From the peaceful coastal village of Kuchchaveli with its lush jungles and mangroves teeming with wildlife the pristine beaches line the blue waters of the Indian Ocean south to the historic old town of Trincomalee. It is one of the main centres of Tamil speaking culture on the island and home to one of the best natural harbours in the world, it has been fought over for centuries by first the Portuguese, then the Dutch and latterly in 1795, the British. Trincomalee is also of importance to Hindus, with one of the five historical temples dedicated to Shiva perched high on a cliff overlooking the town. One kilometre off the coast lies Pigeon Island National Park where the reef, home to beautiful corals and a myriad of reef fish and turtles, is perfect for snorkelling. The golden beaches and clear waters continue south through Passekudah with its shallow waters to the quiet town of Batticaloa and beyond. Inland from Batticaloa it is an easy journey to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa which over 800 years ago was the royal capital of both the Chola and Sinhalese kingdoms.
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