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Mannar

Mannar Sri LankaSeveral kilometres south of Mannar Island in the Gulf of Mannar lies the celebrated Pearl Banks, the location of one of the most famous pearl fisheries in history. The Mannar Pearl Banks have not been commercially productive for the best part of a century, although various schemes to reactivate the industry have been mooted over the years.
Distance From Colombo : 312 km
Mannar is also considered a district of Sri Lanka. Many Buddhist ruins dating to pre-Christian times are found in this area. This is the location of Thiruketheeswaram the ancient temple which was sung in Tevaram and visited by Sambanthar.

The soil and thus the river are of red hue. Tamira means red. Varni means colour. Thus the name Vanni or Varni and it is a mutated name from Tamiravarni, Tambravarni, Tambapanni or Tammanna. Another river called Tamirabharani is located in Tuticorin area and there was a connection of land which kept both countries together during ancient times. The name Tamil is derived from Tamir. Ptolemy may have named both sides of the sea with the same name in his Greek map. Ramayana refers to Mannar in epic terms.

Adam's bridge connected Tamilnadu with Mannar district. According to an epic called "Ramayana", Rama built the temples of Ketheeswaram and Rameshwaram. India and Sri Lanka remained as one piece without separation during ice age.

Mannar is a predominantly Catholic Christian area. There was equal amount of Muslim population and a few Sinhalese before 1990. The ethnic conflict created distrust between communities and LTTE expelled all Muslims out of Northern Province during 1990. Muslims refugees settled around Puttalam. Muslims have lived here from ancient times when Arab traders were travelling the Indian Ocean. Christians have lived here from Portuguese times. This was the principal port of the Sinhala kings until about the 11th century. Christians originate from the local Tamil people who changed their religions after the foreign traders or missionaries came to Mannar.

Nayakkar or Madurai was the origin of settlers in Mannar and Moplah Muslims from Cochin settled as trading partners of the ruler of Sethu. Nayakkar dynasty which ruled Madurai had marital connections with all the local rulers and people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala settled in Ceylon without any hindrance as Portugal ruled certain areas in Ceylon and Kerala like Mannar, Kochi and Tuticorin and Catholic religion flourished in all the coastal villages wiping out Hinduism forever.
Muslim lineages claim that their Arab ancestors married Sinhala and Tamil women.
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