Koneswaram Temple Trincomalee
Trincomalee is a
natural deep-water harbour that attracted great sea
farers like Marco Polo in ancient times.. Trinco as it
is commonly called, has been a sea port since the days
of the ancient Kings was the base of the British fleet
in Asian waters during the second world war. From
1941-45, Trinco had been the headquarters of Lord Louis
Mountbatten Allied Southeast Asia commander.
temple is believed to have been a major religious shrine
over 2500 years ago. Many inscriptions found in the
surrounding area speak of Indian Pallava, Chola and even
Pandya kings making contributions to the upkeep of the
temple indicating an origin in antiquity.
After 1505 A.D,
the temple was destroyed by Portuguese catholic
colonialists (along with countless Buddhist, Hindu
and Muslim places of worship around the island.
fortified the heights with the materials derived from
its destruction which were also used in the construction
of the nearby Fort Frederick by the Portuguese.
Trincomalee was next
held by the Dutch, and subsequently by them and the
French alternately, till the capture of Sri Lanka by the
British in 1795.
The hill face up
the rock is rugged. As Trinco is full of seismic and
volcanic activity as seen in Kanniya Hot Springs area,
this rugged face of rock is a reminder of the movement
of Earth's crust in this area.
Lover Leap at the temple, a sheer drop down into the sea
from which surface can be seen remnants of the Hindu
temple destroyed by the Portuguese. The site, with huge
building blocks throw over the cliff by the Portuguese,
just under the water is often visited by divers.
After a gap of
almost 450 years from the date of its destruction, after the independence of Sri Lanka in
1948, the people of Trinco came together
to rebuild the present temple in 1952. The present day
size is very small compared to the original temple but
the setting perched on top of a volcanic cliff with a
sheer drop down to the sea just as fascinating.