The tiny island of Delft, just off the coast of northern Sri Lanka south-east of Jaffna, is a mix of colonial architectural remnants and a picturesque self-sufficient native culture.

India’s The Hindu newspaper’s Meera Srinivasan recently paid a flying visit, and reports that “the afternoon sun had bleached the sea white, resulting in a glare so harsh that we could not see anything”.

She writes: “For tourists, however, the one-off journey leads to one of the remotest parts of the island, with an assortment of Colonial era remnants from the time of the Portuguese, Dutch and British, dating a few centuries back—like the wild ponies which are a huge draw even as they graze virtually barren land, looking malnourished.

“Or the ruins of the fort, the surviving pigeon house or the lone African baobab tree. Reflecting the coral-rich sea surrounding it, the island sports long walls made of dry coral, coated with layers of dust from the sandy roads that criss-cross the 50 sq. km the island spans.”

Most of the locals are engaged in fisheries and toddy tapping that have sustained the island, but the younger generation is now forced to consider options outside, islanders noted with concern.

She concludes: “The extent of differences within Delft society may be harder to spot in the first visit. But a prolonged neglect is clearly visible in every nook and corner of this island off an island.”

Read more here.

Sandy white beaches

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s foremost food and information magazine and website YAMU has also given Delft the once-over, noting that “the Portuguese called it Ilha das Vacas, the Dutch called it Delft, and the locals call it Neduntivu.

“Located in the Palk Strait, southwest of Jaffna, Delft is a relatively undiscovered tourist destination, ideal if you’re interested in Sri Lankan history or sandy, white beaches.

“Delft has an amazing and somewhat isolated beach strip, which we unfortunately discovered a bit too late. But, first things first — how to get to the island.”

Sounds like they had a fun time, and include hints and tips about how to make the best of a day trip.

Read more here.


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