Trincomalee is a district in Sri Lanka situated 258 km away from Colombo on the east coast. It is the finest natural harbour in the world. This fact led to Trincomalee being captured in turn by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Many evidences of these colonial occupations such as Dutch Point, Fort Ostenberg, Dutch Gateway dated 1675; Fort Fredrick and Wellington House where the Iron Duke, then Colonel Wellesley once lodged still remain intact. Another significant historical place is the Hindu Shrine in the 400 ft crag, named “Swami Rock”. The original temple here was of a thousand columns destroyed by the Portuguese in 1622. Monument to Francina Van Rhede, erroneously believed to have leaped from here to her death when her lover sailed away and since called the Lovers Leap. Hot springs at Kinniyah, Natavar Kovil, the only Tamil Hindu, Buddhist Temple in the Island are very famous. Trincomalee can be proud of its beautifully serrated coastline abounding in sheltered coves and bays. It is excellent for swimming, bathing, diving, spear fishing and sea angling.
Tourists Attractions in Trincomalee
Nilaveli Sandy Beach
Among all the beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka, the Nilaveli beach is world famous for its beauty. The white sandy beaches which slope smoothly into the crystal clear waters and the palm trees swaying in the breeze is truly a beautiful site. World-class diving and Snorkeling opportunities are available in the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka. The Nilaveli beach is one top spot where this can be done. The calm and the crystal water make it perfect for Snorkeling and diving. Visitors can experience the beauty and the rich variety of underwater life that can be seen in this area of the country. This beach won’t be a disappointment to beach lovers at all.
Koneshwaram Hindu Temple
Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee is a Hindu temple in Trincomalee in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka venerated by Saivites throughout the continent. It is built atop Swami Rock, a rocky promontory cape overlooking Trincomalee, a classical period harbour port town. The primary deity is the Hindu God Lord Shiva in the form Konesar. At its zenith, the Konesar temple was the main shrine of the Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple Compounds, one of three ancient connected Hindu temples on Swami Rock with a considerably sized Gopuram. This temple stood distinctly in the middle of the cape, at its highest eminence. The other two connected temple shrines of the Koneswaram complex, to deities Ganesh, Vishnu (Thirumal), Ambal-Shakti and Murukan stretched across the cape to its extremities. The complex has laid in ruins, been restored, renovated and enlarged by various royals and devotees throughout its history. Heralded as one of the richest and most visited temple compounds in Asia, Koneswaram became one of the most important surviving and influential structures of the classical Dravidian architectural period by the early 17th century.
The Portuguese completed the construction of the Fort in Trincomalee in 1624 after destroying the Koneswaram Temple on Swami Rock. Originally the Fort had only three bastions but when it was captured by the Dutch in 1639, it was abandoned, and later re-fortified in 1675 and named Fort Fedrick. In 1795 the British captured it after a four-day bombardment and it became the first possession of the British in Sri Lanka. Fort Fredrick is currently occupied by the Sri Lankan military, but you can go through it and visit the Koneswaram temple. With the end of the war, most of the restrictions have been relaxed.
Trincomalee was the first land to be captured by the British who fought and defeated the Dutch, who did not want to surrender Ceylon as directed by the Prince of Orange, who took refuge in London after being defeated by the French republicans under Napoleon. As such Trincomalee has served as an entrance to a Western invader from Calcutta. The British held it until Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948.
The importance of Fort Fredrick was due to Trincomalee’s natural harbour. Until 1957, Trincomalee was an important base for the Royal Navy and was home to many British people who were employed by the British Admiralty.
Trincomalee is a district in Sri Lanka situated 258 km away from Colombo on the east coast. It is the finest natural harbor in the world. This fact led to Trincomalee being captured in turn by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Many evidences of these colonial occupations such as Dutch point, Fort Ostenberg, Dutch gateway dated 1675; Fort Fredrick and Wellington House where the Iron Duke, then Colonel Wellesley once lodged still remain intact. Trincomalee can be proud of its beautifully serrated coastline abounding in sheltered coves and bays. It is excellent for swimming, bathing, diving, spear fishing and sea angling.
On the way to Trincomalee is the small town of Kanniya where lie seven hot springs. All these springs are within a rectangular enclosure of high walls. The springs are separated from one another by dwarf walls. The ruins of Fort Frederick or the Dutch Fort can be seen on the way leading to Koneswaram. The fort was actually built by the Portuguese. The Dutch took over it in 1639. Till Sri Lanka acquired independence in 1948, the Dutch Fort changed hands between four European powers: Portuguese, Dutch, French and British. Lately the fort was made a naval base. A naval museum named Hoods Naval Museum is also located in the navy base. Legend holds that Swami Rock, a rocky outcrop, was once a colossal Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Koneswara. A new temple is now built near the location. Friday evening pujas here are very colourful. Point of Lover's Leap is located within the Swami Rock. Tiriyayi, located 35km off Trincomalee, is a place of Buddhist interest. Ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery have been discovered here. A Sanskrit inscription on a rock names the shrine Giri Kandi Caitiya.
Dolphins and Whale watching
Trincomalee is one of the most famous places in the world to observe the giant mammals of the ocean. You can go on a whale and dolphin watching tour in Trincomalee from June to September. The Sri Lanka Nayy provides whale watching on Sri Lanka’s East Coast in Trincomalee (May to October) and on the South coast, Galle and Mirissa (November to April) with various packages. With resident and migratory colonies being spotted off the island’s south west coast, Sri Lanka is fast becoming a top spot to watch Blue Whales, Sperm Whales and Dolphins. The month of July has been extremely good for Blue Whale sightings. So, if one is heading towards the Southern Coast, jump on aboard a whale watching expedition for an exhilarating experience of a lifetime and don’t miss out on one of nature’s biggest wildlife spectacles in the Ocean.
Pigeon Island is located around 1 km away from the Nilaveli beach. This consists of two islands. One is small and other one is larger in size. This is one of the best places to see corals.
This island got its name because of the Rock Pigeons living there. In the year 2003, Pigeon Island was designated as a nation park in Sri Lanka whereas earlier, it was a sanctuary. This island was used by the British Army as a place for shooting practice in early world war time. The beach is covered with corals. Sometimes dead corals can make sharp cuts, which can cause bad infection. One can have a sea bath in Pigeon Island, but Nilaveli beach is better for it. Even sand was formed with the crushed corals.
One of the most beautiful beaches in Trincomalee and a famous beach in Sri Lanka. Marble Beach is situated near the China Bay Air Force camp. If the sea is not rough, one can see the surface shining like a marble. The beach is maintained by the Air Force, which also operates a nice restaurant where one can have a meal. The sea is clear and calm, resembling glass, and unspoilt by man, it is a place where one can enjoy the scenic beauty of the eastern coast of Sri Lanka while basking in the history of this strategic town, boasting of one of the largest natural harbours in the world. This virgin stretch of beach has always been synonymous with Trincomalee.
Tha Kanniyai Hot Wells are likely to disappoint any pleasure-seekers hoping to submerge themselves in a large spring. This isn’t Iceland. Kanniyai is a place of Buddhist worship where the faithful come to buy trinkets, venerate Buddha and douse themselves with buckets of naturally warm spring water.
One grabs a bucket, sink it in the water, and pour the water over the head.
Ancient Buddhist Temple
A bit further north from the Kanniyai Hot Wells is the beautiful Periya Kulam, a large artificial lake set in a forest, with small islands and vestiges of Hindu worship spotted around it. Just to the west of the lake, the Velgam Vihara — the remains of a Buddhist monastery from the 2nd century can be found. The ruins here are gorgeous, especially given their off-the-beaten-track location. Monks are still active at Velgam Vihara in an adjacent modern temple.