Karaitivu (Jaffna)

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Native name:
Karaitivu is located in Northern Province
Karaitivu is located in Sri Lanka
Coordinates 9°44′03″N 79°52′33″E / 9.73417°N 79.87583°E / 9.73417; 79.87583Coordinates: 9°44′03″N 79°52′33″E / 9.73417°N 79.87583°E / 9.73417; 79.87583
Area 22.95 km2 (8.86 sq mi)[1]
Province Northern
District Jaffna
DS Division Karainagar
Population 9,576 (2012)[2]
Pop. density 417 /km2 (1,080 /sq mi)
Languages Tamil
Ethnic groups Sri Lankan Tamils
Additional information
Time zone

Karaitivu (Tamil: காரைதீவு, translit. Kāraitīvu; Sinhalese: කරඩූව Karaḍūva) is an island off the coast of Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka, located approximately 15 kilometres (9 mi) north-west of the city of Jaffna. Karaitivu means "the island of karai shrubs" in Tamil and is derived from the Tamil words karai (webera tetrandra, a thorny shrub from the rubiaceae family) and tivu (island).[3] Known as Amsterdam during Dutch colonial rule, the island has an area of 22.95 square kilometres (8.86 sq mi).[1][4] The island is divided into nine village officer divisions whose combined population was 9,576 at the 2012 census.[2]

Karaitivu is connected to Jaffna peninsula by a causeway and there is a ferry service from Kayts on the neighbouring island of Velanaitivu.[5][6] Karainagar is the main settlement on the island.[7] The popular Casuarina Beach is located on the island.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Table 05 (Geo., Topography) Islands in Sri Lanka". Sri Lanka Statistics. Kusaka Research Institute. 2004. 
  2. ^ a b "Census of Population and Housing 2012: Population by GN division and sex 2012" (PDF). Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka. p. 146. 
  3. ^ "Know the Etymology: 68 - Kaaraitheevu (Kaarainakar)". TamilNet. 5 January 2008. 
  4. ^ Attygalle, Randima (21 December 2014). "Restoring the Jaffna Fort". The Island (Sri Lanka). 
  5. ^ Fernando, Srimal (3 October 2005). "Sights and sounds of Jaffna". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 
  6. ^ Sivendran, S. (2 January 2000). "Kayts, a different world". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 
  7. ^ Ferdinando, Shamindra (8 May 2013). "Daring response to threat on Elara base". The Island (Sri Lanka). 
  8. ^ "Casuarina Beach On Karaitivu Island". The Sunday Leader. 12 August 2012. 

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