Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Naguleswaram temple

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Location of Sri Lanka

Naguleswaram temple also Keerimalai Kovil is a Hindu temple which is north of the main town of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. It is close to the port city of Kankesanthurai under occupation by the military of Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to main deity in Shaivism namely Lord Siva and is one of the five ancient Sivan temples around the island.

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[edit] Mythical origins

It is situated close a mineral water spring called Keerimalai Springs reputed for its curative properties. There is also a cave complex nearby believed to have been used for meditation by a mythical sage called Nagula Muni. Further a local myth states that an Indian Pandyan princess named Maruthapura Veeravalli built the nearby Mavidapuram Murukan temple after she was cured by the Keerimalai springs. Hence the entire temple complex seems to have been built around the cave and curative springs indicating a prehistoric origin for the shrine. In Tamil word Keeri and its Sanskrit equivalent Nagulam means a mongoose.

[edit] Mentioned in Puranams

The antiquity of the temple can be evidenced by its mention in many Indian religious treatises such as Dakshina Kailasa Puranam and Skanda Puranam indicating that it was a pilgrimage center for South Indian Hindus.

[edit] Destruction by the Portuguese

After 1505 ACE along with countless Buddhist and Hindu temples around the island, it was destroyed by Portuguese colonialists. The final destruction was recorded in 1621 ACE. The local brahmin priests are said to have hid the main idols before fleeing the temple.

[edit] Reconstruction

After a gap of almost 400 years in 1894 ACE, local Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu people of under the urging of Hindu reformer Arumuka Navalar came together and built the present temple. However the temple was destroyed by fire in 1918 and had to be rebuilt.

[edit] Occupation by Sri Lankan Army

As part of the civil war that has plagued the country since the Black July pogrom of 1983 currently the temple is occupied by the Sri Lankan army and devotees and priests are unable to visit the premises without special permits.

In 1990, the 18th of October when hundreds of devotees were gathered at the temple to celebrate the Kedara Gowri festival, the Sri Lankan Air force indiscriminately bombed the temple killing countless number of civilians and destroying the temple.

The chief priest was allowed in 1997 and discovered that the temple was utterly in ruin with the sacred idols vandalized or missing. So far the temple has not been restored to its former glory.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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