Trincomalee city in Sri Lanka on the northeastern coast about 240 km from Colombo airport,
the most popular resort in the east of the country.
It is located in a welcoming and deepest natural bay in the world, which protects the city from the winds and compared to other places in Sri Lanka, here the climate is drier and warmer.
Now Trincomalee, despite the distance from Bandaranaike International Airport (8-12 hours), to deserve the love of many tourists.
Trincomalee is home to the beautiful beaches of Nilaveli, Uppuveli and the island of Pigeon.
Recently Trincomalee has also become popular as a destination for whale watching.
The dive centers in Nilaveli and Uppuveli offer tourists the opportunity to enjoy their diving, snorkeling and swimming holidays.
The Trincomalee district, referred to as Gokanna or Gokarna in historical chronicles and inscriptions, is dotted with a multitude of ruins of ancient Buddhist temples and is considered an important Buddhist cultural and archaeological site in Sri Lanka.
The seven thermal springs of Kanniya located just 8 km from Trincomalee attract regular crowds throughout the year in view of the therapeutic properties of the water and the temperatures that vary from one well to another.
Trincomalee, in history
From Gokarna to Trincomalee, Mantota to Mannar and Dambakolapattuna to Jaffna, among others they had been large seaports of ancient Sri Lanka from 543 BC.
Trincomalee known as Gokanna, Gokarna or Siri Gonamala is an ancient maritime port city and, as documented in the historical chronicles of the states of Sri Lanka.
It is the port where Prince Panduvasudeva, nephew of King Vijya, sailed to Sri Lanka from Sinhapura, India.
“Badda Kachchayana who later became the queen of King Panduwasdeva (505-474 BC) with her group of royal maidens also landed in the port of Siri Gonamala.
She was a sister of Prince Digha, the founder of Dighavapi.
Trincomalee during the colonial era
The strategic position of Trincomalee made it a flashpoint during the colonial era. The long army of Trincomalee began in 1617 when five Danish ships sailed into Koddiyar bay under a commander named Ove Giedde.
The second Rajasinghe the second has a keen appreciation of the value of Porto, Giedde’s negotiations have proved fruitless; and set sail, leaving a wreck behind.
The Portuguese, having already sailed in the coastal areas of Sri Lanka, decided to conquer it, then in 1624 they completed the construction of a defense fort.
This fort – it had only three bastions, was taken by the Dutch in 1639 and then abandoned shortly thereafter.
In 1675, the fort was fortified and called Fort Federico after Frederick the Great.
It is part of those walls and the gate still standing, as the focal point of interest for Trincomalee in addition to the port.
Trincomalee and the Dutch Companies
E. T. Kannangara, in “Jaffna and the Sinhalese heritage” referring to more recent times, states that the treaty between the Sinhalese king and the Dutch East India company signed in 1766 BC
Batticaloa is mentioned as Puliyanduwa and Trincomalee as Thirikunamala.
In 1795, a British fleet defended Trincomalee, apparently to protect the Dutch from the French, but under the secret order to capture Trincomalee in any case, due to its growing strategic importance.
The tormented Dutchman, unsure of where loyalty or opportunity was, hesitated.
But Colonel James Stuart, opening a possible breach in the walls after a four-day bombing, had the best.
And Trincomalee became England’s first property in Ceylon.
With the British takeover in 1795, the city had changed hands seven more times.
Port of Trincomalee during the second world war
British and allied powers chose it as the main naval base for the whole of Southeast Asia and command of the Far East during the Second World War.
The Japanese attack on the port of Trincomalee in 1942 was unsuccessful despite the suicide attack on fuel tanks.
Points of interest
Thirukoneswaram, or Sacred Temple of Koneswaram, is a Hindu temple.
The temple is located on a high rocky promontory surrounded on three sides by the sea.
It has a history of over three millennia with documents indicating its roots in 1580 BC.
This, still beautiful, historical monument is what remains of what was once a sprawling temple-city equal to the ancient city of Madurai, India.
Koneswaram takes its name from the main deity of the temple, the Hindu god Shiva.
Shiva, which is also called Eeshwar or Eeshwarar, reigns on the mountain of Holy Konam (Thirukonamalai (Tamil): Thiru – Holy; Konam- Name; Malai – Mountain) thus giving the name Thirukoneshwarar (Thiru-Kona -Eeshwarar).
The name “Konam” is believed to derive from the ancient Tamil word meaning “peak”.
Another name given to the temple is “Dakshina Kailayam”; a Sanskrit name meaning “Mount Kailash of the South”.
Some also call it “Aathi Koneswaram”, where “Aathi” is the Tamil word for antiquity.
Thirukoneswaram is a temple visited by people from many cultures and countries.
Famous all over the world, people arrive daily from the boats to see the ancient site.
In the temple and its surroundings, you will meet many pilgrims doing their best in offering their service to the God Shiva.
By simply filling small paper packages with Holy Ash or something more difficult like sweeping the ground.
As an elderly lady said, “seeing Koneswar and serving him is a vocation”.
Fort Fredrick also called the Fort of Trincomalee, was built by the Portuguese and completed in 1624.
Built on the rock of Swami, it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch.
Finally in 1782 the British enlarged it.
The fortress is now used by the Sri Lankan military, but you can explore most of the fort on foot or by car.
Assorted cannons and artillery are scattered around the enclave, which also contains a small number of spotted deer grazing under huge banyan trees.
Among the colonnaded buildings from the colonial era, the imposing Georgian-style dwelling (not open to visitors) Wellesley House, which takes its name from a Duke of Wellington.
It dates back to the late 1700s.
There is also a large Buddha statue standing in the Gokana temple, from where you can admire splendid views of Trinco and the coast.
A large 18th century Dutch colonial building renovated and converted into a museum.
The ground floor exhibits cover the naval history of Sri Lanka up to the times of Marco Polo.
Upstairs you will find a lot of useful information on the flora and fauna of the east coast, in particular that of the Pigeon Island Marine National Park.
Large porches are excellent places to stop and admire the view.
Thermal waters of Kanniya
A few kilometers from Trincomalee, the “Kanniya hot water spring”, at the foot of the Buddhist monastery, releases thermal healing water from 7 wells at different temperatures.
By filling the buckets and following a timeline, water is thrown in the head to perform the ritual.
Sri Lanka is indeed the perfect place for children and for people who like animals and nature.
This country is incredibly green.
It is impossible not to find elephant herds on safari or even on the same road traveling.
It is also very easy to see leopards, macaques and other types of monkeys, giant squirrels, jackals, etc. etc
Furthermore, walking with children and adults through the Peradeniya Botanical Garden is a delight. Along with the giant trees and millions of plants, we will also find monkeys and other animals in this immense place.