The Koneswaram Temple in Trincomalee is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. And If you think that its name is hard to say, try Thirukkoneswaram Temple.
I don’t want to bore you with all the history. Here are just a few of the facts that elaborate the historical significance of this temple. Koneswaram Temple is Sri Lanka’s one of the 5 most ancient Shiva temples, built in the III century BC. It was completely destroyed by the Portuguese during the colonial era, and was rebuilt in the middle of the XX century. Interior decorations and original walls of the ancient temple, including the sign of Shiva were found by divers underwater near the Swami Rock.
There are several reasons why you might like to visit the Koneswaram Temple even if you have zero interest in Hindu gods.
First of all the amazing landscape. The temple is situated on top of Swami Rock, the highest spot of the area. For a long time it had been used as a lighthouse for the ships entering the local bay. You can see the whole Trincomalee city from there and I bet you will never forget the view of multiple fishing boats floating in the deep blue ocean water 120 meters below your feet.
The huge golden statue of Lord Shiva that welcomes you at the entrance is quite spectacular and gives you a good opportunity to take cool photos of you with The Father Of All in the background.
The much smaller but not less attractive iconic statue of The King Rovana deserves attention as well as a coin that the visitors drop at its feet.
Do you know what the best thing about the Hindu temples is? Colors!
You will find a lot of bright vivid wall paintings, including one depicting Shiva lingum along with small golden statues in stone niches representing mostly Shiva and different aspects of his life, that have plenty of eye catching vibrant details.
There is also a picturesque wishing tree growing on the edge of the cliff with branches heavyily loaded with colorful ribbons and small wooden cradles left by the worshipers of Shiva. It is quite a view, I must say.
Everything in this temple complex is in harmony with everything else. You may think that the shiny, sharp steel spikes are out of place. But even they are there for a reason. The cliff used to be a popular place for committing suicide. So the government decided to put up the stoppers to make people understand that if they came to the temple and prayed to Shiva and for some divine reason he did not fulfil their demands, it was not a reason good enough to die!
You can see a lot of spotted deer moving freely all around. The animals are so used to living with people that you can come up and feed them with your hands. They will stand there, eat everything and look at you with thankful eyes. Deer and palm trees, deer on a beach – all that will never be a weird combination for you after you experience Trincomalee.