The ancient gopuram of the Keerimalai Naguleswaram Kovil
|Proper name||Keerimalai Naguleswaram Kovil|
|Architectural styles||Dravidian architecture|
|History and governance|
|Date built||pre 6th century BCE|
Keerimalai Naguleswaram temple (Tamil: கீரிமலை நகுலேஸ்வரம் கோயில்), historically known also as the Thirutambaleswaram Kovil of Keerimalai, is a famous Hindu temple in Keerimalai, located north of Jaffna, Northern Province, Sri Lanka near the ancient port of Kankesanthurai. One of the oldest shrines of the region, it is the northernmost shrine on the island of the five ancient Iswarams of Lord Siva, venerated by Hindus across the world from classical antiquity. Its adjacent water tank, the Keerimalai Springs, is believed to have curative properties.
Keerimalai is 50 feet above sea level, and situated west of Palaly. The fresh water comes from an underground spring source. Hindus flock in large numbers on “Aadi Amaavaasai” day which falls during the Tamil month of “Aadi”, to carry out rituals for their forefathers and take a divine dip in the natural springs. These rituals are usually carried out by men. “Keerimalai” is particularly famous for this festival.
Keeri in Tamil and Nagula in Sanskrit mean Mongoose. Keeri-malai in Tamil means Mongoose-Hill. The temple is situated adjacent to the mineral water springs. The legendary sage Nagula Muni, shrunk by age and austerity while meditating at a cave in Keerimalai was likened to mongooses that frequented the area. The sage bathed in the springs and was cured of his mongoose face. In gratitude, Nagula Muni constructed a small shrine and worshipped the Lingam enshrined there. This became known as the Thirutambaleswaram Kovil of Keerimalai and also the Naguleswaram Kovil of Keerimalai alluding to the sage.
Mentioned in Puranams
The temple is referenced in religious treatises such as Dakshina Kailasa Puranam and Skanda Puranam.
Destruction by the Portuguese
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.
Occupation by Sri Lankan Army
In 1983, the temple was occupied by the Sri Lankan army and devotees and priests were unable to visit the premises without special permits.
In 1990, the 18th of October the Sri Lankan Air force bombed the temple killing a number of civilians and destroying the temple.
Mahakumbhabhishekam in 2012
On Monday, February 06, 2012, the reconstruction of the temple had been complete and under the authority of the chief priest, Sivasri Naguleswara Kurukkal, the Mahakumbhabhishekam took place. It was a monumental event with thousands of devotees who came to pray and receive blessings.
|Naguleswaram Temple Gallery|
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (December 2009)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Naguleswaram.|
- Naguleswaram restoration committee
- Sri Lankan Army occupation of the temple premises
- Devotees throng Keerimalai to fast
- Five ancient Shiva temples of Sri Lanka
- Destruction of Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka
- State Sponsored Destruction and Desecration of Hindu Temples
- Naguleswaram Temple Photos