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Trincomalee, or “Trinco” the popular shortened form, has a history extending well beyond its Portuguese, Dutch, British and even French occupations. In ancient times Trincomalee was known as Gokanna and its harbour was recognised very early on as a significant one by the kings of that period.

Almost equally represented in number, communities of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims live in Trincomalee. You will notice the particular characteristics of each group in various parts of the town from the obvious Buddhist temples, Hindu kovils and Islamic mosques to the chosen dress and language of locals. This diversity, together with its history, makes Trinco an absorbing place to spend a few days.

A highlight is Fort Frederick. For an introduction into its colourful history read the plaque on the entrance gate archway – the Portuguese, Dutch, French and British jostled for it from 1623 until 1895, when the British captured it for good.

The fort is still being used by the military, though one can walk through it. Inside it is shady with huge banyan trees providing the comforting canopy. At the top of Fort Frederick is Swami Rock and the Tirukoneswaram Kovil, an ancient Hindu temple. It’s gorgeous location high above the sea - you should visit between a 4.30pm and 6.30pm..

Stand behind the kovil and look over the edge down to the sea some 100m below and watch the colourful fishing boats come in close to the rocks with burning incense on the bow, the fishermen saying a small prayer, some of them smashing a coconut against the rocks for extra blessings.

The original kovil, said to have been built thousands of years BC, was demolished in the early part of the 17th century by the Portuguese who pushed it over the edge of the cliff into the sea. The temple’s focus point for devotion is the phallic symbol for Shiva, the lingam.

Visitors to Trinco are easily enraptured by the region’s quiet beaches that it makes it difficult to think about anything other than lazing in the sand, swimming, water-sports such as diving, or going on a whale-watching expedition. However, as with most places in Sri Lanka, a little exploration can uncover any number of treasures.

For instance, try the magnificent ruins of Velgam Vihara, built around 1st AD, and 13km west of the town. Among the ruins are the remains of a large dagoba and several other structures, including at least two small Buddha statues. The site was declared an archaeological reserve in 1934.

Hotels found in Trincomalee...

Club Oceanic

Endless beaches, the most tranquil of bays, silence broken only by the breaking waves, the wind and the occasional birdcall….with all the luxuries one can expect from a top class hotel…this is Club Oceanic.

The most peaceful of holiday resorts guarantees to take you back to a time when simplicity was the unmistakable signature of life. Watch the world awake from the beach at dawn, try your hand at fishing in the middle of the sea, forget the passing of time watching the millions of birds on Pigeon Island, take a walk on the beach at twilight, sample the delights of a beach barbeque, or count the stars at night. There is magic, waiting to be savoured.

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Nilaveli Beach Hotel

Located on the East Coast of Sri Lanka, known the world over for its beautiful soft white sand beaches which slope gently into clear shallow seas, the vast Indian Ocean which washes on to the shores of this coastal resort holds a treasure chest of dreams just waiting to be opened.

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Head Office

77, Maliban Street, Colombo 11.
Sri Lanka.
Tele: +94 11 2470700

Branch Offices
  • Wellawatte, Colombo-06
  • Coimbatore, India
  • Tuticorin, India
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