Explore More Parts Of Jaffna With Luxsan
By Shafiya Nawzer
With internet reaching the remotest of regions and a never-ending obsession for wanderlust, travel blogging is becoming even more of an option for those who wish to travel. With the rise of blogger numbers, the quality of content is unparalleled with stunning locations, skilled photography and informative and entertaining writing. In this day and age,
we’re so privileged to have access to incredible destinations, not only those breathtaking sights around the world but also here in our beautiful Sri Lanka. Luxsan Tharmarajah is a blogger and content creator. He always shared a passion towards photography but never persuaded in that path. Until his friend exposed him to the world of blogging and encouraged him to start something of his own.
He has completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. According to Luxsan there is a stereotype of studying something that is believed to provide you a better future when it comes to Asian families, he added, “I wonder how many Robert Capa or Brassai we would have lost, because of this stereotypical environment that we are in. However, now I see a significant change since I started my blogging lifestyle.” Social media has become one of the most influential aspects of our daily life contributing largely to the economy too.
Luxsan has found a style of his own and his photography and edits are the highlight, where his creativity has come to embrace an interesting vision. The blogs of his trips to Jaffna have been portraying the city in a new light and giving prominence to its rich culture and heritage. Anyone who has been in or visited Jaffna will vouch for the respect they have for their culture. This is visible in their food, in their people and the more you explore the more you will see. His content showcases how their history is really important, the places to visit and that the street food in Jaffna is a must-try.
Excerpts of the interview:
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Till the age of fifteen, Jaffna was the only travel I experienced any times over. My itinerary would normally consist of visiting temples, spending time with grandparents and family. Yeah, sounds so innocent and obedient mainly because of my helicopter parents.
When did you start your personal blog ‘Life of Luxsan’, could you tell us more about it?
Let me be completely honest about how ‘Life of Luxsan’ started. During my Psychology undergrad days, I met a female blogger who was doing well in the field of content creating/blogging. This was around three years ago when there were few content creators or bloggers in the country. It’s Zainab Faizal (queen_bae_1926); she dragged me to all of her events and reviews as her plus one.
This gave me a lot of exposure and I learnt photography skill set, understanding how Instagram works since it has become a platform for content creation. Zainab saw my potential and encouraged me to start something for myself. I was hesitant at first because I believed that Social media is heavily female-dominated and did not want any tension on our friendship. I would also like to mention The Social Network (TSN) forum for giving me the push to network with many other bloggers and engage in various events that came along.
Your images are striking and diverse; what tips do you have for others who want to do the same?
Mobile phone photography has come a long way since its early stages. Recent technological advancement has upped the game of photography with many posting stunning images and videos. ‘The tool also defines an artist’s work’, first learn about your device that you use to click those shots. There are many neat tricks and tips on smartphone photography and it is key to master some of the basics.
One other essential tip I would talk about is to understand the image compression Instagram uses. Don’t worry, it isn’t something too complex. One general advice is to keep your pictures 1080p, no more! Every post you make should speak for you. Make sure your images have the pixels as well as a purpose. Visualising the narrative in your minds is a huge advantage to make sure the content first satisfies you as well as your audience. The real struggle would be to pick the ‘best’ shot from the many you take.
What tips do you have for maintaining a good blog and online presence?
Maintaining a good blog relies on how you want your audience to perceive you as a whole. It is vital to be yourself. Most of us unconsciously try to replicate our idol’s style or worse, imitate them. My blog has always been about my day-to-day life (hence named Life of Luxsan). I try to share my experiences as much as I can, both the good and the bad. I always try to be relatable which makes it easier for me to engage with my audiences.
Your travel diaries of Jaffna have been really interesting; what are your most fond memories?
I want people to see Jaffna as more of a tourist destination rather than a war-torn place. Travelling alone recently rather than with my family this time gave me an opportunity to explore more parts of Jaffna. Other influencers in Sri Lanka enabling me to give something fresh to the community have not covered these new places.
You have travelled extensively around Jaffna; what are your top destinations and things to do?
Delft Island was an amazing experience making it the highlight of my trip. It was really an ‘outta body experience’.
1. The Nallur Kandaswamy Temple. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take any photographs. It would take at least half an hour to fully explore the place and it is breathtaking.
2. Jaffna Fort is one of the oldest buildings built by the Portuguese in 1618. Due to the civil war, most of the building has been destroyed making it a dreadful memory of the unrest caused.
3. Manalkaadu is a hidden gem located on the north-eastern shore of the Jaffna Peninsula. A direct translation to English of Manalkaadu is ‘sand-bush’. Part of the Manalkaadu Dutch Church is buried under the sand due to dust storms gradually for over 100 years. Around 300 metres from the church, you would find a crystal-clear beach that is simply amazing!
4. Delft Island also known as Neduntheevu by the locals is well -known for wild horses and ancient buildings. It is only accessible via boats taking between forty minutes to an hour max.
5. Jai Hanuman is one of the tallest statues in Jaffna that grabs anyone’s attention when driving past. The locals believe that visiting the Maruthanarmadam Shri Aanjaneyar Temple is a blessing and gives you peace of mind.
Trying local cuisines is as much a part of a trip as sightseeing. What are some of your food recommendations?
Food in Jaffna directly translates to the rich culture and the people. It may not be vastly different to what we eat in other parts of Sri Lanka but the way it’s cooked and how it’s served is the key attraction. Crab Kottu is go-to meal and the portions are really generous and come with an affordable price tag.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned about yourself on your travels?
Travelling gives me the opportunity to learn more about myself and the part I get to play in society. In my experience, travelling has given me two important things. By being independent I can trust myself and the decisions I make. This definitely gives me the strength to tackle any challenges thrown at me. I was able to make friends who turned out to be supportive and you learn a lot from them.
We are never truly alone but have our own battle to fight at some point in our life. The second-best thing my travel experiences have taught me is perspective. It doesn’t matter where but do travel around. It allows you to meet new people and experience new situations. This shapes on how you perceive the world around you. Perspective is greatly influenced by our culture and our social circle. By expanding this, you see that there’s more to life than what we think. You become more aware of things and can relate to anyone or anything.