There are some places you should see in Trincomalee.
Trincomalee is a city in north-eastern Sri Lanka and one of the world’s best natural harbours. Its strategic location was often used both in colonial times and during the World War II.
Currently it is visited by an increasing number of tourists, due to its attractions: beautiful surrounding beaches, whale watching, diving, snorkelling and important historical sites.
For me Trinko (as it is called in short) and the nearest area (Nilaveli and Upaveli) are offer one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen in Sri Lanka, still less popular than those in the South. They are wide, sandy and peaceful. So definitely not for those who like places bustling, with life full of bars and music.
Another thing that I associate with this town … are deer. Visible mainly in Fort Frederick, but sometimes also in the streets, they are friendly with people and nobody knows where they really came from.
Here is a short list of places you should see in Trincomalee:
The Fort in Trincomalee was built in the 17th century by the Portuguese. The fortress building by them was a triangular fortress with three bastions. The inside housed a church and warehouses of goods and ammunition. In 1665 the fort was demolished and then rebuilt by the Dutch. Owing to its important strategic position, it often changed his owners. It was in the hands of the French, and until the island got independence in 1948 in the hands from the British. They gave it the final shape and the name Fort Frederick. The Sri Lankan Army garrison is currently stationed here. Inside the fort there are several old buildings occupied presently by the garrison stationed here. Among them there is Wellesley Lodge, a former residence of the Prince of Wellington.
Koneswaram Temple (called the Thousand Pillars Temple) in Trincomalee located on the highest place in the city, called Swami Rock is a well-known place of worship for many Hindu pilgrims. The way to the temple goes through Fort Frederick.
According to the Department of Archeology of Sri Lanka, archaeological research conducted in the area of the fort brought the discovery of many traces linking this place with both Hindu and Buddhist religion. Tamil inscription from the 16th century on the main entrance to the fort says that the Hindu temple that existed here was destroyed by the Portuguese.
The ruins of the ancient Buddhist monastery Gokanna have also been found within the fort. Both these facts are the evidence of the existence of two temples in this area, both destroyed by the Portuguese and used to build the fort.
Near the temple there is a rock called Lover’s Leap, which involves the legendary love story of a lady named Marina. She jumped from the rock when a ship with her beloved British captain departed from the port at Trincomalee. (I read several versions of this legend and each regardless of the names of the lovers, has a tragic ending).
In Koneswaram Temple there are two religious festivals in February and at the turn of March and April.
Maritime Museum and Navy Museum
The museum was opened 2013, near the Trincomalee fort in a renovated 17th-century building that served as the Dutch Naval Commissioner’s House.
The museum presents several exhibitions, illustrating the history of the navy and the biological diversity of Sri Lanka.
Hoods Tower Naval Museum
Hoods Tower Naval Museum is located in the Ostenburg Fort in Trincomalee. Its name comes from the Hoods Tower Observatory named after the English admiral Samuel Hood.
In the museum you can see map collections, ammunition, weapons, boats and equipment used by the navy during the WWII as well as this used by the LTTE (The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) during the last civil war, finished in 2009. From the top of the tower there is a panoramic view of the Trincomalee harbour.
Open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm and at weekends and public holidays from 2:00pm to 5:00pm. The entrance is paid and requires a special pass issued by the Eastern Naval Command Area in Trincomalee.
Pigeon Island with its coral reef forms a marine national park. It is located 15 km north of Trincomalee and 1 km from Nilaveli. One of the best coral reefs in Sri Lanka is located here. The island was used as a shooting range during colonial times. The name comes from the species of wild pigeon that occurs on this island and it is endangered species.
Hot springs, Kanniya
Natural hot springs in Kanniya are about 8 km from Trincomalee. When we come to the place we meet seven stone wells of different sizes and depths up to one meter. The temperature in each of them is varied. Due to the minerals found in them, it is said they heal the skin and arthritis. The admission ticket costs 50 LKR, and the place is available from 7am to 7pm.
Pathirakali Amman Temple or Kali Kovil
It is a Hindu temple located at Vidyalam Street in Trincomalee. It is built in the Dravidian style, whose characteristic features are towers covered with sculptures, referring to Hindu mythology. Although the surroundings of the shrine may seem unwelcoming, the interior is surprising, filled with huge amounts of colourful sculptures. I must admit that this temple impressed me a lot.