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The Nilavarai Well is popular attraction in Jaffna lying in Nilaavarai in the Navakkiri GS area of Valikaamam East division. Some times referred to as a bottomless well or Deep Well, this well is caused by collapse of the top layer, exposing a limestone cavern connected to a underground water source. It is said that this well never dries up even during severe drought and the water is used by the farmers in the surrounding area.
It is said that the 1st 40 feet of water in the well is fresh and turns saline further down. It is believed that this water source is connected to the Keeramali Freshwater Pool and said that a lime fruit thrown to to the well will appear in the Keeramali sea which lies 10km way from this well.
It is often speculated that the place name Nilaavarai might have come from Nilava’rai (Nila+a’rai: underground chamber), linking the place name with the subterranean water source. The well is always referred to as Nilaavaraik-ki’na’ru.
However, there is a strong possibility that the place name might have come from the natural vegetation Nilaavarai, which is abundantly found in the locality.
The discovery of a elegant tosro of a Buddha image carved from limestone from location at Nilaavarai, decades ago, signify the archaeological potent of the location. The place name Navakkiri may have connections to the Buddhist heritage. Not far from the place of find of the statue are the remains of a dagaba which may belong to the 10th century. Nearby are also the remains of a rectangular building which may have been an image house. At the site a Bo-tree and a deep well are seen.
Though a popular place, this well has not been maintained other than for a cement wall surrounding it. It is overgrown with weed and the water is stale and no way suitable even to bathe.
The bottomless well is in Jaffna District and nearly 16km apart from Jaffna city, Northern Province. The well is easy as to reach via Jaffna-PointPedro road and then left turn to get Puttur Road.
The Bottomless well Nilaveri is geometrically square shaped. The well is surrounded by fence to protect the sightseers. As the water of Nilavari well is fresh and drinkable, nearby farm lands uses this water for irrigation. Also the well never get dried up even in heavy drought is another reason for the usage. According the surveys done by the Sri Lankan marine department, the first 40ft of the well is fresh water and then turns salty in respect to the depth. There is a belief that the Nilavari well is connected to the Keerimalai water source which is 10km apart from it. The well is interconnected to the famous Ramayana legend and the believers stated that the well is made by Rama while he shootout an arrow to the earth to cure his thirsty during his travel to Central Province.
Those who interested in having a fresh water bath and tourists of local/foreign used to visit the well. There is a separate staircase path to reach.