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
Twin’s tip: Apart from the pilgrim temples, there isn’t much to explore on the island. So, if you are into religious temples, you can come to Nainativu. However, if religion and temples are not your vibes, you can check out Delft Island.