Trincomalee - An Ideal Location for Tourists who Love Water Sports
The City that Preens Upon its World Famous Natural Hurbour
‘Thirikunamalai’ in Sinhala language and ‘Thirikonamalai’ in Tamil meant a three cornered mountain is where natural harbour is situated at distance of 262 KM (163 miles) from Colombo. It is a Tamil dominated city and a centre of Tamil culture. The Trincomalee harbour is one that boasts of security and size. Its beaches are famed for surfing, scuba-diving and whale-watching besides fishing. It is steeped in history and folklore.
Trincomalee is a natural, deep-water harbour and has been the port of call of seafarers like Marco Polo & Ptolemy and various others, from China and East Asia from the ancient times and has been a sea port since the early days of rule by the Sinhala Kings. It was considered as the main port of the British, during the Second World War. The British captured the Fort of Trincomalee in 1975. It is reputed to be a vital link with the outside world.
A majority of both communities –the Tamils and the Sinhalese believe that the place is sacred to them, and that they are the indigenous people of the area. It has sites of religious and historical importance to both communities. They hold these sites sacred. Even though the King Mahasena –a Sinhala Buddhist demolished the Hindu Sivan Temple atop the hillock, peaceful relationships were maintained by both communities.
The KONESWARAN TEMPLE, atop a hillock, attracted thousands from, both, within, and out of Sri Lanka. The shrine itself was demolished by the Portuguese, in 1622. The many Buddhist historical sites around the city of Trincomalee assert that there was a Buddhist presence in the area for several centuries. Among these, are the Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara at seruwila to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sri Gajaba Cave Temple and the Tiriyay temple.
The entrance to the roadway to the Koneswaran shrine is what was, earlier, the Entrance to Fort Frederick –built in 1623 by the Portuguese and later captured by the Dutch in 1639 and then captured by the French in 1672. On the 8th of January, 1782, the British captured it. However, it was recaptured by the French on the 29th of August of the same year. The French ceded it to the British in the year 1783 and subsequently the British ceded it to the Dutch. Finally, in 1795, the British recaptured it, and held it until Sri Lanka’s Independence, in 1948. It gained such importance because of its strategic position, and its natural harbour.
A few kilometers from Trincomalee town, the British Royal Air Force had a base in the hamlet known as ‘China Bay’ where the British also had a Fuel Storage Base. This harbour and airfield were attacked by the Japanese in April 1942.
Fort Frederick was occupied by the personnel of the British Admiralty. The Sri Lankan Army occupies it now. One of the buildings in the Fort was occupied by the legendary Duke of Wellington.
Present day Trincomalee abounds with a vast variety of tourist Hotels and Guest Houses along the beaches of Nilaveli and Uppuveli, attracting many tourists –both foreign and local. Another spot of tourist and historical interest is the seven Hot Water Wells at Kanniya –reputed for the curative qualities of its waters.