Experience the peaceful calm near the Pannai Bridge in Jaffna. It’s one of the most ambient locations in the island to watch the sunset and to be lost in thought as the technicolour rays shade the sky.
Words Keshini de Silva
Photographs Menaka Aravinda and Vishwathan Tharmakulasingham
Evenings are a favourite time in Jaffna. The air is cooler and the mood is relaxed. As we strolled past the historic Jaffna Fort, we made our way to the Pannai Bridge, which connects the peninsula with the Kayts and Mandaitivu isles.
The sun was setting over the tranquil, limey waters that lap around the peninsula. Its rays painted the skies in pastel shades, pink to purple, yellow to peach. In the midst of the gentle tones, the sun blazed with a reddish glow. The causeway was still, even the vehicles moved with a calm saunter. Like a photo-filter, the surroundings were tinged with the colour of the sky. The waters were shimmering with an amber shade. Beyond, the dim rays cast shadows on the prawn fishing nets, adding a subtle aesthetic to the environment. They stood like artistic silhouettes against the painted sky.
Nearby, the Pannai Park was the centre of attention. Families relaxed, while groups of friends enjoyed the atmosphere. Joggers kept to their fitness regime on the walking tracks. Some looked out onto the endless ocean, lost in thought and in a meditative pose. Boats were docked near the jetty, these were resting after a day’s safari in the sea. In the morning, these boats had taken eager adventure seekers island hopping, to discover the many wonderful locations of Jaffna. In a pool of water, restricted by the jetty, teenagers were having fun in paddle boats, their periodic squeals of laughter echoing through the air.
As the sun disappeared, the dark night seeped into the sky like black ink, mingling with the pastel shades.
On the other side of the road, between the park and Jaffna Fort, there were carts selling street food. Piping hot vadai and bajji – batter-fried ash plantain among other snacks. The Bajji is usually served with a flavoursome curry, but it must be eaten quickly, before the fried ash plantain soaks up the curry. The shelves of the cart were stacked with crunchy manioc fries and delicious prawn vadai fried on the spot. With its own flavour, texture and topping preference, Jaffna ice cream is unique to this locality. The ice cream trucks parked in the area serve a delightfully cold sundae, with fruit and nut toppings. An ideal pick-me-up as you leisurely stroll along the walkways and streets.
As the sun disappeared, the dark night seeped into the sky like black ink, mingling with the pastel shades. The dim blue lights of the bridge came on, adding an element of mystique to the scene. Soon it was night, and the many groups who were relaxing on the benches started to head home. It was time to head to the Jaffna Town for dinner.
When visiting the Northern Peninsula and if you are in town for the evening, make sure to stop by the Pannai Bridge and be enchanted by its beautiful sunset.