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Koneshwaram Hindu Temple

 

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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.

 

The Koneswaram 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.

 

The Portuguese 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.

 

Fascinating is 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.

 

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