Delft island which was once a stronghold of the Dutch today is nothing more than an island in ruins which is worth exploring on a half-day excursion from the main town of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka.
Take a tuk-tuk
So when you reach the island of Delft, there are two options of getting around and exploring the ruins – the local tourist bus and hiring a tuk-tuk. The tuk-tuk is a preferred option. Since you’ll get to stop where you want and explore beyond the ordinary tourist circuit on the island.
Baobab trees which are 100 years old
Local legend has it that these trees which are native to Africa and the Middle East were planted by Arab traders during the Portuguese rule in the 16th century. The Baobab tree is very unique and stores water in its trunk to endure the harsh drought period and also ends up shedding their leaves during the dry period. During favourable climate, the tree produces large aromatic flowers which grow up to seven inches wide. The fruits that this tree bear is one to savour.
At the entrance near the jetty, you’ll see a massive fort in ruins which was once an important strategic point to keep a watch on invasions through the sea. Adjacent is a Catholic church and graveyard by the ocean. It’s a good place to walk around and maybe click a couple of pictures of the fort.
In the Dutch court area on this island, you’ll see a unique tower which was originally meant for pigeons who flew across the ocean as messengers. The structure is a mix of mud and coral.
All along the island, you’ll spot a various herd of wild horses running from one end to another. These horses can be found running through the open fields or near water ponds during the day time. The locals say that the horses were left behind by the Dutch while they were leaving the island and have ever since been living there.
Nearly 90% of the houses were built during the Dutch time. Most of them were built using beach corals. So much so, that even the fence of the houses is made of these corals.
On the island, you’ll see giant footmarks which the locals believe are from the legendary bigfoot. The legend has it, that back in the day before even the Dutch came to this island, it was inhabited by the bigfoot. It’s a rather complex story of how they ended up on the island.
Today in ruins, but the vertical pillars made of corals are still very much prevalent. That’s about all that is there of this massive land which was once the main horse stable on the island.
Sri Lankan fish, rice and curry
Once you’re done with visiting all the sites, ask your tuk-tuk driver to take you to a place to eat close to the jetty. There are a couple of options between a resort restaurant and the local kuttu style eateries. Pick the latter, since that’s the food everyone on the island eats. You’ll be really happy with the kind of food they serve and the speed at which your order is delivered. Fast food on a slow island.
Go for a dip
After you’re done exploring the island, you should definitely consider entering the water just to cool off from the extreme heat. The water is sky blue in colour and the sand is ultra-soft. It’s just the perfect way to cool off while waiting for the ferry to leave back to the main island.
Grab a window seat on the boat
These ferries tend to be overcrowded at times and are really very small. Hence it’s better to stand in line early and get a window seat if possible. The view is great plus it will be a lot easier for you to just breathe.
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