Trincomalee, [trɪŋkoʊməˈli] ත්රිකුණාමළය [Trikuṇāmaḷaya] is an ancient port city of Sri Lanka which has marine importance even today. Situated in the Eastern province with an elevation of 8m, it is 237km away from the Colombo capital. Trinco, as it is known famously, offers white sandy beaches, tall palm trees and some of the most picturesque beaches in the island.
Trinco, known as ‘the Rome of the pagans of the Orient’ has a recorded history spanning over 2500 years with the building of the Koneswaran Temple and is one of the oldest cities in Asia. It has served as a major maritime port to the well-known silk route. Its’ deep-water port has made it the target for all manner of attacks throughout centuries by the Indians, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British throughout history and today, it is culturally richer for it. The city also has the largest Dutch Fort in the island.
The harbour is renowned for its large size and security; unlike any other in the Indian Ocean, it is accessible in all weathers to all craft. It has been described as the "finest harbour in the world" and by the British, "the most valuable colonial possession on the globe”.
Trincomalee war cemetery and the Maritime and Naval History museum both provide a view of the colonial shadow that plagued Trinco for a long time. The Dutch Bay is an excellent spot for fishing, by yourself or to purchase fresh seafood from the fishing boats themselves.
The historic Koneswaran Temple is a Hindu monument that attracts Hindus from around the world. Recorded history speaks of it from the 3rd century BC. However, the original shrine was demolished by the Portuguese and its many relics are currently at the Lisbon museum. Another must visit place is the Fort Fedrick, originally built by the Portuguese and captured and reconstructed by the Dutch and later captured by the British.
The hot water springs of Kanniya is also a must visit spot. The Hot spring water, squirms and bubbles throughout the day and is stone walled to form 7 wells with varying degrees of hot water which are open for public to bathe. The mineral rich water is said to be good for many body ailments as well as skin diseases.
Trinco also boasts of the best, most scenic beaches in the island such as Uppuveli beach and Nilaweli beach as well as many unnamed, uncorrupted stretches of beautiful sea bathing spots. The area is famous for bathing and swimming, owing to the relative shallowness of the sea, allowing one to walk out over a hundred meters into the sea without the water reaching the chest.
Trinco is also popular for whale watching during the period of March till August. During the season, schools of dolphins and whales spraying and frolicking in the deep blue waters is a wonderous sight to behold.
Snorkeling, diving, swimming, fishing or simply sunbathing, Trinco beaches must be experiences at least one in your life time.