Trincomalee is a port city with large natural harbor, set on a peninsula of northeast of Sri Lanka. The word “Trincomalee” came from the Tamil word “Tirukonamalai” which means ‘lord of the sacred hill’. It is naturally formed hill located in the peninsula in the shape of an arc. Historic name for the area is “Gokanna”. It is famous for its large natural harbor which has played a major role as a sea port in maritime and international trading history of Sri Lanka. There have been many sea battles to gain control of the harbor. The Portuguese, Dutch, French and finally English have each held it in turn. During World War 2, the Imperial navy of Japan attacked the harbor and sunk three British warships anchored there. It remained as a British naval base until 1956 Sri Lankan government decided to take it over and develop as a commercial port.
The bay of Trincomalee is openly accessible to all types of sea crafts securely in all weathers. The beaches are using for water sport activities such as swimming, surfing and scuba diving as well as fishing and whale watching. Major Sri Lankan Naval and Air Force bases, which were played leading roles during the Sri Lankan civil war till 2009 are also located in the bay.
There are so many attractions around Trincomalee. One is the “Fort Fredrick” a Portuguese fortress built in the 17th century, also a largest Dutch fort in Sri Lanka. Built on a Swami Rock at Konamalai after Portuguese colonial Constantino de Sá de Noronha destroyed the world famous Hindu temple Koneswaram (which means temple of thousand pillars). They built new village consists of Portuguese and Tamil people on the Konamalai cape, and a church named after “Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe”. The Dutch renamed the fort as Fort Fredrick after they rebuilt in 1665.
The Grand Koneswaram temple which is a well known classical medieval Hindu temple, dedicated to God Shiva, situated within the fort ground. You will see decorated shrines and massive statue of ‘Shiva’ in the holy complex. It was built on a cliff called Swami Rock overlooking the Indian Ocean. Konesvaram is revered as one of the “Pancha Ishwaram”. It holds significant role in the history of cultural and religious in Sri Lanka. Historians are suggesting as this complex was built during reign of the Chola, An Indian king who invade and rule northern part of Sri Lanka. It is a famous vantage point to watch blue whales and also has a panoramic view of surrounding of Trincomalee harbor, Eastern coast and the city.
Seruwavila raja maha Viharaya is a renowned ancient Buddhist temple which is in the dense forest of full of animals specially elephants. It was built by King Kawantissa in 2nd century BC containing sacred forehead bone of Lord Buddha.
Another major tourist attraction in the area is a “Kanniya” natural hot water spring. Situated on a Anuradhapura – Trincomalee road closer to the Trincomalee city. It has seven wells not deeper than 3-4 feet, that allows you to see the bottom clearly. The Temperature is high but slightly defer from one well to another. The ruins of old monastery also visible at the site. But most of them were destroyed during the Sri Lankan civil war. After 2011 seven hot water wells, Dagoba, and other ruins are officially declared as an archaeological protected site of the country.
Dutch bay beach and Marble beach also give you excellent view of the eastern coast sea. Calm opaque water for swimmers and divers make their moves.
Trincomalee is considered as a very sacred place by both Tamil and Sinhalese. It has Hindu and Buddhist sacred sites of historical importance. Despite the King Mahasens’s Mahayana initiative, Theravada Buddhists has always maintained a remarkably peaceful relationship with the Hindus.
Attractions Places & Activities for Tourists Trincomalee
- Scuba & Snorkeling
- Dolphin & Whale Watching
- Nilaveli Beach
- Marble Beach
- Uppuveli Beach
- Arisimale Beach
- Dutch Bay
- Koneswaram temple
- Fort Fredrick
- Pathirakali Amman Temple
- Sandy Bay
- Hoods Tower Museum
- Velgam Vehera
- Maritime And Naval History Museum
- Kanniya Hot Water Well
- Commonwealth WAR Cemetery
- Orr’s Hill Army Museum
- Inner Harbour Trincomalee
- Hoods Tower