Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ketheeswaram Temple, Mannar, Srilanka

Ketheeswaram Temple, Mannar, Srilanka
Ketheeswaram Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located at Mannar, Northern Province Sri Lanka. Thirukketisvaram is one of the Pancha Iswarams dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva and is venerated by Shaivas throughout the continent. It is located in Manthota, an old port town of Mannar District and which is a few Kms North from Mannar town. Presiding Deity is called as Thiruketheeswarar and Mother is called as Gowri Ambal.

Literary and inscriptional evidence of the post classical period (300BC-1500AD) attests to the upkeep of the temple during the ancient period by kings of the PallavaPandyan Dynasty and Chola dynasties who contributed to its development up to the late 16th century. In 1575, Thirukketisvaram was largely destroyed by Portuguese colonials, with Pujas terminating at the shrine in 1589. Following an appeal by Arumuga Naavalar in 1872, the temple was rebuilt at its original site in 1903.

Throughout its history, the temple has been administered and frequented by Sri Lankan Hindu Tamils. Its famous tank, the Palavi tank, is of ancient antiquity and was restored from the ruins. Thirukketisvaram is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams of Shiva glorified in the poems of the Thevaram. This is the 274th Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 2nd Shiva Sthalam in Eezha Nadu, the present Sri Lanka. Tirugnanasambandar and Sundarar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple.

For brief details, please refer below link;
For brief details, please refer below link;
The Temple
For brief details, please refer below link;
Literary Mention
Ketisvaram Temple and the waters of the Palavi tank by its side are heralded in the Saiva work Thevaram in the 6th century CE by Sambandar. Along with Koneswaram temple on Swami Rock, Trincomalee, Ketisvaram Temple and its deity are praised in the same literature canon by the 8th century CE NayanmarSundarar. Thirukketisvaram henceforth is glorified as one of 275 Shiva Sthalams of the continent, part of the Paadal Petra Sthalam group. The only other Sthalam from Eelam is Koneswaram. 
Saint Tirugnana Sambandhar and later Saint Sundarar each offered a Patikam of Thevaram verses to the Lord of Thiruketheeswaram. This is the 274th Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 2nd Shiva Sthalam in Eezha Nadu, the present Sri Lanka. Tirugnanasambandar and Sundarar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. For this temple’s Devara Thirupathikam meanings are written by Sri Ponnambalam Pillai, the son in law of Sri la Sri Arumuga Naavalar.
Thiruketheeswaram, near Mannar, is the Sthalam where thousands gather on Shivaratri night for veneration of Lord Shiva. They perform their sin dispelling ablutionary Theertham baths in the sacred waters of Pal Theertham, the following morning. Theertha Kavadi is a special ritual here. To be permitted to perform Linga abishekam is the greatest aspiration of any pious Hindu. This is possible only in Kasi and Thiruketheeswaram.
The Temple is located at about 1.5 Kms from Manthai Junction Bus Stop, 1.5 Kms from Thiruketheeswaram Junction Bus Stop, 10 Kms from Mannar CTB Bus Station, 12 Kms from Mannar Railway Station, 75 Kms from Vavuniya, 113 Kms from Anuradhapura, 170 Kms from Trincomalee, 235 Kms from Kandy, 307 Kms from Colombo and 278 Kms from Colombo Airport.
By Road:
Tourists can board the bus traveling to Mannar at the Colombo Fort Bus Station or Colombo Central Bus Stand in Pettah. The Temple is located at about 1.5 Kms from Thiruketheeswaram Junction Bus Stop and 10 Kms from Mannar CTB Bus Station.
By Train:
Tourists can take Trains 5452 (08.50 AM) and 5067 (07.40 PM) from Colombo Fort Railway Station to reach Mannar. These Trains are daily trains. The Temple is accessible from Mannar Railway Station by means of local Buses, Taxis and Autos.
By Air:
Nearest Airport is Colombo International Airport (278 Kms).

Ketheeswaram Temple, Mannar – History

Ketheeswaram Temple, Mannar – History
The exact date of the Ketheeswaram temple's birth is not universally agreed upon. According to Dr. Paul E. Peiris, an erudite scholar and historian, Thirukketisvaram was one of the file recognized Eeswarams of Siva in Lanka very long before the arrival of Vijaya in 600 B.C. The shrine is known to have existed for at least 2400 years, with inspirational and literary evidence of the postclassical era (600BC – 1500AD) attesting to the shrine's classical antiquity. The buried ancient Tamil trading port of Manthottam (Mantotai / Manthai) in the Mannar District, where Ketheeswaram is located. It has provided historians extant remains of the culture of the area during the ancient period. This includes the vestiges of its ancient temple tank (the Pallavi tank), and the ruins of a former Hindu city built of brick, described by J.W. Bennet in 1843. 
During the ancient period, Maathottam was a centre of international trade, with Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Arabs, Ethiopians, Persians, Chinese, Japanese, Burmese and others vying with each other to monopolize the trade of North Ceylon with Tamil traders. Maathottam is currently viewed as the only port on the island that could be called a "buried city," with much of the ancient ruins under sand today. The existence of the Thiru-Ketheeswaram temple attests to the antiquity of the port. Maathottam finds mention as "one of the greatest ports" on the seaboard between the island and Tamilakam in the Tamil Sangam literature of the classical period (600 BCE – 300 CE). Hugh Nevill wrote in 1887 of the illustrious city of Maathottam “A renowned shrine grew into repute there dedicated to one Supreme God symbolized by a single stone, and in later times restored by a Saivite after lying long in ruins. The temple was dedicated as "Tiru-Kethes-Waram.”
One of the five ancient Iswarams of Lord Shiva on the island, Ketheeswaram joins Koneswaram (Trincomalee), Naguleswaram (Keerimalai), Tenavaram (Tevan Thurai) and Munneswaram (Puttalam) as a renowned and highly frequented pilgrimage site from before 600 BCE. In the 6th - 9th century CE, the temple was glorified in the Thevaram canon, becoming one of 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, the holiest Shiva temples on the continent. The only other Paadal Petra Sthalam from Eela Nadu (the country of the temple as named in the Tamil literature) is Koneswaram. The temple was once under the control of Chingaiyaria Kings who also controls the Rameswaram of Tamil Nadu.
Built by Karaiyar:
Thiruketheeswaram initial construction is credited to the indigenous people of the Manthai port, the Karaiyar Naga tribe. The Karaiyar claimed to be related to several classical period public figures hailing from the international port town, including the creator of the oldest extant Tamil literature by an Eelam Tamilian, the Sangam poet Eelattu Poothanthevanar.
Thevaram Hymns:
Ketisvaram Temple and the waters of the Palavi tank by its side are heralded in the Saiva work Thevaram in the 6th century CE by Sambandar. Along with Koneswaram temple on Swami Rock, Trincomalee, Ketisvaram Temple and its deity are praised in the same literature canon by the 8th century CE NayanmarSundarar. Thirukketisvaram henceforth is glorified as one of 275 Shiva Sthalams of the continent, part of the Paadal Petra Sthalam group. The only other Sthalam from Eelam is Koneswaram. Saint Tirugnana Sambandhar and later Saint Sundarar each offered a Patikam of Thevaram verses to the Lord of Thiruketheeswaram. There is epigraphic evidence of maintenance of the temple by the Pallava and Pandyan dynasties.
10th Century:
Several Chola inscriptions from its medieval floruit refer to Ketisvaram and two Sinhala inscriptions of the 10th century refer to the prohibition on slaughtering cows at the town.
12th Century:
Dathavamsa, (12th Century) speaks of a Hindu temple at Mantotai in the reign of King Meghavannan (301–328).
16th Century destruction by the Portuguese:
After 1505 A.C.E along with countless Buddhist and Hindu temples around the island, it was destroyed by Portuguese Catholic colonialists. The historian Do Couto recounts that the attackers encountered no resistance from pilgrims or priests while the temple was destroyed. In 1589 C.E. the temple stones were used by them to build the Mannar Fort, a Catholic church and the Hammershield Fort at Kayts.
19th / 20th Century Reconstruction:
The original site of the Temple was traced in 1894. The Shiva Lingam of the old shrine together with several other finds were also unearthed in 1894. After a gap of almost 400 years in 1910s local Tamils, under the urging of Hindu reformer Arumuga Naavalar, came together and built the present temple. With the restoration of the ancient and holy Palavi Theertham or pond in 1949, a major effort was made to improve the temple environs. It was in October 1948 that an intensive agitation resulted in the formation of the Thiruketheeswaram Temple Restoration Society, which renovated the temple and performed Kumbabishekam in August 1952. The Thiruketheeswaram Temple Restoration Society did further renovation of the temple and another Kumbhabhishekam was held on July 4, 1976.
Current Situation:
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. While granite work preparations were in progress the army took over the Temple and its environs in August 1990 and continued to occupy the site for several years. Although they have left the Temple premises their occupation of its environs is a cause of concern to the Restoration Society which has been urging the Government to remove the Armed Forces completely from the environs of the Temple and declare the site a sacred area.

Ketheeswaram Temple, Mannar – Legends

Ketheeswaram Temple, Mannar – Legends
Skanda Purana:
Another legend is found in the Skanda Purana, an ancient work in Sanskrit, the antiquity of which is unknown. It consists of 2500 verses grouped into 27 Chapters and had been handed down in accordance with the traditional custom as oral discourses by the Guru to his disciples in this case by Sootha Munivar to the Naimisaranya Munivars. Three Chapters of the Skanda Purana which have been given the title Dhakshina Kailasa Manmiam deal with historical events in ancient Ceylon. The first chapter narrates about the Puranas in general and the splendour that was of ancient Ceylon; the second chapter relates about the celebrated places of religious importance in Ceylon and the story of "Thiruketheeswaram".
In this chapter is narrated the incident of how, at one time long ago, the God of Wind (Vayu) uprooted the three towers of the great mountain Maha Meru in order to keep off Adhiseshan, who fought against him, obstructing the great mountain with thousands of adorned summits resembling serpents’ heads and deposited one of these towers at Thiruketheeswaram. The Lord established himself there, at Thiruketheeswaram. According to the Manmiam, Thiruketheeswaram along with Koneswaram are two of the nine most sacred Sthalams of the Hindus. The other seven are in India.
Ketu Bhagavan performed tapas and obtained the benign vision of Lord Parameswara and Ambal Devi; hence the site became known as "Tiru-Ketu-Ishwaram".
Mayan, father of Ravana’s wife Mandothari, built this Temple:
Mythical stories related to the Indian epic Ramayana recount that Mandothari, the wife of King Ravana was from Manthai and that Mayan, the father of Mandothari and the King of Manthai built the ancient Temple of Thiruketheeswaram to worship Shiva.
Maharishi Bhrigu worshipped Lord Shiva here:
According to one Hindu legend, Maharishi Bhrigu worshipped Shiva at this shrine.
Sage Agasthya visit to this Temple:
It is said that the Sage Agasthya, in his pilgrimage to Shiva Sthalams in the South, paid homage at Thiruketheeswaram also before proceeding to Dakshina Kailasha (Koneswaram).
Maha Dhuvatta, a deva thacchan worshiped Lord Shiva of this temple, hence this place was called as Mahadhuvatta Puram and later came to be called as Maathottam.
Also, Maanthai originally came from Maha Sandhai (a daily or weekly or monthly or yearly held market place is called as Sandhai).
People worshipped Lord Shiva here:
The Lord was worshiped by Kethu, Maha Dhuvatta, Ramar, Agasthiyar, Raavanan.

Ketheeswaram Temple, Mannar – The Temple

Ketheeswaram Temple, Mannar – The Temple
The Present Temple is facing east with a five tier Rajagopuram with a mani mandapam in front. There is a big mandapam housing office, water tank, and shops. Majestic Dwajasthambam and Nandhi can be found facing the sanctum and it is big in size. Shrines of Ganapathi and Subramaniyar can be found at the entrance of the Rajagopuram. Adhikara Nandhi is located on left side of Rajagopuram.

Presiding Deity is called as Thiruketheeswarar. He is housed in the sanctum facing east. Mother is called as Gowri Ambal. She is housed in a separate shrine and is facing south. The Somaskandar of this Temple is the largest in the world and was made at Ketheeswaram itself. The Idol was made of pancha Logam of which nearly 112 grams of gold has been added.

There are shrines of Surya, Tirugnanasambandar, Kethu, Santhanasiriyars, Thirumaraikal, Sathur Vedhas, Urchava Idols of Naalvar, Sekkizhar Peruman, 63 Nayanmars, Sundarar, Vinayagar, Somaskandar, Vishnu, Mahalingam (Aadhi Moolavar), Subramanya, Saraba Moorthy, Nataraja, Bairavar, Saneeswarar and Chandran in the inner courtyard.

Deva Saba, Storage place and Yaga salai can also be found in the inner courtyard of the Temple. Navagrahas are located in the Nirutha Mandapam. The outer prakaram is with Ponnachi trees and Neem trees. The temple has 5 Chariots, of which presiding deity’s is of big. There is a tank named Pallavi, considered as more spiritual one by the Hindu devotees.

There are lot of madams on the east street some of them are Tirugnanasambandar Madam, Sundarar Madam, Nattukkottai Chettiars Madam, Amma Madam, Pasumadam, Poonagariyar Madam, on south street Swamy Madam, Sivarathrimadam, Nesavu Madam, Sirpikal Madam, on the west street Gurukula Madam and on North street Naavalar madam, Vishwakarma Madam, Thirukkuripu Thondar Madam and Annadhaana Mandapam.

Koneswaram Temple, Trincomalee, Srilanka

Koneswaram Temple, Trincomalee, Srilanka
Koneswaram Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located at Trincomalee in Eastern Srilanka. Koneswaram Temple is also called as Dakshina Kailasa.  Presiding Deity is called as Thirukoneswarar and Mother is called as Mathumayal. The temple is situated atop Konesar Malai, a promontory that overlooks the Indian Ocean, the nearby eastern coast (the Trincomalee District), as well as Trincomalee Harbour or Gokarna Bay. Koneswaram is revered as one the Pancha Iswarams, of Sri Lanka for long time. Being a major place for Hindu pilgrimage, it was labelled "Rome of the Gentiles / Pagans of the Orient" in some records. Koneswaram holds a significant role in the religious and cultural history of Sri Lanka, as it was likely built during the reign of the early Cholas and the Five Dravidians of the Early Pandyan Kingdom.

Pallava, Chola, Pandyan and Jaffna designs here reflect a continuous Tamil Saivite influence in the Vannimai region beginning during the classical period. The river Mahavali is believed to be risen at Sivanoli Patha Malai, Mount of Shiva's glowing feet, and meets the sea near Koneswaram Rock. This formation is the basis of the myth that it is comparable to Ganges, in that it symbolically crowns the flowing of river from Shiva's head to his feet. Developed from 205 B.C., the original temple combined key features to form its basic Dravidian temple plan, such as its thousand pillared hall – "Aayiram Kaal Mandapam" – and the Jagati expanded by King Ellalan Manu Needhi Cholan. Regarded as the greatest building of its age for its architecture, elaborate sculptural bas-relief ornamentation adorned a black granite megalith.

In the medieval period, its multiple gold plated gopuram towers were expanded. The Koneswaram Temple is one of three major Hindu shrines on the promontory with a colossal gopuram tower, but it stands distinctly on the cape's highest eminence. The complex was destroyed by the Portuguese Empire in colonial religious attacks between 1622 and 1624, and Fort Fredrick was built at the site from its debris. In 1632 Ati Konanayakar Temple was built, and housed some of its original idols, but was located away from the city.

Worldwide interest was renewed following the discovery of its underwater and land ruins, sculptures and Chola bronzes by archaeologists and Arthur C. Clarke. They were preserved through restorations, most recently in the 1950s. The modern temple has been a source of conflict between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils due to its position in a geostrategically important area. Revenue from the temple provides services and food to local residents. Dr. Paul E. Pieris declared in 1917, at a meeting of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch), there was in Lanka five recognized 'Eeswararns' of Siva, which claimed and received adoration of all India. These were Thiruketheeswaram near Mahathitha, Munneswaram, Thondeswaram, Naguleswaram and Tirukoneswaram.

Koneswaram has many strong historical associations. The shrine is described in the Vayu Purana, the Konesar Kalvettu and Thevaram hymns by Sambandhar and Sundarar as a Paadal Petra Sthalam along with its west coast counterpart Ketheeswaram templeMannar, it is the birthplace of Patanjali, the compiler of the Yoga Sutras and was praised for its tradition by Arunagirinathar upon his visit. The Dakshina Kailasa Puranam and Manmiam works note it as Dakshina / Then Kailasam (Mount Kailash of the South) for its longitudinal position and pre-eminence, it lies directly east of Kudiramalai west coast Hindu port town, while it is the easternmost shrine of the five ancient Iswarams of Shiva on the island.

Mentioned as a widely popular bay temple of the island in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Yalpana Vaipava Malai, the Mattakallappu Manmiam confirms its sacred status for all Hindus. Kachiyappa Sivachariar's Kanda Puranam compares the temple to Thillai Chidambaram Temple and Mount Kailash in Saivite esteem. Konesar Malai may have been the site where Yoga originated; some scholars have suggested that the worship of the almighty god Eiswara on the promontory is the most ancient form of worship existing.

For brief details, please refer below link;
For brief details, please refer below link;
For brief details, please refer below link;
The Temple
For brief details, please refer below link;
For brief details, please refer below link;
Literary Mention
For brief details, please refer below link;
Thiru Koneswaram Temple
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 26 222 6688 / 26 326 7588 / 26 320 4382
Phone: +94 77 127 0292 / 77 967 0057
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