Trincomalee is Sri Lankan East-Coast paradise. Cut off during the country’s 30 year civil war, the magic of the place remains untouched even as tourists now throng to the area. Primarily habituated by the island’s Tamil and Muslim populace, Trinco as it is fondly referred to by locals, is a mix bag of sights from an old Dutch Fort to an ancient Hindu kovil.
The Koneswaran Temple atop a mountain that has become a Hindu kovil of significance to Hindus around the world is surrounded by Ford Fredrick, an Old Dutch Fort that is still a military base for the Sri Lankan armed forces. Spotted deer and soothsayers will greet on your journey up to the Kovil which also houses the infamous lovers leap or Ravana’s cleft – a steep drop between the rocks into the violent ocean below.
Surrounding the town are other places you will want to visit while you are there, including staying at one of the hotels than line Nilaweli beach and taking a boat ride to the nearby Pigeon Island for a day in the sun and bathing in secluded rock pools. A World War II memorial cemetery can also be found on the way to Nilaweli – stop for a while and read the names and inscriptions on the gravestones of the many soldiers who died on our island, including the ‘Unknown Burmese’ at the far end of the white-stoned graveyard.
Other attractions include China Bay and a visit to the hot springs at Kanniya, about a 20 minute drive from Nilaweli that holds seven separate hot springs – attributed to the mythological king Ravana, each a different temperature to the other – all that you are allowed to test and bathe in. Some come here to perform the last rites of their loved ones, making the place both scientifically and spiritually intriguing.
Trinco is evidence of Sri Lanka’s cultural and visual diversity making it both a pilgrimage and adventure to visit.