Historical Places


Trincomalee's strategic importance has shaped its recent history. The great European powers vied for mastery of the harbour. The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and the English, each held it in turn, and there have been many sea battles nearby.

The harbour, the fifth largest natural harbour in the world, is overlooked by terraced highlands, its entrance is guarded by two headlands, and there is a carriage road along its northern and eastern edges.

Trincomalee's location, in a less well developed and sparsely populated area, has in the past hampered its own development. Nevertheless plans are under way to develop Trincomalee as a commercial seaport.


The Koneswaram Temple

Most of the Tamils and Sinhalese believe that this place is sacred to them and they are the indigenous people of the area. Trincomalee and its environs have both Hindu and Buddhist sites of historical importance. These sites are sacred to the Hindus and Buddhists.

Even though King Mahasena demolished the Sivan Temple and built a Mahayana Buddhist temple on the hilltop the Sinhala Buddhists maintained good peaceful relationships as Theravada Buddhism does not advocate any conflicts with Hinduism and maintained excellent relationships.


Hot springs

Kanniyayi hot springs, Trinco
There are the seven hot springs of Kanniya (Kal = stone; niya = land), on the road to Trincomalee. A high wall bounds the rectangular enclosure which includes all seven springs. Each is in turn enclosed by a dwarf wall to form a well. The water is warm, the temperature of each spring being slightly different. The use of the springs for bathing is controlled by the neighbouring Mari Amman Kovil, who holds the lease of the wells

Pigeon Island

  Kanniyayi hot springs, Trinco
Kanniyayi hot springs, Trinco
The small peninsula jutting out of Trinco town, near the stadium and the main shopping streets, is the Portuguese built Fort Frederick. It's still a working military base but, unusually, you can walk through it. Inside the fort grounds are plenty of colonial style British army buildings, cannons and other leftovers from previous inhabitants, and, bizarrely, loads of deer poking their heads out from behind the military offices. There isn't really a huge amount to see but it's a pleasant shaded walk, and one you have to make if you want to go to see Koneswaram Rock Temple on the cliff above the fort. Although you can walk around, remember it is still a military base so don't go too far off the road and, no matter how tempting those deer, it's not a good idea to take photos unless you ask permission. You can at the temple though.
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