Saturday, January 01, 2011

Keerimalai ~ A Land of Sacred Springs and Spirituality

"Keerimalai" springs is reputed for its curative properties

Keerimalai” natural springs is known for its water and rituals. The water with mineral contents has curative value. Hindus believe the water here has miraculous powers to cure many diseases. According to many legends, the sage “Nagula Muni” was born with mongoose face and meditated in a cave in “Keerimalai”. He bathed in “Keerimalai” springs and his mongoose face turned into a human face. "Keerimalai" was known as Thiruthambaleswaram.

Keerimalai” is 50 feet above the main sea level, and situated West of Palaly. The fresh water comes from an underground fresh water spring. 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 famous for “Aadi Amaavaasai” and continues to be the foremost place.

Nagulaambigai Sametha Sri naguleswara Perumaan” temple (commonly known asNaguleswaram” temple) spreads to 50,000 square feet.Naguleswaramtemple is one of the hallowed Sivan temples (Pancha Ishwaram) in Sri Lanka is situated here as well. Lord Siva is the destroyer or transformer. He is viewed as the supreme deity in Hinduism. There are five famous Ishwaram~ Sivan temples in Sri Lanka. They are Thirukoneswaram in trincomalee, Thiruketheeswaram in Mannar, Naguleswaram in Jaffna, Munneswaram in Chilaw and Kokkattichcholai Thaanthondreeswaram in Batticaloa.

Naguleswaram temple stands supreme in Jaffna Peninsula, North of Sri Lanka. It is endowed with special three attributes such as Moorthy (deity), Thalam (temple) and Theerththam (water).

The oldNaguleswaramtemple was destroyed by the Portugese in 1621. A Brahmin priest, who fled the area during the Portugese regime, took the valuables from the temple, put and preserved them in a well according to Yaazhpaana Vaipava Maalai.

In 1878, Hindu reformer Sreelasri Aarumuga Naavalar campaigned to rebuild the temple. After 17 years, the consecration ceremony took place at “Naguleswaram”. But, due to an accidental fire in 1918, the temple was severely damaged. The current temple is being renovated, and nearly 70% of the construction work is completed so far.

Sculptures are being made at the main entrance of the temple

Main entrance of the temple
The Chief priest of Nagulaambigai Sametha Sri Naguleswara Perumaan temple (commonly known as Naguleswaram temple) Kumaraswamy Naguleswara Kurukkal (85). He has been the integral part of the temple from 1947 at the age of 22, and has served here for more than six decades with great dedication and devotion with a smiling face always

The natural springs was renovated in 1969
Directions given in all three languages ~ Tamil, Sinhala and English
Way to the natural springs
Destroyed building in the vicinity
Ruins buried in shrubs

View of the St.Anne’s Church in Valikandal from the natural springs

"Keerimalai" natural springs
Sea view from the springs
Another notice for the devotees in Tamil, Sinhala and English

St.Anne’s Church in Valikandal is standing still with partial damage

An array of Palmyrah trees which withstood the war
Bathing side for the men devotees
View of the Palk Strait from "Keerimalai"
"Do Not Urinate here" says a notice in Tamil and Sinhala
Margosa leaves dance for the non~stop sea breeze
Graffiti on th wall by the visitors
Bathing side for the women devotees
Tender Palmyrah Palm at the site
Hall for the devotees to carry out the rituals for their forefathers on Aadi Amaavaasai day
Yet another view of remaining ruins
View of ruins from the road
Shrubs cover the ruins
On the road of the ruins
An overview of the temple
Another view of the ruined building
The sanctum has the largest Sivalingam in Sri Lanka
Beautiful sculptures of male and female Mongoose worshipping the Lord Sivalingam
Sasaralingam ~ It has 1,000 Sivalingams
Sculptures on a ruined building
An array of Bronze statues
Devotees at the main entrance of the temple
Inside view of the Mandapam
Another view of the temple from inside
Remaining ruins of the archway
Stray dogs in the vicinity
Old statues of male and female version of the Mongoose
"Please Do Not Enter with Footwear. Smoking is Strictly Prohibited" written on the pillar inside the Mandapam
Entrance of the Mandapam where Anna Thaanam takes place
Austin Cambridge in "Keerimalai"

The temple is referenced in many Indian religious treatises such as Dhakshina Kailaasa Puraanam and Kantha Puraanam

Another view from inside the temple
Cool spot to quench thirst
View of Naguleswaram temple as the Sun sets
Sunset in "Keerimalai"


Blogger Rajesh. CTR said...

Thanks for the wonderfull information on Keerimalai. I have used some info on my blog post on hill temples. Thank you.

12:06 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Great story and pictures. I visited recently and this information helps towards a fuller understanding of the site and its history.

12:03 AM  

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