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Nallur Kandaswamy Temple

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is an important Hindu temple located in Nallur in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The 15th-century temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the god of war, love, and beauty, and has large arches and colorful colors as part of its impressive Tamil architecture. The original Nallur Kovil was built in 948 and underwent some development in the 13th century.

The Portuguese captured the area and in 1621 completely demolished the temple. Rebuilt but there is a sense of dignity. There are small stalls outside the temple where souvenirs and items are sold for daily offerings and other rituals. This temple is of religious and social importance to the Tamil majority Hindu devotees. There are temples built all over the world and it is also known as Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil in its honor. A temple festival is held every year (usually during the full moon poya in August).

The festival begins with a flag-raising ceremony and lasts for 25 days. These days the bodies of the devotees are pierced with hooks and show no pain in response, an act of faith that is a fundamental part of their religious beliefs. Before entering the temple, all visitors must cleanse themselves and dress appropriately. For men, include pants or sarongs that cover the legs and the upper body should be bare. Women should wear something long that covers their legs and their upper body as well. Shoes are not allowed on the temple premises.

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The major religious festivals people flock to witness are the Manjam, Thirukkarthikai, Kailasavahanam, Velvimanam, Thandayuthepani it’s a am Sapparam, Ther festival procession, Theertham – the water cutting festival, and Thirukalyanam – The holy wedding. Ther Thiruvila (Horse Carriage Festival) is the most popular of all events and is very colorful and starts at 6.15 am. It is performed by Lord Shanmuhar and his wives on a beautifully carved silver throne called ‘Simmasanam’ created by Arumuga Maapaana Mudaliyar, the Seventh Trustee in 1900. Hundreds of devotees carry it on their shoulders and thousands of devotees float on their heads chanting ‘Aro Hara’.

Photos & video sponsored by Ilankovan Thushyantha

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