Mannar Island formerly spelt Manar Island lies off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka, is part of Mannar District, Sri Lanka. It is linked to the main island of Sri Lanka by a causeway and the Mannar Bridge, which carries the A14 highway, and a railway bridge.
It is approx. 6km wide and 30 km long, has an area of 126 square kilometres (50 sq mi). The island is mainly covered with vegetation and sand. Landforms like beaches, beach ridges, well developed sand dunes, mud flats including ebb and flood mud flats, marshes, raised terraces, water creeks and sand spit are the salient features of the island.
The island lies at the eastern end of Adam’s Bridge a chain of limestone shoals between Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island. Geological evidence suggests that this may have been a land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
Mannar is one of the most barren and driest islands of Sri Lanka connected through a 3 km causeway to mainland. But this was one of the busiest towns in the ancient past when this area (Gulf Of Mannar) was one of the biggest pearl banks in the world, supplying massive amounts of pearls to the kings and queens throughout the world for over 2000 years. Over harvesting destroyed the pearl industry Hundreds of years ago.
Even today you will find some 30+ ancient Baobab Trees native to Madagascar which have been planted on this island by Arabian traders over 800 years ago.
Places to Visit in Mannar Island
Erukkalampiddy Ancient Survey Tower in Mannar (මන්නාරම එරුක්කලම්පිටිය පැරණි මිනුම් කුළුණ)
A damaged survey tower is found on the northern coast of Mannar Island unknown by many travellers. It lies off a bare strip of sand on a beach covered with thorny bushes. The tower stands on a square base. On top of it is two cylindrical segments, the top one smaller than the bottom. If…
Kappa Kovil (Portuguese Church) Ruins in Mannar (මන්නාරම කප්පා කෝවිල නටබුන්)
The architectural features of this building resemble those of a church. The dilapidated building belongs to the Portuguese Period. There is no roof in the building and the thickness of a wall is about 2m. Specially prepared bricks have been used and the length, width and height of a brick are 1 foot, 8 inches…
Adam’s Bridge Shoals Between Sri Lanka and India (රාම සේතු පාලම)
Adam’s Bridge, also called Rama’s Bridge, or Rama Sethu is a sting of shoals between Mannar Island, off the northwest coast of Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram Island, off the southeast coast of India. The so called bridge is 30 miles (48 km) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from the Palk Strait (northeast).
Narapadu Ancient Watch Tower in Mannar
From the Mannar fort, travel 12 km on the Thalaimannar road, turn right at the Narapadu junction and go 1.4 km along the sandy road, where you can see this monolithic tower pointing towards the sky on the plain.
New Talaimannar Lighthouse and the Old Pier (තලෙයිමන්නාරම ප්රදීපාගාරය)
The new Talaimannar lighthouse in was built in 1915 and was 19m high. The tower has not been maintained for during the recent past due to the war situation which existed for the last 30 years.
Baobab Tree at Mannar (මන්නාරම බයෝබැබ් ගස)
This Baobab tree at Mannar is calculated to be 734 years old and is the largest tree in Sri Lanka in terms of the circumference which is 19.5 meters.
Old Talaimannar Lighthouse (Urumalai Lighthouse)
The Old Talaimannar Lighthouse (Urumalai Lighthouse) is located at that south of the island at the start of the Adams Bridge, the natural sand bank which stretch all the way to India. This area is called Urumalai, thus this is also known as Urumalai Lighthouse.
Vankalai Sanctuary (වාන්කලයි අභය භූමිය)
Vankalai, in the Mannar district, with its numerous bird species was declared as Vankalai Sanctuary in 2008, due the large number of birds residing in this area
Tomb of Adam and Eve in Mannar, Sri Lanka (මන්නාරම ආදම් හා ඊවාගේ සොහොන්)
Somewhat in the center of Mannar island lies a Muslim place of worship which is believed to be the tomb of Adam and Eve by some. According to legend, two tall siblings have landed in Mannar on a boat. No one knew where they came from and when they died they were buried at this…
Mannar Fort (මන්නාරම් බලකොටුව)
Built on the island of Mannar in Sri Lanka by the Portuguese in 1560, Mannar Fort surrendered to the Dutch on 22 February 1658 and was rebuilt by the Dutch in 1696. On 5 October 1795 the Dutch surrendered to the British.
- Attractions of Sri Lanka
- Heritage of Sri Lanka
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Map of Mannar Island, Sri Lanka
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites
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Travel Directions to Mannar Island, Sri Lanka
|Route from Colombo to Mannar Island
|Though : Puttalam – Thantirimale – Madawachchiya
distance : 315 km
Travel time : 6.30 hours
Driving directions : see on google map