Manalkadu on Jaffna Peninsula - Sri Lanka's longest sand dune field
Manalkadu, also transcribed Manalkaadu, is a village at the northeastern shores of Jaffna Peninsula. The Tamil name Manalkadu translates to sand-bush, referring to Sri Lanka’s longest chain of sand dunes that are partly overgrown by thicket. The dunes are up to 16 m high. The Casuarina thicket is grown by the villagers in order to protect the forest belt further inland. Ruins of the old St. Anthony’s Church can be seen near the village. As the dunes are shifting, the level to which the ruins are covered by sand always changes. The church building dates back to the Dutch rule in the 17th century. However, some say it was constructed by the British in the late 19th century. It seems more likely, that it is Dutch. The walls are partly built of coral stone, which is a rare sight in Sri Lanka. The vicinity of the ruined church is still used as a graveyard. Many crosses are for victimes of the 2004 tsunami.