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|DS Division||Valikamam South|
Chunnakam (Tamil: சுன்னாகம், Sinhalese: හුණුගම Hunugama) is a town, located 9.7 km (6.0 mi) north of Jaffna. It is one of the important commercial centers in Jaffna. The original name of Chunnakam is Mayilani. In Northern Sri Lanka, Chunnakam is only second to Jaffna in terms of population density and commercial activities in and around its neighborhoods.
According to Tamil scholars, name Chunnakam derived from two Tamil words, Chunnam+Gramam, Chunnam means Limestone and Gramam means village, Limestone are widely found in the nearby areas. One of the great Sri Lanka Tamil poets, Kumarasamy pulavar gave a new definition to its name in his poem beginning as முடிவில்லா துறை சுன்னாகத்தான் வழி ... , from which, scholars believe that the rising Sun from the East reflecting on the temple of Siva located on the present day station road, has the impression of seeing a shiny mountain, which is presumably the Heaven, the home of Lord Siva made him to inspire for the poem mentioned above here, சுன்னாகம் can be divided into two parts of nouns as சுல் + நாகம் = சுன்னாகம், where சுல் means silver and நாகம் means mountain giving the compound noun the meaning as "Shiny Mountain"
Regardless, historically in the recent centuries Chunnakam has been an area dominated mostly by Sri Lankan Tamils and up until the 80's there was a small Sinhala population from the south along with Indian Tamils, Moors, and other South Indian Non-Tamils such as Malayalis lived in Chunnakam area. This ethnic diversity among its residents gave Chunnakam a characteristic of a major city.
Chunnakam is about 5 miles2 in area as it has Punnalai Kadduvan on its East, Uduvil on its South, Sandilipay on its West and Mallakam on its North as bordering villages. Chunnakam has population of about 60,000.
Currently Chunnakam is governed by Uduvil regional development council.
Unlike other places in Northern Sri Lanka, people of Chunnakam also adapted to diversive political beliefs. During the days of Town Council era, residents always preferred candidates from LSSP to Federal party or Tamil congress and in the 1982 presidential election, the then JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera collected majority votes within Manipay constituency from the two poll booths in Chunnakam only.
There was even a popular rumor about Mr. Wijeweera being kept in a secret place in Chunnakam when he was wanted by the Sri Lankan government following the infamous uprising by his men in the late 80's. However, that turned out to be untrue as he was captured in a place in the central province.
Places of worship
There are quite a few worship places within the town limits of Chunnakam.
- Sri Kathiramalai Sivan Devasthanam (established by Tamil King UkiraRajasinkan)
- Maylani Annamaar (Annamageswarar) Temple
- Maylani Sivan Temple
- Maylani Murugan Temple
- Mylani Vadali Amman Temple
- Choolani Yana Vairavar Temple
- Paruthikalati Vairavar Temple
- Chunnakam Iyanar Temple
- Chunnakam Pillayar Temple
- St. Antony's Parish Catholic Church (Chunnakam)
- St. Mary's Catholic Church (Erlalai)
- St. Mary's Catholic Church (Uduvil)
Colleges and schools
- Skandavarodaya College, (Kanderodai)
- Sir Pon Ramanathan College, Maruthanarmadam (also serves as a campus of University of Jaffna for Faculty of Fine Arts)
- All Girls High School, (Uduvil)
- Mylani Saiva Vidyalayam (middle school)
- Nakeswari Vidyasalai (primary school)
- Roman Catholic Mixed School (primary school)
- St. Antony's Kindergarten (operated by St. Antony's Parish)
- Kumaraswamy Pulavar - scholar, poet
V Dharmalingam - Former Member of Parliament - Federal Party (FP) P Nagalingam - Former Senator - Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP)
- Yaalpaana Charithram by A.Mutthuthambipillai, p.123,Tamil Mann Publication