Trincomalee better known as Trinco is a big city with a sizable population in the East coast of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is the biggest city in the eastern province and commercial centre of the region. The city can be best described as a port city like Galle. It had been an important port of call and trading spot in the early days of human civilization and visited by Greek, Persian, Indian, Chinese and Arabian sailors.
When compared with other major cities of Sri Lanka, Trincomalee town is a somewhat backward one. Proper town planning has not been carried out during the war, so as a result the outlook of the town, not an eye-catching one to the visitors.
Population (about Sri Lanka)
The city of Trincomalee is a home for diverse cultures, religions and ethnic groups. But the difference of ethnicity has not been a reason for the people to maintain their harmony. The city is mainly occupied by Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslims. The religious and ethnic harmony, fast-developing economy and abundance of natural and man-made attractions make it unique from most cities in the island.
As a fast-developing city, Trincomalee already shows the signs of the highly cosmopolitan atmosphere. The cultural and traditional events in the region show the unique amalgamation of different religions and ethnic groups. The harmony of different cultures is very evident in all aspects of their lives such as religious festivals, foods, music, cultural events and theatre. Compared to many cities in Sri Lanka, Trincomalee is a very calm and quiet city, hence the nightlife in the city is very inactive.
There is a large number of Hindu, Buddhist and Islam religious institution in the region. Therefore, religious festivals are occurring here more often than anywhere else in the country. Full moon day celebration, Diwali, Good Friday, Maha Shiva Rathri, Christmas, Sinhala Hindu New Year, Ramadan are some of the most celebrated events here.
The fishing industry is the most thriving industry in the region and the most important source of income for the region. Agriculture and animal husbandry are the other most important sauces of occupations for the people in Trincomalee. Being located bordering the Indian Ocean, it has some of the pristine, palm-fringed beaches of Sri Lanka. Therefore, Trincomalee is identified as very potential to attract foreign tourists. In fact, the number of tourists visiting the city has been sharply increased during the last several years. Today, there is a tourism upbeat in the region due to the considerably improved security and rapid development of the infrastructure.
Role of Trincomalee during World war II
One of the most dangerous and critical moments of the Second World War considered being the bombardment by the Japanese on Trincomalee and Colombo. It made a great alarm among the allied forces as the Japanese fleet was heading to naval bases in Ceylon. Capturing Ceylon Japanese would be able to control the Indian Ocean and the possibility at the same time as a German conquest of Egypt would have closed the ring and the future would have been black.
Japan enters the war in December 1941 and advanced rapidly in the Far East, Then the island of Sri Lanka was called Ceylon and became one of the most strategic bastions that were important in the Second World War. Ceylon was playing a vital role for allied forces after falling of Singapore. Sri Lanka was important to ensure the continued allied sea movements in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka was named as the base of the British Eastern Fleet and thousands of soldiers were summoned to Colombo from Commonwealth countries. Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans were also recruited for home defence and military labour.
Knowing the importance of the strategically located island for winning the War, massive Japanese naval armada was heading to the island of Ceylon, in order to secure the grip on the Indian Ocean. It was the same Japanese forces that destroyed the Pearl Harbor a few months back. Fortunately, the echelon of Allied military command was promptly alarmed and air defences of the island were upgraded and reconnaissance and fighter aircraft from other theatres of conflict were diverted to bolster the island.
Attractions in Trincomalee
When talking about attractions, Trincomalee is bestowed with a large number of interesting places and holidaymakers have plenty of activities to keep themselves busy. Beautiful beaches are the main natural attraction in Trincomalee. Pigeon island marine sanctuary with a large variety of exotic fish, corals and marine plants takes the divers in surprise. The ocean around Trincomalee is also very popular for whale and dolphin watching. Trincomalee fort is another important attraction in the city and it was occupied by Portuguese, Dutch, English and French (for a short period of time) soldiers in the past. Don’t forget to visit the historical Hindu temple and Lovers leap in the fort on your visit to Trincomalee.
Trincomalee natural harbour
There are well known 2 natural harbours on the island of Sri Lanka; Trincomalee and Galle. Trincomalee is not only the largest natural port in the island of Sri Lanka but also the largest of its kind in the world. Trincomalee considered being one of the deepest natural harbours in the world and used by the ancient seafarers 2500 year ago.
Its importance was echoed throughout the world during the Second World War. The strategic location of the harbour proved to be one of the most important places in Asia during World War 2. It had been a strategically important spot in southern Asia in order to fight against the rivals of allied forces. European powers calculated that whoever controls the Trincomalee harbour, have the better chance of controlling the Eastern part of India. By ascertaining the importance to win the war, both sides were fighting each other to gain the control over the port and Sri Lanka, but allied forces had the advantage of possessing the port due to the close relationship of Sri Lanka with allied forces. Trincomalee harbour was controlled by four colonial rulers in the past Portuguese, Dutch, French and English. Under the British control from 1795 to 1848, the harbour was expanded to accommodate bigger vessels.
Hot wells Kinniya
Trincomalee and the East coast of the island is a major holiday destination in Sri Lanka. Kinniya hot wells that is located 10 km from Trincomalee is one of nature’s wonders gifted by the island. Each well has its own identical temperature many believe that it has curative features for certain ailments.
Six kilometres from Kenniya, amidst thick jungle, the oldest Buddhist temple in Trincomalee, “Wilgamvehera”, and the road is narrow up to the temple which is around two and a half kilometres. Wilgamvehera is a vast complex of the ruined monastery, stretching far and wide into the jungle. It is said to have been built by King Devanampiyatissa, the pioneer Buddhist King of Sri Lanka 2250 years ago and the “Wilgamvehera” stone inscription written in Tamil, reveals that real coexistence, prevailed among the Sinhalese and Tamils in the past. The neatly kept compound is an added beauty to this sacred place.
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka is located in the eastern corner of the island and considered to be very rich in natural beauty. A large number of holidaymakers flock into Trincomalee due to the several best beaches of Sri Lanka that are located around the city. Towards the north of Trincomalee harbour, one can find the Trincomalee bay which resembles a horseshoe. Trincomalee bay is guarded against one side by the rocky headland known as Dutch Point and on the other side by the fort Fredrick which has a wide and bold front of precipitous rock jutting out about a mile to the sea. Popular Koneswaram Hindu temple is located on the top of the rock which is called Swami Rock. The name derived from a tragic incident took place during the Dutch rule in Sri Lanka
“Swami Francina Von Reed” was a Dutch maiden of high birth and her father was holding an important position in the Dutch service. She was betrothed to an officer in the army stationed at Trincomalee to whom she was desperately attached, but her fiancée proved to be faithless and embarked on a vessel bound to Europe.
The fair one watched the movements of the ship from the swami rock. In order to get clear of the coast the vessel had to take and pass parallel to the precipice on which the lover sick maiden stood. For a few moments, she gazed distractedly towards her false lover when suddenly the swift vessel turned from her she plunged from the dizzy height ending her life. After the incident, this rock came to be known as Swami Rock.
Swami Rock is the highest point around the Trincomalee port. Koneswaram Hindu temple is located within the premises of Fort Fredrick. Fort Fredrick was built by Portuguese soldiers in 1624 A.D. It was earlier called Triangular Kotuwa.
Historic Gokanna Buddhist temple located on the Rock was built by King Mahasen in the 3rd Century A.D. Gokanna temple was improved in 8th Century A.D with the addition of Padan Chora. According to the Sinhalese chronicles king, Parakramabahu of Polonnaruwa had improved the Gokanna in 13th Century A.D.
But, the area belongs to Fort Fredric and their environs are very beautiful, view from the summit of the Swamy Rock over the Indian Ocean is magnificent.
Seruwila Buddhist temple
Seruwila that built 2250 years ago by King Kawantissa is located in Eastern province. It is one of the most venerated historical temples in the island. The forehead bone of Buddha is said to be enshrined in the dagoba. Numerous ruins of great stone structure and to be seen here and there, some partly covered by the encroaching jungle. When permanent peace is restored, this holy place will be an important one for all Sri Lankan Buddhists.
The beauty of the Kantale tank magnifies the last rays of the preceding day, by watching this ancient man-made reservoir, I felt a subtle sadness of our glories and present predicament.
Deegawapi Buddhist Temple
The deegawapi Buddhist temple is the most sacred and most popular Buddhist temple in the east coast of Sri Lanka. The temple attracts thousands of Buddhists devotees every month.
Deegawapi is a historical Buddhist temple situated in Digamadulla district on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Deegavapi historical site is 347 km from the commercial capital (Colombo) of the island.
How to go to Deegawapi temple
After travelling 86 km on Badulla-Colombo main road one comes to Beragala, a small town after Belihuloya. The main road is divided here and leads to two different directions. The upper road takes you to Badulla via Haputale and Bandarawela, while lower road takes you to Ampara in the East coast via Wellawaya, Monaragala and Siyamabanduwa.
There are 38 places with historical importance have been discovered in the archaeological site of Deegavapi. These important places were unearthed by Dr.Shiran Deraniyagala in 1999 under the purview of director-general of archaeology. The excavations were supervised by Senerath Dissanayake (director research and records).
According to the opinion of the previous director General M.H Sirisoma, Dagoba, Bo-tree enclosure, living quarters, image house, Ayurveda treatment centre and other religious constructions are spreading over about 100 acres. A large number of ruins were discovered in an area of about 100 acres during the excavations from 1996-1999.
After realizing the religious importance at Deegavapi Ven. Kohukumbara Rewatha Thera had moved to Deegavapi in 1916 and lived in a temporary house made of wattle and daub. The main object of the monk was to safeguard this valuable archaeological site.
The dagoba of Deegavapi is seeing with historical importance and one of the leading religious monument for Sri Lankan Buddhists. Today, restored dagoba can be seen near the archaeological museum. Apart from the dagoba large number of ruins such as shrine rooms, image houses, meeting halls, meditation halls, Ayurveda treatment centres, and buildings dedicated to gods can be discovered here.
History of Deegavapi
In the early days of Buddhism, Buddhist monks were living in rock caves such as Mihintale caves, Dambulla cave temple and Situlpawwa. Valuable information about these cave-dwelling practices was revealed in stone inscriptions discovered at these sites. But, unlike many cave-dwelling places, in Deegavapi the number of stone inscription is found in very few numbers.
Kadurugoda Buddhist temple is one of the unpopular historical Buddhist temples in northern Sri Lanka. Historically the temple is one of the most important places on the island, which proves the Sinhalese/Buddhist domination the region many centuries ago. The temple can be reached along the Hunugama (Chunnakam) – Minipe (Manipai) road after travelling around 02 KMs from Hunugama.
Even though its existence goes back to many centuries, first archaeological exploration was started in 1917 by Paul E Peiris. Kadurugoda historical site is comprised of many stupas numbering 60. The stupas are built-in varied sizes. Several Buddha statues were among the important discoveries at the site and they are severally damaged.
One important discovery at the site is a piece of clay pot dating back to the pre-historic era. A similar type of archaeological clay pots was discovered in the first capital of the island. The letters found in the post were identical, and which are identified as Sinhalese/Brahmi letters. Therefore archaeologists opine that the temple may have been built during the Anuradhapura era. They also opine that northern Sri Lanka was predominantly occupied by Sinhalese/Buddhist during the Anuradhapura period.