Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nallur Kandaswamy temple

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Coordinates: 9°40′28.82″N 80°1′46.61″E/9.6746722°N 80.0296139°E/9.6746722; 80.0296139

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil

Entrance to the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
Name: Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil
Creator: Krishna Suba Iyer and Ragunatha Maapaana Mudaliyar
Date built: 1749
Primary deity: Lord Murugan
Architecture: Dravidian Architecture
Location: Jaffna District, Sri Lanka

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Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil or Nallur Murugan Kovil (kovil meaning temple in Tamil) is one of the of the most significant Hindu temples in the Jaffna District of Sri Lanka. It stands in the town of Nallur. The presiding deity is Lord Muruga.



[edit] Origins

Due to political reasons the Temple was shifted from place to place in Nallur. area. Although it is believed that the first Temple was originally built in 948 A.D at the land called 'Kurukkal Valavu', due to foreign invasion the Temple had to be re-constructed number of times in different places.

The third temple was established by Chempaka Perumal a ruler in the services of the southern Kotte kingdom when he defeated the local Jaffna Kingdom ruler. The third temple was destroyed by the Portuguese catholic colonials after their arrival in 1505 A.D. in Sri Lanka.

[edit] Current temple

The fourth and the present Temple was constructed in 1749 A.D. during the benign Dutch colonial era by one Krishna Suba Iyer and Ragunatha Maapaana Mudaliyar in the 'Kurukkal Valavu', which is the original temple premises.

Initially the Temple was built using bricks and stones, and had a cadjaned roof. The original shrine had only two main halls and didn't have any clock tower, or any surrounding courtyard and an enclosing wall, or any ornately carved towers or gopuram.

The first clock tower was erected in 1899, and the main hall where the vel or lance of the deity resides was re-furbished using rocks in 1902. The first enclosing wall was erected in 1909. Likewise, the temple has been gradually renovated from time to time with contributions from the general public. In 1964, the 'Vasantha Mandapam' or grand hall was renovated to have the present grand look and feel.

The temple has the main entrance facing the east. It has an ornately carved five-storied tower or gopuram in the Dravidian architecture style at the main entrance.

In the surrounding inner-yard, It has shrines for Lords Ganesh, Vairavar, Sun and Sandana Gopala. In the southern part of this Temple, the holy pond and Thandayudhapaani shrine dedicated to another aspect of Lord Muruga can be seen. In the northern side big holy garden is located.

[edit] Social Significance

The temple is a socially important institution for the Sri Lankan Tamils Hindu identity of north Sri Lanka. In the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, many temples have been built in Europe and North America using the same name as a cultural memory.

It should be noted that there was a shrine dedicated to an Islamic sufi saint located within the temple complex from 1734 to 1749 when the temple was built. The dargah was relocated in 1749 when the temple structure was built.[1]

[edit] Festivals

The temple hosts the annual Temple car festival.

Thaipusam is an annual religious event celebrated by Hindus to commemorate the victory of Lord Murugan over the demon, Tarakasuran. Devotees and penitents can seen bearing kavadis, and piercing their bodies with hooks and spears without seeming to cause any pain or harm as an act of faith and atonement.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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