A Beacon Between Two Countries
Situated approximately 30 kilometres from Mannar’s main town on Mannar Island, the Talaimannar Lighthouse was built in the early 20th century, in the year 1915. It stands at 19 meters tall, featuring a round cylindrical tower with a painted white façade, topped with a lantern and gallery. It is attached to the Thalaimannar Pier, which once served as the terminal of a ferry service to India. However, a cyclone in 1964 destroyed the terminal, and the route was subsequently terminated. Today, all that remains of a connection to India is Adam’s Bridge, a stretch of limestone shoals that begins at Mannar Island and disappears under the water in the direction of Pamban Island in India.
Mannar is one of the warmest places in Sri Lanka, and the island is connected to the mainland via a 3-kilometre causeway. During ancient times, when Mannar’s pearl fishery industry was booming, the town was known as one of the biggest suppliers of pearls in the world. Kings and queens scattered across different continents wore pearls that were supplied from Mannar for more than 2000 years; however, the overuse of the area depleted its sources centuries ago, killing its pearling industry.
Season to Visit
The best time to visit Mannar Island and its attractions are between the months of July and September, or between December and February. The area is best avoided between April and June, when the weather in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province burns exceedingly hot, which could make for an unpleasant visit.