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Eastern Sri Lanka’s major town, Trincomalee (or “Trinco”) has been celebrated since antiquity for its superlative deep-water harbour, one of the finest in Asia — the legendary Panduvasudeva is said to have sailed into Trincomalee (or Gokanna, as it was originally known) with his followers, while the town served as the major conduit for the island’s seaborne trade during the Anuradhapuran and Polonnaruwan periods. The harbour was later fought over repeatedly during the colonial period and even attracted the hostile attentions of the Japanese air force during World War II.

Although most visitors are drawn to this part of the island by the beaches at nearby Nilaveli and Uppuveli, a day in Trincomalee offers an interesting change of scenery. The setting is beautiful, straddling a narrow peninsula in the lee of the imposing Swami Rock, the dominant feature on the coast hereabouts and the town itself possesses an understated but distinct charm all of its own, with a fascinating old fort and sleepy backstreets lined with pretty colonial villas and dotted with mosques, churches and dozens of colourful little Hindu Temples. Catering to the predominantly Tamil local population, the temples give parts of Trinco a decidedly Indian flavour, especially at around 4 pm when it fills with the ringing of bells and the sound of music for the late-afternoon puja.

The Best Places To Visit In Trincomalee

Fort Frederick

The centrepiece of Trincomalee is Fort Frederick, whose buildings sprawl across the narrow peninsula that just out into the sea from the middle of town, dividing Back Bay from Dutch Bay. The fort was constructed by the Portuguese in 1623 and captured in 1639 by the Dutch. They held it until 1782, after which it was captured by the British and then the French, who ceded it back to the British, who returned it briefly to the Dutch before getting their hands on it for good in 1796. 

Entrance to the Fort Fredrick in Trincomalee Sri Lanka
New Thirukkoneswaram Kovil in Trincomalee Sri Lanka

New Thirukkoneswaram Kovil

Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee or Thirukonamalai Konesar Temple – The Temple of the Thousand Pillars and Dakshina-Then Kailasam is a classical-medieval Hindu temple complex in Trincomalee, a Hindu religious pilgrimage centre in Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. The most sacred of the Pancha Ishwarams of Sri Lanka, it was built significantly during the reign of the early Cholas and the Five Dravidians of the Early Pandyan Kingdom atop Konesar Malai, a promontory overlooking Trincomalee District, Gokarna bay and the Indian Ocean. Its Pallava, Chola, Pandyan and Jaffna design reflect a continual Tamil Saivite influence in the Vannimai region from the classical period. The monument contains its main shrine to Shiva in the form Kona-Eiswara, shortened to Konesar and is a major place for Hindu pilgrimage, at its height of fame labelled the “Rome of the Gentiles/Pagans of the Orient”. 

Badrakali Amman Temple

Bathirakali Amman Temple – Bathirakali Ambal Kovil – or the Kali Kovil, Trincomalee is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Bhadrakali, a form of the goddess Kali Amman in Trincomalee, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. The Kali temple of the ancient Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple Compounds, a large complex of connected shrines in the Trincomalee Konesar Malai area, the temple is located close to the Trincomalee Hindu College. Made in classical Dravidian architecture, the Kovil is located just beyond the Konesar Road Esplanade before the entrance to Konamamalai. Proximal to the ancient Koneswaram temple, both ancient temples share functions during Ther Thiruvillah Festival procession and the Back Bay Sea.

Badrakali Amman Temple in Trincomalee Sri Lanka

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