Trincomalee, one of the oldest and historically significant cities in Asia, sits on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Home to a beautiful natural harbour, and holding vast religious significance, Trincomalee holds much promise by way of charm and sentiment to the visiting tourist.
Nilaveli is one of the more popular attractions in this city. It consists of a beach that offers all kinds of water sports opportunities, and a mesmerising view of the sea life. Just off-shore is Pigeon Island. Tourists come here for all kinds of water sports activities that include fishing, whale watching and surfing.
The Dutch Fort or ‘Fort Frederick’ as it is also known, offers a look at architecture from the Dutch colonisation period. The original construction was built by the Portuguese in 1624, captured in 1639 by the Dutch and rebuild in 1655. The colourful Hindu temple Koneshwaram is located inside the fort on the top of Swami Rock.
After entering the fort via the old gate, you feel as if you are time travelling. Old Dutch houses are covered with antique roof tiles and have huge trees in front of them. Nowadays the old mansions are home to the soldiers of the Sri Lankan Army. Because the whole fort in military territory it is not allowed to take pictures until you’ve reached the area of the Konershwaram temple.
Koneshwaram temple, a popular tourist site in Trincomalee is a famous religious shrine dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Shiva. Outside the temple, a huge statue of Lord Shiva greets the pilgrims who have come to worship him. Inside the temple – where photography is also prohibited and one should dress discretely - many colourful deities stare down on the visitors pointing their many arms and legs in all directions. If you come around 4pm, chances are you’ll witness the pooja or holy ceremony.
Koneshwaram was temple is built on Swami Rock, from where you have a beautiful view of the harbour and surrounding sea. Part of the rock is so-called Lovers Leap. The story goes that Dutch Francina van Reed flung herself off this rock in the late 17th century after she saw her lover sail back to the Netherlands on his Dutch East India’s ship.