Hot springs get cold treatment

By Dhananjani Silva

The famed hot springs of Kinniya, just four kilometres from Trincomalee, attract thousands of tourists both local and foreign. With a history of more than 1000 years the seven wells at this site have varying temperatures.

A common belief among Buddhist and Hindus is that bathing in these wells helps cure disease and as such visitors often take a dip in these wells. Priests from temples and kovils in and around the area also use this for their ablutions before their morning poojas as a ritual, it is learnt.

However, on a recent visit to Kinniya, the Sunday Times found the maintenance of the Kinniya site badly neglected. “The place has not been cleaned for a long time and the floor is slippery due to moss and fungus,” some of the visitors complained, adding that visitors were in danger of falling.

When it was under the purview of the Uppuveli Pradeshiya Sabaha, a small fee was charged from visitors and maintenance was carried out, the Sunday Times learns. However, the site was taken over by the Archaeological Department a few months ago on the grounds that it is a proposed archeological reserve.

When the Sunday Times contacted Trinco District Archaeological Officer L.D.Ranjith Samson, he said the place was cleaned three days after the Sunday Times’ visit and that a project proposal is on the cards for the development of the area.

According to him, other ruins of archaeological importance have also been discovered inside the zone where the hot springs are located and such an area covering approximately about three acres has been identified as an archeological reserve. This includes the hot springs.

“Under the direction of the Archeological Commissioner, we are now in the process of taking estimates to implement a project proposal in 2011 to streamline the maintenance and provide better facilities,” he said adding that a weekly clean up campaign would be conducted with the help of Civil Defence and Army in the future.

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