Trincomalee is a port city on the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. Nearby are several tourist attractions such as Arugam Bay, Yala East National Park and Pottuvil. Trincomalee is also a leading tourist destination in Sri Lanka for its many attractions, which include Koneswaram Temple, Dutch fort, Trincomalee Beach, its harbor and a number of hot springs.
Two of the important historical relics in the city are the Hindu Koneswaram Temple and Dutch fort. Also known as the “Temple of the Thousand Pillars”, Koneswaram Temple is majestically built on top of a rocky promontory called Swami Rock, overlooking the entire port city. Dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva, there are actually three temples on Swami Rock. At the very top is the Konesar temple, which was the main shrine. It is connected to the other two temples, which are dedicated to Hindu deities, Ganesh, Visnu, Ambal-Shakti and Murukan. They are stretched across the entire cape. Koneswaram temple complex is one of the most visited religious compounds in Asia. It was built in the early 17th century, following classical Dravidian architecture.
The Dutch fort, on the other hand, was built by the occupying European powers, pretty much around the time the Hindu temple was constructed. The fort was built first by the Portuguese in 1623 and was captured three years later by the Dutch. The ruling Dutch people extensively reconstructed it, only to be taken over by the French in 1672. Today, this is the largest Dutch fort in the country and is home to the Sri Lankan Navy and Air Force.
Meanwhile, one of the top reasons people come to Sri Lanka is to languish in its pristine beaches. This tropical country is a tear-shaped island below the Indian subcontinent in the Indian Ocean and Bengal Bay. It is home to several coral reefs, shipwreck dive sites, surfing destinations and fine sandy beaches that are among the best in the world. The waters off the southern coast are known to be the most perfect spot in the world to view Blue Whales and Sperm Whales. A few whales are also occasionally spotted off Trincomalee. Trincomalee Beach is one of Sri Lanka’s leading water-related destinations for its safe and shallow water that is perfect for swimming, sunbathing and family excursions. There are also other beaches, which are frequented for scuba diving, surfing and fishing.
Not far from the beach is the harbor. It is the fifth largest natural harbor in the world, and has been a silent witness to several maritime battles through the years. There have been many sea battles in the area as the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English took turns in controlling this very strategically located harbor. The harbor’s entrance is flanked by two headlands, and on its northern and eastern edges are roads for carriages. Today, the beauty and location of this harbor area is not being utilized to its maximum potential. It is hoped that soon it will be converted into an important international seaport. The city’s bay area is so large it can accommodate all types of sea crafts in all kinds of weather.
Finally, a minor attraction in Trincomalee is its seven hot springs. They are bound within a concrete rectangular enclosure and managed by Mari Amman Kovil, the private owner. The water in each spring is warm and very inviting.