Trincomalee

Trincomalee is a tropical city on the east coast of Sri Lanka. With one of the finest harbors in the world, Trinco enjoys warm weather all year round and beautiful beaches. It also hosts a famous Hindu temple, as well as great hotels.Trincomalee has one of the world's finest natural harbors and can accommodate the largest vessels - this fact led to Trincomalee being captured in turn by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and British from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Since the 1960s congestion and labor problems at the port of Colombo have forced the use of Trincomalee's port, little used commercially in previous years, for modest export trade. Many evidences of these colonial occupations are found Fort Ostenberg, Dutch gateway dated 1675 at Fort Frederick and Wellington House where the Iron Duke, then Colonel Wellesley, once lodged. Hindu shrine on the 400 ft. crag, Swami Rock; the Hindu Temple of a Thousand Columns, built by early Tamil settlers from S India, was destroyed by the Portuguese; on its site is Fort Frederick, built (1676) by the Dutch. Because control of Trincomalee was a key to domination over the Coromandel Coast of India, Britain and France sought (18th cent.) to wrest the city from the Dutch; it was captured (1795) by the British. During World War II, Trincomalee was the British naval headquarters in the Pacific theater and had an airfield from which U.S. planes operated against the Japanese in Myanmar and Malaya. A British naval base remained at Trincomalee until 1957, when Sri Lanka abrogated its defense agreement with Britain and took over the base.
What to see
The Hindu Shrine, on the summit of the Rock, known as the Swami Rock or the Three Swami Rock, was the temple of unusual size and splendor, renowned through the whole of India, the temple which was razed to the ground and despoiled by the Portuguese in 1624. Tirujnana Sambandar the Saivite saint of the 7th century AD features the temple in his devotional hymns. This is the earliest reference to the temple, which in point of time goes back to a far distant epoch.

Buddhist Holy Sites, Trincomalee and its environs are sacred to the Buddhist as to the Hindu. Tiriyayi 29 miles north of Trincomalee is a place of Buddhist interest. Here has been discovered the ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery, with the standing structure of a vatadage, an architectural type, distinctively Sinhalese, occupying an area of about an acre in extent. In the centre of the premises is the ruined stupa. Below the hill extends to the East, the blue sea and the Bay of Bengal and an unbroken stretch of forest on all the other sides. A Sanskrit inscription on a rock gives the name of the shrine, the Giri Kandi Caitiya. The shrine is of great value to the Buddhists, for within it is believed to have reposed the very first relics of the Buddha. At the four entrances to the shrine are moonstones of high artistic merit. Among the other striking features are the guard stones of the makara and the naga.

The Harbor, to begin with features sacred, is not to belittle or depreciate the other manifold fascinations of Trincomalee. Nature has endowed the region with a beauty and grace that has not been excelled by man. No doubt, man here has enriched Nature’s gifts, so much so, that Trincomalee today is a product of both aspects harmoniously blended. Its importance as a place of strategic consequence guided its destinies in modern times. The great European powers vied with one another for the mastery of the harbor. The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the English, each held it in turn, and many a sea fight was staged off the cliffs of Trincomalee. Of all harbors in the East, it can be said that it is largely today as Nature endowed it.

Hot Springs, among the sights of the place are the seven hot springs of Kanniyayi, on the road to Trincomalee. About a mile on a side road branching from the main route, the springs are worth a visit. A high wall assembles all the seven springs in a rectangular enclosure. Each enclosed in a dwarf wall forms a well of its own. The water is mildly hot; the temperature varies but slightly in each. In effect, a public bathing resort, the use of the springs is controlled by the neighboring Mari Amman Kovil who holds the lease of the wells. The site of the springs is crown land.
Pigeon Island, a treat for divers with its vibrant coral gardens and swarms of tropical fish.