The first picture that comes to mind on hearing the word “Maanipaai” is verdant green paddy fields that stretch as far as eye can see. The area retains its natural beauty, charm, simplicity and tranquil atmosphere which makes it a perfect paradise location.
Manipay originally known as “Periyapulam” is a town located 12 kilo-meters south east of Jaffna, bordering Valikamam North, South, West and Nallur. Origin of Manipay is so ancient that it has been veiled in the mist of time. One can see many profiles of nature in this area which is noted for its scenic beauty.
This bustling affluent town of Manipay is located in the Valikaaman division in the Jaffna district. Valikaamam literally known as “the sandy village” has a land area of 278 square kilometers representing twenty seven percent of the Jaffna district. A Large part of Valikaaman is dry and sandy with brilliant sunshine all year round. The most common tree is the palmyrah palm with its elegant fan like fronds. The vegetation in the area comprises of semi and thorny scrub with pockets of dense forest.
Manipay which belongs to the Sandilipay divisional secretariat has a population of 56,520. The region is the fourth most populous division in Jaffna peninsula. The people of Manipay have their unique character. They are a kindred society unified by a common history. The ties and obligations felt by individuals to their community reflect the tradition of strong family ties. Intelligent as well as hard working the people of the area are tolerant and respectful of each other. People of the area indulge themselves in some form of art such as dancing, music or painting.
The area was ruled by the Chola empire, Ariya chakravathi dynasty, the Portuguese (1617 to 1658), the Dutch (1658 to1795) until the British conquest. The British period of colonial rule shaped the future of Manipay in significant ways.
Manipay has historically been the home of many significant individuals. Mudaliyar E Nannithamby , father in law of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Mudliyar Namasivayam, father in law of Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Sir Arunachalam Mahadeva and Honourable Justice Siva Selliah, V.Manicavasagar were the prominent personalities hailing from Manipay.
Manipay offers abundant human resources at a competitive cost, with a literacy rate of almost 89 percent backed by an excellent educational frame work. There are forty one primary and secondary schools and sixty one pre schools in the area. Manipay Hindu College and Manipay Ladies College are the prominent educational institutes in the surrounding area. The Manipay Public Library is an important place symbolically. There is a well kept play ground known as “Sella muththu play ground” for the youngsters of area to engage in various sports activities.
The three prominent land marks dating from British times are the Green Memorial Hospital founded by Dr Samuel Fisk Green in 1864, the Roman Catholic church of Saint Peter and Paul and the Anglican church.
The surrounding area of Manipay is dotted with ancient kovils ranging from sprawling complexes with towering grupams and madapams. The large open aired complex of Marathady pilliyar kovil situated in the centre of the town and the Suthumalai Amman kovil North of Manipay are the best known and most significant kovils in the area.
Away from Manipay town has a wealth of magnificent inland landscape for nature lovers. The scenery as it unfolds during the trip to “Idekundu” is breathtaking. The sleepy paddy fields in the “Idekundu” area come alive with an abundance of indigenous and migratory birds and is simply amazing. The “Valukkai Aru” a seasonal river located few kilometers south of the town is encircled by variety of walk paths. From here you can get a good view of the country side. From Manipay one can also visit Jaffna, Kopay, Chunnakam ,Tellipai and Kokkuvil.
Manipay is renowned for its agriculture. The area has the basic attributes for successful agro based industries namely rich alluvial soil, an adequate water supply and abundance of cheap labor. The area has divided agro industry into food crops, cash crops, long term crops, and vegetables and fruits. It is aided by irrigation from limestone wells. Paddy, coconut, chilies, onions and palmyrah are the main agro based industries. The area is also famous for its distinctive tasty mangoes.
In Manipay all field crops are raised largely by natural rain fall. Water from the underground water tables lies near the surface. The area has more than thirty lakes and several ponds. True to their endeavor to protect unspoiled ecological wonders, Manipay farmers use mainly organic fertilizer and crop rotation cultivation. Planting for most parts occurs during the north east monsoon season. The months of March to July are also the season for palmyrah to flower. The tappers climb these trees twice a day and slice the flower and collect a fresh drip of syrup in to the pot. The palmyrah syrup is used for producing toddy and treacle. Manipay is a leading area in the production of cows and goats milk. Poultry is another sector which is improving in quality and quantity. Fresh water fisheries are carried out in perennial and seasonal tanks.
Manipay offers one of the most business friendly environments in Jaffna. The four Banks, the Manipay public market, the countless boutiques and small and medium businesses located in the area play a vital role in the day to day lively hood of the community.
An excellent administrative framework has been outlined by the Valikkamam South West Pradeshiya Sabha located in the centre of the town. The Pradeshiya Sabha initiated various projects to alleviate the problems and improve standards of living of the community.
A wide range of accommodation is available in the area to suite different lifestyles. One feels welcomed by the hospitality of the smiling people of Manipay. With its remarkable history and unrivalled settings, no wonder Manipay has always been a prime destination for travelers from all corners of the country.Published in