Koneswaram temple is one of the “Pancha Ishwaram”, which means one of the five abodes of Lord Shiva. The temple complex is a must visit destination to both locals and the tourists who come to Trincomalee. It is only 3km away from the railway station. Therefore, naturally there are many visitors in addition to the devotees. This temple holds great value for the Sri Lankan Hindu community. Koneswaram is also known as Thirukoneswaram.
The temple is built upon a massive rock called Swami Rock and inside of Fort Frederick. It was destroyed by the Portuguese and restored in the 17th century. The architecture itself is influenced by Indian architecture. It is a historical landmark in Sri Lankan history and goes back to hundreds of years. When the Cholas invaded the island King Elara was in power and Koneswaram Temple flourished.
Why visit Koneswaram Temple?
Trincomalee itself is a very beautiful city that has a different culture which is more exclusive to Tamil people in the area. If you are traveling from the South of Sri Lanka to the North the difference in atmosphere can be felt strongly. Travel enthusiasts would love the cultural experience you get from here. Visit in the morning when daily pooja is being conducted.
Koneswaram is located on top of Swami Rock. From the temple you get to see a spectacular view of the ocean, a view onto one of the world’s greatest natural harbors. Not only the deep blue ocean but even the sun rise in the morning and the sunset is worth watching.
The temple has the Dravidian architectural style. There are statues of many gods and goddesses, and several shrines inside the temple complex. You will observe that everyone is wearing clothes that are very long. The temple itself is filled with a sea of colors. You will get instagram worthy photogenic sceneries.
The main festival of the Koneswaram temple is Thirukoneswaram Ther Thiruvila Festival. It is an annual festival of the temple that lasts for twenty two days consecutively in April. It is said from this festival they prepare the deities and the community for Puthandu, Tamil New Year.
Navaratri is a nine days celebration where each day there are particular rituals to be done. This pooja is dedicated to various aspects of the presiding goddess.
Meanwhile Maha Sivaratri Festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is an annual three day festival where on the first day statues or images of the deities are paraded around Periyakadai of the Trincomalee town. Devotees pull chariots as a display of devotion to the gods and sing hymns along the way. Everyone is dressed in their best clothes and takes part in the procession. Second day after the procession the statues are kept at Pathirakalai Ambal Temple. On the third day, again the procession travels back to Koneswaram temple.
How to travel to Koneswaram Temple
Take a tuk-tuk or a car to the temple. From the vehicle park there is a small distance to the temple. Since Trincomalee has very hot weather, avoid going during the afternoon.
Tip for Visitors
Be properly dressed, no shorts or short skirts or skinnies. You will see that everyone entering is wearing clothes that cover knees and that are long enough to cover the legs and better to wear long sleeves tops that cover the skin of the body.