Trincomalee, located on the east coast of Sri Lanka, is renowned as one of the most picturesque natural harbours of the world. Over the centuries, it has attracted various groups of foreign invaders and colonists, who recognized its potential as a major port city, and today, it remains one of the island?s most popular tourist attractions, around 257 kilometers from Colombo.
The city gets its name ? Thirikunonamalai in Tamil ? from the words thirikona (triangle) and malai (hill or rock). Original settlements here were associated with the historic Koneshwaran temple, which sits on a triangular promontory overlooking the pristine, blue waters of the bay. Once ruled by royal dynasties of South Indian origin and later Portuguese, Dutch and French settlers, who contributed much to its urbanization, the city boasts architecture that is a testament to Sri Lanka?s colorful history. Although largely Tamil-speaking, it is home to Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim communities.
Trincomalee, today, is popular for its scenic beaches and intriguing historic sites, such as the Koneshwaran temple (dating back to the 3rd Century BC), Fort Frederick (1623) and Lover?s Leap. Outside the city lie the famous hot springs, Velgam Vehera and Pigeon Island. In recent times, Trincomalee has also become a prime location for whale-watching.