Dates: 28th July - 23rd August 2017
One of the most important Hindu festivals in southern Asia, this vibrant 25 day festival attracts devotees from around the world. In 2016 the festival took place between 8th August - 3rd September, but the dates change each year in August and September.
The parade begins each night at about 15:45 when a chariot upon which a god is sat, (a different chariot and god each day) is welcomed by devotees and paraded around the inside of the temple, and then out through the main entrance and around the outside of the temple before going back in. The festival finishes each night at about 18:30 - 19:00. The final day of the festival in 2016 was attended by 300,000 devotees, and on this day, participant perform self-immolation. Ladies must have their shoulders and legs covered; men must have their legs covered, and within the temple itself, men have to be bare chested.
There are sights to see in Jaffna, including the Portugese fort, and some good places to eat (Mango, a vegetarian restaurant popular after the festival, is within a few minutes walk of the kovil (hindu temple) itself.