Trincomalee is a port city on the east coast of Sri Lanka, about 110 miles northeast of Kandy. The city is built on a peninsula, which divides the inner and outer harbours. It is one of the main centers of Tamil speaking culture on the island. Historically referred to as Gokanna, or Gokarna it has been a sea port that has played a major role in maritime and international trading history of Sri Lanka.
Trincomalee (Trinco) had a rough time in the war, but this fascinating town is beginning to thrive again. Sitting on one the world’s finest natural harbours, Trincomalee is old almost beyond reckoning: it’s possibly the site of historic Gokana in the Mahavamsa (Great Chronicle), and its Shiva temple the site of Trikuta Hill in the Hindu text Vayu Purana. Most people just pass through the city on their way to the nearby beaches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli, but the town has some charm, lots of history and an interesting melange of people.
Trincomalee’s superb deep-water port has made it the target for all manner of attacks over the centuries: by the British takeover in 1795, the city had changed colonial hands seven times. Today the Sri Lankan armed forces control Fort Frederick, along with the British-built airfield China Bay, to the south.
A Whale Watchtower
Jutting into the ocean on the east side of the city of Trincomalee, Swami Rock has been declared the world’s greatest vantage point for blue whale spotting by oceanographers.Blue whales are present in the seas off Trinco all year round, though sightings are most frequent between the months of February and November. Sperm whales also regularly cruise by.So while you’re exploring the Kandasamy Kovil temple, spare some time to gaze at the big blue offshore for spouting cetaceans. And bring binoculars if you can.