In ancient times this area has been named as “Gokanna” This consist of several important sacred sites for Buddha as well as Hindus. Buddha has visited there in his 3rd visit to Sri Lanka as per the chronicles. It has many ancient sea ports and Trincomalee Port is the most prominent one among them. Trincomalee port is one of the ancient cities in Asia and it has severed as a major maritime sea port in the international trading history with South East Asia. Trincomalee harbor is one of the world’s best natural harbors which provide an ample space for ships & tankers. Even a huge ship can be hidden in this harbor in a way that ships in the normal navel route cannot see it. Now days, Prima wheat factory and Petroleum Tanks in China Bay mostly use this harbor.
Trincomalee has some of the best beaches in the country and Nilaweli, Uppuweli and Pigeon Island are few of them. Trincomalee is popular in recent times as a whale watching destination too. The dive centers here attract the tourists to enjoy their holidays in diving snorkeling and swimming.
SERUWILA ANCIENT TEMPLE
This can be considered as one of the most venerable ancient temples in the Eastern Province with much historical value. The history of this temple goes back to 3rd century BC .The most important element here for Buddhists is the stupa built by king Kawanthissa by enshrining the Forehead Relic and Hair Relic of Buddha in the 2nd century BC. The other important feature here is the Bodhi Tree (Ficus Religiesa) one of the 32 saplings born from the original Sri Maha Bodhi Tree. Few more other notable things here are the ancient caves, two Buddha images seated under the cobra hood of the Naga (Cobra) King Muchalinda and the 2nd century ancient inscription .Buddhist believe this place as one of the few places that Buddha has visited during 3rd visit to Sri Lanka.
GIRIHADU SEYA (STUPA)
As per the great chronicles of Sri Lanka, this temple could be considered as the oldest Buddhist Temple in Sri Lanka. It is being believed that the stupa here was built when the Buddha was alive, by the two merchant brothers called Thapassu, Balluka, who were the first to offer alms to Buddha after attained enlightenment. Buddha offered them the Hair Relic and they carried the Hair Relic with them during their all foreign business trips. Once they arrived Sri Lanka they had built this stupa enshrining such Hair Relic of Buddha. A stone inscription found here dates back to 2nd century BC and it reveals that this was a monastery at that time.
Once you climb the mountain to reach the stupa you will get a fantastic panoramic view including the forest and the sea, which will be an unforgettable memory
Although this place was attacked by Chola invaders in the past, they couldn’t destroy it since Tamil Buddhists in this area had protected this temple. During excavations carried out by the Archeological Department they revealed a foundation of a fascinating building complex.
One of the famous Hindu Temples in the vicinity of Trincomalee city limits this is being considered as of a place where Hindu devotees worship the God Sun. It is popular among visitors because of its enchanting surroundings and the historical importance. This Hindu Temple is also known as the temple of Thousand Pillars. When the Portuguese built the fort here they have demolished part of this temple, and later they had named such fort as “Fort Fedric.” The Lovers Leap next to the Kovil is another beautiful place to see. From this point a Dutch officer’s daughter leapt to her death.
This Kovil is situated in the highest place of the point towards sea, and such mountain is approached by the sea from three sides. The blue sea you can view 300m below from this point is a fantastic scene.
This was built by the Portuguese in 1623AD and captured by Dutch in 1639 and later captured by British in 1795.The Thirukoneshwaran Kovil is located inside this fort. You can have a clear view of the entrance to the Harbor from this point.
KANNYA HOT WATER WELLS
This place consists of seven hot water wells close to each other. Water inside is so clear; hence the bottom of the wells can be seen clearly. The temperature of Bubbling hot water is different from each other .There are changing rooms ,if you like to have a hot water shower, but using soap or other cleaning material is prohibited. Locals believe that having hot water bath improve their health.
LANKA PATUNA SAMUDRAGIRI VIHARAYA
This is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka . The sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha was first brought from India to here through Lanka Patuna ancient sea port. Ancient Temple was built on a top of Small Mountain which is covered by the sea from three sides. A visitor can have a fantastic panoramic view of the blue sea and the lush green surrounding of this area.
Situated in Trincomalee -Pulmudai road is a fantastic sanctuary for the visitors. There are many resident and migrant birds can be viewed by eco- friendly tourists or the bird lovers. This beautiful Lagoon can be used to have a rest as well as having an enjoyment.
Nilaweli Beach is one of the purest white sand beaches in Asia. Visiting Pigeon Island, swimming in the sea, going snorkeling in the nearby corals and Dolphin watching area some of the popular activities available hers. April to October is the best season here for beach lovers to go on diving. Snorkelling and surfing.
This is a National Park operated under the Department of Wild Life Conservation .There are many boat service in operation ,but you need to buy a ticket from Department of Wild Life to visit the island. This park consists with two islands such as Large Pigeon Island Small Pigeon Island. The Large Pigeon Island is fringed by a beautiful coral reef, The Small Pigeon Island surrounded by rocky islets. Just one kilometer boat ride from Nilaweli Beach .You could reach there within 15 minutes.