Haircuts, Spices and Hindu Gods
Trincomalee, situated on the east coast of Sri Lanka in Eastern Province, has been one of the country’s centers of Tamil language and culture for more than two millennia. It has survived the ravages of civil war and more recently the 2004 Tsunami to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province, with stunning colonial style architecture, breath-taking temples and beautiful beaches; providing surfing, scuba diving, fishing and even whale watching.
Khiri Travel Sri Lanka offers a number of tours that will take you off the well-trodden tourist routes and into the city’s local districts to admire local sights and experience daily life. Imagine walking into a hair salon that is right out of a 1960’s movie set where Mr Nadarajah, a former bodybuilder who escaped fighting in Jaffna during the Sri Lankan Civil War, will skilfully cut your hair! And you can’t leave his salon without trying out the special head massaging machine, left over from a bygone age.
We also take you to see – and smell – one of Sri Lanka’s most famous exports, but we avoid the faux tourist ‘spice gardens’, and take you to experience the real thing at Ruben’s, a local spice merchant, who deals in spices – freshly ground! Ruben is also well-known in town for his famous curry mix with a rich, velvety aroma that will stay with you long after your Sri Lankan trip. If you’re a keen culinarian, then you couldn’t imagine being in more fascinating place.
Our tour also takes visitors for refreshments at a local ice-cream parlour that has been run by the same family for generations. Filled with fresh fruit, the ice-cream is rich and creamy, ensuring tour goers have enough energy to continue on to visit the ancient Koneswaram Hindu temple, or kovil, meaning ‘temple’, in Tamil language.
Koneswaram boasts an impressive pantheon of gods and is highly revered by the local Tamil community. Inside there is an inherent mysticism that seems to permeate the air of this ancient house of worship. Those who want to take things a step further can follow our guide to make a pooja, or offering, to the gods. From Koneswaram we take a short walk to Fort Fredrick, also called Trincomalee Fort, which like the temple is on Swami Rock-Konamamalai. Built by the Portuguese in the early 17th century, it is a reminder of Sri Lanka’s colonial past.
Trincomalee with its colourful setting, Tamil culture, and welcoming people is the perfect place to visit in combination with its beautiful beaches, stretching endlessly along the east coast.