Steeped in history, the Koneswaram Temple in Trincomalee is a revered site amongst Hindu devotees and is well worth visiting on a tour of Sri Lanka.
Located on the island’s east coast, the temple is amongst the most popular places to visit in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is around a six-hour drive from the commercial capital, Colombo; apart from driving there, you can take a public bus or train or charter a domestic flight from the Bandaranaike International Airport.
History & Restoration
The original temple is said to date to 205 BC and was called the Temple of the Thousand Pillars with the Hindu God, Shiva, its main deity. It was destroyed by the Portuguese in the 1600s, before being restored in the 1950s. To find out more about this site, online resources such as Truly Sri Lanka will be useful.
On Your Approach
As you near the temple’s entrance you will notice a high relief sculpture in the rock which has been painted. As you continue onwards, you can take in the gopuram (top of the temple) with its many sculptures and bas reliefs. Also unmissable is the huge 14-foot statue of God Shiva near where you enter.
The Temple’s Interiors
Inside, there is much to take in including the main shrine room’s Svayambu Lingam, a painting of the original temple, the Shrine of Ganesha and a statue of Shiva in bronze. Take time to note the interiors and roof with ornate sculptures as well as painted reliefs of the temple’s history and God Shiva.