Sightseeing in Trincomalee, Eastern Part of Sri Lanka

Trincomalee is one of the many ancient but still vibrant cities of Sri Lanka. This place is not as famous among tourists as some other places in Sri Lanka like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. But if you believe me, Trincomalee is not inferior to them in any way. Let me give you proof of this also. Let me give you some information about the amazing tourist places of Trincomalee so that you can plan your trip to Sri Lanka in the best way.

During my recent visit to Sri Lanka, I visited ancient sites in its northern Tamil dominated parts. I saw and enjoyed many wonderful gems here, such as ancient temples, ancient ports, salt fields, gulfs, peninsulas and many beautiful villages! I got to eat South Indian dishes in most of the places here. My heart was filled with joy. It would not be an exaggeration to say that in Sri Lanka I felt as if I was traveling in my own country. The only time I felt like a foreign tourist was if someone asked me for my passport.

In colloquial language, Trincomalee city is called Trinco.

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Sightseeing in Trincomalee

Kanniya hot water-spring

Kanniya hot water source is a natural wonder of this region. There are a total of 7 square wells located close to each other which contain hot water sources of different temperatures. Their depth is not much. May be only 3 to 4 feet. Standing near these wells and looking inside, their bottoms are clearly visible. Tourists have put many coins inside them.

I was told that inside there are waters of 7 different temperatures, from lukewarm to extremely hot. I touched the water of each well and examined it. The water in every well was hot. But I did not feel the different temperatures. Perhaps any water becomes hot in the heat of the afternoon.

I saw many people taking out water from these and pouring it on themselves.

According to legends, Ravana created these water sources by digging them so that he could perform the last rites of his mother. Since that time, water from the Kanniya hot spring is used to perform the last rites. It is also said that it is mentioned in the Ramayana as a part of the Gokarna Tirtha. It is also another name for Trincomalee Bay.

There is also a Buddhist monastery and a Shiva temple near the Kanniya hot water source. In front of them are the ruins of an ancient stupa. Exactly the same as you would have seen in Anuradhapura .

The ticket price to visit Kanniya hot water source is as follows-

For Sri Lankan residents – 10/- Sri Lankan rupees

For foreigners – 50/- Sri Lankan rupees

Be sure to visit this amazing diamond of Trincomalee during your visit to Sri Lanka.

Trincomalee War Memorial

This name is inscribed on the iron gate of a beautifully maintained mausoleum. Also 1939-1945, this date is also mentioned. Looking at the date, it can be inferred that this monument belongs to the era of World War II. It looks as beautiful in reality as it looks in the picture. It seems that this monument is not open for tourists more than this.

Orr Hill Army Museum

This is a very original and well-displayed museum. For the common man, this museum is a unique collection to know and understand the various types of weapons used in the army. Where and when weapons were invented, when did Sri Lanka buy them, etc? In one room, army uniforms, their ranks, information about various platoons, etc. are displayed. In another room, the means of communication used in the army have been displayed.

A feature of this museum is the display of items seized from terrorists, including suicide bombs.

It may take approximately 30 – 60 minutes to visit this museum. It depends on your interest. The maintenance of this museum located near the sea is excellent. While roaming in this museum, I enjoyed observing the various stored items. An army soldier walks with you giving you information about these things. Yes, understanding their language is no less than a challenge.

By creating an artificial battle scene, you are also given an opportunity to practice marksmanship. You too can get the experience of being an army soldier, even if only for a short period of time. In my opinion, this is a very good opportunity through which common citizens like us get the opportunity to know about the life of the soldiers of the country’s army.

For Sri Lankan residents – 20/- Sri Lankan rupees
For foreigners – 250/- Sri Lankan rupees

temples of trincomalee

Trincomalee is an ancient port. It is also a pilgrimage site for Tamil-speaking Hindus. Panch Ishvaram i.e. one of the 5 major Shiva temples, this temple is situated on one side of Swami Shilakhand. Apart from these, many other temples are still alive here. Let us discuss some of those temples:

Thirukoneshwaram Temple

Thirukoneshwaram or Koneshwaram Temple is the most important temple of Trincomalee. This is one of the 5 Shiva temples in entire Sri Lanka. This temple has been in existence at least since the era of Ramayana. Because we have heard many stories of Ravana and his connection with this temple.

According to those stories, once Parvati had a desire to live in a house like a normal woman. He had chosen this place for the construction of the building. Parvati invited Ravana to perform Vaastu puja before entering the new house. Ravana was so mesmerized after seeing this grand building that he demanded this building from Goddess Parvati as Dakshina for the ritual. As soon as Goddess Parvati fulfilled his wish, he realized his mistake. He performed severe penance and sought forgiveness from the Goddess and requested the Goddess not to leave this place. Accepting his grace, Parvati settled here in the form of Shankari Devi. Lord Shiva resides here with them in the form of Koneshwar i.e. God of Mountains. Some people also believe that the meaning of Thirukoneshwar is triangle + God i.e. God of three mountains.

South Kailash

According to another legend, Ravana brought a piece of Mount Kailash on which Trincomalee is situated. In fact, Koneswar Temple is situated on the same longitude on which Mount Kailash is situated. That is why it is also called South Kailash. It is also mentioned in Dakshin Kailash Mahatmya of Skanda Purana.

This temple is also called the temple of thousand pillars. There are many small temples around it. Like many major temples in the region, this temple was also destroyed by the Portuguese army. Where once the temple courtyard was located, today Frederick’s Fort is situated there. Looking at these, it can be inferred that at one time this was a huge temple complex. History says that the Portuguese had destroyed the temple with cannons. The priests, who were running to save their lives, hid some of the idols by burying them in the earth. People succeeded in locating some of these statues which are now part of the temple complex.

In Vasant Mandap you can see some similarly discovered brass statues. In another small temple, you will see big statues of Lakshmi and Narayana made in black stone. An ancient Nandi was installed in a niche of the temple.

Presently this small temple is situated on the other end of the rock from where a wonderful view of the sea all around is visible. There is a Shivalinga inside the main temple. Nearby there is a small temple of the Goddess, inside which a standing statue of the Goddess is installed.

The inner walls of the temple tell the stories of this temple. According to the history written here, the original form of this temple was spread over the entire hill. On the outer walls of the temple, there are mentions of the stories of the temple which are told in the Puranas.

After parking the car, when we reach near the temple after passing through small shops, a huge statue of Lord Shiva installed there fascinates the mind.

Ravana abyss

Ravana Rasatal or Vetta means erosion between the Swami rocks. Swami Rock is the same rock on which the Koneshwar Temple is situated. It is believed that Ravana had cut this rock with his sword.

Legend tells how King Ravana cut the Rawana Abyss near the Koneswaram Kovil in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, with his sword. Ravana was frustrated that his request for a Siva lingam (Hindu phallic symbol) had not been granted by Lord Koneswara.

Here I saw a unique statue of Ravana. There is a platform attached to the rock hanging over the sea on which there is a statue of Ravana standing with folded hands. His veena is kept nearby. It depicts the moment when Ravana, to please Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, cut one of his own heads and created a veena from it.

It is an irony that the ruler of the golden city of Lanka is standing with folded hands on a platform hanging over the sea. People offer coins to him. You will see coins scattered around his feet.


Many small wooden swings will be seen hanging on the wall behind the Thirukoneshwar temple. In my opinion, couples wishing to have a child come here and tie these swings. I saw that some coins were wrapped in cloth and tied to some swings.

We saw a wonderful view of the sunrise from the ramparts of the temple.

We were amazed to see deer roaming freely on the temple premises.

Shankari Devi Shakti Peeth

Shankari Devi Temple is situated on the premises of Koneshwar Temple. Adishakti is present here in the form of Shankari who is the consort of Shiva. This statue, situated in a standing posture, has 4 hands. A two-dimensional Sri Chakra made of copper is kept near his feet. There is a three-dimensional Shri Chakra standing in front of his statue.

It is believed that when Lord Shiva was performing Tandav carrying the dead body of Goddess Sati in his hands and Lord Vishnu disintegrated it with his Chakra, one of the feet of the Goddess fell at this place.

Among the 18 Shaktipeeths located in the Indian subcontinent that Adi Shankaracharyaji has mentioned in his stotra, he has mentioned this temple first. Therefore, this is a very important place for the followers of Lord Shiva and Vishnu.

Bhadrakali i.e. Pathirakali Amma Temple

This temple is situated in the center of the city. From a distance, it looks like any other South Indian temple. Colorful Gopuram built in Dravidian architectural style and sculptures telling stories!

But as soon as I entered the entrance, my eyes widened in amazement at the three-dimensional statues situated all around me. These statues were looking at me from the ceiling, doorframes, walls, and pillars. Furthermore, these statues were telling innumerable stories of innumerable forms of the Goddess. These statues, larger than life-size and full of colors, were overwhelming us.

The presiding deity of this temple is Mahakali or Bhadrakali, who is a benevolent form of Kali. Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati also reside with them.

Information is obtained from the inscriptions of the temple that this temple was before the Chola dynasty. This means that 11th. This temple was in existence in the century. This fact proves that this temple is more than 1000 years old.

Salli Muthumariaamma Kovil

Near the Uppuveli beach, where a small stream meets the sea, stands this temple, one of the oldest temples in Trincomalee city. This is the third major temple among all the goddess temples in this region.

Situated on a narrow strip of land between the backwaters and the sea, this temple is surrounded by rugged rocks. The line of naturally situated rocks around the temple protects it from the sea. When I came here for darshan, this temple was closed. But I definitely got the impression that this is a very revered temple and many devotees come here to visit. I could clearly see signs of worship everywhere. A beautiful view of the Indian Ocean was available from here.
I saw a strange copper instrument in front of the temple. His picture is above. If any of you have information about it, please share it with me.

Do you know that Trincomalee Bay is also known as Gokarna?

Laxmi Narayan temple

This is a huge temple painted in blue and gold colors. This temple is visible from a distance. This temple was also closed when I reached here. Due to the wide moat around it, I could not even take a good picture of it. I was told that this temple is very popular among the tourists visiting Trincomalee.

This temple of Vishnu in the form of Lakshmi Narayan is relatively new. Seeing the blue and gold colors on the temple reminded me of Lord Vishnu. As if the blue-colored Vishnu is wearing golden clothes.

Boudh Vihar

Buddhist temples are visible everywhere in the city. You can recognize them by the white stupas. I stopped near some and looked at them. There was a school-like atmosphere in these monasteries and young students were roaming here and there.

Beaches of Trincomalee

Being a resident of the state of Goa, which is rich in amazing beaches, I had kept the beaches here at a very low level in my Trincomalee visit list. But due to the unavailability of visiting some other places in the evening, a visit to the beach seemed most suitable to me. After getting tired of visiting tourist places all day, I felt extremely peaceful and relaxed after coming here. The tiredness of the whole day would disappear. The mind felt refreshed.

Uppuveli Beach

I visited this beach twice in my entire trip to Trincomalee. When I visited the temple for the first time. Standing on the cliff overlooking the sea, I spent many moments watching the sunset. Sitting on the beach surrounded by trees at dusk was an unforgettable moment for me which is impossible to explain.

The second time I came here was when I was enjoying boating in the backwaters organized by my guest house. It was a slow boat journey of 40 minutes from the guest house to the beach and back. The trees standing in the middle of salt water, birds flying here and there and the peace spread all around fascinates the mind. After enjoying these, now I would like to say that you must come here during your visit to Trincomalee.

Nilaveli Beach

This beach is in the northern direction of Uppuveli Beach. This is a very quiet beach away from the city.

Pigeon Island

You can reach this island by boat from Nilaveli Beach. It is very famous for watching whale fish and dolphin fish and other water sports.

Here Neel Kapot i.e. mountain pigeon make nests. For this reason, it is named Pigeon Island i.e. the island of pigeons.

Marble Beach

The water of this beach is considered to be the cleanest and clearest. I could not visit this beach during my trip.

frederick fort

The Portuguese had fraudulently demolished a temple and built this fort at that place using the same stones. This incident occurred during the Tamil New Year celebrations in April 1622. That day, a procession of the Utsav idol of the temple was being taken out in the city. All the devotees had joined the procession and moved away from the temple. Then Portuguese soldiers came to the temple disguised as temple priests and attacked it with cannons. They destroyed the entire temple.

His reign did not last long. The structure built by him was destroyed by the Dutch invaders and a new fort was built at that place in 1665.

Now there is only one archway on the path leading to the temple. Due to being occupied by the army, tourists are no longer encouraged here. But if you wish, you can come here for darshan.

Places to visit near Trincomalee

Adi Koneshwar Temple

About 25 km from Trincomalee. Located far away, in the village of Tampalakammam is this simple but huge temple. It was constructed in the year 1632. The original statues of Koneshwar temple are installed here.

This is the most peaceful temple I have seen in Sri Lanka. Its vast corridors remain almost empty. Due to this you can roam here peacefully and admire the temple. According to the priest of the temple, the brass Utsav idol is the only ancient idol here. Due to not knowing the language, I could not get much information from them. But he did allow me to take photographs of the statue.

After the Sri Lankan Civil War, like other temples, this temple also became neglected.

Elephant Pass Memorial

This monument was built to commemorate the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The two semi-circular structures here represent the union of northern and southern Sri Lanka and the movement of people across the country. The two hands in the middle have a map of Sri Lanka. It was inaugurated by Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2009.

This is a beautiful artwork. You can climb it and roam around through the sloping path located above it. The murals surrounding the memorial depict tense scenes of the war. It takes only a few minutes to see them, but the memory of their symbolic meaning leaves an indelible mark on your psyche.

From the top of the Elephant Pass Monument, you can see the Elephant Pass Salt Works. When the sea waves come here and dry up, they leave salt behind. You can see the shining rows of salt in the sparkling light of the sun from here.

Travel tips

  • Trincomalee can be reached from Colombo by rail and bus transport.
  • One can also reach here by air taxi Cinnamon Air.
  • Tuk Tuk is the best way to travel around the city.
  • Facilities here range from simple guest houses to hotels with all amenities. I stayed in a hotel called ‘Amaranthe Bay’ which is located near Uppuveli Beach.
  • Taking photographs is not allowed inside the temples. There is no such restriction at other places.
  • 2-3 days are required for a comprehensive tour of Trincomalee. If you are short of time, you can also see it in a day.
  • Coming here, do not forget to drink king coconut water, which is available everywhere here.