Standing as a splendid tribute to one of Hinduism’s chief deities is the Koneswaram Temple on Sri Lanka’s east coast, in the vibrant locale of Trincomalee. It is a must-visit cultural site when you’re in the area, as it is a powerful place of worship for the Tamil-Hindu population, who contribute an important part of Sri Lankan culture to the island’s multi-ethnic landscape. Explore the magnificent Koneswaram Temple and some of the other important sites representing Hinduism via some quality air taxi tours Sri Lanka has to offer its intrepid adventurers. Consider flying with Cinnamon Air for a professional approach to the air taxi Sri Lanka that will take care of all the details to allow for quality exploration of the island. Koneswaram Temple and the site boast an impressive cultural and historical lineage that dates back to 205 B.C., when the original kovil was a venerated site by visitors to the island from India. The mid-seventeenth century saw the temple destroyed by Portuguese invaders in a spate of religious attacks between 1622 and 1624, and it was replaced by a fort. A kovil built close to the site in 1623 now houses many of the original temple’s artefacts. The current temple sits atop an intriguing array of land and underwater ruins, which spurred worldwide interest in the temple’s restoration. Renowned sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke and various archeologists were behind this renewal of interest, and the site also revealed some stunning sculptures and bronzes hearkening to the Indian Chola empire. Having undergone various restoration efforts since the 1950s, the temple is a majestic tribute to the chief deity of Lord Shiva in Hindu cosmology. The temple boasts a majestic golden statue of Lord Shiva as well as other shrines dedicated to the deities of Bhadrakali, Ganesha, Durga, Murugan, Agastya, Navagraha and the sun god Surya. Koneswaram is the island’s eastern-most shrine of the five ishwarams of yore on the island dedicated to Lord Shiva, of which two now survive and are thriving, and two others are undergoing restoration efforts. Koneswaram remains an important part of the Sri Lankan Tamil cultural identity, although members of the Buddhist faith have been known to visit the temple as well, and it must be visited firsthand to gain insight into one of the island’s most vibrant and valuable ethnic communities.
Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.