Gokanna Raja Maha Vihara Temple – Trincomalee


Gokanna Raja Maha Vihara Temple, also known as Koneswaram Temple, has a rich history dating back to the 3rd century. Here is an overview of the temple's past and current state.

More details

The chronicles claim that King Mahasen erected the temple where Koneswaram Kovil stands on top of a rock. Trincomalee (Gokanna) was a bustling port in the past, and the temple received support from various rulers at different times.
In 1505, the Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka and destroyed Buddhist temples, including Gokanna Vihara. The Portuguese ruler Costantino da Sa destroyed the Pagoda or Stupa of the temple while Buddhist monks were still in residence.

Current State
Over time, the old Gokanna Viharaya became a site for Hindus to worship, and the current Kovil was built in 1856. But, unfortunately, any Buddhist heritage of the site is now buried under the foundations of the Konesvaram Temple, lost forever.
The new Gokanna Viharaya now lies inside Fort Fredrick, north of the point and close to the fort entrance. Few Buddhist artifacts unearthed at various times have found a home in this new temple.

How to Reach
Gokanna Raja Maha Vihara Temple is in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Here are some ways to reach the temple:

By Road: If you travel from Colombo, take the A3 highway and follow the signs to Trincomalee. Once you reach Trincomalee, head towards the city centre and look for the movements of the temple.

By Train: Trincomalee has a railway station connected to major cities such as Colombo, Kandy, and Jaffna. Visitors can take a train to Trincomalee and then take a taxi or tuk-tuk to the temple.

By Boat: There are daily boat tours from Trincomalee to Pigeon Island near the temple. Visitors can take a boat tour and enjoy the scenic views of the Indian Ocean before reaching the temple.

Even though the original Gokanna Viharaya is gone for good, Buddhists in Sri Lanka still worship at the new Gokanna Raja Maha Vihara Temple. Its fascinating history and stunning location make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Sri Lankan culture and history.


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