The temple is known as Thirukonamalai Konesar and is what gave the city its name “Trincomalee.” It’s one of the most sacred medieval temples for the Hindu devotees. It sits atop Swami Rock, also known as Konamalai and has been referred to in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. During its golden age, it was known as the Rome of the Gentiles.
The Ravana Connection
The Ramayana tells of the temple being patronised by Ravana the legendary king of Lanka and his mother who was a pious devotee of Shiva. Legend has it that Ravana was attempting to lift the temple and take it to his mother after she fell ill and could no longer visit the temple, but the god in anger made Ravana trip and he dropped his sword where it created the cut on the cliff face which is known to this day Ravana’s Cleft.
The Temple of a Thousand Pillars
The temple was said to consist of a thousand golden pillars and richly decorated thanks to the generosity of the Chola dynasties and after them the Pandayan kings. The temple contains carvings that date back as far as the 5th century.
The Colonial Desolation
The temple can be visited today with a short drive through Fort Frederick from any of the resorts in Trincomalee. However, the present temple was reconstructed recently after the old temple was shoved off the cliff into the sea by Portuguese invaders. Arranging a tour with a resort like Trinco Blu by Cinnamon will give visitors some background to what they will be seeing.