Tuesday, July 28, 2009

West Meets East

Known as Tirukōṇamalai in Tamil, this is a natural deep-water harbor that has been a port since the time of the ancient kings, and it still plays a major role in maritime trade in Sri Lanka. So it is fitting that one should try to visit this culturally enriched land even once in their lifetime. With that in mind, my team at office decided that this was the ideal time to get away from the hectic work schedules and enjoy life, at least for three days, doing a bit of recharging of the body batteries.

We started out Friday morning around 10.00 am. Could have gone earlier but, some of us have leave problems. By popular vote, it was decided to make the journey there through Puttlam and Anuradhapura, and come back through Habarana. The road from Puttlam onwards is not that great, narrow and bumpy, and it just adds more distance and time to the journey. However, I think it’s good to try each road at least once, hence my vote for the two routes. In my opinion, the Habarana route is much better and scenic. Arrived in Trinco around 8.00 in the night, to a strangely quiet and sleeping city. A change from the non-stop hustle and bustle of Colombo. It seems like a lot of people are visiting Trinco these days and the hotels are packed during the weekends, which is good in a sense.

Got up early Saturday morning and headed for the Konesvaram Temple, which is situated inside the Dutch Fort, now home to the security forces. After that, it was straight to Nilaweli. Most of the road to Nilaweli is under reconstruction to widen it, so at the moment it is a wide dirt road. Only a section of it is finished and going by that, it would be a street racer’s dream road once finished. The area is your typical dry-zone, very much like going through Hambantota. In contrast, the hotel grounds are filled with trees. It’s like they planted the trees first and built the hotel around it. This gives the whole compound a cool atmosphere.

Saturday afternoon arranged a jaunt to Pigeon Island, which is straight across from the area in which the hotel is located. The hotel has a launch as well, but there are locals who operate boat services, which costs LKR 1500.00 for 8 people. The island is a big rock with a coral beach all around it. There is a small shallow bay on one side full of fish. You have to be careful if you’re swimming there because the seabed is covered with sharp corals. Several of the guys have very painful mementos that vouch for there razor sharpness. You can definitely see plenty of coral fish here, if you don’t make a big splash and scare them away.

Three days are definitely not enough to enjoy everything, but alas, the chains of our mundane lives drag us back to reality. Unwillingly we packed our bags and started back home on Sunday.

Posted some pics here, and the rest is available on my flickr.

Try Wikipedia for more info on Trinco.

Cheers, have a good week all!

Under the Shade
View of Trinco from near Koneshwaram Temple
View of Trinco from near Koneshwaram Temple
Temple Procession
Koneshwaram Temple
View from the rear of the Temple

Koneshwaram Temple

Entrance of Nilaweli Beach Hotel
The Beach
Cool Waters
Walk this way

Ideal place for a nap
Pigeon Island
Pigeon Island

The beach early in the morn
The beach early in the morn
Waiting for passengers
Araliya mal
Secret Squirrel
Guardians of the lake
Kantale Wewa


Chavie said...

looks awesome Az! made it to Trinco once but couldn't visit Pigeon Island... but it sounds great! :)

Makuluwo said...

LOVE the first pic, secret squirrel, and the view from the rear of the Temple!

niroshinie said...

I went to Trinco some years back - during the cease fire..and for me Nilaweli is the most beautiful beach ever! Did you get to visit the china bay plane wreck and the hot springs?

Azrael said...

Chavie - Yep, it's a great place :)

Maks - thanki :)

Niro - Went to the hot springs but not the plane wreck. :)