About Trincomalee

Country: India | State: Sri Lanka

Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days

Nearest City to Trincomalee: Trincomalee, Colombo (269 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Trincomalee: May to September & December to February

Peak Season: July to August

At a distance of 100 km from Sigiriya, 106 km from Anuradhapura, 108 km from Dambulla, 133 km from Polonnaruwa, 182 km from Kandy, 236 km from Jaffna and 269 km from Colombo, Trincomalee is a charming coastal town on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Trincomalee district and among the must include destinations in Sri Lanka trip.

Sitting prettily on a remarkable natural harbour, the charming town of Trincomalee with oodles of history and interesting sites is a great escape from the touristy south. The port town is built on a peninsula of the same name, which divides its inner and outer harbours. The town got its historic Tamil name Thirukonamalai from Koneswaram Temple situated on the Swami Rock. Trincomalee is an anglicized form of the old Tamil word 'Thiru-kona-malai', meaning 'Lord of the Sacred Hill'. Trincomalee has been one of the main centers of Sri Lankan Tamil language speaking culture on the island for over two millennia.

Trincomalee known as Gokanna, Gokarna or Siri Gonamala, has a recorded history of more than 2500 years, beginning with the civilian settlement associated with the Koneswaram temple in the pre-modern era. One of the oldest cities in Asia, it has served as a major maritime seaport in the international trading history of the island with South East Asia. In the ancient world, it was successively the capital of eastern kingdoms of the Vanni country, developing under the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Pallava Dynasty, Chola Dynasty, Pandyan Dynasty, the Vannimai chieftains, and the Jaffna kingdom through the Koneswaram shrine's revenue. Trincomalee's urbanization continued when made into a fortified port town following the Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna kingdom. The port's harbour changed hands repeatedly among the Danish in 1620, the Dutch, the French and the British in 1795. The British continued to hold the harbour after Sri Lanka's independence in 1948 but relinquished it in 1957.

From ancient temples & forts to breathtaking beaches, and museums, Trincomalee has a lot to offer to the discerning travelers. Koneswaram Temple, from where it developed and earned its historic Tamil name Thirukonamalai, Pathirakali Amman Temple, Pigeon Island National Park, Velgam Vehera, Maritime and Naval History Museum, Uppuveli & Nilaveli Beaches, Trincomalee War Cemetery, Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara and St Mary's Cathedral are the top places to visit in Trincomalee. Recently Trincomalee has become popular as a Whale Watching destination as well.

Owing to its long history of civilian settlements, the town is quite prominent for its culture and tradition. Ther Thiruvazha or Chariot Festival celebrated in the month of April in the Koneswar Temple is the popular festival celebrated in the port town of Trincomalee. The procession of the extravagantly decorated chariot of Lord Konesar followed by the chariots of Pillaiyar and Murugan is the main highlight of this festival. Besides, Sivarathri, observed in the month of February, is another festival celebrated here with much pomp and fervor.

Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo is the nearest airport which is about 235 km from Trincomalee. It has well flight connectivity with India and other parts of Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States. Trincomalee Railway Station (TCO) is the terminus of Trincomalee-bound rail services, the majority of which originate from Colombo Fort. Besides, Trincomalee has regular trains from Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, and Habarana. About 1.5 km from Trincomalee Railway Station, Trincomalee Bus Station is well connected by bus with Colombo, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Jaffna, and Ampara.

Being a coastal town, Trincomalee experiences warm weather throughout the year with average rainfall. The best months to visit this port city are from May to September and in the winter months from December to February when the temperature is pleasant with a low chance of rainfall. However, the city witnesses massive tourism from July to August, as the climate is pleasant and perfect for those who would like to soak in the warm sun and indulge in water activities.

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Other Info
Internet Availability: Average
STD Code: 0094-26
Languages Spoken: Sinhalese, Tamil, & English
Major Festivals: Ther Thiruvazha & Sivarathri

How to Reach Trincomalee

By Air

Nearest Airport: Colombo - Bandaranaike Airport (235 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Trincomalee Railway Station (0 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Trincomalee Bus Station (1.5 Kms)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Trincomalee


#1 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 3 km from Trincomalee Railway Station, Koneswaram Temple is a Hindu Temple located atop Swami Rock inside Fort Fredrick in Trincomalee town of Sri Lanka. Overlooking the beautiful Gokarna Bay, it is one of the popular places of pilgrimage in Sri Lanka and among the prime places to visit in Trincomalee as part of Sri Lanka Tour Packages.

Koneswaram Temple or Thirukonamalai Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery, the temple is believed to be one of the Panch Ishwarams (five abodes of Shiva) of Sri Lanka along with Ketheeshwaram, Munneshwaram, Naguleshwaram and the now destroyed Tenavaram. The site is a religious pilgrimage for the Hindus and is also known as the Kailasa of the South as it lies on exactly the same longitude as Mount Kailash. Koneswaram gets its name from the chief deity of the temple that is God Shiva.

A 17th century stone inscription in the temple states that .....

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#2 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 600 m from Koneswaram Temple and 2.5 km from Trincomalee Railway Station, Fort Frederick is an ancient fort situated on the Swami Rock or Kona Malai in the port city of Trincomalee. It is one of the important landmarks in the history of Trincomalee and among the must include places in Trincomalee Tour Packages.

Also known as Trincomalee Fort, Fort Frederick was built in the 17th century by the Portuguese. The fort was built on the Swami Rock with the remains of the famous Koneswaram temple, which was also known as a temple of a thousand pillars. This fort was captured by a Dutch fleet under Admiral Westerwold in 1639 and in 1665 a new fort was built here by the Dutch to defend against the advancements of the British and the French. They renamed it, Fort Fredrick. The French captured Trincomalee in 1672 and was taken over by the British in 1795, and remained a British garrison till 1948. Today it remains garrisoned by a detachment of the Gajaba Regiment, Sri Lanka .....

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#3 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 2 km from Trincomalee Railway Station, Pathirakali Amman Temple is a Hindu temple situated at the center of Trincomalee town. It is one of the noted pilgrimage places in Trincomalee and among the must-visit places in Trincomalee while holidaying in Sri Lanka.

Pathirakali Amman Temple is dedicated to goddess Bhadrakali, the benevolent form of goddess Kali Amman. Along with her, there are idols of Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. The Pathirakali Amman Temple is a part of the temple complex of the ancient Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple compounds. The history of the temple dates back to the Chola kings from the 11th Century, and it has been attracting pilgrims ever since. King Rajendra Chola I expanded the shrine significantly during his reign, an inscription he left detailing this is displayed on the premises. The temple is mentioned in the book Birds of Prey (1997) by Wilbur Smith, set in the 1660s.

The temple is built in the classical Dravidian style of architecture .....

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#4 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 2.5 km from Trincomalee Railway Station, the Maritime and Naval History Museum is a museum located at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Situated near Fort Frederick, it is one of the popular places to visit in Trincomalee during your Sri Lanka Tour.

The museum was opened in the year 2013 by then Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa coincide with the country's 65th Independence Day celebrations. The museum has been established near Fort Fredrick in a Dutch Mansion where the Dutch first landed on the island in the 16th century. This beautiful colonial white building was the former residence of the Dutch Naval Commissioner from 1602 to 1795 and from 1795 to 1948 it had been used as the Urban Commissioner's residence. Seriously damaged during the war, it was fully renovated and restored to its former glory in 2013 with the assistance of the Government of the Netherlands under the direction of the Sri Lanka Archaeology Department and the Museums Department.

This informative .....

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#5 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 5 km from Trincomalee, Uppuveli Beach is a serene beach situated at Uppuveli, Trincomalee. Along the coast of the Indian Ocean, it is one of the popular beaches in Sri Lanka and among the prime Trincomalee Tourist Places.

Uppuveli is a long, sandy beach with clear emerald waters. It attracts a bigger crowd than Nilaveli Beach as there is more going on in the area. Uppuveli Beach is lined with lots of restaurants and bars. This makes it the perfect place to head to for the day and enjoy a meal and drink by the ocean.

This laidback paradise is perfect for swimming, whale watching, volley-ball or simply relaxing by the sea. The waves here are non-existent, and the flat waters provide better conditions for snorkeling. Apart from this sport, visitors can also try other adventurous water sports such as Water-skiing and Wakeboarding which are even more exhilarating.

Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM

Entry: Free

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#6 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 12 km from Trincomalee Railway Station, Velgam Vehera is an ancient Buddhist site situated in Kanniya near Nilaveli. It is one of the prominent Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and among the prime places to visit in Trincomalee.

Also known as Vilgam Rajamaha Viharaya, Velgam Vehera was one of the important Buddhist temples in the country, worshiped by both Sinhala and Tamil Buddhists. This temple is believed to be built during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (307-267 BC). Later, it was renovated by King Bathiya I, Agkbo II, Vijayabahu I and Parakramabahu I. Although many other Buddhist temples in the country ruthlessly destroyed during the Chola invasion in 993 AD, Velgam Vehera was renovated by the invaders by adding their own structures and renamed it Rajarajaperumpalli, after King Rajaraja I. Following the collapse of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Kingdoms, the temple was abandoned and fell into ruins.

The abandoned temple was discovered back in the .....

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#7 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 1 km from Nilaveli Beach and 24 km from Trincomalee Railway Station, Pigeon Island is a marine national park situated off the coast of Nilaveli. It is a popular getaway from the city of Trincomalee and among the popular places for scuba diving & snorkeling in Sri Lanka.

Undoubtedly one of the best places to visit near Trincomalee, the Pigeon Island National Park was declared a marine sanctuary way back in 1963 and designated as a national park in 2003. This national park is the 17th in the country and one of the two marine national parks in Sri Lanka, the other being Hikkaduwa. The pristine and beautiful Pigeon Island National Park comprising of two small islands - Large Pigeon Island and Small Pigeon Island. Pigeon Island is one of the several protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

The national park is home to the vibrant marine life, stunning rock formations, and endangered rock pigeons, based on which the national park gets its name. .....

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#8 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 5 km from Trincomalee Railway Station, Trincomalee War Cemetery, also known as Trincomalee British War Cemetery is a British military cemetery in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Located on Trincomalee-Nilaveli Road, it is one of the prime places to visit in Trincomalee.

Trincomalee War Cemetery is the final resting place of the British and local soldiers who laid down their lives during World War II, is a quiet solemn place. Set in a well-maintained garden, this is one of the six Commonwealth war cemeteries in Sri Lanka. After the Japanese defeated Singapore in World War II, Trincomalee was a strategic Naval & Air-Force Base of the British and Allied Powers in South Asia. On April 9th, 1942, the Trincomalee port came under attack by the Japanese. A British warship anchored in the harbor was destroyed during the attack, killing 368 soldiers and injuring many. Some of those bodies lie in this small cemetery. On the withdrawal of the British Forces from Ceylon it became the .....

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Heritage | Pilgrimage

#9 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 44 km from Trincomalee, Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple situated at Seruwawila in the Trincomalee district of Sri Lanka. It is counted amongst the holiest Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka and one of the top places to visit near Trincomalee.

Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara was built during the reign of King Kavantissa (2nd century BC). It is believed that three viharas existed at this particular spot that was built during the periods of three former Buddhas named Kakusandha, Koṇagamana, and Kassapa with their relics enshrined. Gautama Buddha had personally visited this place and offered eight handfuls of 'sapu' flowers, then wished that the temple which constructing in the future should be named as Mangala viharaya. The stupa containing the Lalata Dathun Wahanse (sacred forehead bone) of Lord Buddha and is among the sixteen holiest Buddhist shrines (Solosmasthana) in Sri Lanka.

Over the years, the stupa fell into ruins under .....

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#10 of 13 Places to Visit in Trincomalee

At a distance of 20 km from Trincomalee, Nilaveli Beach is a pristine palm-fringed beach situated at Nilaveli. Along the coast of the Indian Ocean, it is one of the popular beaches in Sri Lanka and among the prime Trincomalee Tourist Places.

Stretches over 1 km, Nilaveli Beach is a calm, serene white sandy beach surrounded by lush, green vegetation on both sides. The beach itself was really clean with no rubbish and the water is clean and calm ideal for swimming. Water sports such as windsurfing and diving are very famous among tourists and even locals. Totally unspoiled by the onslaught of tourism, this palm-fringed beach is perfect for a lazy, rejuvenating day by the sea.

Across the beach, about 1 km into the ocean one will see the famous Pigeon Island, named due to rock pigeons roosting on it. It is a famous spot for snorkeling and diving. The reef there provides a perfect place to explore the ocean.

Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM

Entry: Free

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