Trincomalee shines with its soft sandy beaches, breathtaking sunrises, stunning marine life and vibrant history all formed around a natural harbor. The port city of the Eastern Province is a mesmerizing escape in to paradise.
The town’s history dates back to thousands of years, welcoming those traversing the shores of the Indian Ocean. The harbour renowned for its large size and security was a major maritime and international trading port. It was once known as “Gokanna” port in Sanskrit terms. It is at this port several significant events are believed to have taken place. For instance; the Mahabaratha mentions the location of the Siva Temple Koneswaram, the Mahavamsa states that King Vijaya’s nephew landed here to claim the throne in Upatissagama andRobert Knox the English sea captain and author of “A Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon” first landed here before being captured. At present it is home to major Naval and Air Force bases.
Trincomalee is ideal for visits during April to October when the monsoon rains have shifted towards the southern coast.
Trincomalee is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches on the island.
Marble Beach is a public beach in the area, famed for its alluring charm and calm waves. A hotspot amongst locals and tourists alike, it’s ideal for a sea bath and snorkeling. A little beyond the public area is the Marble Beach Air Force Resort, pleasant and serene with 40 cabanas lined prettily along the beach. The hiking rail on Diamond Hill which is in the far corner of the beach is also an interesting excursion. Here you will see a WWII signal tower and a stunning view of the ocean and surrounding islets.
Nilaveli Beachis truly blissful. Soft white sheets of sand contrasting against the piercing blue water that ripples calmly, glistening in the sunlight will take your breath away. Ideal for swimming, sun bathing and maybe swim over to Pigeon Island for snorkeling.
Arisimale Beachis a unique beach which has sand that resembles rice grains. In Tamil raw rice is called Arisi Malai, hence the beach was named accordingly. About 2.5 hours from Trincomalee the sea water is unusually cold during the hottest time of the year.
SNORKELLING & DIVING
Pigeon Island – One kilometer boat ride from Nilaveli Beach you will land on Pigeon Island which has lovely corals and home to Black Tip Reef Sharks. Once dropped off the on the island there is a sensation of detachment from the world as the island magic engulfs you.
Nilaveli – There are several spots for snorkeling around Nilaveli Beach. Sitanampara, Eel Rock and Knife Rock are some easy diving spots. Just off Irakkandy an old shipwreck lies in the bottom of the ocean. These areas are not very deep and ideal for beginners.
Swami Rock has clear blue water which display exhilarating boulders and rocky terrains beneath is not populated with fish. Around the rocky reef ofUppaveliare the well known Sea Anemones or Clown Fish. The shallow water of Dutch Bay is ideal to spot small fish and sea creatures such as Hermit Crabs, Porcelain Crabs, Cleaner Shrimp, Cowry Shells, Pipefish and Lizard Fish. South of Trincomalee is Foul Pointhas an excellent reef and one of the best in the East Coast.
Experienced golfers get ready to tee off in one of the finest golf courses in Sri Lanka. One hundred and seventy one acres of sprawling greenery overlooking the China bay and scenic surroundings from all points, the Eagles Golf Links is a tropical golfing paradise.
KANNIYA HOT WELLS
The seven hot water wells in Kanniya revolve around myth and legend of Ramayana. It is believed the springs appeared after King Ravana struck the ground seven times with his sword. The water in each well varies in heat and sometimes bubbles up like a pot of boiling water. The water is believed to contain healing properties which cure skin ailments and arthritis.
KONESWARAM TEMPLE(Temple of a Thousand Pillars)
This ancient Hindu temple stands atop the rock promontory of Swami Rock overlooking Trincomalee harbor. The origins of this temple dates back to the time or King Ravana. This is one of the five Ishwarans of the Hindudeity Shiva. Devotees flock in this sacred temple to fulfill vows and pay respects.
LAKSHMI NARAYANA PERUMAN KOVIL
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi, this kovil stands out gloriously on the road to Nilaveli beach. Golden edifice with intricate carvings mingled with blue exterior walls catches the eye across the plains. Constructed in 2011 it was made by Indian craftsmen to replicate the exact South Indian temple.
FORT FREDERICK AREA
Fort Frederick was built by the Portuguese in the 1600’s which was later taken over by the Dutch and the British. The Koneswaram Kovil is located inside this fort. It is recorded the original kovil was destroyed by Portuguese and the debris was used to built the fort.
In the vicinity of Koneswaram Temple is a sheer drop of about 350 feet in to the sea. A tragic suicide took place here during colonial times as a girl flung herself off the cliff as she watched her faithless lover sail away from the harbour.
Tranquil and serene cemetery grounds where British soldiers from WWII rest peacefully alongside the Trincomalee – Nilaveli road. This is one of the six Common Wealth war cemeteries in Sri Lanka.
HOODS TOWER MUSEUM
The Hoods Tower Museum is located in the Sri Lanka Naval Base by the Trincomalee dockyard. It contains artifacts of old weapons, maps, naval, military and medical equipment. The tower which gives a 360 degree view of Trincomalee was once a lookout point for enemy ships. The highlights of the museum are the large canons pointed at the entrance to the bay. There are also photographs of naval commanders who contributed to protecting the fort and improving defenses.
Tiriyaya (Girihadu Seya)– On the 50th day of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment two traveling merchants listened to Dhamma and offered bees honey as alms to Buddha. They became his first devotees. They were given a lock of Lord Buddha’s hair which they put in a jewel canister and travelled to the eastern shores of Sri Lanka. The canister which they kept on a rock for protection as they rested was stuck and could not be moved in the morning. Understanding this was its rightful place the two merchants covered the canister with rock and soil. Hence came to be the first ever stupa in the world called “Girihadu Seya”.This stupa is located on top of 212 foot high rock in Tiriyaya.
Samudhragiri Vehera (Lanka Patuna)– In the 4th century, Princess Hemamali and Prince Dantha of Orissa India secretly brought the holy Tooth Relic to Sri Lanka. They arrived at Lanka Patuna where they rested before heading to Anuradhapura to present the Tooth Relic to the King. At this site on a rock by the sea stands a temple built in Anuradhapura era style. Remains of the ancient temple are a dilapidated staircase and pond. Some new additions are a golden Buddha statue and larger than life rock sculpture image of the Prince and Princess.
Seruwila Raja Maha Viharaya
This is a highly revered Buddhist site which is along the Trincomalee – Muttur road. Enshrined in this stupa is the forehead bone relic of Lord Gautama Buddha. It is also believed relics of three former Buddha’s (Kukusada, Konagama and Kashyapa) were also enshrined here. A white stupa with four ancient doorways and newly built image house adorn the premises. The temple attracts many devotees despite the warm weather.
Somawathie Raja Maha Viharaya
Although understatedcompared to the famous Kandy temple, this ancient temple enshrines the right tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Located within the Somawathie wildlife sanctuary, it was built by King Abhaya for his Queen Somawathie. The stupa which is shaped like a droplet has a deep visible cleft to show the original brick structure. Themost unique characteristic of this stupa is that the altar is inside the stupa itself.
The bridge that connects Trincomalee and Kinniya is the longest bridge in Sri Lanka. This enables civilians to cross the Kinniya lagoon to reach Kinniya and Muttur areas by the A15 highway. The bridge was completed and declared open on 20 October 2009.